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New Zealander Invents Segway Alternative

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the looks-like-potential-bruises-to-me dept.

282

RainbowBrite writes "The YikeBike is the invention of a New Zealander aiming to alleviate city congestion. 'It might look like a collision between a praying mantis and a child's scooter, but it's the result of five years of work to reinvent the wheel, with one important addition: an electric motor. It's a bicycle, but not as we have come to know it. For a start, you sit upright and steer with your hands at your side.'" The YikeBike weighs in at a measly 22 lbs but has a hefty price tag of almost $5,000 US (£3,000). The battery's expected lifespan is only 1,000 charges, but the device has a projected range of around six miles.

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Uh...howabout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315289)

No.

Can you spell Face Plant? (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315293)

Seriously, this looks like it could trip on your average pothole, curb cut, or simply breaking hard.

Yes, your feet are fairly forward where you might be able to catch your self, but I see a lot of separated shoulders in this this bikes portfolio.

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (3, Interesting)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315489)

There is a the pennyfarthing was replaced by the safety bicycle [wikipedia.org] . And, with the range and battery lifetime given, it works out to about 83 cents a mile, which is probably still more expensive than a Hummer.

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315721)

There is a the pennyfarthing was replaced by the safety bicycle [wikipedia.org].

Huh. So... can I bike if I want to? Can I leave my friends behind?

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (5, Funny)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315931)

Well, your friends don't bike, and if they dont bike, then they're no friends of mine.

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316285)

had I mod points, I'd label this funny. I do not. You have instead my laughter and odd looks in my office.

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (0, Redundant)

2short (466733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316313)

Your friends don't bike, and if they don't bike, well, then they're no friends of mine.

Well, OK, they might be, but I can definitely leave them behind.

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315895)

>>>it works out to about 83 cents a mile I'd rather ride in one of these. 240mpg == just over 1 cent per mile. Or maybe a revival of the Lupo 3L which got 88 mpg on the highway, or 3-and-a-half cents per mile. LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_1-litre_car [wikipedia.org] LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Lupo#Lupo_3L [wikipedia.org]

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315507)

You're really over exposed as well, i fail to see how this is any better than an electric bike in any way!

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315971)

Can you fold up an electronic bike and carry it with you? I doubt it (but I could be wrong).

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (2, Informative)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316389)

Add a BionX [bionx.ca] to any folding bike. (Dahon, Montague, Brompton, what have you)

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (4, Interesting)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316047)

You're really over exposed as well, i fail to see how this is any better than an electric bike in any way!

That's because the greatest difference between this and a segway or bicycle was sneakily hidden in the article (and in the pics of the article):

Crucially, you can fold it into a bag and carry the whole 22lb package anywhere

It actually looks pretty damn useful (large backpack size when in bag) for being able to carry it into buildings, offices, subways, taxis, other-areas-you-can't-easily-take-an-electric-bike.
I could totally deal with the range and potential stability dangers, unfortunately that price is a deal breaker.

Re:Can you spell Face Plant? (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315559)

Yes, your feet are fairly forward where you might be able to catch your self, but I see 1 separated shoulder in this this bikes portfolio.

And that shoulder will belong to the only person riding these things... the mastermind behind it.

How much for the doctor bill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315299)

Looks great for posture too. Hopefully they will have a chiropractor rebate in there.

Safety? (3, Insightful)

neurogeneticist (1631367) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315317)

What happens if you brake going down a steep hill?

Re:Safety? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315775)

Bad things. The Penny-farthing design died for a reason.

Re:Safety? (3, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315907)

This sounds like a Dr. Seuss story.

A bloke named Mike
Had a bike named Yike.
Hello Mike!
Hello Yike!
Mike on Yike went down the hill
Mike went first when Yike took a spill.
Hello Hill!
Goodbye Yike!

Re:Safety? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316323)

Or a South Park story [ridelust.com] .

Still better than dealing with the airlines. (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316357)

Except maybe Southwest.

Re:Safety? (0, Redundant)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315937)

This sounds like a Dr. Seuss story.

