I don’t recall which of us kids got it, I think it was my brother’s, but I do remember that our family had a traditional pogo stick when I was growing up. I’d haul it out every so often and attempt to bounce around on it and generally look like a complete spaz in the process because I wasn’t coordinated enough or heavy enough to use it properly. By the time I had the motor skills and balance to actually ride the damned thing I was also heavy enough that it would bottom out on just about every jump, which is jarring to say the least, so my memories of the pogo stick is largely one of frustration and eventual disappointment. It remains as one of the first lessons I learned about the differences between marketing hype and reality. The marketing hype made it sound like it’s just this side of flying, the reality was, well, less than uplifting.
Now there’s a new type of pogo stick that looks like it might finally fulfill the promises of old. It’s called the Flybar 1200 and it moves the pogo stick into the 21st century. It uses a new type of “elastomeric” spring system developed by MIT-trained physicist Bruce Middleton and licensed by the original pogo company SBI Enterprises. The Flybar itself is the result of a collaboration between SBI and World Cup Champion Skateboarder Andy Macdonald. Andy also had fond memories of pogo sticks from his youth and wanted something he could enjoy as an adult and that led to his working with the folks at SBI. The end result being the first pogo stick designed for adults which can be ridden by people who weigh upwards of 250 pounds without bottoming out. And at $299 each, it’s priced for adults as well.
Your three hundred bucks gets you some quality hopping, though, as this pogo stick can launch your fat ass between 5 and 8 feet into the air depending on your weight and skill. To really get an idea of how high this thing can go you should check out this demo video of it in action. Super Mario ain’t go nothing on that guy. Plus word has it the ride feels more like jumping on a trampoline than the pogo sticks of old.
Their are plans to introduce additional models aimed at younger markets and cheaper budgets in the near future and this model has been available since September 15th of this year and it’s gotten some pretty good press since then with magazines like Business Week naming it one of the Best Products of 2004. I’m still too heavy to ride one myself, but if I ever manage to slim down enough I’ll have to see if I can find someplace to try one out for a little while. Don’t know if my sense of childhood disillusionment is enough to justify spending $300 on a pogo stick, but it sure would be nice to ride one that lived up to the hype at least once.