The Yike Bike

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I've written about several kinds of bikes, whether they are fun to ride, easy to store, technologically advanced, or particularly green. One of these days, we'll see a bicycle that's all those things. The Yike Bike comes pretty close. The Yike Bike is an electric folding bicycle that's about the size of a unicycle and lightweight enough to carry up to your apartment. In fact, it looks like you're riding a unicycle with the upright body position and the handlebars at the side, but you've got the stability of two wheels. It's 22 pounds of carbon composite and it folds up small enough to fit into a suitcase. Or closet. You can take it on a subway or bus without raising the ire of everyone around you, and then stash it under your desk at work. Charge up the Yike Bike for 30 minutes and you can ride it ten kilometers at 20 kph (12.5 mph). It also has anti-lock brakes and even turn signals. And no pedaling! What's not to yike, er, like?

First off, it's not yet available in the United States. If you are in New Zealand or Europe, you can reserve yours now for a bike sometimes this year, but the price will be between €3,500 and €3,900. That's five grand in dollars! Maybe that's how it got its name.

Okay, imagine the price comes down and the Yike Bike is sold in your country. Where will you ride it? Remember, the segway was supposed to scoot down the sidewalk until cities banned it from sidewalks. You can't ride a motorcycle on the sidewalk anyway. Is the Yike Bike easy to see in traffic? There's a page that shows how you can zip in and out of traffic with this bike. The point of it is that you can get around traffic jams, but if those cars were moving at a suburban speed, you might be roadkill. I think the Yike Bike could have some very specific uses, such as commuting less than six miles to work in an urban setting -or three miles if your boss won't let you plug it in. And if it catches on, there will eventually be a Yike polo league. Or even a Yike basketball league! Watch and see.

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January 18, 2010 - 3:09am
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