Meet a man named Mike.
Mike had a bike.
The bike was Yike.
Hello Mike! Hello Yike!

Mike on Yike
Went down the Hill.
Mike went first
When Yike took a spill.
Hello Hill! Goodbye Yike!

1000 charges? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315319)

The YikeBike weighs in at a measly 22 lbs but has a hefty price tag of almost $5,000 US (£3,000). The expected lifespan is only 1,000 charges but has a projected range of around six miles.

So, basically this thing costs about $1 per mile?

I sincerely hope the inventor manages to make it a bit cheaper to own before this thing hits the streets....

Re:1000 charges? (1)

conlaw (983784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315511)

I sincerely hope the inventor manages to make it a bit cheaper to own before this thing hits the streets....

Folks better not try "hitting the streets" anywhere except the bike lanes. 13mph seems to be about par with the average golf cart and we all know they're not street legal. In fact, I'd guess that a nice Amish horse and buggy could pass this Yike, except that it would probably break that old rule about "don't scare the horses."

Re:1000 charges? (1)

2short (466733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316247)

Where I live, if you block the bike lane going 12mph on a motorized vehicle, there may be violence.

Re:1000 charges? (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316391)

To be fair, 13mph is still 1mph faster than the gay-looking Segway.

Re:1000 charges? (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315641)

Agreed; this is ridiculous. Less range than your average e-bike and more expensive than your average e-bike. Who would buy this? Heck, you could buy a 60-70mph, 35-60 mile range electric motorcycle [electricmotorsport.com] for just a few $k more.

Re:1000 charges? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315725)

well I'd assume you can replace the batteries for less than the price of the bike. My guess is the expense is in the light weight constuction and motors. Probably see Chinese knockoff's next summer in Pepboys and Autozone.

Sobriety, please (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315327)

Remember the buzz around the Segway before it came out? (I know some Slashdotters these days are a bit too young, see e.g. Kemper's Code Name Ginger [amazon.com] .) Basically Kamen's invention was first announced through the code names IT and Ginger, with the promise that this unknown invention would completely change life as we know it. When the Segway was finally unveiled, the disappointment pretty much killed off any widescale distribution of the device (along with crazy city ordinances). I wish this bike inventor luck, but I have a feeling that the less he touts how revolutionary it is, the more adoption it will see.

Re:Sobriety, please (4, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315597)

This thing does one thing the Segway can't: it folds into a shoulder bag and weighs 22lbs. That means I can bring it upstairs into the office once I get to work, or hell even bring it onboard a commercial airliner as unchecked baggage.

In my opinion, if the longevity could be extended to somewhere north of 2500 charges it'd be a pretty compelling gadget even at $5,000.

Re:Sobriety, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29316123)

I'd agree if it had 3X the range. Six miles is good for one three mile trip, barely. I'd say nitch things like taking the train then using it to get to your office but that assumes your office is around two miles from the train station. Pretty narrow usage there. You could recharge at the office but that's assuming a fast charge, less range, and you still only get 6 miles or less. You get around 15, without recharging, with a Segway and even more on rechargable bikes. Until he gets the milage up to 15 to 20 miles without adding much weight it's a novelty and a damn expensive one.

Segway and ordinances (3, Interesting)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315639)

When the Segway was finally unveiled, the disappointment pretty much killed off any widescale distribution of the device (along with crazy city ordinances).

I don't know about crazy city ordinances, but I was astounded by the speed with which the electric personal assistive mobility device [state.va.us] gained recognition and all the rights of a bicycle under Virginia Law. I believe the law changes were in the books even before the first Segway hit pavement in Virginia. And I'm just willing to bet that you'll find similar treatment in state laws on both U.S. coasts.

I'm a doctor, not an engineer! (1, Funny)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315337)

It's a bicycle, but not as we have come to know it

Better put as:

It's bike, Jim, but not as we know it.

Really good ideas... (1, Redundant)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315359)

Speaking of good ideas. Has anybody heard of this one?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle [wikipedia.org]

These things seem to be really popular. They work on nearly the same principle as the vehicle mentioned in the article and they're also light weight and a lot cheaper. Plus they don't make it look like your mom had a job at the circus taking canon balls to the stomach while she was pregnant with you.

