The Lit Motors C-1 is something like a motorcycle version of a Segway on steroids.
The Segway uses a collection of microprocessors instead of a brain and a set of sophisticated tilt sensors instead of an inner-ear balancing system. Like your brain, the Segway knows when you are leaning forward. To maintain balance, it turns the wheels at just the right speed, so you move forward.
The Lit Motors C-1 works in an entirely different way. It uses gyroscopes. Where a single spinning gyroscope seemingly defies gravity by standing up, the Lit Motors C-1 uses a two-gyroscope counter-rotating system. As long as the two gyroscopes are spinning, the C-1 also appears to defy gravity. Once the C-1’s electric motor is turned off, the vehicle is maintained upright by two side stands, which extend to the ground.
The C-1 is one meter wide with space for the driver and a passenger (or groceries). On a full charge of batteries, it has a range of 200 miles.
The C-1’s top speed is an impressive (and daring) 125mph and the C-1 can go from zero to 60mph in a snappy 7 seconds.
The first limited production run of 1,000 C-1s is to be manufactured in USA in 2014 and sold with a $19,000 price tag. Once full production is established, the price should drop to $12,000 in North America.
The C-1 is not an entirely new concept. Back in the 90’s a similar vehicle, the Gyro Hawk, appeared in prototype form. Like the C-1, the Gyro Hawk was a gyro-stabilized. Like the C-1, the Gyro Hawk used a two-gyro counter-rotating system. The Gyro Hawk never reached production status.
There was even a gyro-stabilized monorail—Brennan’s Monorail. It was exhibited in London in way back in 1910. It carried 50 passengers around a circular track at 20 mph. Even Winston Churchill, had a ride and was reported to have shown considerable enthusiasm. Unfortunately, Brennan’s Monorail, and other similar vehicles failed to attract financing and wound up in the junk yard.
Hopefully, the C-1 will have a happier fate.