YikeBike grabs worldwide attention

The YikeBike. Photo supplied.
The YikeBike. Photo supplied.
A former Southland man has made headlines in the United Kingdom for inventing a bike like nothing seen before.

The YikeBike is essentially an electric-powered penny farthing-style bicycle which folds up neatly and can be carried, so owners do not take the risk of having it stolen.

Its inventor, Grant Ryan, is an "addicted inventor and entrepreneur".

Mr Ryan, whose father Jim lives in Arrowtown, gained a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Ecological Economics from the University of Canterbury, before going on to serve on the board of the New Zealand Government's $140 million Venture Investment Fund and $430 million Foundation for Research Science and Technology.

He is also on the board of the Canterbury Development Corporation and has founded several companies, including GlobalBrain.net (sold to NBCi), RealContacts SLI Systems, and Eurekster (North America Red Herring 100 in 2006).

But it is the YikeBike, developed with engineer Peter Higgins, also from New Zealand, that grabbed the attention of the world yesterday, when it was launched at the Eurobike Trade Fair in Germany.

The website states the new-age bicycle had the potential to be the most commonly owned transport device in the world.

The bike, which weighs less than 10kg with a full battery and air in the tyres, is designed and will be assembled in New Zealand, with parts sourced from around the world, including Japan, the United States, England, Germany, France and China.

It will be available from "early to mid" 2010 at a cost of between €3500 ($NZ7333) and €3900 ($NZ8171) per bike.

However, Mr Ryan said ultimately the YikeBike could be less expensive to make than a traditional bicycle.


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