6 Transportation Innovations More Baffling Than The Segway
It seems like for every step forward we take in vehicle technology, we take another step back. For every awesome BMW GINA, there's an equally retarded Segway PT.
These are the baffling contraptions that remind us that while thinking outside the box is cool and all, you should probably make sure that there isn't a cheaper, less unintentionally hilarious version already in the box.
The best thing about a treadmill (apart from the many hilarious Youtube videos from drunk and/or uncoordinated people trying to use them) is the fact that you can run on them without having to go outside. This is great if you live in a place with terrible weather, if you need to look after kids or if you're a vampire who wants to stay in shape.
Enter the SpeedFit Treadmobile, the revolutionary new fitness vehicle that takes everything you love about treadmills and removes it. To fully appreciate the craptasticosity that is the TreadMobile, check out this handy promotional video.
Apparently, the creator of the Treadmobile looked at a treadmill and thought, "Well, that's pretty good, I guess. But what if we put some wheels on it and, in the process, ruined the only useful aspect of treadmills? It would be fucking awesome, that's what."
Sadly, he seems to have neglected some basic design concepts. First off, this thing is goddamn enormous, making it almost impossible to turn. Second, if it gets hit by a car it is going to get fucking pulverized, as will you if you're unlucky enough to be operating it at the time. Third, if you want to have a friend along for the ride, he or she has to strap themselves into a thong in the back. Alright, maybe that part is kind of awesome.
But by far the most baffling aspect is that this is a machine that moves forward when you run. If you just cut out that middle man and, you know, actually run, you'll save a cool $6,000. Yep, you read that correctly. Six grand.
What You Could Buy Instead:
A pair of running shoes and a top-of-the-line treadmill. And you'd still have $3000 left over.
It's pretty hard to screw up a bicycle. Two wheels, a metal frame, a pair of handlebars, an uncomfortable seat and some skintight shorts to accentuate your crotch bulge, and you're already a few weeks away from qualifying for the Tour de France.
But one man thought differently. One man thought, "This bike thing is just too damn easy. What can I do to mess that up?" That man is Curtis DeForest, and he is a little bit crazy.
For some reason DeForest doesn't like the idea that bikes don't require an obscene amount of effort, and thus he made an unholy union between a bicycle and the type of wheelchair you probably see in your dreams right after a drug-induced bike accident. And with that, the HyperBike was born.
The big selling point of the Hyperbike as far as Curtis is concerned is that you have to use your entire body to move it, which translates into pedaling with your hands and feet, guaranteeing you expend every available ounce of energy and dignity while reaching your destination.
Even if you have spent years lamenting the ease and maneuverability of the typical bicycle, there's still another huge problem: Where in the hell do you ride the damn thing? It's too wide to use on the sidewalk or in a bike lane. Hell, storing the thing in your garage probably means you have to get rid of a car. It's pretty obvious that the only real world use for a HyperBike is to slowly pedal around a deserted parking lot while a man with a white ponytail talks about how awesome it is.
Despite all of this, DeForest has big plans for the HyperBike, confidently predicting that it will replace the car. We're sure that'll happen too, right after the poached egg replaces the human brain and the intense desire for public ridicule replaces common sense. Given the fact that NASA has decided to fund him, this may have already happened.
What You Could Buy Instead:
A normal goddamned bike.
The Honda UX-3
The Japanese seemingly invented this device so that the world would feel like it owed the Segway an apology. Ladies and gentlemen: the Honda UX-3.
Let's get this out of the way right now: Yes, that model is pretty hot. Feel free to discuss that further in the comments. But what you probably also noticed is how supremely ridiculous she looks riding a thing that looks like a cross between EVE from WALL-E and a sunglasses case. She's obviously keeping herself extremely tense the whole time, since any small shift in weight will result in the UX-3 moving in that direction, making the fact that Honda wants to market this to old people all the more harrowing. We'll take a moment to let that idea sink in.
OK, we're back. Yes, Honda decided to sell a vehicle that requires extremely precise balance to a group of people who are known primarily for a lack of agility and balance. No, we have no idea what they were thinking.
But we can just imagine it now: Old Mrs. Jenkins rolling around the supermarket on her UX-3, garnering strange looks from all of the other customers, when suddenly her arthritis acts up and she clutches her side, which in turn sends her barreling directly into a mountainous cereal display that immediately comes crashing down around her, just like in the movies. Actually, we've changed our minds. This thing sounds awesome.
What You Could Buy Instead:
A motorized wheelchair. Or literally anything else on this list.
The American Chariot
Here at Cracked, we think that all police officers should be wise-cracking, no-nonsense badasses who are much too busy catching dangerous criminals and repairing their broken marriage to ever bother with, say, busting someone for driving a measly five miles-per-hour over the speed limit.
