The Electric Self-Balancing Unicycle

The Electric Self-Balancing Unicycle
The Electric Self-Balancing Unicycle
1st Edition, 2009
This manual contains important safety, performance and service information.
Read it before you take the first ride on your new SBU and keep it for
For Your Records:
Congratulations on the purchase of your new Focus Designs SBU! This
manual is designed to give you the information you need for the safe
operation and maintenance of your new SBU. Please read it thoroughly
before riding your SBU.
Please take this opportunity to record important information about
your new SBU. Record the serial number here in the event that your
SBU is lost or stolen. On most models, the serial number is printed on
the main front label of the SBU. Consult your retailer if necessary. You
may also want to register your serial number with your local police
Serial Number
Date of Purchase
Place of Purchase
Please register your SBU online at
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Focus Designs Inc.
The Electric Self-Balancing Unicycle
1st Edition, 2009
Copyright © 2009 by Focus Designs Inc.
This manual contains important safety, performance and service information.
Read it before you take the first ride on your new SBU and keep it for
As a parent or guardian, you are responsible for the activities and safety of
your minor child, and that includes making sure that the SBU is properly fitted
to the child; that it is in good repair and safe operating condition; that you and
your child have learned and understand the safe operation of the SBU; and
that you and your child have learned, understand and obey not only the
applicable local motor vehicle, unicycle and traffic laws, but also the common
sense rules of safe and responsible unicycling. As a parent, you should read
this manual, as well as review its warnings and the SBU’s functions and
operating procedures with your child, before letting your child ride the SBU.
Printed in the United States of America
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General Warning:
Like any sport, unicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By
choosing to ride the SBU, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so
you need to know, and to practice, the rules of safe and responsible
riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and
maintenance of your SBU reduces risk of injury. This Manual contains
many “Warnings” and “Cautions” concerning the consequences of
failure to maintain or inspect your SBU and of failure to follow safe
cycling practices.
The combination of the safety alert symbol and the word WARNING
indicates a potentially hazardous situation which, if not avoided, could
result in serious injury or death.
The combination of the safety alert symbol and the word CAUTION
indicates a potentially hazardous situation which, if not avoided, may
result in minor or moderate injury, or is an alert against unsafe
The word CAUTION used without the safety alert symbol indicates a
situation which, if not avoided, could result in serious damage to the
SBU or the voiding of your warranty. Many of the Warnings and
Cautions say “you may lose control and fall.” Because any fall can result
in serious injury or even death, we do not always repeat the warning of
possible injury or death. Because it is impossible to anticipate every
situation or condition which can occur while riding, this Manual makes
no representation about the safe use of the SBU under all conditions.
There are risks associated with the use of any unicycle which cannot be
predicted or avoided, and which are the sole responsibility of the rider.
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1. SBU Fit
a. Does your SBU fit you?
Correct fit is an essential element of SBU safety, performance
and comfort - it will result in the correct fit for your body. The
SBU is designed for riders over 5’5” tall, although it is possible
for riders of any height to ride the SBU, it will require assistance
from another person while learning how to ride the SBU for the
first time. The SBU is easy to adjust to fit your body; there is
simply one item that addresses fit, the seat height.
WARNING: If your SBU does not fit properly, you may
lose control and fall. Adjust the SBU for proper fit, have
someone assist you during the learning to ride process.
b. Is the seat at the right height?
If you are a beginner, we recommend you set the seat height at
a level that allows you to place both feet flat on the ground
while straddling the SBU’s seat. This is important when
learning to balance left and right on the SBU. After you have
mastered left right balance, we recommend you raise the seat
for a higher level of riding comfort.
The seat is adjusted using the 4mm hex wrench, which is
provided with your SBU and located in the small pocket of the
battery bag, loosen (do not remove) the two screws on the seat
clamp in order to move the seat up and down. Make sure to
observe the Minimum Insertion requirements of the seat post.
The seat post should be inserted into the SBU frame AT LEAST
THREE INCHES. Once your seat is at the desired height,
tighten the screws slightly, and align the seat with the wheel,
making sure they are in line with each other, and then tighten
so that the seat post does not have movement in any direction.
