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Eurobike and nouveau penny-farthings

Electric bike, Shows & Events 6 1715

Believe it or not, show season 2009 is already underway with Eurobike taking place this week in Friedrichshafen, Germany. CyclingNews already has several tech articles from the show online (here, here, and here). It is probably no surprise that super light bikes and components and smarter electronic gadgets will be big at the show this year. I suspect that we will see quite a few new commuter/shopper oriented designs as well…like the bike pictured here for instance. Cyclelicious has posted links to several different Eurobike galleries that I am just starting to browse though. I am looking forward to seeing many more images from the show, so if you spot any other good ones; please post a link in the comments section.

One bike that has been getting a lot of pre-show buzz is the YikeBike, an electric “mini-farthing” that was designed in Christchurch, New Zealand. The bike (not sure I should really call it that since it doesn’t have pedals) folds into a compact shape and features a hub-less front wheel that contains the battery and electric motor. It is an interesting concept, but a few people have already expressed some concerns with the design. DL Byron at BikeHugger speculated that the YikeBike would have a tendency to throw the rider forward when the front wheel hit a pothole or some other obstacle. Yokota Fritz addressed that same concern in a Cyclelicious post. “Headers” of that sort were pretty common in the late1800’s when high-wheelers, or penny-farthings, were the most common design. Safety bikes (the basic chain driven design that most bikes today are still based on) came about in the 1880s primarily as a reaction to the dangers of riding a tall high-wheeler. Granted this little YikeBike doesn’t look as dangerous as an antique ordinary with a 60-inch diameter front wheel, but it does look like it might have a tendency to endo fairly easily. I would still love to try one though…maybe I will get my chance if I make it out to Interbike in a few weeks.

On the subject of modern penny-farthings, Paul (who also happened to be the first to tell me about the YikeBike) pointed out this design, which uses more conventional bicycle components. I also remember this carbon fiber high-wheeler concept bike that Specialized industrial designer Robert Egger did many years ago (early 90s maybe?). Does anyone know of any others? I am pretty sure that I have seen a few other examples that I can’t remember at the moment.

While I am posting I want to mention the City of Copenhagen’s international Bike Share Design Competition. Copenhagen started a bike sharing program back in 1996, but now the Mayor wants an “attractive and modern bike share system (that) can contribute to strengthening Copenhagen’s bicycle culture.” The deadline to enter the competition is November 18th. You can download a Competition Program here if you are interested. Also, check out this Copenhagen Cycle Chic post for more information.

Top photo: Messe Friedrichshafen,

Lower photo:

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  1. kiwiinventor September 14, 2009 at 8:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi James

    I'm one of the creators of the YikeBike. Love your blog BTW. Happy to chat to you about it some time. Sorry we are not going to be at Interbike but keen to arrange a test ride for your some time if possible.


  2. James September 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm -  Reply

    Grant, Thanks for the comment. I don't know why I thought you were going to be at Interbike…my mistake. I would like to talk to you about the YikeBike sometime though. Send me an email through the contact link in the sidebar when you get a chance.

  3. Anonymous September 22, 2009 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    Hello James,

    Do you have any more info or pictures of the "Oneybike" as posted by Paul? I checked the IBDC website but couldn't find anything. Thanks and great blog…


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