Monthly Archives: November 2014

Cardiff Skates, probably another heartbreaker

Convertible skates are such a good idea. Snap them to your shoes, pop them off at your destination, no need to carry a pair of civilian shoes with you, no need to sit on a curb or fireplug while you change out of your skates. But why do they always suck?

I owned Metro Blades

Metro Blades, like skating in flip-flops

Metro Blades, like skating in flip-flops

and Mojos

Mojos, for those who like to go slowly, with poor control.

Mojos, for those who like to go slowly, with poor control.

And I remember other failures. Xsjado used to sell one, for example. And now Cardiff has entered the market.




The skate has four wheels, arranged in a diamond pattern, which adds to stability but must make turning much harder, and the things look huge, almost certainly harder to carry around than my normal commuting skates.

Hovertrax, the invisible Segway

Other than those with rare knee diseases, why do people buy Segways? To make sure they stay fat, sure, but why else? I think it’s a form of conspicuous consumption, a way to signalling to the world “I have too much money.” And if I’m right, why would anybody buy a Hovertrax?


It’s like a Segway but more subtle. This is from the labs of Shane Chen, the same guy who produces WheeledThing “favorites”,  Solowheel, Lunicycle and Orbitwheels. You can see his long-suffering model from the Orbitwheels campaign, forcing the rictus of a grin as she pretends to enjoy this thing as well.

Can I go inside now?

Can I go inside now?

It comes out of a Kickstarter campaign and it’s sold on Skymall, so it’s practically guaranteed to be worthless.

Windpower Super Skate Sail

These absurdities make an amusing counterpoint to the speed-controlling parachutes we discussed a month ago.


Ahoy, mateys and set the main sail!

Ahoy, mateys and set the main sail!

It’s hard to imagine using something like this in any setting where other human beings are present without getting yourself punched in the face.

What could be more fun that standing on your skateboard on the grass, holding a big sheet of plastic?

What could be more fun than standing on your skateboard on the grass, holding a big sheet of plastic?

$6 from Alibaba, or $49.99 from sky mall, your preference.

Orbitwheel — like a Razor RipStik but without the style or control

I’m surprised that the Orbitwheel hasn’t been mentioned on WheeledThing before. It’s been advertised in the Skymall catalog for a while, with photos showing a cheerful Asian woman posing in a pair of Orbitwheels. We know she is only posing because she doesn’t have any broken bones.

Photo captured only moments before she coasted into the back of a dump truck.

Photo captured only moments before she coasted into the back of a dump truck.

Videos exist of people using these, on flat surfaces, at low speeds.

On the plus side, they sell for only about $100 a pair.

More details on their website,

Arggghhh! Stop me!!!

Arggghhh! Stop me!!!


Nitrorail — it’s a . . . thing.


The print ad for the Nitrorail claims that it offers “unparalleled performance and behaves just like a normal bicycle, but with the added flair of a truly unique, beautiful design.”

I looked for videos of people riding these, with no luck. Their website (at has a few still photos, none of which resolved my confusion.

Grownup on Nitrorail, doing . . . something.

Grownup on Nitrorail, doing . . . something.

Child on Nitrorail, doing . . . something.

Child on Nitrorail, doing . . . something.

Is it a trick bike? Why does it have tailpipes? How come the kickstand is down in the second photo when the kid is on the bike? Who do they think is going to pay $999 for this?

The Bike is the Lock

While it is true that bike theft is a problem, should a bike be a lock with wheels and pedals?


The frame would need to be significantly heavier, with non-standard parts, increasing the cost.
Is the current system of carrying a separate lock so bad?

The worst thing about this pitch is you should never lock a bike to a tree for two reasons:
1) The thief can cut down the tree to steal your bike
2) Your weight of the lock will damage the tree.

While I wish them well, I don’t think I will be buying one.

Impossibly Boring! Another Electric Wheelchair

Yes, there is another two wheeled battery powered vehicle being sold as an “electric bike”.


According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a bicycle is defined as, “a vehicle with two wheels tandem, handlebars for steering, a saddle seat, and pedals by which it is propelled”

As this vehicle is missing one of the key components, namely pedals, so for now on here at WhelledThing we will call these things what they are, electric wheelchairs.  Impossible does meet this definition, a “chair mounted on wheels especially for the use of disabled persons”

Next I direct you to the impossibly boring video.  It shows the bike rolling for what feels like an hour over a flat, smooth surface with no turns.  Boy do these guys need an editor!  The funny thing is the person’s face is never show.  Could this be because of the multiple times this rider flew over the handlebars?  I’m guessing missing teeth and broken noses don’t look good when you are trying to raise money.

The Dareway, a $200 start on the path to indolence and obesity

For the six or eight people in the world who (a) think Segways are cool and (b) managed to procreate, here’s a junior Segway for their kids.


I think this may have hit the market around $500, and has been steadily marked down since. It’s on sale at Toys R Us at the moment for $200.