Paul Graham offers an excellent analysis of why the Segway went over so poorly: it just plain weirds people out.|
Why do Segways provoke this reaction? The reason you look like a dork riding a Segway is that you look smug. You don't seem to be working hard enough.They're also very limited in terms of practical use - short range, tough to lock up, and in need of a recharge socket when parked.
Someone riding a motorcycle isn't working any harder. But because he's sitting astride it, he seems to be making an effort. When you're riding a Segway you're just standing there. And someone who's being whisked along while seeming to do no work?someone in a sedan chair, for example?can't help but look smug.
Try this thought experiment and it becomes clear: imagine something that worked like the Segway, but that you rode with one foot in front of the other, like a skateboard. That wouldn't seem nearly as uncool.