Uno (dicycle)

The Uno is a novel self-balancing electric motorcycle using two wheels side by side (the configuration used by dicycles). The Uno III adds a third wheel that allows it to transform into a tricycle.[1]

Inventor Ben Gulak riding the Uno cycle


The original Uno is controlled in forward motion by the rider shifting weight over the centre of gravity. When the rider shifts forward, the vehicle speeds up to regain balance, when the rider leans back, the vehicle slows. Steering is controlled by side-to-side motion of the rider. The vehicle senses this shift and raises one of the two wheels to allow the vehicle to tilt in the desired turn direction.

The Uno III has two configurations, as a dicycle and as a tricycle. As a dicycle it operates much the same as the original Uno with forward and back motion of the rider affecting acceleration. The Uno III also utilizes a hand throttle to affect acceleration and braking. Instead of using rider side-to-side movement to control steering, the Uno III uses a rotating handlebar.[2]


The Uno was conceived by Milton, Ontario teenager Ben Gulak in 2006, following a trip to China.[3][4] After seeing major smog pollution caused by heavy use of small motor vehicles, he decided he wanted to create an eco-friendly alternative.[5][6] His initial design efforts consisted of an angle-iron frame with wheelchair motors, batteries and gyroscopes.[6] He described his very first test-ride as "absolutely terrifying" and resulted in a crash and a chipped kneecap. [6] Other early problems, including a series of electrical fires, arose, and he was then joined by California robotics expert Trevor Blackwell, who had previously designed a eunicycle, a single-wheeled gyro-stabilized vehicle, as well as a two-wheeler that resembled a Segway PT, to iron out the initial problems.[6] Blackwell and Gulak refined the Uno's gyro control system so the machine would properly balance and move smoothly.[6] Gulak then used the revised plans to develop a prototype vehicle with the help of engineer Werner Poss, Veltronics Ltd. of Brampton, Ontario, John Cosentini of Motorcycle Enhancements, a custom motorcycle builder in Oakville, Ontario, and research partner Jason Morrow.[5][6][7][8]

The Uno was unveiled at the Toronto Spring Motorcycle Show in 2008,[9] and won a Top-10 prize on Popular Science's list of 2008 Invention Awards.[10] On the CBC series Dragons' Den, Gulak was given $1,250,000 in venture capital for a 20% share in further development. The deal fell apart in due diligence and only W. Brett Wilson paid his $250,000 portion.[11][12][13][14]

According to Ben Gulak, in order to improve the safety and usability of the Uno his company BPG Inc developed the Uno III to be able to transform from the classic Uno dicycle into a motorcycle.[2] Though not a motorcycle in the classic definition, the 'motorcycle mode' is actually a tricycle with the two rear wheels coming so close together that they resemble a single wide wheel.[15] The Uno III transforms between these two modes while being ridden.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Gyro Technology". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b "BPG Motors UNO". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  3. ^ Embrey, Matt (8 May 2008). "The Uno Electric Motorcycle, or MotorUnicycle". Green Upgrader. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Electric Uno has two wheels but it's not a motorbike". Motoring. June 29, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Glenn (May–June 2008). "It's Unique - but can it Pop a Wheelie?". Motorcycle Mojo. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Quinn, James F. (June 29, 2008). "Uno and only". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  7. ^ Rushton, Sean (24 July 2007). "'Uno' You Want It. - MIT hopeful Ben Gulak creates an eco-friendly bike chock full of power and 'cool'". Innovation Canada. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  8. ^ "Uno motorcycle reconfigures itself on the fly". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  9. ^ Archived 2009-01-16 at the Wayback Machine, Toronto Spring Motorcycle Show, accessed 01-02-2009
  10. ^ "2008 Invention Awards". Popular Science. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  11. ^ Gold, Kerry (May 17, 2011). "Dragon's Den success stories - The Uno". MSN Money Small Business Center. Archived from the original on August 19, 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  12. ^ "Episodece 6: All Dragons want part of Uno deal". Financial Post. 14 November 2008. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  13. ^ "Motorcycle Mojo presents footage of Ben Gulak on the CBC show Dragons' Den". Motorcycle Mojo. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  14. ^ "UNO deal falls through with all Dragons except Brett".
  15. ^ "A novel vehicle generates polarizing opinions". Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  16. ^ "BPG Uno III Transforming Scooter Unveiled". Retrieved 3 December 2011.

Further readingEdit