But that just wasn't enough for the folks at American Chariot. They wanted to make police officers faster, more mobile and able to carry more supplies. While this RoboCop-esque idea sounds great on paper, what they actually came up with was... well, we'll let you see it for yourselves.
The first thing you might notice is that the American Chariot literally looks like a chariot, only instead of a team of fierce stallions pounding the ground in front of you, you have three tiny little wheels. In fact, the configuration is kind of like the Big Wheel you had as a toddler. Only you stand up on it, because you're a big boy now!
And while that level of silliness is about par for the course for the vehicles on this list, it gains extra significance when you remember that the rider is an officer of the law. No matter how many times that video talks about "looking imposing" and "projecting authority, strength and commanding a situation," the fact remains that they took two of the least threatening vehicles ever made--the Segway and the tricycle--and merged them together in a way that would make any criminal shit their pants with laughter.
But, lest you think that this is a total bust of a vehicle, you'll note that around the 3:04 mark of that video, a police officer points out that the chariot can "keep people more confused." If that was the purpose of the American Chariot, we have to call it a resounding success.
What You Could Buy Instead:
Honestly? If you're a cop, you already have a badge and a gun; the people who don't respect the first one will probably respect the second. You don't need to buy a damn thing. Just grow a mustache and your arsenal is complete.
Crossing any body of water is always a hassle. But, as a cynical, jaded, 21st century consumer, the last thing you want is a boat. What with their ability to float, ease of use and general reliability, boats are just so passe.
No, what you really want is a vehicle that lets you frantically hump a metal pole while slowly sinking into the water. And you're in luck, because we've got just the product for you.
The epic marriage of form and function (sarcasm!) in that video is the AquaSkipper. It sounds like a fancy pool-cleaning device. It looks like a gorilla took the wheels off a bicycle and then had rough sex with the frame. It requires a perfectly flat lake with no waves whatsoever. And also there is no way to make it work. Why don't you already have one of these?
See, the thing about the AquaSkipper is that for a vast majority of the time you spend riding it, you'll jump off of a pier and instantly start sinking. If you can get physics to look the other way for a couple seconds, you might be able to dry-hump your way across the water for a bit. But eventually you're going to miss your rhythm, or lean too far forward, or not push hard enough, and suddenly gravity will realize that you're trying to travel across a lake on a goddamn metal rod and then things will become extremely wet. It seems like the only successful ride that guy in the video had was when he circled around and came back to the pier. And if you want to do that, why couldn't you just stay on the damn pier to begin with?
To look cool, obviously.
What You Could Buy Instead:
An inflatable boat. A pair of water wings. Swimming lessons. A piece of wood. A suitcase. The seat cushion from an airplane. Fake tits. Anything that actually floats, really.
Before we dive into this one, let's take a moment to talk about unicycles and motorcycles. The former makes you look ridiculous and is hard to balance, but if you fall off you're probably not going to get hurt (unless you're doing it on a tripwire, in which case, your life as a circus performer was going to end in suicide at some point anyway). The latter is tremendously unsafe and not terribly stable, but makes up for that by being totally badass.
At some point, someone looked at those two methods of transportation and decided to combine the worst elements of both of them without keeping any of the good ones. And thus the Monowheel was born.
Like the HyperBike, this seems to be another vehicle whose only practical use is roaming around a parking lot. But unlike the HyperBike, there is no way to fucking turn the Monowheel--not unless you want to turn over with it. Heck, even going straight forward seems like a risky maneuver with this vehicle, seeing as it's more unstable than the average South American republic.
Though, if you're going straight forward you now have a wheel blocking your field of vision.
Really, that's just the beginning of your problems. The thing about motorcycles and unicycles is that, if you crash, you'll be thrown clear and can potentially cushion your fall with a bush or an unsuspecting clown, respectively. With the Monowheel, any crash means your head will be abruptly and terminally introduced to piece of metal directly in front of you. And since this thing can get up to 53 mph (with a theoretical max of 100, which seems like a number they pulled out of their ass), that's no laughing matter.
Oh, and did we mention this bitch comes with a fun pull-start cord to get it started? To summarize, the Monowheel combines the maneuverability of a shattered femur, the safety of a mobile meth lab and the frustration of starting a goddamned lawn mower to create a vehicle that is most useful for coasting in a straight line on a closed course. Awesome.
What You Can Buy Instead:
Yes, much better to get the model with the V8.
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For failed modes of transport that still would've been better than these, check out 18 Hilarious Modes of Transport Science Gave Up On Too Soon. Or find out about some ridiculous creations in general, in The 10 Most Ridiculous Inventions Ever Patented.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 1.1.2010) to see our professional unicycling team (it's really just only Gladstone).