Went to Montreal Auto Show, sat in MINI, rode a Segway...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Francois Caron, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Went to the Montreal International Auto Show today. Moving from the Olympic Stadium to the Convention Center was the best thing they could do. There wasn't a lack of room for the various automakers. In fact, they could have squeezed many more vehicles in the place if they wanted to.

    My vehicle of choice was the MINI Cooper. I was surprised at how roomy it actually was. I tried a few vehicles at various places and was surprised at how tight some of the vehicles felt, including the Jeep TJ! I don't think I should be feeling an SUV's door pressing against my left side, but that's how many supposedly "large" vehicles felt.

    Out of curiosity, I tried sitting in the back seat of the MINI. It's doable, but you wouldn't want to travel a long trip behind there. A few people were joking about travelling between Quebec City and Montreal in the back seat... [​IMG]

    Finally, I spent five bucks for the privilege of driving the Segway. There were about twenty people looking at the one lone rider trying out the device. Suddenly, I became the lone guy everyone was watching. I'm happy to report that I didn't topple over the Segway, but I was very close to the vehicle's weight capacity. Going up the hills on the obstacle course was a bit difficult.

    That was my evening. How was yours? [​IMG]
     
  2. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    Speaking of the Segway. How is it doing in sales? Haven't heard too much about it lately. Guess it wasn't the "revolution in human transportation" that it was hyped to be.
     
  3. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    I think the Segway is DOA. I saw a guy riding one down the street once. Looked like a fucking dork. Time enough to be rolled around in life when you sit in a wheelchair or car for that matter. I keep hearing these reports of overweight Americans and the Segway just seems like the wrong invention. Especially if you're young, fit and can actually walk.

    Now if you could trick out a Segway to up the power, have races and stuff, that would be cool. [​IMG]
     
  4. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Segway got caught up in the economic downturn. The company is still in business and there are "Dorks" all over buying it including disabled people. Many post offices, businesses and police departments are using them as well as airport police. It has not sold as well as hoped because of the continued high price for both models as well as knee-jerk reaction by some cities that it is unsafe and unsuitable for their communities. (These same cities usually allow powered wheelchairs, skateboarders and roller skaters though). We live in a time when new ideas and technologies are sometimes frowned upon I'm afraid. Best estimates are that about 10,000 have been sold. A new CEO has been hired to run all aspects of the business. Dean Kamen is slowly stepping aside in running the business - he should have done it a long time ago. He's an inventor and idea man, not a business man. Incidentally, the iBot wheelchair has been given the go-ahead to be sold by the government agency that approves such things (can't remember which one). Also, the Stirling engine based water purifier Kamen and his staff have invented is set to be delivered to several countries in the coming months for trial use.
     
  5. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I still believe the gyrocopic/stabilizing technology will find useful applications, if not in Segway itself. These are a tough sell at $5,000 or $4,500. Major drawbacks include exposure to the environment (who is going to ride it in the rain/sleet/snow/cold) cost and slow speed. I can see how it could be great for short commutes and short errands, but it can't be used for doing a week's worth of grocery shopping or long distances.

    Kick it up to 20 mph, drop the price to $1,000 and this thing will sell.
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    As far as the MINI goes, I have sat in the back seat of mine and it is more doable that you would imagine, especially with just one person back there. You do need to move the front seats up some. I wouldn't want to ride more than an hour or so back there though either.
     
  7. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    [ Slowly raises hand ] The Segway is too slow though. I can certainly go faster and carry a lot more on my bike.

    I've sat in the back seat of a Camero, but then we were just going to lunch. Like the MCS, small, fun, and handles well, decent gas mileage, wish there were more like-minded folk.

    Jay
     
  8. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Once I stepped off the machine, I still preferred walking. Standing still for long periods of time actually hurts my feet. When I move around, my feet can go on for hours on end with very little discomfort. My feet were starting to hurt after standing on the Segway for just five minutes. All I was doing was tilting forwards and backwards just to get the bloody thing to move.

    As for the MINI, if I had about $25,000 CDN plus tax in my pocket, I'd definitely go for the Indy blue MINI (not the 'S') with one of the premium packages, the white roof, the eight spokes wheels and the white stripes on the hood. Also, unlike most of today's cars with dissapearing edges, I can actually see the edges of this vehicle very well. I can easily park this sucker just about anywhere without worrying about running into anything.
     
  9. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    I have a MINI and I am 6'7" ... it was one of the few cars i sat in that actually had a lot of room for me. I know it sounds crazy and to this day people smile when i step out of it on the street.

    Tried a lot of SUV's, Japanese cars, German Cars, but the MINI had the most room.

    Even sat in the back seat once with a buddy of mine driving with no problem, but i do agree would not want to for long rides.

