Yooniq Bike Review – Tough, agile, urban / commuter bicycle
The Yooniq (pronouced ‘you-neak’) is a fast, nimble, urban bike that aims to satisfy the cycling needs of space compromised city and town folk. Ideally, said customer will live in an apartment up or down some stairs and work in a ‘creative hub’ or open plan office in a converted warehouse. Or, you could be none of the above and just buy this bike because it looks great, is very well conceived and put together, and above all, a bucketload of fun to ride.
Some of you may have noticed a passing resemblance to the Cannondale Hooligan¬†and the Yooniq designers are not too proud to deny the influence. The Hooligan borrows the iconic Cannondale Delta-V frame design, which utilises a top tube that intersects the down tube and is strengthened by a bracing tube from the top of the head tube. The Yooniq has a top tube and down tube that are nearly parallel and braced with an additional tube from the seat tube. My feeling (having dabbled with some engineering in the past) is that both frame designs are comparable in torsional and bending strength and stiffness.
With it’s low frame, offering plenty of standover height, and extra-long seatpost the Yooniq does achieve it’s aim of being a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Whilst on test, riders between 5’2″ (167cm) and 6’4″ (193cm) flipped on and off the bike with only a seatpost adjustment needed. The rake of the seat tube means that the distance between saddle and bars changes according to rider height and caters for the fact that most taller riders have longer torsos and arms.
With it’s rugged and chunky frame you expect the weight of the Yooniq to be a bit on the high side but that is not the case and our scales read a very reasonable 10.8kg. The low weight and compact size mean that it is an abolute dream to carry up and down stairs. No clattering into railings or door furniture and no rest stops on the 2nd floor. The frame is, of course, aluminium and all of the tubes are circular in section. The quality of the welds and the paint finish is very good.
It’s in the details where the Yooniq is going to win many fans – it’s just a very well thought out product. There’s a double chainguard, so you don’t need to worry about damaged or dirty trouser legs. Whilst pedestrians and other cyclists will grumble when used, there is a handy bell that is integrated into the left brake lever. Brakes are single caliper mechanical disc brakes that are really effective in all conditions and are very easy to adjust. Gearing is a simple but effective SRAM i-motion 3 speed internal hub affair and it works perfectly, offering a suitable ratio in all normal everyday riding conditions. All of these components have been chosen for their long life potential and ease of maintenance. The bottom bracket is eccentric to facilitate easy chain retensioning .
If drag racing off the lights is your bag, then this bike will suit you well with the 20-inch wheels spinning up really quickly. The 1.75-inch wide tyres ensure a very comfotable ride, even on broken and poorly repaired city streets.
The makers of the Yooniq push the marketing material into a couple of areas that I don’t feel very comfortable with, namely ‘Small to get into the boot of your car’ and ‘hanging on a wall in your living room’. Why would you put this bike in your car on a regular basis? I think that you’re more likely to chuck it in the back of a motorhome or caravan or, possibly, on the car roof, when you go on holiday. As for hanging it on my living room wall…… Hmmmm….. Pretty as the bike is, this is an everyday product that will pick up road dirt and scratches from daily use and it’ll be staying in the utilty room.
Aesthetically, the Yooniq is a very good looking bike, albeit an individual one. It turns heads when you ride it and people are genuinely intrigued by what they see. We took the Yooniq to Bike Blenheim Palace in August and were bombarded by the public wanting to have a ride. That is a flattering endorsement in itself. The satin grey-metallic paint is understated and mature to the extent that you aren’t self-conscious riding the bike. The same can’t be said for the acid green and bright white used on some Cannondale Hooligans. The gold highlights of the calipers, seatclamp and headtube cap contrast very nicely indeed against the grey frame.
On the bike and on the road, the Yooniq is a joy to ride. It’s nimble and well balanced, which promotes instant confidence in it’s ability as a great commuter bike. You can ride with as much vigour as you like because the brakes are powerful enough to cope with changing traffic lights and lazy drivers pulling out in front of you. For me this bike reminded me of BMX bikes in my early teens but wheelies aren’t quite as easy as they perhaps were. I’m guessing it is the frame geometry with rider weight further forward, as much as present rider inability. You can corner the bike with a confidence that isn’t immediately expected. With it’s chunky tyres and strong wheels hopping up kerbs and riding down stairs is all possible for a total recall to your childhood.
Spec for spec the Yooniq is virtually identical to the Cannondale Hooligan 1 – they are both 3-speed (Shimano Vs SRAM), both have mechanical discs, both have similar effective geometry etc.. etc… The Hooligan is priced at ¬£799 & the Yooniq is priced at ¬£690. The Hooligan is acid green, the Yooniq is understated grey. The Yooniq is conservative and discreet whilst the Hooligan is brash and loud. With the Hooligan’s steeper head angle, I’m not so sure that it will have as much strength in depth as the Yooniq when it comes to different rider heights. Take your pick.
Note: We’ve been advised that some mudguards will be available as a optional extra in Spring 2013 to extend the usage and flexibility of the Yooniq.¬†
Bikesoup.cc verdict – 8/10
Available in the UK from Stolen Goat -¬†http://stolengoat.com/product/yooniq-urban-bike/
Full details of the Yooniq can be found at – www.yooniq.eu/en