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LuckyGuy's avatar

Are Orbitwheels as incredibly dangerous as they look?

Asked by LuckyGuy (38904points) November 14th, 2011

I was on a plane the other day and saw OrbitWheels in the Sky Mall catalog for about $100. Something did not add up.
I have more than basic understanding of the Laws of Physics and it is readily apparent to me that since these wheels are not tethered in any way, they have the potential to separate, spreading the user like a wishbone. They may also twist independently in any of the axes causing the rider to either do a face plant, leaving teeth in the asphalt, or performing a skull bounce on the pavement. Maybe it’s just me, but neither of those options sound like fun. Am I missing something?
Does anyone here own a pair of these? Are they as dangerous as they look? Would anyone want them?
I’ve got a great idea that will save you money. Send me $50, a half price offer!, and I will simply smack you with a bat making sure to avoid the face. You will be much better off.

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10 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

OK, @worriedguy , this Q is your oficial entry into the Curmudgeonly Old Fart Club. These things seem really no more dangerous , if used as directed, than a bunch of other popular wheeled toys I’ve seen. Like these for instance. They look just as crazy to me.

bongo's avatar

I think it looks like fun this video shows someone using them, not that I would be able to do it, but I know a few people who would love them! I think they look great, really portable too – not like a skateboard which tends to get a bit cumbersome when carrying it around a shopping center or something (again I want to stress I can not skate or anything but know many people who do. I am about as coordinated as a moose at things like that.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

@JilltheTooth Hey, Watch it! I have a 20” Schwinn Unicycle so I’m not averse to doing stupid things.
The reason these look suicidally dangerous to me is the independent action of each wheel. They can separate – a skate board or snow board does not. To further add to the lunacy, you have to put your feet in the stirrups. All it takes is one wheel to turn a little more than the other and your leg can get twisted off like a chicken wing. Yikes.

@bongo I saw the videos but I have also seen videos of lottery winners. I never actually met one in real life. There must be someone here who has tried them – and lived to tell about it.

The unicycle is much safer. If you start to fall forward or backward all you do is step off and you are on Terra firma. The Orbitwheels offer no way out. I’d want an ejection seat.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I did the unicycle thing, too, back in the day. I never quite got the hang of it, but I certainly entertained many passers by!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@JilltheTooth You did the unicycle thing, too, so you know what I am talking about. You simply stepped off. Now imagine what would happen if your feet were in stirrups? Yikes!

Lightlyseared's avatar

They are probably no more dangerous than a pair of rollerblades (and as i have learned, following the insertion of large quantities of titanium in my left leg and foot, that can be fantastically dangerous)

JilltheTooth's avatar

Actually, @worriedguy , I never got the hang of “simply stepping off” either. There was blood and more than a few naughty words yelled. I do get your point, but I don’t see that these are more dangerous than the Wave that I linked or even roller blades, if used correctly. I didn’t see on the videos that the kids were strapped in, are they? If not then they can kick them off. I imagine there’s a fair amount of falling down when learning, but falling down is kind of intrinsic to the learning process of lots of things. I have mastered the falling down part of many things.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh dear, @worriedguy , are you worried again?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Lightlyseared Roller blades have a line of rollers and tend to go in a straight line. They don’t have a single point of contact on the pavement and don’t twist as easily as these would.
I have roller blades too and they are kind of like ice skates.

@JilltheTooth The Wave board does not allow the legs to separate and crack like a wishbone. Also the wheels are steerable by leaning. The rear moves in the opposite direction of the front and has limited travel.

Now that I’m fine, what else do I have to worry about?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Just thought you were worried about those kids…

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