Re:Really good ideas... (1, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315391)

Unfortunately if you simply switch to a bicycle in many American communities, you will be ostracized by your friends and coworkers because they will suspect you have been charged with DUI and can no longer drive a car. At least switching to a whizbang invention has less shame involved.

Re:Really good ideas... (3, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315447)

Naa. Everyone I see that gets a DUI switches to a moped.

Re:Really good ideas... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315755)

You obviously don't live in "the South". Down here, they switch to riding lawn mowers or golf carts. Seriously.

Re:Really good ideas... (5, Insightful)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315493)

Wow, that's a really negative way to put it. If someone I know starts biking a lot, I think, "wow, good to see you making an effort to improve your health" along with, "thank you for reducing your carbon footprint", not, "you're a drunk loser!"

About the most negative thing I think of when I learn someone I know is switching to biking is, "Gee, watch out for all the idiots in cars who are trying to kill you!"

Re:Really good ideas... (2, Insightful)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316139)

If you're in the US, you must live on one of the coasts.

In the midwest, bicycles are generally seen as being for children.

Drunks, though, usually take the bus or have a spouse drive them around. Or, probably more frequently, just drive without a license.

The whole time I lived in Missouri, I never saw anyone else commute to work via bicycle.

Re:Really good ideas... (1)

cbowland (205263) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316411)

Velo- commuters are definitely the minority in MO, but at least in St. Louis City and County, there are a fair number. I used to be one (and will again) until I dislocated my elbow last month. I commuted by bike (not everyday) about 4000 miles in the last 20 months. Not a huge amount as my ride is only 9 miles one way, but enough that I considered myself a commuter.

Re:Really good ideas... (2, Funny)

piemonkey (1628149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315499)

At least switching to a whizbang invention has less shame involved.

Right up until they ask you how much you paid for it.

Re:Really good ideas... (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316001)

You've obviously never met some of the Hard-Core Biking Douchebags who'll drop five figures on a pair of wheels!

Oblig (1)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316311)

Guess you're not from Cleveland [youtube.com] .

Re:Really good ideas... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316423)

You're not ostracized because they think you got a DUI. You just smell bad because you biked 10 miles to work and haven't had a chance to shower.

Re:Really good ideas... (3, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315777)

Pretty good gizmo except for a fatal flaw - me in my car. MUAHAHAHAH!!!

Re:Really good ideas... (1)

xdotx (966421) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316161)

My thoughts exactly. 12.5mph and a 6 mile range? My bike can go at least 7 times as far, and faster. Plus I get a little exercise and don't waste electricity. With a 6 mile range doesn't this mean you have to charge it wherever you're going? Or if your round trip is less than 3 miles one way can't you just walk (and then not have to worry about carrying this thing/locking it up)? Are people that lazy - I mean "busy"?

Why? (2, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315375)

It's more expensive than the Segway (which runs $3-5K last I checked), has 1/4 the range, and while it weighs less, this only partially offsets the more limited movement (it can't rise over a curb without aid, a Segway can). Unless your balance is atrocious, you can use a Segway (my 80 year old grandfather bought one as his knees declined). Why would I buy this?

Re:Why? (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315411)

Slight correction: Not all Segways get four times the range, but all of them seem to get at least 50% more than this product, usually twice the range.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315659)

Why would I buy this?

There are several factors that I'd want to compare products on if I were in the market for a personal motorized transport device.

1. Size
2. Weight
3. Ergonomics -- sitting or standing? Comfort?
4. Range
5. Durability
6. Cargo capacity

For me, #6 would be a dealbreaker, the others are ones I could compromise on. What is the cargo capacity on a segway? How many saddlebags and how much weight can it handle? If I couldn't do my family's grocery shopping with it, I wouldn't consider it.

But I'm not in the market for one of these, since I have a bike with good cargo capacity (and a trailer for when I need it), and I live in a small town, not a city.