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WARNING: Always make sure that your seat post does
not extend from the frame beyond the Minimum Insertion
requirements of three inches; the seat post may break, or
separate from the frame, which could cause you to lose control
and fall.
WARNING: After any seat adjustment, be sure that the
seat clamp is properly tightened before riding. A loose seat
clamp can cause damage to the seat post, or can cause you to
lose control and fall. A correctly tightened seat clamp will allow
no seat movement in any direction. Periodically check to make
sure that the seat clamp is properly tightened.
2. Safety First
a. Always wear an approved helmet when riding your SBU,
attach chin strap, and follow the helmet manufacturer’s
instructions for fit, use and care of your helmet.
b. Also wear other required and recommended safety
equipment such as: elbow pads, knee pads, shin guards
and wrist guards.
c. Attach Safety Lanyard to yourself when riding.
section 4b for more information.
d. See Appendix A for more Safety Information.
WARNING: Many states require specific safety devices. It
is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the laws of the
state where you ride and to comply with all applicable laws,
including properly equipping yourself and your SBU as the law
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3. Mechanical Safety Check
Routinely check the condition of your SBU before every
Some service and maintenance can and should be
performed by the owner, and requires no special tools or
knowledge beyond what is presented in this manual. The
following are examples of the type of service you should
perform yourself. All other service, maintenance and repair
should be performed in a properly equipped facility by a
qualified mechanic using the correct tools and procedures
specified by Focus Designs.
WARNING: Before performing any work on the SBU
disconnect the Battery Pack. To connect / disconnect the
Battery Pack, open the top flap of the battery bag, just
under the rear of the seat, to gain access to the red and
black connectors, simply pull the SBU connector from the
Battery Pack connector but holding the plastic connector
housings firmly and pulling them apart.
a. Nuts, bolts, straps, chain, chain guard, wires, battery,
battery bag, etc. Make sure nothing is loose or damaged.
Check all bolts and nuts to make sure they are tight. Check
wiring for damage. Check battery bag for rips or tears.
With the SBU turned off, lift it off the ground by two or
three inches, while holding it let it bounce on the ground.
Anything sound, feel or look loose? Do a quick visual and
tactile inspection of the whole SBU. Any loose parts or
accessories? If so, secure them. If you’re not sure, ask
someone with experience to check.
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b. Frame: Check the frame, particularly in the area around
tube joints; the seat post and clamp for any deep scratches,
cracks or discoloration. These are signs of stress-caused
fatigue and indicate that a part is at the end of its useful life
and needs to be replaced.
c. Tire: Make sure the tire is correctly inflated to the
recommended pressure that is printed on the sidewall of
the tire. The best way to inflate a tire to the correct
pressure is with a bicycle pump which has a built-in
pressure gauge. Check the tire and look for any cuts in the
tread and sidewall. Check to make sure the tire bead is
seated evenly on the rim. Replace a damaged tire before
WARNING: Make sure not to ride the SBU with a flat
or underinflated tire, this will void your warranty.
WARNING: Never inflate a tire beyond the maximum
pressure marked on the tire’s sidewall. Exceeding the
recommended maximum pressure may blow the tire off the
rim, which could cause damage to the SBU and injury to the
rider and bystanders – it will also void your warranty.
CAUTION: Pencil type automotive tire gauges can be
inaccurate and should not be relied upon for consistent
accurate pressure readings. Instead use a quality dial
d. Tire Tube: If the tube is damaged or punctured we
recommend replacing the tube, patches should only be
used for an emergency repair and the patched tube should
be replaced as soon as possible. To replace the tube:
i. Disconnect Battery Pack.
