People hunting for urban transportation solutions might want to get familiar with the YikeBike, a miniaturized version of the original Penny-Farthing bike. Only this mini-farthing bike is powered by a battery and can be folded into something the size of a briefcase — ideal for crowded urban offices and apartments.
Parking and security — two fundamental concerns with urban living — are no longer a problem, says Grant White, the designer and founder of YikeBike, based in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The handlebars fold down, the seat tucks away, and the whole thing turns into something like a thickened disc, a procedure that takes 20 to 30 seconds. When a padded shoulder strap is added to the package, it becomes a mode of transportation that can truly be carried over the shoulder.
The YikeBike has a top speed of approximately 14 miles per hour and features a range on one battery of six miles or so. Charging a battery takes around 45 minutes and an extra battery costs about $100. This video below gives a pretty good idea of what the bike is like, as well as the act of riding it — a considerably different skill than that of riding a traditional bicycle or motorcycle.
The bike itself is priced at $3795 and $1995 (USD) — the more expensive frame built with carbon fiber and the other from aluminum and composites, with all other features the same.
This unique bike design has been reviewed by many, among them, the Gadget Lab at Wired and Engadget. Engadget was not overly fond of the name, YikeBike, saying it sounded like “a Ferengi gambling term or an epithet hurled in some harsh foreign language.”
The review pointed out the device is missing a kickstand, making it unable to stand on its own. Engadget added, “It’s abundantly clear that this is not an all-terrain machine, though: the tire is a slick and the only suspension is provided by whatever cushioning nature gave you.” On the other hand, it’s a pleasure having a motorized vehicle that doesn’t travel so fast in crowded areas.
For some, this bike might be a perfect fit.