Re:Why? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316113)

If I couldn't do my family's grocery shopping with it, I wouldn't consider it.

Are you doing you family's shopping every day? On every trip?
No. In a typical 2 car family, one car is used almost exclusively to get dad to and from work. 30 minutes each way, and it sits, parked, the other 23 hours.

No, it (or a bike/Segway/bus/whatever) is not a total replacement for all of your vehicles. But maybe a replacement for one of your vehicles.

The range on this seems to be a bit lacking, though. And the price is a bit high.

Re:Why? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316295)

When I lived in a city, my wife and I had *zero* cars. This is common for dense urban areas; two cars per household is rare. When we needed a car (road trips, etc) we rented one.

I used my saddlebags and trailer for my bike when grocery shopping then, and I still do even though I'm out in the boonies now (and we have two cars).

I think the market that a product like this is geared to is not the two-cars-in-the-burbs market.

Re:Why? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316397)

I think the market that a product like this is geared to is not the two-cars-in-the-burbs market.

True. But just outside of the dense inner city, many, many families think they need two cars.
I was able to be a one car family for several years, simply because I could ride my bike to work. Most of the shopping, etc happened with the car.

What's the point? (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315377)

The article says it can only go 12.5 mph. An ordinary person on a bicycle can go faster than that on a bicycle without breaking a sweat. The segway is at least more maneuverable than a bicycle at slow speeds; while this thing has no redeeming value at all.

Re:What's the point? (1)

neurogeneticist (1631367) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315477)

An ordinary person on a bicycle can go faster than that on a bicycle without breaking a sweat.

Yes, but how fast can a person on a bicycle go on a YikeBike?

Could be onto something here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315393)

If they'd made a model with something like tracks that work in deep snow and market it back country skiers/boarders, they just might have a winner.

Re:Could be onto something here... (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316027)

Its from New Zealand. Snow is not a factor there (at least in The North Island.)

The cost of petrol (gasoline in american) is pretty high there too.

The real alternative ... (5, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315475)

... is to just use your damn bicycle. Why pay $5,000 for that thing? Why pay money for a segway? Buy a bike for a couple hundred bucks or cheaper. It's better for the environment and costs less. I don't see the need for this fancy motor scooter crap.

Re:The real alternative ... (2, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315607)

You just don't earn enough. This a demonstration (to the opposite sex) that you can afford to burn $5k therefore are "fit" and able to easily provide for offspring.

 

Re:The real alternative ... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315883)

Any member of the opposite sex impressed by a $5k gadget doesn't count as "fit" in my book.

Re:The real alternative ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315939)

And therefore, you'll burn it on something that makes you look like a dork. Makes perfect sense. Not to mention that it will probably never get road safety clearance, is even slower than my bike powered by nothing but old-boned me, and has very low range. If you want to burn that 5k, burn it on a really nice Vespa or something.

Re:The real alternative ... (1)

2short (466733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315995)


But not "fit" enough to turn some pedals... seriously, look at the picture of the guy on that thing; it's not going to get you dates.

If you want a bike, but need to impress people with how much money you spent, there are several manufacturers happy to help. I'd suggest a Cervelo. At 5K, you'll be looking at the bottom of their line, but the people who will be impressed by the name and not your skill won't know the difference.

Re:The real alternative ... (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316341)

Seriously, given the range is only 6 miles, I don't see why you wouldn't bike. I could see the advantages of a powered vehicle over longer distances where I might get tired, but 6 miles just isn't that far.

One of my coworkers at a previous company had a nice little fold up bike. He took the train every day and biked from the station to his house. Seemed like a pretty good solution. It was cheeper, faster and had better range. Probably lighter than 22lbs too.

Re:The real alternative ... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316351)

@neonprimetime: "I don't see the need for this fancy motor scooter crap."

And if God had meant for man to fly he'd have given us wings. Men on the moon??? Bah... humbug! And your little dog Toto too.

yeah yeah. (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315495)

http://www.bicycle-power.com/electric.html [bicycle-power.com]

Hey. I've had a great idea. People could propel these things using their legs, getting fit at the same time. So you would be moving to your destination *and* saving money in gym fees *and* saving all that waste time at the gym too.