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ii. Loosen the chain tension (see Section 3f for more
iii. With chain loose remove it from the wheel sprocket.
iv. Remove bolts holding wheel bearings, the bearing
v. At this point the wheel should slide freely from the
frame fork, remove the tire using a bicycle tire remover,
and remove the damaged tube.
vi. Place a new tube in the tire, place tire onto the wheel
making sure the tire bead is seated evenly on the rim.
vii. Inflate the tire to recommended pressure that is printed
on the sidewall of the tire (see Section 3c for more
viii. Place wheel back onto frame fork, with wheel bearings
seated in the proper position.
ix. Place bearing caps over the wheel bearings, start wheel
bearing cap bolts by hand, screw them in evenly and
tighten the bolts to 45 inch pounds. Do not over
tighten; this will damage the wheel bearings. Spin the
wheel to make sure it is secure and spins freely.
x. Place chain onto wheel sprocket and rotate the wheel
to “thread” the chain all the way around.
xi. Tighten the chain tension (see Section 3f for more
xii. Check to make sure everything is secure, and you are
ready to ride again.
e. Wheel: Check the wheel by spinning it to make sure it is
true (no side to side wobble). If the wheel wobbles side to
side, take the SBU to a qualified bike shop to have the
wheel trued. Squeeze each adjoining pair of spokes on
either side of each wheel between your thumb and index
finger. Do they all feel about the same? If any feel loose,
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take the SBU to a qualified bike shop to check wheel
tension and trueness. Also check the wheel for any damage
– replace any damaged parts before riding.
Chain: Check the drive chain tension by squeezing both
sides of the chain towards each other, chain should deflect
about ½”. If the chain is too tight the chain drive will create
much more noise, stress the motor, and wear the sprockets
at an accelerated rate. If the chain is too loose, it will rub
the chain guard, cause the SBU to behave erratically, or it
could come off of the sprockets. To tighten the chain,
locate the chain adjustment set screw coming off of the
drive assembly pushing on the top of the unicycle fork. Use
the supplied 1/8” hex wrench, located in the small pocket of
the battery bag, tighten until chain deflection is about ½” –
clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen the chain
WARNING: If the chain is too loose it could come off
of the motor drive sprocket or the wheel sprocket which
may result in damage to the SBU, serious injury or death.
CAUTION: Riding the SBU while damaged will void your
warranty; inspect your SBU before each ride to make sure it is
in good running condition. Doing so will prolong the life of your
SBU and possibly your own life.
WARNING: The SBU is technologically advanced and
complex. The only serviceable parts on the SBU are the wheel,
tire, tube, chain tension and seat. All electronic and drive
components need to be serviced by Focus Designs.
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WARNING: Many service and repair tasks require special
knowledge and tools. Do not begin any adjustments or service
on your SBU until you have learned how to properly complete
them. Improper adjustment or service may result in damage to
the SBU or an accident which can cause serious injury or death.
4. Operation
It’s important to your safety, performance and enjoyment to
understand how things work on your SBU. We urge you to read
and understand the operation of your SBU. If you have even
the slightest doubt as to whether you understand something in
this section of the Manual, contact Focus Designs.
a. Key Switch: The SBU is powered on and off by the key
switch on top of the control enclosure. Always make sure
the SBU is firmly on the ground in the upright, ready to ride
position, before turning the SBU on. Once the key switch is
rotated clockwise to the on position the SBU will selfbalance in about 2-3 seconds and the status LED will light.
Never leave the SBU switch in the on position when
charging or storing.
WARNING: The SBU’s motor starts automatically at
power up, keep all hands and feet away from moving parts.
b. Safety Kill Switch: The Safety Kill Switch is located on the
top of the control enclosure. The kill switch interrupts
power between the battery and the motor in case of
emergencies. We recommend that the 50” lanyard clip be
attached to the rider’s clothing at all times. In case of a fall
or separation between the SBU and the rider, the SBU will
cut power to the motor preventing damage to the rider and
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the SBU. If the safety key is removed at any time while the
SBU is powered up, the SBU goes into fall detection mode
disabling the SBU. To power the SBU up again, turn the
key switch to the off position, slide the safety kill switch key
back into place, and turn the key switch to the on position.
The SBU should be ready to ride again.
c. Automatic Fall Detection: If the SBU detects a fall it will
cut power to the motor automatically. If this happens the
SBU remains in fall detection mode disabling the SBU. To
power the SBU up again, turn the key switch to the off
position, and turn the key switch to the on position. The
SBU should be ready to ride again.
d. Status LED: The multi color Status LED on the top of the
control enclosure indicates when the SBU is powered on; it
also indicates the battery level. A fully charged SBU’s LED
will be completely green. As the battery is depleted the
color will shift to red. Charge the SBU when the LED is
completely red or when a two-toned beep is heard.
e. Status Tone: The SBU will emit a tone when the rider is
getting close to exceeding the SBU’s capabilities. Scale
back on accelerating / decelerating, reduce speed or
requested torque when this tone is heard. When the
battery pack is getting low, the SBU will emit a two-toned
beep indicating that it’s time to charge. A solid beep
indicates that the SBU is about to shut down to protect its
battery pack; switch off the SBU immediately when this
occurs and recharge the Battery Pack.
