The history of Monowheels

Craft & Design Energy & Sustainability
The history of Monowheels

Douglas writes – “A monowheel (or motorwheel) is one big wheel with rider and engine (if any) INSIDE its circumference. It is not to be confused with a unicycle, which has the rider above the wheel. You’ll see what I mean. (Sometimes the word “motorwheel” refers to just a wheel with an engine built into it, as opposed to having a separate motor that turns the wheel via an axle. Two wheels one after the other is just a motorcycle- unless what they support is actually a complete car, with gyroscope stabilisation to stop it falling over. I put this page together purely as the result of a coincidence. I happened to see the two b/w photographs below on the same day (in widely differing circumstances) and I thought that this must be one of the most neglected modes of transport ever. That this neglect is wholly justified is neither here nor there. “ [via] – Link.

Pictured above, possibly the first monowheel.

Also on that page, our Kerry McLean from our book Makers. A 225-horsepower gasoline-powered monowheel – “You may be hauling ass, but you feel like you’re floating,” says McLean. The metal fabricator and machinist built his first monowheel in 1970 and has been obsessively perfecting the design ever since. “I don’t feel like anyone has seen it through,” he says. “You hear words like ‘trial and error.’ That’s just some hillbilly stuff. Broomsticks and baling wire. I’m doing R&D.” Link.

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