Think I'll patent it.

"A method for increasing human fitness and moving towards a destination at the same time."

 

Re:yeah yeah. (0, Offtopic)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315603)

Flintstones did it.

Re:yeah yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29316303)

OMG.. please warn before linking to a site which (ab)uses Java for button navigation. Just like the [PDF] tag some people are kind enough to use.

Personal mobility (4, Insightful)

improfane (855034) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315535)

I find this personal mobility devices pathetic for able bodied people.

Why aren't we satisfied with walking anymore? I will be walking 30 minutes twice a day from September.

The only issue is boredom and wasting of time. I will counter this with podcasts.

Re:Personal mobility (0, Troll)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315955)

I see, it's "I do X so everybody should do X like me"
I see your "I walk so everyone should walk", and raise you "I drive so everybody should drive"

Re:Personal mobility (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316059)

I'd much rather choose how I spend my time. If you're walking, it's 15 minutes of podcasts. If you're on a bike, it's 5 minutes of podcasts and 10 minutes of whatever you want.

Re:Personal mobility (1)

cfa22 (1594513) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316349)

Not so simple. I live a 30-min walk from my work, through urban Philly. To bike it (I've tried) is 10 minutes on the bike, door-to-door, owing to lights and other traffic rules. I often need to change clothes (summer is very humid). I have to lock my bike up outside due to fire-code regulations preventing them in the building. Changing clothes and locking/unlocking add time to the bike commute. Walking is just simpler. In rainy weather, can you bike with an umbrella? And no way would I listen to a podcast on a bike -- you need your ears to bike in the city. I was a bicycle commuter (4 miles) in graduate school on the west coast and loved it. For a simple 1.5-mile commute, walking seems better.

Does not seem to have the beenfits of a bicycle (1)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315551)

it doesn't seem suited to be used on any terrain other than flat terrain. It looks like a bicycle but does not seem to have the same benefits. Bicycles have suspension that lets you lift the front wheel a few inches above the ground to get on elevated surfaces. This does not seem like it has suspension and even if it did, the steering handles are in an awkward position. What's the point of it, you're better off getting a bicycle that will do more and cost much less.

Kiwi inventors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315591)

Kiwis have an interesting mentality. They're literally 1000 nautical miles from anywhere and have had to rely on inventing everything or else having it shipped it. So, their entire culture is based on inventing things. Farmers have come up with some amazing inventions in their time, but the culture permeates all other parts of society, sometimes to the detriment of re-inventing the wheel -- like in this case.

STOP!!! (3, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315695)

You had me at "praying mantis"!

Possible usage (1)

vonhammer (992352) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315711)

From TFA:> I have just become the first British journalist to road test the YikeBike, billed as a mini penny-farthing for the 21st century.

Hey, just in time for this retread [slashdot.org]

Electric bike anyone? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315723)

I'm surprised there isn't a bigger market for rechargeable-electric-motors that retrofit on existing bicycles.

If there's a low-range, commuter version good for maybe 10 miles between charges if you don't pedal that costs less than $1,000 plus the cost of the bike then there should be.

Re:Electric bike anyone? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316251)

If there's a low-range, commuter version good for maybe 10 miles between charges if you don't pedal that costs less than $1,000 plus the cost of the bike then there should be.

e-bikes carry a few disadvantages, primarily weight. A few years ago, I test rode a Giant LaFree. Rode OK, but the damn thing weighed 80lbs. That is a definite limiter on what you can do with it. Upstairs to the apartment? Yeah, right. On the car bike rack? yeah, right. A 20-30 lb bike, you can throw over your shoulder. At 80lbs, thats not happening for most people.
Oh, and when the battery runs down, now you're pedalling an 80lb bike. Not fun.

Electrifying a bicycle adds 40+ lbs to a regular bike, removes the exercise value of a bike, and adds nothing to the creature comfort aspect.

