What is a YikeBike? It’s a pretty interesting bike-like vehicle (actually, like a miniature version of an old Penny-farthing bicycle) that is not human-powered but battery-powered.
Cycling is a great way to get around with almost no impact on the environment, but with a positive impact on your health. But does the Yike Bike detract from both of those often-touted points? Check out the video below for a lot more on how the bike works.
The bike is an invention of Grant White of Christchurch, New Zealand and looks like it has a number of distinct advantages.
The YikeBike “can be folded into something the size of a briefcase,” as Glenn Meyers of CleanTechnica writes, and it only takes about 20-30 seconds to do so. This makes it a great vehicle for urban locations, where space is lacking and even locking up your bike outside can’t always keep it from the many master thieves out there these days.
Plus, if you are combining trips on your YikeBike with trips on mass transit, this is fairly easy (compared to doing the same with a normal bicycle). “When a padded shoulder strap is added to the package, it becomes a mode of transportation that can truly be carried over the shoulder,” Glenn writes.
The YikeBike seems to do really well with pot holes, quick turns, and other likely urban obstacles (as shown in the video above).
Of course, like any transportation machine, it’s got a number of disadvantages compared to other vehicles (i.e. bicycles and scooters) as well. A few that stand out to me include:
It’s quite expensive. It costs $3795 or $1995. Not cheap considering it is primarily an alternative to a bicycle, which you can get for much less (but could also pay this much for if you want a top top model).
You don’t use much energy. You might ask, “What, isn’t that a good thing?” What I mean is, you’re not getting much exercise on a YikeBike, not using your muscles and heart, which means you aren’t getting many of the health benefits of bicycling, which I think are very important.
It looks a little uncomfortable and unsafe. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t look like it would be all that comfy for long, and it seems less safe than bicycling, but maybe it’s just something you have to get used to.
In the end, I’m not sure if I would choose a YikeBike over a bicycle — I like the feeling of biking, the endorphins and sense of power and control, and the price is something I care about. But this definitely looks like a nifty vehicle and I would love to try one out. (Maybe if I did, I would change my mind.)
Especially for the cost reason, I would assume the YikeBike will not explode in popularity, but maybe like the Segway it will find its niche and we will see YikeBikes on streets here and there soon.