Do not overpower the balancing
capabilities of the SBU by aggressively leaning forward or
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backward and/or ignoring the limitation indicator tones.
Loss of control, serious injury or death may occur from
ignoring safety warnings.
Battery Pack: The SBU utilizes the latest technology in
high power battery packs. This pack is capable of very high
power, long life, and is inherently safer than standard
battery technology. Although the technology is much safer
than standard battery technology, care must be taken to
never overcharge, undercharge or damage the battery in
any way. The Battery Pack is located in the soft battery bag
just under the rear of the seat. The battery will run the SBU
for at least an hour, and up to two hours under normal
operating conditions. At idle, the SBU’s battery will last
somewhere around 20 hours. The Battery Pack is fitted
with black and red high current connectors. To remove or
disconnect the battery, simply pull the SBU connector from
the Battery Pack connector but holding the plastic
connector housings firmly and pulling them apart. Always
unplug the Battery Pack from the SBU when storing the
SBU for an extended period of time.
WARNING: Never overcharge, undercharge or
physically damage the Battery Pack. If the Battery Pack
appears to be damaged, DO NOT USE IT!
g. Folding Pedals: Your SBU is equipped with folding pedals;
make sure you take time to understand how they work.
These pedals can be folded in order to make the SBU more
compact. This is done by pressing on the end of the pedal
and folding the pedal up or down. To unfold the pedals
simply place your foot on the pedal and it will fold back into
place, with a click sound.
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h. Battery Charger: Only use the charger supplied by Focus
Designs. The high power battery pack must only be
charged by the supplied charger. Do not attempt to charge
by any other means. The Battery Charger has a connector
that plugs into the Battery Pack of the SBU, located in the
battery bag. Simply plug the Battery Charger connector
into the Battery Pack first. Then connect AC power to the
charger. The LED on the charger indicates charging (red)
and fully charged (green). The charger automatically stops
charging when the battery pack is full. Charge time
depends on discharge state of the battery pack and may
take up to three hours. Once charged, disconnect the
charger from the battery; do not leave the charger
connected for extended periods of time.
5. First ride
a. Read Section 1 – SBU Fit.
b. Perform the Mechanical Safety Check in Section 3.
c. Read Section 2 – Safety.
d. Pick a controlled environment, away from cars, people
(other than your assistant), obstacles or other hazards.
Ride to become familiar with the controls, features and
performance of your new SBU.
e. Do not lift the SBU off the ground while powered on.
The SBU will attempt to balance and spin the wheel at a
rapid rate in the air. If the SBU is (accidentally) lifted up
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while powered, turn it off, place it firmly on the ground and
turn it back on.
Always power on the SBU in the upright (ready to ride)
position with the safety lanyard plugged into the SBU. If
the safety lanyard is not plugged in, the SBU will not power
g. Attach the Safety Lanyard to your clothing. See Section
4b for more information.
a. Do not hold onto the seat, this is the number one mistake
made by new riders. If you push, pull or hold onto the seat
the SBU thinks you are either leaning forward or backward.
Use your arms for balance, not seat holding.
b. First thing to learn is the speed control: lean forward to
accelerate, lean back slow down or stop.
c. Again: lean back to slow down. Start by skating along
with one foot dragging the ground to get a feel for the
speed control. Speed up, slow down and stop several times
until you are comfortable with the speed control.
d. Once you’re comfortable with the speed control you can
try putting both feet on the pedals. To balance left and
right you twist your lower body to steer the SBU in the
direction you’re falling. The balls of your feet should be on
the pedals so you can also use your ankles to twist the SBU
for minor balancing adjustments. Just like a bike, it’s easier
to balance with some speed. But don’t forget to lean back
if you’re going too fast!
