The bulky Segway kinda failed to really take off because it was bulky, not because a personal transportation machine didn’t make sense. That’s why the Yike Bike, a folding motorized penny-farthing bike, just might succeed.
While taking obvious inspiration from the high-wheelers of old, the Yike Bike is a largely pioneering concept in personal transport. It’s shaped like the vintage bike (albeit with smaller dimensions), but creates a seating arrangement that’s more akin to wheelchairs than a motorcycle.
Most elegantly described as a bar stool on wheels, the Yike Bike has you barely sitting as you make your way down the road at up to 12.5 mph. Pushing the vehicle is a 1.2 kilowatt enclosed electric motor, with controls provided by a steering mechanism (bearing a couple of buttons) by your side, around the hip area.
It comes with a light carbon fiber frame, two wheels (20-inches front, 8-inches rear) with pneumatic tires, a braking system and lights. Power is drawn from a rechargeable battery (up to 1,000 charges), with a 30-minute charging requirement for a driving range of up to six miles. Most impressively, the bike can fold into a circular bag and weighs a tolerable 22 lbs, making it possible to carry around.
There’s no way to tell how comfortable it rides, but this is completely less-dorky than most other compact solo vehicles I’ve ever seen (note: Enicycle). Hell, the upright riding actually looks like a lot of fun, if not moderately dangerous. Speaking of danger, it’s not legal for road use yet, so it’s something the creators still need to deal with.
Regardless of whether the Yike Bike gets approved for city driving, this thing totally kicks the Segway’s ass. They’re pegging it for a 2010 production run, with pre-orders now ongoing for a €100.00 reservation fee.