The YikeBike, an electric ‘bicycle’ is a completely fresh idea about transportation, portability, green energy and convenience. Brainchild of New Zealand inventor, Grant Ryan, the bike was designed to exceed convenience, safety and performance goals. The rider sits back over the 20” front drive wheel and his hands fall naturally onto the control handles.
Give it a little power and off you go, up to the limited speed of 14.3 mph. When you want to slow or stop, apply the electronic anti-lock brakes on any surface and not only do you stop under control, but the brake lights alert those following you that you are decelerating. It is light and folds up so that you can carry it on a train, put it in your trunk, or take it up to your apartment in an elevator.
It has a slightly futuristic sound that alerts pedestrians that you are sneaking up on them. They are being manufactured now and deliveries have started in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe … and now in the US by ordering through the Yikebike site. They claim a one week delivery. You pay $3,600, plus about 60 bucks for the carry bag. You can arrange for a test ride through their web site. I have done so and will report back after it is arranged.
The YikeBike web site has videos, interviews with the inventor, mechanical specs and publicity including a cover shot of the device on Time magazine under the heading “the Best Inventions of the Year”. It is worth checking out. It is also worth quite a few bucks, but it is a lot less than even a used Prius and much more fun and convenient.
Optibike - Is this the best electric bike, or just one of the most expensive?
Jim Turner of Boulder, a Suzuki Motocross factory rider, Tri-athlete, mechanical design engineer, and cycle enthusiast (a true Renaissance man) bought his first electric bike, a ZAP in 1997 and found it left much to be desired. Jim set out to merge his expertise in human muscle/mechanical integration, high performance suspension and vehicle design, and his years in the saddle of custom moto-cross bikes to design the world’s best electric bike, the Optibike thereafter. He launched his flagship bike, the Optibike OB1 in 2008 in time for it to be enshrined in the California Academy of Sciences as ‘The Future of Transportation’
Optibikes have amazing design, specs and power - but at a price. Range of 45 miles at 20mph without pedaling, extended to 57 miles at up to 35 mph with muscle assist, an 850w continuous brushless DC motor integrated into the chassis, Li-ion batteries, disk brakes, custom accessories and hardware. Stand by for sticker shock. The 850R retails for $11,995. To be fair, Jim is not shooting for competing with bikes. What he has done is create a green transportation machine that allows the rider to enjoy exercise and recreation while substituting for his or her car. That’s right, he is competing with the Prius. From that perspective, the Optibike is a bargain.
Why electric bikes?
Some ideas are so good they sneak up on us without our even noticing. Nobody knew they needed a camera attached to a phone until all of a sudden, they were here and easy to use.
Really, 15 years ago, we didn’t have mobile phones at all. Now, our kids have them, and they do everything. Revolutions – the real ones that change our lives – don’t happen with protests and recriminations. They just happen.
The same is happening in personal transportation. We all know that one day soon, we will all be driving electric cars, bikes, scooters. In other parts of the world, it’s already commonplace.
There are plenty of reasons why we might resist at first. But in general, those reasons pale in face of the facts. Only use a bike for exercise? Electric bikes don’t keep you from doing that, they just add range and capability. Need a commuter? E bikes make the most sense – no parking, whiz past traffic, no sweat, no hassle. Cost? Prices are coming down, but they are still a better value per mile than most other machines.
The future of electric bikes is exciting. It is happening faster than we thought, and early adaptors will be ahead of the curve when this technology becomes mainstream. Join us as we explore the future of environmentally friendly, fun packed futuristic transport. Right now.
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