New App: Bike by Hog Bay

What really kept me away from it is $29.99/year (assuming you want to maintain the latest updates). That’s a lot of money when I can get Cloud Outliner or Task Paper as part of Setapp.

@tonycr I believe Jesse wrote that ongoing yearly updates would be 30 to 50% lower than the original price. I know I read that “somewhere”. I find this kind of pricing reasonable. Some other apps I use also employ the same approach (e.g. Curio). And I know that I don’t update every year … for one product I update once every 3 or 4 years. Typically I don’t need every update feature … but simply wait until there is enough change that updating makes a lot of sense to me.

It looks like it has potential, and (as @karlnyhus says) using HTML as the default file format makes some sense, although whether the lack of interoperability over OPML is worth it remains to be seen. I often take meeting notes on my iPad.

It’s quite a high price tag considering it doesn’t have rich text - the ability to have at least a little bold and highlighting here and there is useful. You also seem stuck with a single font. I appreciate it’s on the roadmap. That said, the ease with which multiple rows can be selected/manipulated is really great… it really does fulfil the promise to be as easy as a text editor and that might be enough to justify the cost. It is a pleasure to use, which I can’t say of most outliners.

One to watch along with the open source Zavala which is impressive (and free!), but also has its flaws and is much less fluid than Bike. I’m glad to see the Outliner space getting some new energy.

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And you can’t get an extra CR between those lines in the left app?
Sorry, but an empty line, once in a while, is nothing selling software to me.

Thanks, Matthew.

I guess that makes sense. There probably wouldn’t be sufficient change for me to upgrade every year, but that option is there for the power users. I agree with the 3-4 year upgrade cycle. Probably enough.

I’ll have to take another look with that in mind and see if it becomes more attractive.


Zavala looks interesting and has apps for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

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I really like it. Lack of an iOS app is a limitation but not a serious one, for my purposes. If not having an iOS version is the price for having a macOS app with strong scripting support, Vim-like navigation (which is apparently on the roadmap), and so on, then it’s a price worth paying.

Of course, it’s true that OmniOutliner is much more full-featured at present. However, there are also things about OmniOutliner that bug me and will never change because they’re baked into the design. Bike already looks much nicer to work with. Its AppleScript support is already pretty good too.

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Yeah, opinionated apps will always be love it or leave it…

I’ve now been using Bike for a few months. Today I started a big project with it. Conclusion: I love this app! Jesse has made improvements/additions to the app on a very consistent basis. Love where it is right now, and where it’s likely to go.

A killer addition for me is that Hookmark now does deep links with Bike. Previously that had not been important. But now that I’m developing a new project (in this case a new course) the ability to deep link and focus specifically on one part of the outline is really helpful. Not nearly so useful for short outlines, but for long or detailed ones it’s extremely helpful.

Bike keeps rolling along … continuing to do interesting stuff.


What else do you like about Bike ?

NiranS: Sorry I did not repond sooner … it’s been a very busy week for me.

Bike has a very clean and pleasing interface. I guess I would call it the iA Writer of outlines. A joy to look at, interact with, and transfer from it to other apps (mind maps, notes apps, writing).

In addition I especially like how easy/fluid it is to only see the parts I want to see at any one moment. This in turn leads to the 6 shortcuts that you’d want to know:

CleanShot-CleanShot-12-09 -000205

With the 6 shortcuts you can navigate Bike so quickly, fluidly … and at least I never become overwhelmed.

Jesse has developed a very nice interface for inserting links, bolding, etc: just use command-k

Finally, Bike provides it’s own deep links. So if you want to deep link you don’t even need Hookmark (I’d forgotten all about this feature). When you deep link it goes into that area of the outline with a Focus In state … i.e. you don’t see the rest of the outline.

I hope this helps a bit.

So just the right amount of features for me … even with very long outline documents.


WhT I can’t tell from the website: Does Bike use Markdown or a subset of Markdown? Or rich text?

The website makes a lot of Bike’s rich text support, but in part does so with parallels to Markdown, and I’m not sure if that’s just by way of explaining a feature, or because it uses markdown under the hook.

I really liked FoldingText. I wish he had kept that going.

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It’s HTML under the covers. See Using Documents - Bike

.bike : This is Bike’s native format and the one I would recommend using. It supports all Bike features. It is also an HTML document – you can view Bike files in your web browser.

Just to confuse things, there is also an .opml or a .txt format that could be used, although these come with some restrictions.

See also

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