Sunday, November 15, 2009
If you don't mind your handlebars being located beside your butt and endless giggles and smirks as you roll by then perhaps the YikeBike is the fancy bit of urban mobility kit you've been yearning. Looking something like a space-age version of that charming British improvement on the French boneshaker bike, this mini penny-farthing is minimalist but packs some cool features. Not only is it equipped with turning and braking indicators but it is the first "bike" to feature anti-locking brakes. The carbon fiber frame ensures strength but keeps it light enough (10 kg/22 lb) to carry up a couple flights of stairs after you spend the 15 seconds it takes to fold it up.
It's said that its 1 kW motor offers a power to weight ratio better than many sports cars and makes acceleration brisk but the electronically set speed limit of 20 km/h (12.5 mph) will keep you from overtaking any Porsches on the straightaways. Unless there's heavy traffic. That's where the Yikebike's small footprint and maneuverability might turn smirks of superiority to expressions of envy. The lithium battery can take you 9 to 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) and takes 20 minutes to charge 80 percent. Don't look for this sleek set of wheels on sale in America anytime soon as the roll out early next summer includes only a handful of European countries and its home turf, New Zealand. With a price to be set somewhere between €3,500 - €3,900 ($4,989 - $5,559) we suspect it won't cause cities to be designed around them as the Segway was supposed to do but if they ever figure out a way to play polo on them, look out!