- A light weight, ultra-compact and folding, last mile electric transporter solution that looks kind of quirky and doesn't come cheap
- Designed in New Zealand and available internationally, the Model V comes standard with the traditional two wheel setup as well as a three-wheel balance attachment
- Limited top speed under 15 mph, excellent acceleration control with variable speed trigger throttle and automatic regeneration slowdown as well as a brake
- Inflatable tires add cushion but may be vulnerable to thorns and pinch flats, seated design keeps body weight low and relatively stable, fold-out pegs let you brace for bumps
The YikeBike is a unique urban transporter that handles like a bicycle but doesn’t use pedals, you use foot pegs for stability and squeeze the front wheel between your calves when riding. Instead of leaning forward to reach the handle bar, you reach downward to the sides and meet the steering bars that sort of wrap around from behind. These bars are covered with LED lights adding visibility and signaling functionality to the unit. On the right you have a kill switch, on the left there’s an on/off button and both bars have turn signal buttons. There’s also a horn and two variable speed throttle mechanisms (the one on the right is the throttle and the one on the left is the brake which activates power regeneration).
At first, I thought the YikeBike was kind of noisy but Sam explained that extra volume was added to create awareness because the YikeBike is typically used in pedestrian areas and this helps to alert people on sidewalks etc. to move out of the way. In addition to the whirring noises, there’s a beeping signal horn. Operating the bike is kind of tricky at first, especially with the standard two-wheel setup… but this provides the best turning radius and most compact fold. The Model V is YikeBike’s most affordable offering now which comes in three colors and includes a two-wheel balance bar accessory that can be swapped in for the standard single rear wheel. In my experience, even with the three-wheel setup (two wheel bar plus the large front wheel) it’s still not completely stable… and maybe that’s the point. You need to lean when turning and the two wheel bar has springs inside that make this possible while still improving stability. The original two-wheel bar could actually carry a passenger on the original YikeBike (they could stand on it and hold your shoulders) but I’m not sure if that’s the case with the newer Model V.
All things considered, the YikeBike is efficient and kind of addictive to ride… the balance challenge makes it fun and there’s a real sense of speed. Because it uses inflatable tires you get some improved comfort going over bumps and cracks but you could get a flat if you don’t keep the tubes full or cross a patch of thorns. Be very careful when swapping the single wheel with the two wheel option and vice versa to not strip the bolt threads and don’t lose the valve stem part because that’s required to inflate the front tire. Included with the bike is a neat little stand but you only get one so if you’re commuting with this thing you’ll either need to fold or lean it at one of your destination points. I like that the charger they included is a faster 5 Amp design and that it’s fairly small and light weight at ~1.5 lbs. I also appreciate the clip-in points for the handle bars and just how compact and neatly it folds. The YikeBike is truly unique and I’m amazed that after several years being on sale globally it’s still going strong and even offered in a more expensive lighter weight carbon fiber design.
In the video review we talked about how the YikeBike was featured on Storage Wars (Season 3, Episode 22). If you’d like to watch the full episode it can be purchased for a couple of bucks on YouTube here. Big thanks to Sam Townsend from Myron’s Extreme Machines in Fullerton for the opportunity to ride and review the YikeBike!
- The Model V comes standard with an articulated “3 wheel” rear axle that changes the YikeBike from a less stable two wheel to a three wheeler akin to a trike (you can still do the two-wheel design, it just comes with the three wheel setup as well)
- Available in three professional colors including charcoal, silver and gold… you could match your phone, differentiate your unit from family/friends or optimize for visibility (with the more reflective silver)
- High quality accessories including a canvas bag, high power five amp charger and metal stand… though only having one stand means that the unit might tip at one end of your commute, you could fold it down and stow it in the bag
- Surprisingly tough and solid, Sam (who weighs ~260) rode it off a small curb several times without encountering issues
- Fiberglass composite saddle base and post are designed to flex slightly as you ride, helping to smooth out little cracks and bumps
- The motor delivers impressive power and acceleration, I had no issues zipping up to speed or climbing and it pulled Sam quite well
- The folding design is truly brilliant (especially when using the standard single wheel in the back), the YikeBike gets very compact and even has pins so the handlebars click in and don’t flop around as you carry it
- The charger includes several plug adapters for use in Asia, Europe and the US
- It folds pretty quickly and gets extremely compact when folded, just 1.52 cubic feet – the size of a large briefcase
- While 30 lbs isn’t exactly light, the unit is easy to lift… it’s not an especially awkward or floppy design once it’s stowed in the bag
- Features regenerative braking to extend range and smooth out stops, the motor doesn’t freewheel when you coast so there’s a natural slowdown when you aren’t squeezing the throttle
- Includes front and rear lights, turn signals, hazards and an electronic horn for improved safety (especially useful for evening riding if you use it to commute)
- The YikeBike can be skinned or wrapped for branding and promotional purposes just like cars sometimes do
- The Model V is the most affordable YikeBike in production (at the time of this review) but it still costs nearly $5k which seems like a lot… though the compact and custom design really is unique
- The inflatable tires could be more vulnerable to thorns and glass than run-flat foam/rubber solid options, also pinch flats could occur if the PSI drops over time so check them occasionally… in order to inflate the front tire you need to take the cover off and use a special valve stem adapter which is a bit more of a hassle and means you need to keep track of a unique accessory (don’t lose that part!)
- The motor does produce noise, a sort of electronic whir mixed with regeneration sounds, it’s not the quietest electric transporter around and apparently they added this noise on purpose to create awareness given the intended use of riding around pedestrians on crowded sidewalks and streets
- With the three-wheel stability option connected the YikeBike doesn’t fold as neatly or get as compact… it also weighs a bit more in this configuration and threading it or the standard single rear-wheel option on/off is a bit delicate, don’t strip the threads!
- Because the charging port is located inside the front wheel hole, you can’t really plug it in when the unit is folded because that’s where the smaller rear wheel fits in
- The turning radius is a bit limited because the front wheel has stoppers that keep it from swiveling too far in either direction
- This thing takes a bit of practice to learn, I found that squeezing the front wheel between your calves helps and relaxing and leaning back a little