Not convinced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315767)

So that's about 83 cents per mile, over the lifetime of the product, just for the purchase. Plus the cost of the electricity to charge it. That's not terribly cost effective. Especially if I can never get more than 3 miles from home, in order to make the round trip without having to drag it.

So that's who's responsible . . . (1)

mdomb529 (975761) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315773)

A New Zealander invented the foot?

The only use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315825)

The only use I could see is for storing in the trunk of a car as a back up/short hop alternative. It'd have to have 3X the range to be practical for even that. It seems pointless. Electric bikes normally have 3X to 4X the range and cost less. If it's supposed to take on the Segway it needs a lot more range and it lacks the coolness factor of a self righting vehicle. A fold up traditional electric bike would make more sense. Gee it'll be great when batteries are 10X better? So will every other invention including the Segway. It's a solution in search of a problem since it doesn't fit any existing need.

Nothing to do with the Segway (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315843)

This has all of nothing to do with the Segway. It's a tricycle with the center of gravity moved forwards. It is significantly less stable than the Segway, and it's almost certainly more uncomfortable.

Re:Nothing to do with the Segway (1)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315985)

It has the same problem though--where do you use it? It's not street legal, and most bike/walk paths prohibit motorized vehicles... it will fit in well once we start redesigning cities to accommodate the Segway... has that started yet?

£3000?! (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315859)

I can buy a mopehead ("scooter") for less than £1000 which can go over 30 MpH. Why would I buy this? You cannot use it on roads OR on footpaths in a lot of locations and it is too small to really work as a carry-around and too big to park up.

Not as cool/affordable as the eniCycle (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29315885)

Not as cool/affordable as the eniCycle (http://enicycle.com/).

A good argument for handlebars (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315889)

Handlebars on traditional bikes are a good idea. Leaning slightly forward in your normal position with your hands in front of you on a nice solid piece of metal, if you have to brake suddenly your weight shifts forward.

So on a traditional bike if you hit the brakes when that inevitable Volvo driver cuts across you without signalling/pulls out, your weight shifts forward and you brace yourself with your arms. Your arms are pretty strong and it's a very natural position for them to take weight: we've been falling over and putting our weight on our arms since we were toddlers. The weight transfers to your arms, onto the rigid handlebars, and this is transferred through your front forks onto your front wheel, which has a little give with the pumped up tyre. You're still in control of your bike in this position, and the next most dramatic move is to slip forward off your saddle to a standing position forward of a saddle both feet on the floor. You've got your vehicle to brace yourself against to stop moving forwards, and you're gripping the handlebars tightly so getting the most out of your brakes.

On this new bike, yikes indeed. You stop suddenly and from the look of it your head is ahead of the rest of you. To stop you flying forward you're relying on your grip on the handlebars, much less reliable I'd imagine than locking your arms in front of you. Still your head is going to swing forward some amount. An alternative is that you've got to let go and lose control of your vehicle and take a few tenths of a second to swing your arms in front of you - nothing to hold on to - but just to protect you from the moving car or the road. You're not in control of your vehicle and all you can brace yourself against is the road or the car.

I think the traditional bike wins in this situation. Thoughts from others?

Newsflash (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315919)

People didn't buy the segway because it was as expensive as a motorcycle with a limited range and went slower than most people could pedal a bike.

How is this better? Didn't learn from the Segway, did you? This costs more, has less range, and goes about the same speed.

Sorry to rant, but I'm just incredulous. I rode a $500 bike 75 miles in 5 hours. I can't imagine why I would want a $5000 "bike" that goes 6 miles in 30 minutes, then dies.

Here's the thing about progress. Later inventions are supposed to be better. Not cooler. I'll grant the Segway is kinda cool, and so is this, it's just a poorer solution to the getting from a to b problem than existing products.

Leave it to a Kiwi (5, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315921)

Leave it to a Kiwi to put training wheels on a unicycle.

Meh- I'll take a Stokemonkey... (2, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315925)

Here's a video of a woman riding one with 2 little kids and 4 sacks of groceries. [google.com]

Sure, it's big, it's bulky, but for the most part, you will no longer need a car.