    Very deceptivly roomy interior ...
     
  10. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    thats what i hear about the VW beetle as well, lots of head room. even though i'm a lover of all things volkswagen, i'd have to pass on the beetle. besides, the mini is such a cool car, lots of class.

    CJ
     
  11. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    did you see the VW Phaeton there?
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    ive seen a couple phaetons on the road, and one at a local dealership, they look really great. i have yet to see a W12 phaeton though *shivers*

    CJ
     
  13. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    To be fair I can easily imagine Segway's being popular on college campuses or other large institutions, factories, wherehouses, archives, museums, etc. Big places that are spread out and a Segway would make it easier to get around within that specific area. Maybe the company could offer discounts for buying large numbers of them and such for those kinds of places.

    But as for Segways on the streets/sidewalks, I don't see them ever catching on, at least in the US. Maybe some European countries would embrace it more.
     
  14. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Sorry. Didn't see it. Most likely it was there, but I wasn't looking for a large vehicle. All I did was sit in a Passat, didn't like it all that much, then got out.

    I did sit in a few convertibles. Thunderbird, Mustang, Miata... I miss the Alpha Romeo Spider Veloce. I felt as comfortable in there as I did in an old Fiat Spider about ten years ago.

    Yes, I do concentrate a lot on the interior comfort. That's because today's cars are so alike on the outside in both style and performance, unless you purchase a Lada [​IMG] , the car you buy today will come with a five year warranty and most likely work reasonably well for years to come as long as you properly maintain it. After renting a lot of vehicles over the last few years, that's how I feel about cars today.

    The MINI changed that -- finally! I really have to rent one just to find out how much fun they really are. In a sea of mediocrity, something finally stands out in the crowd!
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I don't think they've hit Canada yet but if you're really looking for lots of room in a tiny car check out the new Scion XB from Toyota. I'm 6'3" and can actually stretch out in the back seat with the front seat all the way back.

    These sell for about $10k US less than the Mini, and have Toyota reliability. Mini rated very low for reliability by Consumer Reports, might be a BMW design but still built in England, land of Lucas the prince of darkness.
     
  16. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    HArdly unreliable, i had it since July and have been back to the dealer a total of .... zero times!

    There are issues with some of them like with all cars, like the plastic on the interior of mine scratches easily (a problem that has been remedied on the 2004) ... but man .. the grin I get everytime i drive it is priceless. Anything else in that price range is a compromise [​IMG]
     
  17. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I've checked out the Mini forums at bimmer.org and I've heard some people having problems with the CVT in some of the earlier models, have you heard about this Aurel and if so, wonder if it has been fixed.

    I think somebody should put some monster tires on the mini and convert it to 4WD, that would just be cool. I think I remember seeing somebody doing that to an old BMW when I used to hang out on the E36 boards before.

    Jay
     
  18. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    take a look at this little beast. it is a mini with an M3 motor. 333hp in that little thing, yikes.

    CJ
     
  19. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    I have an '03 CVT and had no problems. There is a strange yo-yo effect on CVT's in the 5-15mph range ... it almost feels jerky like when you are shifting gears on a manual. Some people complain .. others, like me, enjoy it. [​IMG]

    Actually it is not a mechanical problem but rather a problem with the driving style, coming from a regular automatic car. See, on a regular automatic with gears we ease off the gas when we feel the car shifting from 1st to 2nd .. as if we keep it floored it gives us a head snap ... so we "flutter" the pedal.

    On CVT, there are no gears ... you give it steady gas, the car just accelerates smoothly. You do not feel gear changes. But being used to this "fluttering" of the pedal on the regular autos, you do not give it enough gas or you play with the pedal .. hence getting this yo-yo effect that alot of people have been complainign about.

    If you test drive a CVT, see what happens when you give it steady gas or if you ease off the pedal at around 15 mph.

    Also the Sports, Clutchless Manual mode is pricelss as well and a big grin [​IMG]

    Check out www.mini2.com and www.northamericanmotoring.com if you are thinking of buying a Mini .. pretty much all your questions can be answered there.
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    CVTs take a little gettin used to. The engine revs way up and the car "catches up".

    Similar to the old Buick Dynaflow of the 50s, a very high stall speed torque converter with a only 2 gears. These actually started out in high unless floored from a stop so in normal driving there were no shifts at all. Smoothest takeoff around but deceptive. Ya mashed the slanty pedal and nothing seemed to be happening until you glanced at the speedo and saw you were going 75 mph. They actually put buzzers on the speedometers in the later models. You could set the buzzer to go off at any speed you desired to warn you not to speed, necessary because the Buick was so smooth and quiet.
     

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