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e. Again twist your lower body to steer, do not try to lean or
shift your weight, use those hips, and the hips don’t lie.
Use a handrail or a friend’s shoulder to support you, this
can be very helpful when learning.
g. Your goal is to balance with very small movements –
baby steps. First time riders tend to over correct when
trying to balance left and right.
h. To turn, you twist your lower body (and the SBU) in the
direction you’d like to go. It’s all in the hips.
Practice, practice, practice. It takes about an hour to get
going forward and stopping with your feet on the pedals. It
takes about another 2-5 hours to feel fully confident riding.
Don’t lose heart, keep practicing, you will get it.
h. After an hour of moderate riding on your SBU, the chain
will need to be checked and possibly tightened. See the
Mechanical Safety Check section, Section 3e.
6. Changing / Modifying the SBU, or Adding
There are many components and accessories available to
enhance the comfort, performance and appearance of your
SBU. However, if you add accessories, you do so at your
own risk. Focus Designs has most likely not tested that
accessory for compatibility, reliability or safety for the SBU.
Check with Focus Designs before adding any accessories to
your SBU.
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WARNING: Failure to confirm compatibility, properly
install, operate and maintain any component or accessory
can result in serious injury or death and will void your
CAUTION: Changing or modifying any factory
components of your SBU will void your warranty.
Appendix A - Safety
i. Always wear a cycling helmet which meets the latest
certification standards and is appropriate for the type of
riding you do. Always follow the helmet manufacturer’s
instructions for fit, use and care of your helmet. Most
serious injuries involve head injuries which might have been
avoided if the rider had worn an appropriate helmet.
WARNING: Failure to wear a helmet when riding may
result in serious injury or death.
Always perform the Mechanical Safety Check before you
get on the SBU.
Always attach the safety kill switch lanyard to your
Be thoroughly familiar with the controls of your SBU: key
switch, safety kill switch, pedals, etc.
Be very careful to keep body parts and other objects away
from the sharp teeth on sprockets; the moving chain; the
motor; and the spinning wheel of your SBU.
Always wear:
1. Shoes that stay on your feet and will grip the pedals
well. Never ride barefoot or while wearing sandals.
2. Bright visible clothing that is not so loose that it can
be tangled in the SBU or snagged by objects at the
side of the road, sidewalk or trail.
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3. Protective eyewear, to protect against airborne
dirt, dust and bugs – tinted when the sun is bright,
clear when it’s not.
vii. Ride at a speed appropriate for conditions. Increased speed
equals higher risk.
viii. Do not ride at night or when visibility is obscured, fog, at
dawn, dusk or in the dark.
CAUTION: Do not ride the SBU on steep inclines or
declines. This may cause the motor and/or battery to
overheat. This will void your warranty.
CAUTION: Do not attempt to jump or do stunt riding
with your SBU. This will void your warranty.
CAUTION: Do not ride in wet weather, either in rain or
on wet surfaces. This will void your warranty.
a. Riding Safety
Observe all local laws and regulations. Observe regulations
about licensing, riding on sidewalks, laws regulating path
and trail use, and so on. Observe helmet laws and special
traffic laws. It’s your responsibility to know and obey the
You are sharing the road or the path with others –
motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists. Respect their
Ride defensively. Always assume others do not see you.
Look ahead, and be ready to avoid or yield to:
1. Vehicles slowing or turning, entering the road or
your lane ahead of you, or coming up behind you.
2. Parked cars or car doors opening.
3. Pedestrians stepping out.
4. Children or pets playing near the road.
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5. Pot holes, sewer grating, railroad tracks, expansion
joints, road or sidewalk construction, debris and
other obstructions that could cause you to swerve
into traffic, catch your wheel or otherwise cause
you to lose control and have an accident.
6. There are many other hazards and distractions
which can occur on an SBU ride.
Ride in designated lanes or designated paths or as close to
the edge of the road as possible, in the direction of traffic
flow or as directed by local governing laws.
Stop at stop signs and traffic lights; slow down and look
both ways at street intersections. Remember that an SBU
always loses in a collision with a motor vehicle, so be
prepared to yield even if you have the right of way.
Use approved hand signals for turning and stopping.
