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Why didn't the Segway catch on?

 
 
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 06:39 am
Have you ever ridden a Segway?

I had a chance to ride one last week. It is so much fun and such a great way to get around. It only takes about 5 minutes to learn how to operate one. They're small, quiet, and don't use any gas.

They are, however, pretty expensive so I'm guessing that's why they didn't inspire the revolution that the inventor thought that they would.

Why do you think it didn't catch on as a mode of transportation?
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Type: Question • Score: 23 • Views: 8,349 • Replies: 95

 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 06:48 am
@boomerang,
Because we're lazy enough.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 06:50 am
This didn't help.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 06:53 am
@izzythepush,
Well it is more passive than walking there's no doubt about that. But it isn't entirely passive. I'll wager that you use considerably more muscle on it than you do driving a car for several miles.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 06:54 am
@Setanta,
Oh my.

Driving things off cliffs is never a good idea!
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 06:59 am
@boomerang,
You may also have noticed from Setanta's article that they're illegal where I live. There's lots of things that were supposed to be revolutionary, but never caught on. Remember this?
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/11/05/article-1326823-01FD44E10000044D-596_634x436.jpg
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:00 am
@boomerang,
The pictures of President Bush falling with one could not have been good advertising, also.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:00 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

I'll wager that you use considerably more muscle on it than you do driving a car for several miles.


Not with my ******* car you don't!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:05 am
@boomerang,
I think it's in a weird niche between cars and bicycles. Usually one or the other will do without a need for the Segway.

Definitely the expense is a factor.

And yeah the whole driving-off-a-cliff thing certainly didn't help!! (Although that was pretty recent and they'd already failed to thrive before that.)
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:19 am
@sozobe,
Niche market is a big problem. I only know one person who rides one -- the man who is the head of the nuclear energy program at the college near my house. I see him all over the neighborhood on his. He's viewed as a bit of an eccentric. When Mo and I toured the college's reactor I had a chance to ask him about it (the Segway, not the eccentricity) and he raved about how cool they were. In Oregon you're classified as a pedestrian when riding one so you can go anywhere.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:43 am
@boomerang,
Too expensive.

Really! I predicted that it would fail to become the next revolutionary mode of transportation when they priced it so high. I believe that the inventor was disingenuous in terms of his hype and that the Segway was supposed to be the next revolutionary mode of transportation when he priced it as high as he did.

His personal hype was just artificial justification for having the price so damn high.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:44 am
@izzythepush,
They are illegal here in NYC but I still see them being ridden on the sidewalks on rare occasions.
Region Philbis
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 07:54 am
@tsarstepan,

i often see people riding them in small groups in downtown Bahstin, but i've never seen someone segway'ing alone...
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 08:05 am
@tsarstepan,
They're covered by the ADA, similar to a wheelchair so that's probably why some people get to use them while they remain illegal for most people.

I agree about the expense. There is no way that he could have thought many people could afford such things.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 08:07 am
@Region Philbis,
We used them for a tour of a city's architecture. That's probably what you've seen.

It really was a cool way to see a city.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 08:09 am
I did see a bloke hiring them out when I was in Forence a few years ago.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 08:14 am
I've seen some sort of security squadron using them during a big event in downtown Columbus. (Can't remember what, Red White and Boom maybe.)

I was talking to E.G. about this (the topic was on my screen) and he said first "they're too damn expensive" and I agreed and then pointed out that people spend that much on bikes, don't they? He made a good point, first that very few people do spend that much on bikes, and then that the people who do are usually athletes, that spending that money is seen as virtuous. Whereas Segways are seen as being for people who are too lazy to walk. (Bikes = sport, Segways = lazy.)

I agree that they're less lazy than cars, but they don't seem to be doing a good job of taking over the car niche. (E.G.'s other point there -- what about bad weather?)

Touring a city in good weather makes sense, sounds fun.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 08:41 am
@sozobe,
I think that they could/should have been marketed to take over the vespa/scooter market. I see a lot of those in my neighborhood and around the campus. I don't think people think of scooter riders as being lazy.

Obviously there are some problems -- whether they be problems of perception or actual problems I don't know. I just think it's really interesting that they are so rarely seen when they do have several pluses on their side.

I imagine that they're being used in factories and that sort of place. (My mom once had a job that required her to roller skate between areas of a big factory!)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 09:04 am
@boomerang,
They're not covered by auto insurance, so when people have accidents with them (and they have many), claims go under their personal liability insurance. You want to make sure you have EXCELLENT liability coverage if you're going to ride on one of those things.

Not sure why there are so many accidents with them - they seem easy enough to learn how to handle (a lot like old industrial floor cleaners).
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2011 09:25 am
@ehBeth,
They are supposed to have a range of about 14 miles on a charge. I borrowed one of my friends Segways (Hes loaded and has several for his farm). I ran it into the little town nearest us. It was a 3 mile ride (all of which was not a pleasant expwerience=lots of jostling ). The damn thing was just about crapped out by the time I returned. I had to call my wife and we loaded the damn thing on a truck bed and drove it to my friends place and started the charger.
Their "range" is dependent upon topography, weight of driver, road conditions etc. 6 miles is stupid for something like that. I can get a battery bike much cheaper and itll have a better range, and with Li batteries they make more sense and are more intuitive than a Segway.

 

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