Yikes!

The bicycle blogosphere is buzzing about the YikeBike, the hottest item being reported on at Eurobike this week (Eurobike is Europe’s biggest bicycle trade show). The YikeBike is part Segway, part “mini-farthing”; a “bicycle” with an electric motor and no pedals that’s ridden like a Penny Farthing.

It looks like a clever device, and the designer is obviously very talented, but a “bicycle” that tops out at 12 mph and doesn’t provide the ability to pedal doesn’t seem like a step forward. One of the selling points is that it’s “sweat-free”, but a bicycle can be ridden at 8-10 mph with no more effort than is required for a relaxed walk. And in regards to storage, it doesn’t look any more compact than a Brompton.

Is it me? I get the feeling this is another high-tech (and very expensive – $3,500-$3,900!!) toy like the Segway that’s trying to re-invent the wheel when we already have the perfect urban vehicle in the good ol’ safety bicycle.

YikeBike

25 Responses to “Yikes!”

  • jdmitch says:

    I posted the same comment on Bikehugger, but I figured it’d be worth copying over here:
    “The overall design YikeBike was licensed from Mini-Farthing ( http://www.minifarthing.com/site/faqs ). MF proposes that one could make all-electric, all-pedal, and electric / pedal hybrids ( http://www.minifarthing.com/possible-designs ). I have to say, if someone released a pedal version I’d probably buy it, however I’m not into a cooler Segway (which is how I perceive the YikeBike).”

    I really do think a pedal only version might be a lot of fun. Then again, I’m also saving my pennies for a “real” Penny Farthing from Worskman (the same guys that build bomb proof cruiser bikes in NY). So, take my opinion with a grain of salt.

    http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page38.html

  • Roland Smith says:

    Yikes indeed.

    You’re practically sitting on top of the front wheel. Hit a good bump or curb and your face will be heading for a meeting with the pavement :-)

    The range of this bike is 8-10 km, which I think is insufficient.

    Given that a folding bicycle is cheaper and provides exercise as well, this is about as useless as a segway, IMHO.

  • Brent says:

    Ironically, the Yike makes the Segway look like a bargain. For roughly $500 more, you get at least double the range, a more comfortable ride, better stability, and possibly more durability.

  • ksteinhoff says:

    It’s an intelligence test to sort out those who have more bucks than brains.

  • Ari Hornick says:

    My first reaction is that this is really an electric scooter, not a bicycle. It doesn’t seem like a good deal as electric scooters go. And, if you compare it to hybrid electric bicycles, it’s really lacking.

  • Thom says:

    Freedom isn’t the word I’d use for this thing. You’re still dependent on technology that you can’t repair yourself if it breaks down, plus the distance limitation. I guess you have the freedom to choose to be shackled to another piece of expensive non-sense, but it’s not a choice I’ll be making.

  • dukiebiddle says:

    I don’t think this item has much to do with bicycle culture or the cycling market. It looks more like a competitor to the Segway market to me. As for the comparison to the Brompton, I think it all comes back to my two sentences that preceded this one, only cleaner without cog teeth and greasy chains hanging about. I’m in pretty good shape, I put on about 50 miles a week (100 if I take a long weekend ride), I’m youngish and when I ride 12 mph, I sweat.

    But that price, Yikes! They must have named it 2 minutes after they calculated the retail cost per unit.

  • Frits says:

    There really is nothing new in this world. Two weeks ago the midweek market in Assen/Holland had a bike theme, most of it dedicated to motorbikes as we have a TT circuit here, but among the usual stalls there was a small show of old bikes, dating back to 1910 (most of them were remarkably small – you never realize how much people have grown since). Anyway, there were two decidedly strange contraptions, one looking exactly like this Yike bike, like a miniature penny-farthing. Pedals on the larger wheel, the saddle just behind the hub line, and a very small rear wheel. The other bike was the opposite, like this: http://www.rijwiel.net/unionn.htm, a Union Strano. Introduced in 1964 but probably much older as the same type of bike already existed in Italy as Velocino in the 1930s (and as Strano means strange in Italy, Union apparently recognized that this was an impossible proposal). The bike was withdrawn in 1965. Both of these bikes really looked ridiculous and totally impractical.
    BTW where it says Strano-folder it doesn’t imply that the Strano was a folding bike, “folder” meaning information sheet.

  • John says:

    It’s a beautiful device from an industrial design perspective.

    But it doesn’t provide exercise to the rider.

    And It’s much too pricey for it to be used by the masses.

