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I have a soft spot in my heart for mini-farthings, but a hard spot for electrics. At $1600, I don’t know. It seems to function rather poorly as a bike, and a regular scooter doesn’t cost that much more. The short battery warranty is not a good sign, since that will likely be a considerable replacement expense. If I knew 4 other people who were interested, I might go for the 4 for $5000 deal (anyone out there in the Minneapolis area interested? :-), but he really should be shooting for a $1000 price point to be a favorable comparison to alternatives. That said, I could see this kicking the Segway tour market in the pants.
This looks to be a 20 inch front wheel and unless the design is able to gear up the front wheel, speed will be severely limited a small front wheel. That is the reason farthings had such large front wheels. An optimistic theoretical cadence of 90rpm with a gear ratio of 1:1 would yield a speed of about 6 mph. That makes it pretty useless as a bicycle.
I rode the LIFEbike today for the first time. I’m 6’1″ tall and about 185 lbs. I was very pleasantly surprised that the bike didn’t seem at all small for me. The seat was at exactly the right height and the reach to the handlebars was quite comfortable. The pickup of the electric motor was quite impressive and I quickly found myself travelling at a nice clip. She steering was confidence inspiring and I was comfortable doing a little “slalom” driving within the first couple of minutes. I don’t live in an urban area, but if I did, I would certainly see the LIFEbike as a real option. Nice work Henry et al.
I can see these being used in great numbers all over Europe! Gas is eight dollars US for a gallon. Most cities, towns and villages have very small streets and alleys. Parking is a problem too. A neat alternative to a scooter?