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Perhaps you’ve seen the Segway Human Transporter. But have you seen it in camo?
A new company called Off Roads Adventure near Oxford, Miss., is launching off-road Segways. What makes an off-road Segway different from a regular Segway? Head-to-toe camouflage, a metal skid plate to prevent damage on the underside of the body, and, most importantly, studded tires.
“Up until we came along, Segways were strictly inner-city vehicles,” company founder Dan Lundahl says. “Now they’re for everyone – campers, hikers, bird-watchers.”
Those wishing for a more intense off-road experience can spring for Lundahl’s “Stealthy Ground Attack Vehicle,” a Segway equipped with a gun holster. It’s designed to appeal to hunters.
“Fresh Gear” got a sneak peek at the off-road Segway mod in its beta testing stage. Tune in this week to see it in action.
Tearing up the trail
“It allows the Segway to claw through the dirt,” Chris Knight explains as he points out the 10-millimeter studs covering the off-road tires. Knight is a 15-year-old high school student and a beta tester of Lundahl’s new product.
“It gives it that extra traction it needs to stay upright,” he says.
We followed Knight on his loaner off-road Segway in a hilly, wooded area to put the machine through its paces. He rode – helmeted, we should note – through leaves and light mud and down steep slopes, seemingly without any problems.
“Coming down is the easiest part,” Knight says. “It’s going up that’s hard.”
Winch not included
Knight will be the first to say the off-road Segway can only go so far.
“This is going to be pushing the limits,” he says as he attempts to climb a steep hill on the $5,000 machine. “You’re going to hear the motors struggling at me, and it’s going to be growling at me quite a bit.”
Sure enough, the machine gives Knight feedback in the form of “stick shake” – a built-in safety mechanism common to all Segways.
“It does that to let you know you’re doing something real close to the limits,” Knight says as he gives up on the too-steep incline.
The off-road Segway rolls along just fine on most trails in our small test area, although the occasional stick slows Knight down, forcing him to clear his tires.
Knight had used the loaner Segway mod for a few weeks by the time we meet him, so he’s pretty adept at riding and he knows its limits. But a hill covered with wood chips gets the best of even him – he stumbles forward, falling off the machine.
“I tried to lean into it to get it to crawl over, but the bark just shot out from underneath the tires and I couldn’t grab onto anything, and I had to step forward off of it,” Knight says. No harm done, though.
The beta machine is an early production from Off Roads Adventure, a startup that has no affiliation with Segway, the company selling the original high-end scooters.
“Not very many people have tried the Segway at all, and to say that I’ve tried the studded tires, that’s pretty cool,” Knight says.
A link to the article with a movie can be found here.