The bikeboard, a new product from Bikeboard AG, is an extreme sports recreational vehicle based on a bike fork and frame. This original concept has been expanded to include land, water, and snow based recreation. Bikeboard AG is based in Lucerne, Switzerland and their products are distributed in the United States by Bikeboard North American, a division of SI Health and Fitness, Inc.
Pictured here is Seth. The Gadgeteer’s official extreme sports equipment tester riding the bikeboard out in front of the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.
He is also my son.
This gives me a rather unique perspective on his qualifications for this position. I have been the one replacing bikes, skateboards, remote control cars, etc., for the past eighteen years or so. The boy can flat out tear things up. He uncovered a critical design flaw in the prototype bikeboard that was initially shipped to us in less than 48 hours. Bikeboard AG has corrected the problem in their production release, but more on that later.
Just a quick aside… I promise I won’t stray to far out into left field. Schaffrath, the band featured on Seth’s t-shirt, is a metal band based in Germany. You will note, if you visit the Bikeboard AG site that German is the native language of the Switzerland based sports equipment company. OK. It the connection is a stretch, but my girlfriend’s sister, Tina, is the lead guitar player and her husband, Marcus, is the drummer. If you are reading this blatant plug, it must have made it past Julie’s final edit!
Seth, pictured here with Julie of The Gadgeteer, is something of an extreme sports aficionado. He currently owns and rides Mountain Bikes, Skateboards, and The Wave from Street Surfing. Do you think Julie is about to take off with the thing? Seth doesn’t look too worried about it. Now that we have established the qualifications, lets get on with the review.
First of all, this was a totally different product than any I have reviewed for Julie in the past. I wasn’t exactly sure how to lay it out. After visiting a handful of skateboard sites and reading the reviews posted on them, I realized that Seth and I were on our own here. While I can read and understand the surfer/boarder speak used on these sites, I am not comfortable trying to write that way. For the most part, the reviews I found were short and very subjective.
After discussing the bikeboard at length with Seth (shown here riding alongside the canal at White River State Park in Indianapolis), I realized our review of the bikeboard will be mostly subjective, as well. We will discuss some of the mechanical aspects, Seth’s perspective, and share a lot of photos with you.
Here is a peek at the bikeboard in the original, unassembled state straight from the box.
Seth begins assembling the bikeboard by sliding the bike frame portion onto the main wheel assembly.
The bikeboard uses two lever-lock mechanisms to swiftly and securely fasten the frame to the main wheel assembly.
Next, he slides the board onto the main assembly and uses another lever-lock to secure it.
The brake cable, which is permanently attached from the handle bars to the dual disk brakes on the main wheel assembly, need to be fed through a guide located on the front of the frame. This is probably my chief concern regarding the bikeboard’s design. When unassembled, the handlebar is still attached to the main wheel assembly by the brake cables. This leaves the cables somewhat vulnerable to bending or kinking. You will need to be aware of this when you are stowing the bikeboard.
Another lever-lock attaches the front wheel to the forks and this baby is ready to ride!
The following pictures were taken at Muscatatuck State Park in Vernon, Indiana. You may notice that Seth really seems to be enjoying himself.
Now let’s hear from the daredevil himself:
“The design is pretty cool. I liked the handling. It can take turns better than I thought it would.”
“The suspension in the back blows my mind! It has three springs that allow motion left to right and front to back. The dual disk brakes work wonders on turns. You apply the brake on the side you are turning toward and lean into it for and incredibly sharp cut.”
The main spring has a simple threaded nut to allow the rider to adjust tension depending upon whether they prefer a tight or loose ride.
“It is easy to put together and take apart for easy storage”
That was about all I got from Seth. He is a man of action and very few words – especially if he is required to write them down.
If you like to attract attention, the bikeboard can certainly help you in that regard. Seth seemed to draw a crowd, or at least a lot of stares, everywhere we went. At White River State Park in Indianapolis, Rob Reynolds, the owner of five Wheel Fun Rentals franchise came over and asked about this wild looking recreational device. He seemed particularly intrigued by the dual disk brakes.
As promised earlier in this review, I will compare the prototype version of the bikeboard that was inadvertently shipped to us initially to the final production version. Carolin Gey, President of Bikeboard North America, called to apologize for initially shipping the prototype. She made assurances that the problem had already been corrected – which proved to be the case. This mistake was understandable given that the product was only just being introduced in North America. The prototype had been sent to North America strictly as a product photography model for marketing purposes.
Above you will see the flaw which, as previously mentioned, our hard core tester revealed in less than 48 hours. First is a top view followed by a view of the same break from below.
Here is a close-up of the production version of the bikeboard from below in the same area where the prototype failed.
Here you can see the design modification that resolved the problem. Bikeboard’s designers simply added a 1/2 thick by 2 1/4 inch wide strap running from the front of the bikeboard to where it attaches to the rear wheel assembly. This takes the strain of the point where the prototype failed. I thought this provided a unique look into the development of a product.
Above you will find photos of the right hand brake levers. The photo at the top is of the prototype while the bottom photo shows the brake lever on the production version. This was a relatively minor design tweak, but Seth did like the production brake levers more.
Here are a couple of close-ups of the hinged steering column. This release allows you to fold over the steering column for easier storage.
Here is a close-up of one on the four lever-locks used to quickly assemble and disassemble the bikeboard. Note the lock button to prevent the lever from accidentally disengaging.
Finally, here is a close-up of some minor shipping damage to the orange paint on the bike frame portion of the bikeboard. This photo was actually taken of the prototype version, but the production version we eventually received had similar scratching. Bikeboard North America needs to either reconfigure their packaging or add a piece of foam or cardboard over the top of the frame to prevent this damage.
Frame & Fork: Alloy 6061, Type Freeride
Folding Stem: Alloy 7075, Type Freeride
Handlebar: Alloy, Height Adjustable
Wheels: 16″ Frontwheel, 6″ Rearwheels Hub, Alloy
Brakes: Double mech. Disc Brakes
Platform: Maple wood with Fiberlayers
Suspension: Special Suspension System 135mm Rear Shock