And for those who like things a little more space age, There's the go-one and similar vehicles, like this one pulling into a campus at Intel. [youtube.com]

The velomobiles will protect you in the rain, and you can't face plant in it. The Stokemonkey is stupidly powerful and extremely practical (try and haul 2 little kids and 4 sacks of groceries on a yikeBike). The YikeBike is for yuppies who want a cool toy.

However: the future is not to be denied: the future of transportation lies in lightweight electric and electric assist (i.e. electric assisted pedal bikes and trikes) [jvbike.com] vehicles.

Get 'em now while they're relatively cheap and unwanted...

RS

Re:Meh- I'll take a Stokemonkey... (1)

piemonkey (1628149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316097)

Get 'em now while they're relatively cheap and unwanted...

relatively cheap? $5,000? If I was to get one (I prefer my regular bike) I would wait until every other child in China is building them, and they're selling on eBay for $50.

It's a good thing it's slow.... (0, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29315949)

It's a good thing it's a damned sight slower than a road or even mountain bike, because it's a recipe for road rash. In terms of design, trying to compare it to a Segway seems like a serious non sequitur to me, more like an attempt to misframe it in order to find it a position in the market: by comparing it to the Segway, it effectively rides on the coattails of the Segway, in the same way that intelligent design advocates create false "controversy" to give their claims a phony legitimacy.

This isn't so much news as it is marketing.

$5000 .... 6000 miles projected (2, Insightful)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316057)

So given that the 6000 miles figure is obviously going to be optimistic, You're basically paying 1$ per mile to look like an idiot and probably be even more vulnerable to getting in an accident than a bicyclist. No, I don't think I'll be getting one of these.

or how about (0, Redundant)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316071)

a real bike, which instead of burning the money out of my wallet would burn the calories off my fat arse.

+gHoat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29316073)

volume o7 NetBSD [goat.cx]

Don't want to hit a clothesline with this thing! (2, Funny)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316089)

" 'Round here, we call her The Decapinator."

Electric scooters (1)

MoobY (207480) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316121)

How about getting an electric scooter? It's a proven concept. And it doesn't look as awkward.

Improvement... (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316155)

how about I remove the need for a battery all together by adding a device which you could work with your hands or feet to build up capacitance ... or wait... we could transform your mechanical action directly into rotational motion of the primary wheel. I'm thinking some large foot pedals. But then it's too high to pedal stably... put a low seat on it between two smaller wheels. Then the person would reach with their feet up to the main large wheel and pedal on it directly. It would have a big wheel in front and two small wheels in back supporting a basic chair... I wonder if there's a patent?

YikesBike (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316177)

Looks really weird, but at least is no South Park's IT [wikipedia.org] .

Small tires (1)

rimugu (701444) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316297)

Small tires do poorly on anything less than really smooth roads.

I have kids and can see the difference when they are ready and I take the training wheels out. Much less vibration, and faster cornering.

This may have some positives, but they would hardly outweigh the risk of facing a 2" pothole.

Just in time... (1)

kshade (914666) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316301)

... for the Prisoner remake.

What the hell (1)

tengeta (1594989) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316317)

6 miles? That won't even get me halfway to my college. I'll use my actual legs and just use a actual damn bike. Don't even get me started on a limit of 1000 charges for something that expensive.

Enough please (2, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316319)

Stop trying to one-up the bicycle. It works, it is cheap and it is time tested.

Sexist Design (0, Troll)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316415)

It's not for the ladies. Actually it's against anyone who doesn't have two bendable legs free.

You can't wear a dress. You can use it if you're in a brace. You have to be able to 'mount' the thing.

It's basically just a less useful design of a normal bicycle. The few improvements are balanced by new problems.

Slashdot: Negativity From Nerds. (5, Insightful)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 5 years ago | (#29316417)

Yet another article where a bunch of know-it-alls put down an invention for not being the status quo. "It's too expensive. It looks dangerous. Ride a bicycle. Ride an electric bike. Ride a motorcycle."

Go back to your basements and play WoW. The creative people are busy creating.

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