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Background
What It Can Do
Not Like the Competition
How Does It Work?
What People Are Saying
The Inventor
Watch the Board in Action... We've Got Videos!
Click on any image below to download some video ... all less than 2 megs.






Background:

The RideUnit is the result of years of research and development in pursuit of an authentic snowboard experience on wheels. This was achieved by studying all the functions of a snowboard and recreating them with state-of-the-art mechanisms. The board's function and feel are in total harmony resulting in the most enjoyable riding experience possible without snow.






What it Can Do:

Most inventions start with a vision of the end product. In the case of the RideUnit, the vision was to have a single board that provides all the capabilities of a snowboard without sacrificing normal skateboard attributes. This vision was further refined into six required elements. They are:

  1. The board must exhibit "edge effect" caused by tilting the board which results in a turning force, stopping force, or any combination of the two. WATCH VIDEO 1!

  2. The board must be able to travel in either a straight line or make gradual left and right turns without loss of speed. Turns with minimal loss of speed are often referred to as "carving turns" because the metallic edge of the snowboard follows a curved path without significant sideslip or deviation from a true arc. As a result, the radius of the turn will be nearly identical to the radius of the curved metallic edge of the deflected board. Carving turns on a snowboard are nearly identical to turns produced by conventional skateboards. WATCH VIDEO 2!

  3. The board must be able to make "sliding turns" where the board experiences sideslip during a turn. This causes the radius of the path of travel to be larger than the radius of the arc formed by the edge. The sideslip causes a braking effect and allows the rider to control the speed of the board. The amount of sideslip must be easily controlled by the rider. WATCH VIDEO 3!

  4. The board must be able to produce a powerful braking effect due to pure sideslip. This effect is achieved by orienting the board at approximately ninety degrees to the direction of travel prior to tilting the board and initiating the "edge effect". WATCH VIDEO 4!

  5. The board must be able to spin freely and/or travel at any orientation relative to the direction of travel without loss of speed unless the "edge effect" is engaged. WATCH VIDEO 5!

  6. The board must automatically ride like a skateboard except when the rider commands snowboard type maneuvers. This allows for pushing-off and for all normal skateboard tricks to be performed.
    WATCH VIDEO 6!

The RideUnit is the only board in the world to achieve all six elements. The design can be adapted to many configurations. Likely designs include "Street trickster", "Hill Bomber", and "Dirt Snowboard". The weight of a street board would be about 2x the weight of a conventional street skateboard. The street board would be capable of doing most conventional tricks. The weight of an off-road board would be nearly equivalent to existing off-road designs due to weight savings and scale effects. At a projected retail cost of $200, the street board is sure to be a hot seller right away.






Not Like the Competition:

There have been numerous attempts to create a wheeled snowboard experience in the past. In our opinion, all have fallen short. We have characterized the competition in three categories: 1) "Deep carvers", 2) "Wheel draggers" and 3) Totally misguided.

There are a few examples of "deep carvers" on the market. A deep carver is different from a normal skateboard because with the deep carver "the board tilts more when turning." This is supposed to more accurately simulate the snowboard experience. While snowboards can tilt more than skateboards, this is not the allure of snowboarding. The pleasure of snowboarding comes from sliding the board freely into any orientation and blending sliding and carving to control both turn radius and braking effect.

The "wheel draggers" attempt to create the feel of snowboarding by adding additional wheels to an otherwise normal skateboard. This allows the board to rotate on some of the wheels while others remain fixed. The fixed wheels are then dragged along sideways to scrub off speed. This method comes much closer to attaining snowboard feel than the deep carvers, but falls short in one major detail. Skidding wheels don't steer! A wheel must be rolling in order to steer. This is why all cars now feature antilock brakes. The dragging wheels only result in a braking effect, not a realistic "sliding turn". In fact, there is practically no turn at all. The ride is basically limited to skateboard type turns with the fixed wheels rolling, or nearly straight line braking with the board at any other orientation. Not fun.

The totally misguided are too numerous to mention. Spring loaded casters, pneumatic sausages, and other practically impossible things to ride claim to somehow simulate snowboarding.






How Does It Work?

Very well, thank you. But seriously...

The RideUnit has four wheels, just like every other normal skateboard. It also has two trucks that support the wheels. Besides the deck, that's about where the similarity ends.

  • All four wheels can freely caster so that they keep rolling regardless of which direction the board is going. Of course, they can't ALWAYS freely caster or else the board would be no more controllable than your desk chair or a furniture dolly. The trucks contain proprietary mechanisms that control when and how the wheels can caster.

  • Brakes are modulated based on board orientation to the direction of travel and amount of deck tilt.

  • Rider foot motions control all functions. No need for hand controls.

  • Ride parameters can also be tailored to the individual preferences of each rider.








What People Are Saying:

"This thing is going to be big". Nearly everyone who learns about the RideUnit has a similar reaction. It's as if the promise of the board is self-evident. Most skiers and riders long for an alpine experience in the off-season. Even people who do not skateboard are excited about the realization of this long time dream.

"It's addicting". Ride it for an hour and you'll be hooked. By that time you'll be slowly but comfortably riding down a hill. Once you feel the "black snow" the smile will be automatic. And like snowboarding, the more you do it, the better you feel.

"I want to try it". Obviously. And more people are trying it now that the prototype is perfected. Multiple pro riders have also evaluated the RideUnit and will soon have an opportunity to master the Ride.






The Inventor, on a Personal Note:

Not your typical skate kid. I grew up in an earlier period in skating. In the '70s in upstate New York, urethane wheels ushered-in a skating frenzy. But we never went as far as the California pool riders. The best we had was a ramp on a hill and occasionally a half-pipe. I skated a lot until I got interested in other things as a teenager. During the 20 years between then and now, I probably rode a skateboard 10 times.

I did a lot of other things during those 20 years, however. I became an expert skier as a teenager. I went skiing as often as possible and even built jumps in the back yard. I also went to college and earned an Aeronautical Engineering degree. I rose to near the top of my profession and presently manage an engineering department at a major aircraft manufacturing company. I have personally directed the design and development of such complex machines such as aircraft engines including rotaries and diesels, aircraft actuators, aircraft structures, and much more. I have patented designs ranging from novel airplanes to diesel engines.

I saw the lack of an enjoyable alpine experience on the street as a problem I wanted to fix. For me, the development of a snowboard for the streets was a matter of defining the requirements and then applying the principles learned from my previous experience. There was really never a question of could it be done. The only question was could it be done in a way that was practical and profitable. The answer was YEEEEESSSS!



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