    Still, I’d rather people rode these around a city than drive cars.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that this is a wheelchair?
    I don’t see how it’s a bicycle.

  • Helton says:

    to put a little more arguments to the very good already mentioned:

    – even the guy in the ad doesn’t seem much comfortable and stable (look at the handlebar wobbling…)

    – the ad shows the stuff on good tarmac, lots of space, and very few and cooperative pedestrians and drivers

    – I guess the ad has much more merit than the device itself

    Bottom line: an interesting starting point for a better hybrid (electric + muscle), since it really packs well and seem very clean to take along, but I wonder how can the designers/manufacturers have courage to put this into market.

  • Alan says:

    “- even the guy in the ad doesn’t seem much comfortable and stable (look at the handlebar wobbling…)”

    I agree; if you watch closely it looks squirrelly. I wonder what it’s like with a laptop, camera, change of clothes, and lunch on the rider’s back?

  • Ryan says:

    Part of the reason I love my morning commute is to get out and wake up with some excercise. On the way home I enjoy the effort required of a bike to take my mind off work.

    The range seems far too limited for people that don’t live very near where they work. I would hate to be the guy thumbing a ride because my battery died on my “bike” without peddles.

  • Justin says:

    I like the camera work and the way the ad was edited together. The marketing group did a great job thinking this through, but unfortunately the engineers didn’t. I’m sticking with my Surly LHT for commuting.

  • Alan says:

    A more viable urban hybrid bicycle (IMO) is the GoCycle:

    GoCycle.com

  • Bill Lambert says:

    I bet there are plenty of geeks out there who will buy one though. Sometimes it’s not about practicality, but about new and different. Though I do like the ad.

    As for me, I’m sticking with my trusty bike(s). They get me where I need to go. And so what if I’m a little sweaty? It dries off.

  • dcbrewer says:

    I liked the ad quite a bit-particularly the music- but I think I will stick with my bikes. Still, if a few people decide they would rather ride a Yike than drive a car to work, all the better!

  • kit says:

    What we have here is the latest in “kick my ass” invitation technology. If you thought the Segway was the quickest way to get your ass handed to you in a rough urban environment, meet the YikeBike!

  • Nicolas says:

    Some continue to make people believe that electricity is equivalent to ecology. But if one tries to think a little bit, one understands that electricity comes either from fossil energy combution or nuclear reactions.

  • David says:

    I look at the Yike and the first thing I envision is (OUCH) FLOP, a face plant. Plus the one thing I would loose with this device is not getting somewhere under my own power. That is very important to me.
    I ride with my two daughters on our Santana triplet and I really value that time on the bike with them beyond any little perceived convenience of this little puddle jumper.

    Try doing a large 4 pannier grocery shop with the Yike. You would be limited to what ever you would have to carry on your back and even then the added weight weight will further limit ones range.
    It’s cute, a flashy commercial but no thanks.

  • Carlos says:

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to test one of these, but it doesn’t seem all that practical to the commuter. First of all, there’s no place to secure your briefcase/panniers/grocery bags. Secondly, the steering doesn’t look very secure, as a previous commenter pointed out; what’s to keep you from flying off when you hit a too-big bump? Thirdly, you’re still dependent on electricity, and the range needs to be much more than it is currently.

    So I like it, but at the moment it looks to be more of a toy than a viable commuting alternative. But it’s a good start!

  • DrMekon says:

    A colleague pointed out that It looks like Mr Garrson’s IT bike from The Entity episode of South Park.

    See – http://www.jogyjogy.com/watch.php?id=1966d

    See 11:30

  • Random Ray says:

    Oh , this is good , good , good I haven’t had a good laugh like this in a while . Anyone in Europe that is talking this up failed the IQ test . I have an idea let’s put an electric motor on a dandy horse . While I like bicycle design there is little to do other then tweaking to improve it . Make it lighter , more efficient drive train , a little more comfortable , make it prettier ,or use greener materials . Small but important things . This let’s you ride 2 miles to work and back , and you still have another bag of stuff to store . The only place that’s useful is in a city that will have mass transportation . LOL

  • RideTHISbike.com says:

    The YikeBike is an interesting concept but it is not even in production yet and only 100 total will be available “sometime in 2010″. The CarryMe electric is in production now and weighs about the same as the YikeBike. The differences are that the CarryMe folds smaller, goes faster, goes further, costs much less and can be pedaled when the battery is exhausted.

    More about the CarryMe folding bike

    Larry

  • Graham says:

    The only thing that I DO like about this contraption are lights integrated into the frame. I would love to see an actual bike with “see me” lights built into the design.

 
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