What's in a name? Not much if you look at the words "Gyrotech O-Chic" by themselves, that's for sure. The O-Chic is so much more than what the name lets on. Basically it's the future of indoor transport and the most fun you'll ever have standing up.
What Is It?
Think of a Segway, then take away the handlebars. That's the O-Chic: a self-balancing skateboard you face forward on to trundle forwards, backwards, left and right into the future.
It's made in China and distributed by a company in Australia called Gyrotech, and retails for $1799.
It has a top speed of around 12km/h, goes for around two hours without needing a charge and as a result, weighs an absolute shitload.
This thing is stupidly fun.
Basically you hop on it (quickly) and the built-in gyroscope and stabiliser keeps you from falling on your arse.
Tilting both feet towards the front of the board will drive you forward, leaning slightly backwards will drive you back and your turns are inverted: left foot down turns you right, right foot down turns you left.
It takes about five minutes to learn what you're doing on the O-Chic, but once you figure it out you'll be zooming around like a boss.
Honestly, it's so much fun. Probably the coolest product I've ever had in to review. I fucked up pretty badly once, but we'll get to that.
It has funky blue lights on it which can either make you look cool or light the way in front of you (it's omnidirectional), and it's surprisingly comfortable to use on flat surfaces too. Plus it helps you work on your core balance!
The O-Chic holds up for hours of zooming about, too. The reasonable expectation with this sort of gear is that you'll hop on and find that it rolls along happily for about 20 minutes before slowly losing speed and balance capabilities before dying on you entirely. Not the O-Chic. It has a three-stage light which tells you where the charge level sits and it beeps (very loudly) when you're in need of some juice.
It recharges itself in just a few hours and then you're back on the trail, zooming up and down the corridor like a wizard.
Confession: I did myself a massive injury on the O-Chic. I was riding towards the train station one morning, trying to be a responsible futurecommuter and researching alternative forms of transport, when I overbalanced.
Whoosh. Splat. Ow.
The O-Chic went flying forward and out from under me and all of a sudden I'm knocked the fuck out on the very hard, very wet pavement. I had my satchel on at the time on the way to work and smashed my Retina Macbook Pro to pieces (seriously, it's bent as shit and will never work again), smashed my iPad Air and gave myself a pretty solid knock on the head. There are a lot of bruises on my back right now.
It tell you this not as an indictment of the product. The product did its job perfectly. It was user error in the wrong environment that caused the incident to happen. When we had it dropped off to us we were told "hey, maybe just ride it indoors", but because I wanted to test how well it worked, I figured I'd take it out for a spin. That's where the trouble started, and I am now feeling as sore as I do stupid.
No, I tell you this as a cautionary tale. The O-Chic is absolutely an indoor product. It has tiny wheels and a board dependent on you maintaining a flat surface. It has no suspension which means you feel every bump on the footpath, and it's a legally dicey product to have outdoors in some states as well.
Keep in mind that if you're dropping your cash on this, it's going to be for inside use. Don't get cocky and think you can handle it outside either: I was lucky I wasn't hurt more when I came off. Falling six feet onto concrete at speed hurts more than you think it does. *takes more Nurofen Plus*
That's another thing: it's a very expensive indoor toy. The O-Chic will set you back $1799 right now. What's more gobsmacking is that it's normally $2149. Phew. That's a lot of futurebucks.
Should You Buy It?
With a battery that goes for hours, a top speed that will make your eyes light up and a price tag that will make you weep, the O-Chic is the must-have gadget for the platinum-grade geek. It turns heads like I've never seen and is almost guaranteed to turn anyone within a five metre radius into a 10-year old again.
I've heard the words "I'm putting that on my Christmas list" so many times this week, for example.
If you've got cash to burn on a cool toy, then you should definitely buy it. Better still: if you work in a large office and need to get from point A to point B in a futuristic hurry, this is amazing for you. I can see everyone at Facebook, Google and other campus-based future-factories rolling about on these in the near future.
While you're at it: drop a few extra hundred bucks on pads and a helmet. Don't be an idiot like me.
Oh, and play this non-stop.