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Yikebike in Canada?

2 February 2010 26,139 views 4 Comments
Yike Bike Electric Bicycle - The Wheel Reinvented

Yike Bike Electric Bicycle - The Wheel Reinvented

At Scooter Underground, we are always on the lookout for cool new urban transportation products and there is really nothing newer or cooler than the YikeBike www.yikebike.com

The brainchild of Kiwi entrepreneur and inventor, Grant Ryan together with friend and co-founder Peter Higgins, the Yikebike is a very interesting and, in our opinion, a very misunderstood product.

So, when is it coming to Canada, and what do we think of it?

We have spoken to the people at YikeBike and Canada is not on the radar at the moment and that is probably a wise decision. They want to pick the worldwide markets where it has the most potential and focus their sales and customer service efforts there without diluting them with a shotgun approach. All we can say, is that if and when it comes to Canada, Scooter Underground will be the place to find out about it.

What do we think about it?

We hate reviewing products that we have yet to see or touch but with regard to the Yikebike, we have done a lot of homework and we feel that we understand the market niche this product will fill.

You can go to their excellent website for a lot of the detailed stats, YouTube videos, and FAQ’s, but here is the meat and potatos:

Weight: 9.8 kg (21 lbs)
Speed: 20 km/hr
Range: 9-10 km per charge
Recharge time: 30 minutes
Carrying capacity: 100 kg (220 lbs) rider and cargo
Price: 3,500-3,900 Euros ( $5,200 – $5,800 CDN) est.

Grant Ryan admits that one of the inspirations for the Yikebike was the Segway (yikes). The Segway was a very cool product that was announced to a lot of fanfare and turned out to be a huge marketing flop. Now, I don’t know Grant Ryan, but based on his past accomplishments I am assuming he’s no dummy and he has learned a lot from studying the Segway. Both the Yikebike and the Segway are  very cool, relatively safe transportation products.

However, due to some great engineering and the use of high tech materials, the YikeBike weighs 9.8 kg (21 lbs) – about 4 times less that the weight of a Segway. It also folds to a fraction of the size of a Segway or most folding bikes and is so nice and neat in its folded design that there are no bits and pieces sticking out to scratch and snag things.

Who is it for?

Let’s start with the estimated market price. Currently the Yikebike is priced at $3500-$3900 Euro (that’s about $5,200 – $5,800 CDN). At those kinds of prices, this is going to be a real niche player initially. The folks at Yikebike admit that out of the gate they are targeting to be “Porche and not Toyota”. Their design and materials are all first rate. Most of the frame is black carbon fibre (initially the only color available). They have also chosen state-of-the-art  LiFePO4 fast-charge battery technology but opted for a relatively small battery size to keep the weight down.

The Yikebike is really not an urban transportation product like an electric bicycle or a scooter – rather, it is an elegant and uber cool solution to “the last mile problem”. In large cities, there are thousands of commuters who ride trains, subways, busses, or even cars but they still have a bit of a jaunt to get to their final destination point. The Yikebike, due to its, slick design, light weight, and portability allows it to link in with these other modes of transportation to get the commuter to where they want to go and not have all sorts of storage and security problems when they get there. Even if you take a car to work, you may want the freedom to run errands at lunch without the drudgery of fighting traffic and finding parking spaces – the Yikebike could liberate this type of urban commuter.

Many readers looking at the Yikebike balk at its lack of range( 9-10 km). The trade-off was made between battery size and weight and the range should be adequate for most purposes. That’s about a half hour of riding before you need to spend another half hour charging – this bike is not meant for those who are commuting 10-20 km to work each way. A more traditional electric bike like the eZee bike is better suited to that purpose. Just like a carpenter has many tools and chooses the best one for the job, the urban commuter has to look at the task they have at hand and choose the right product – for many of them the Yikebike may be just right.

The Yikebike would be an ideal way to get around a large campus but at the current prices, only the people on the Microsoft or Google campuses will be able to afford them.

Summary

What’s hot

  • Super cool and innovative design
  • Top quality materials and built like a Porche
  • Light weight
  • Elegantly folds into a small package in about 20 seconds
  • Take it with you – no parking or theft worries
  • Fits a wide range of rider sizes

What’s not

  • Like the Segway, the Yibebike does not offer the rider any exercise – you stand on a Segway; you sit on a YikeBike – no pedaling
  • 100 kg capacity may limit it for many North American sized males who want to carry books and a laptop
  • Hill climbing capability may be limited compared to an electric bike due to small battery and no pedals
  • In a regulatory “no man’s land” – where will you be able to ride it is uncertain – like the Segway
  • Price is sky high initially but that is sure to change. The initial models are like luxury prototypes. I am sure that if the concept catches on, they will be able to use a high quality production facility somewhere like Taiwan where they are still obsessed with quality but have lower production costs than New Zealand.

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4 Comments »

  • Réjean Castonguay said:

    Good afternoon,

    With regard to the Yike, If it was available in Canada and was sold at $ 2000 I would buy one tomorrow.

  • mstevulak said:

    I agree with you that the current price points are high. Yike realizes this too but is treating their initial shipment of bikes to Europe like high-end, hand made prototypes and they are priced accordingly.
    Like so many products, they will gauge the market acceptance and try to find out where the best price points are. My own feeling is that they will have to hit about $2500 CDN to get any sort of market acceptance. One reason is that they have a lot of appeal to the young buyer and are great for uses such as Campus commuting…but these buyers tend to not be flush with cash.
    We will keep the blog updated with any new Yike pricing rumblings that we hear about. In the mean time, you may consider a great electric bike such as the ezee bike or the a2b bike. These are probably more practical short run solutions and they do offer a fitness component to your commute if you want to pedal some electric motor assistance.

  • Herbert Maton said:

    When I had a regular bike until stolen, I used it for shopping – used front & back carrier, knapsack and dangled the bags on each handle. How does one use this for shopping?

    However, I’m on a fixed income (disabilities) and this would be out of reach price wise. Even a regular bike is unreachable.

  • Kevin said:

    The yikebike is currently available in Canada by special order from:

    https://shop.yikebike.com/

    The price is relatively affordable now (around $2,000 CAD or USD). The shipping is not (you’re looking at $300+ with a couple accessories). Not to mention you’ll have import duties, and of course GST payable upon delivery.

    Having imported things previously I would warn that the duties are wildly random, and could be anywhere from a few dollars to 20% or more of the price of the product (another $500, potentially).

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