New craze the wheel thing

Otago Sports Depot sales assistant Anna Smith takes a Gauswheel for a spin in Dunedin yesterday.

It's absurd ... It's insane ... It's a Gauswheel!

Dunedin streets may be about to be overrun by the latest transport craze sweeping the world.

The Gauswheel is a cross between a unicycle, a skateboard and a scooter.

The suitcase-sized machines, which cost between $300 and $600, can reach speeds up to 30kmh and are aimed at inner-city commuters.

They are operated like a scooter, with footplates on either side of the main wheel, while steering is controlled with a slalom skiing motion.

Otago Sports Depot owner Brent Davies said yesterday the distinctive vehicles had been drawing attention since they arrived two weeks ago.

''We're getting four or five people in a day looking at them,'' he said.

''I think their main market will probably be the students, but they're really for anyone, of any age.

''If you've got a reasonable sense of balance you'll be able to ride one.''

Silver Fern Sports marketing manager Kent Rae, of Tauranga, discovered the Gauswheel at a trade fair in Canton in October.

''They're becoming very popular in Europe and the States, but this is the first time they've been in New Zealand,'' he said.

''It's basically like having a bicycle wheel between your legs.''

The Gauswheel was named after the initials of its Hungarian inventors, Andrew Goczey and Soma Ungar.

A prototype was developed in the early 1980s and perfected in 2001.

The latest model was rolled out in New Zealand late last year and arrived in Dunedin two weeks ago.

New Zealand Transport Agency media manager Andy Knackstedt said the Gauswheel was classed as a ''wheeled recreational device'' and subject to the same road rules as skateboards and scooters.


They are not the same

Just because they both have two wheels with one bigger than the other does not make them the same.

This would be like the 1970s where you could import something if there was some NZ made product the even looked vaguely similar.

Anyway what are the odds that the "kiwi" unit is made in China?


Buy Kiwi

Why import them fron Canton when there's a perfectly good NZ designed equivalent?

'Wheeled recreational devices'

So what are the road rules for skateboards, scooters and Gauswheels? Their users usually wear no safety equipment and they travel wherever they like with apparent impunity.

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