December 4, 2007 Around the world, dozens of small businesses are springing up and flourishing based on innovative, compact urban transport inventions that speed up the short commute while at the same time injecting a healthy dose of fun. The skateboard has evolved into electric powered versions as well as the twisting casterboard concept, mini-scooters are going electric and developing at a rapid rate, and next-gen mobility platforms like the Segway are changing the way people think about short-range transport. Now there's the easyglider, an external electric drive wheel that lets you zip yourself along at up to 20kmh on your rollerblades, skateboard, or a connected wheeled platform.
The easyglider, which we ran across being put through its paces at the IAA in Frankfurt, approaches the A to B equation firmly from the "fun" side. Invented by figure skater Stephan Soder, it was originally conceived as a way for him to pull himself along while wearing rollerblades. He built the first version in his garage out of a small petrol motor from his Velosolex powered bicycle.
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Five generations later, the easyglider X6 is a fully electric-powered unit capable of pulling you along at up to 20km/h. It features a handbrake, a night headlight, a two-wheeled, independently braked rear platform if you don't want to use it with rollerblades, and three power levels governed by coded electronic keys.
Optional extras include a music system that incorporates a couple of small speakers so you can listen to MP3 tunes as you zip along the pavement.
To use the easyglider, you simply turn it on, stand on something with wheels (like a skateboard, rollerblades or the unit's own wheeled platform) and twist the throttle. The unit pulls you along at a zippy but far from dangerous 20kmh, pulling you out of corners with a satisfying shove. Of course, a well-maintained set of thighs might get you going twice as fast on rollerblades, but with the easyglider, you'll arrive at the office refreshed and ready to work, not sweaty and in need of a shower. Transport and storage in tight spaces is facilitated by a foldable steering-bar for a compact size of 50 x 30 cm.
In August this year easyglider KIDS was released to cater specifically for 8 –14 year olds and the next generation - the easyglider X7 - is in the pipe with the promise of wide off-road tyres, a more powerful engine and longer battery life. Also under development is the easyglider WATER... you guessed it, a version geared for traversing the wet stuff.
The easyglider X6 is available at selected outlets around the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.View gallery - 32 images