In June 2014, Mircea Gorgos, a gymnastics coach living in Ontario, Canada, was in search of a mode of personal transportation that would allow him to commute to his workplace. The means of transportation he was looking for had to have the following features: very compact, motorized, capable of covering a distance of at least 40–50 km, and relatively light. At the time, he couldn’t find anything that would fit his description. Time went by, and he continued to commute by car.
Three years later, in August 2017, while at a restaurant waiting for his lunch to be served, he was scrolling through YouTube videos when he came across a video showing an individual riding an electric unicycle (EUC). As soon as he finished watching the video, he knew he had found the type of vehicle he was looking for. Some quick research gave him information about this kind of vehicle and the location of vendors, including a store specializing in personal electric vehicles such as electric bicycles, electric scooters, one-wheel electric boards, electric skateboards, and EUCs. Exactly what he was looking for.
He went to the store, placed an order for an electric unicycle, and two months later, in October 2017, he received his first unit, a Ninebot One Plus. It was a beautiful machine that he learned how to ride by practicing for about five minutes each day for a week, in the hallway of his house. When he felt comfortable mounting, riding the entire length of the hallway, and dismounting the Ninebot One Plus safely, he ventured outdoors, taking on park trails.
His first outdoor ride took place in November 2017. The feeling of gliding on the wheel was fantastic. He began riding the wheel to his workplace, which was about 3 km from his home. The Ninebot One Plus was the perfect vehicle to get him to his workplace and back home. On many occasions people would approach him asking about the futuristic-looking machine. For many of them, the electric unicycle was a complete novelty.
As time went by, Mircea observed that when he increased the acceleration, the electric unicycle would sometimes begin wobbling. He initially thought that his lack of riding skills was the cause of the problem, but as he got better at riding the wheel, the wobbling at higher speeds did not completely disappear. After a while Mircea’s riding proficiency was above the Ninebot’s One Plus technical capabilities. The only logical decision was to upgrade to a bigger and more powerful electric unicycle.
In September 2018, he received his new wheel, a King Song 18L. A vehicle with a much more powerful motor. At that time, this model was one of the top electric unicycles in the 18-inch wheel size category.
October 2018: Mircea’s first King Song 18L ride. In comparison with the previous wheel he had owned, this one was much better from every standpoint. Although all the features offered by the new wheel were at another level, there were still problems with foot fatigue and the lack of a very good connection between the foot and the pedal. Moreover, the wobbling issue was still present. Mircea soon realized that all these negative effects were largely related to the type of shoes he was wearing to ride. He began experimental electric unicycle rides using various types of footwear in search of a shoe that would alleviate those problems. He even experimented with a pair of powerlifting shoes.
A search on the internet about the type of footwear used by other electric unicycle riders indicated that many of them were also looking for shoes that would help achieve good wheel maneuverability, foot comfort, and foot protection, especially in the ankle area. The most common foot accidents caused by electric unicycle riding affect the ankle. Overpronation, or the heel being struck by the electric unicycle pedal, is one of the most common injuries.
After compiling and analyzing the data on the kinds of features the electric unicycle shoe should have, Mircea decided to create his own riding shoes. An old pair of sneakers provided the basis for his first experimental shoes. After modifying their sole in a way that would make them more suitable for riding, he was keen to test them. The results were very positive and encouraged him to move forward with his idea. This is how the very first electric unicycle shoe was born.
Two years later, after several sole design concepts, on June 2020, the first ELECTRIC UNICYCLE SOLE was created.
The most important part of the shoe, the sole, became reality. The next step was to make the upper of the shoe. After six months of material testing and a few design ideas, in November 2020, the first electric unicycle shoe, named RYDER-1, was made. Shortly after LEISURE-1 was designed, followed by the PERFORMANCE-1 model. The third model turned out to be a good idea. A survey on electric unicycle shoes showed that the PERFORMANCE-1 had the biggest customer demand, at 90%.
The very first electric unicycle shoe testing took place on December 18, 2020. Other similar tests were carried out on March 7 and 14, May 1 and 15, and June 6, 2021.
The purpose of the tests was to observe the following:
- The extent to which the shoe improved electric unicycle maneuverability
- Whether there was a significant leverage in the transfer of force from the foot level to the electric unicycle pedal
- The decrease in the wheel wobble phenomenon
- The level of foot stability on the pedal
- The connection between the outsole of the shoe and the pedal
- The level of outsole slip resistance
- The level of pedal feel provided by the sole
- Ankle protection
- Overall foot comfort during riding or walking
- The level of insulation provided against a mild cold wind
- Ease of cleaning of the upper
As the development of the product reached its final stages the next important step was to incorporate the Company and register the KINETIC D.L. name and logo with the trademark office.