Unicycle meets a tricycle, then loses a wheel. That’s how we described the YikeBike back in 2009. Well, the portable electric bicycle (ebike), is part of the so-called “mini-farthing” bicycle segment, and is still an odd duck in both the looks department and how to ride. Get ready to see more of them, though: the New Zealand-based company recently announced it is adding a new model to the lineup.
The new Yikebike is called Synergy. It slots neatly between the original base Fusion and the top-of-the-line Carbon (pictured). All three are lighter than the original two models, losing over a pound each.
A more dramatic change is the YikeBikes’ range. Previously, they could travel up to six miles before a recharge. Now the range is up to nine miles, a 50 percent improvement. Power is 450 watts. We don’t know the full reasons for the (welcome) boost in miles, but assume it’s the new, 42 volt lithium manganese batteries. (The prior models used a lithium iron phosphate powerpack sourced from China.) The company says on its website that owners of the first-generation Fusion and Carbon YikeBikes will be able to swap the old batteries with the new ones.
Pricing for the YikeBike continues to drop. Originally, we reported the price to be around $5,500. This was based on the euro-to-dollar conversion rate back in 2009. By 2010, pricing had dropped to around $3,600 for ebikes sold here in the states. Now the company says the Fusion starts at $1,995; the Synergy at $2,995; and the Carbon begins at $3,995. These prices do not include any shipping costs or taxes.
We applaud – again – the YikeBike as a unique form of urban transport like the Segway. However, we continue to wonder its use as a daily transport. Both videos and the company’s own “Warning” page show that the YikeBike does not handle like a typical ebike. The braking system is applied differently, for example. You can break the handlebars. The major limitation, though, is the YikeBike’s legal status. Per the company’s FAQ section:
The YikeBike is different from other vehicles and we do not know how countries and local authorities will classify it in terms of legislation, licensing, insurance, and helmet laws. You can ride the YikeBike on private property. Whether you could also ride it on public streets or bikepaths or footpaths remains to be seen, and if you choose to do so it is at your own risk.