Never ride with headphones or on your cellular phone.
They mask traffic sounds and emergency vehicle sirens,
distract you from concentrating on what’s going on around
you, and their wires can tangle in the moving parts of the
SBU, causing you to lose control.
Never carry a passenger.
Never carry anything which obstructs your vision or your
complete control of the SBU, or which could cause you to
become entangled in the moving parts of the SBU.
Never hitch a ride holding on to another moving vehicle or
Don’t weave through traffic or make and moves that may
surprise people with whom you are sharing the road.
Observe and yield the right of way.
Never ride your SBU while under the influence of alcohol or
drugs, only under the influence of God.
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xxiii. Do not ride in bad weather, when visibility is obscured, at
dawn, dusk or in the dark, or when extremely tired. Each of
these conditions increases the risk of accident.
xxiv. Do not ride the SBU off road, only ride on smooth stable
paths, such as concrete and asphalt.
xxv. Don’t ride alone in remote areas. Even when riding with
others, make sure that someone knows where you’re going
and when you expect to be back.
xxvi. Learn to obey the local laws regulating where and how you
can ride.
xxvii. Yield right of way to pedestrians and animals. Ride in a way
that does not frighten or endanger them, and stay far
enough away so that their unexpected moves don’t
endanger you. Play dead if approached by a large animal.
This Manual contains important safety
information. For your child’s safety, it is your responsibility to
review this information with your child and make sure that your
child understands all warnings, cautions, instructions and safety
topics. We recommend that you periodically review and reinforce
the information in this Manual with younger riders.
WARNING: Failure to follow any of these rules may result in
serious injury or death.
Appendix B – Specifications
Performance Specifications
Style: 1-seat, open-top, single-wheel-drive electric self
balancing unicycle.
Drivetrain: Direct drive, single speed fixed gear with electronic
motor control.
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Motor: Permanent magnet electric DC motor with variable
Chassis: Chromoly steel frame, precision bearings, on an alloy
48-spoke wheel.
Brakes: Electronically operated direct drive motor to wheel
control with regenerative braking.
Acceleration: 0 to 10 mph in 1 second
Top Speed: About 10 mph (depending on the rider’s weight)
Range: At least 10 miles (depending on the terrain)
Battery Life: Over 700 cycles.
Battery: Custom high quality 36 volt battery.
Full Charge Time: About 2 hours.
Technical Specifications
Motor: Permanent magnet electric DC motor.
Max Net Power: .581 HP (432.88 W) @ 2599 rpm
Max rotational speed of motor: 3,514 rpm
Efficiency: 82.7% average, 79.6% at peak power
Transmission: Direct drive, single speed fixed gear with
electronic motor control.
Reverse: Reverse direction of motor, no speed limit.
Suspension: Your body.
Seat: Imitation leather, adjustable height.
Brakes: Regenerative braking via the motor.
Wheel: Heavy duty alloy, 48-spoke. Size: 20″x1.75
Tire: Nylon knobby tread. Min. 40 psi - Max 65 psi. Size:
o Overall length (in. / mm) 20.0 / 508.0
o Overall width - pedals folded: (in. / mm) 13.5 / 342.9
o Overall width - pedals ready to ride: (in. / mm) 17.0 / 431.8
o Overall height: (in. / mm) 34.5 / 876.3
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Curb weight (lbs/kgs) 25.00 /11.34
Leg Room (in./mm) unlimited / unlimited
Front Head Room (in./mm) unlimited / unlimited
Front Shoulder Room (in./mm) unlimited / unlimited
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Focus Designs Inc. of 110 W 13th Street, Vancouver, WA 98660 (”Focus
Designs”) provides a one full year limited warranty from the date of
purchase against defects in material and workmanship, to original
purchasers of new Self Balancing Unicycles (”SBUs”), separately
purchased Focus Designs authorized parts, accessories, and service
repair. During this period Focus Designs will repair or replace, at our
discretion, the defective component.
This warranty does not apply to improperly installed, handled, abused,
damaged in crash, nor to any unit which has been repaired or altered by
anyone except Focus Designs. Under no circumstances will the buyer
be entitled to consequential or incidental damages.
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110 W 13th Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
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