08. 15. 2006
Segways get updated styling and controls
The Segway Personal Transporter didn't wind up revitalizing the way cities are built, but it did find uses with a few commercial entities and police departments. New updates to the Segway line are hoping to encourage more average consumers to purchase Segways for short commutes and leisure activities. Features on the updated i2 and x2 include a wireless key that does double duty as a dashboard, and new Saphion lithium ion batteries that have increased drive time. Both models have been redesigned with sleeker profiles, but the i2 wins the beauty contest with clean Italian modern styling.
The control system has been greatly improved. Novice riders reported problems coordinating the handlebar turning controls on previous Segways, but the new models use lean-to-turn steering. Wanna go left? Lean left! It's a control scheme similar to skiing, but not nearly as difficult or dangerous.
Of the two new models the ruggedized x2 is the more attractive for leisure. Monster truck styling with aluminum fenders and big knobby tires make this the option for rolling over hill and dale. Thereís even a golf bag attachment for ditching the caddy when running through the back nine.
I originally agreed with the naysayers that declared the Segway as a gadget without purpose, but divergences from their original business plan will be what finally saves the Segway. For example, the 2004 Centaur concept makes me salivate. A four wheeled cross between a Segway and a go-kart could be just the fun zip machine that the city street commuter is looking for. (Thatís a hint, Mr. Kamen!)