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A Ranger assaulting something other than the nearest tree / wall

Free Bike is the name of a series of vehicles that the Ranger can call for in Earth Defense Force 5. They can only be driven by a Ranger or Air Raider. They replace the SDL1 from EDF 2025 and 4.1, and there was much rejoicing.

Description

A far cry from the armored brick haphazardly mated to a sports motorcycle that was the SDL1, the Free Bike is a sleek futuristic bike painted in the EDF's blue and yellow livery (save the Omega Free Bike, which is instead pink with anime girls because of course it is). It is a one-man vehicle, with the operator both driving and controlling the bike's weapons.

As with the SDL1 in 4.1, the Ranger can summon a Free Bike underground, and it is the only one of his vehicles where this is an option. As before, it is delivered by a transport aircraft above ground, but simply appears instantly in a puff of smoke if it is summoned underground. As with other Ranger-specific vehicles, a request for a Free Bike goes in the Ranger's equipment slot.

Strategy

The Free Bike, while not nearly as finicky as the SDL1, is one of the hardest vehicles in the game to master. It retains the SDL1's ability to be damaged by terrain collisions and is now even more like a helicopter due to the addition of limited fuel. This is only "limited" in the sense that it could, in theory, run out: in practice the amount given is extremely generous and it is unlikely that a bike will run out of fuel before it runs out of health or ammo.

Additionally, it is the only vehicle in the game which the driver can fall off of, either due to collision, improperly landing a jump, or turning at too steep an angle. Falling from a bike can damage the bike on impact, but will not cause damage to the character riding it, only causing a zero-damage knockdown. Exiting the bike if it is about to crash can be used to avoid being knocked down. The Free Bike seems to take collision damage as a percentage of its total HP rather than a fixed amount, so later variants are not more forgiving of careless driving than early ones.

Handling is significantly improved when using a controller due to "accelerate" being switched from forward on the analog stick to the left trigger, making it much clearer that the bike has analog acceleration. The left button allows the bike to reverse. Left and right on the stick tilt the bike to turn, while back and forward can be used to shift the center of gravity to land jumps or pop wheelies. In general it is a good idea to not fully hold the accelerator without a good reason, and to slow down prior to attempting a turn.

If a player can get the hang of driving a Free Bike without blowing it up it is by far the fastest movement option for the Ranger, offering significantly greater speed than Under Assist. The item pickup radius is a rather modest 150% of the normal pickup radius, but the ability to move quickly around the map can still make it very useful for a Ranger to gather Items during a lull in combat, as well as allowing him to quickly relocate if he is being overwhelmed and keep on the move to avoid attacks.

The armament of most variants is a pair of linked machine guns that are fixed firing forward: any comparison to the Epsilon Armored Railgun's secondary weapons the SDL1 might have drawn is certainly not justified this time around, as the Free Bike's machine guns are vastly better. Indeed, they are about one-third more powerful per shot than the autocannons of a similar-level non-Vulture N9 Eros, though they lack the armor-piercing capability and only have three-quarters of the fire rate.

There are two exceptions with different armament: the first is the DLC unlocked Omega Free Bike, which is armed with a pair of "Force Sabers," short-range continuous-fire laser cannons. The other is the level 57 Free Bike War Custom, which is armed with a pair of small guided missile launchers. While these are somewhat limited due to only having 12 shots (as both launchers lock on to a single target), each pair of missiles deals 1,680 damage (only slightly less than a shot from the level 81 Grant MTX rocket launcher) with a 5-meter blast radius.

Unlike the 4.1 SDL1, only two variants of the Free Bike provide multiple bikes per set of reload credits. Since the Free Bike is no longer selected as if it is a weapon, there is no way to "reload" these two variants: to start building up a new set of reload credits, the Ranger has to summon the second bike.

Roughly every player will eventually hit upon the idea of attaching C Bombs to a Free Bike: this is effective, but leads to a rather interesting behavior. The first bomb to detonate will hurl the bike's chassis into the air: this means that if aimed correctly, a player can actually bring down a Teleportation Ship by flinging an exploding bike carcass into it.

Variants

Free Bikes have a crew of 1 and cost a minimum of 2,573 reload credits to re-request, starting with their credits 50% filled. The exception is the DLC level 12 Omega Free Bike, which has a requirement of 3,500 reload credits which cannot be upgraded.

Free Bikes can appear pre-placed in missions: these have the handling of a Free Bike 1, but other stats vary depending on the difficulty level and mission. They have half the fuel of the average player-spawned variant at 10,000, health from 150-3,902, and their machine gun damage is from roughly 1.5 to 390 per shot.

Level Name Health Fuel Fuel use (unit

/sec)

Armam-ent Ammo Fire rate (shots / sec) Damage Firing Range (m) No. of req-uests
3 Free Bike 1 330 20000 1.666 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 16.5 160 1
12 Omega Free Bike 450 20000 1.3 Force Saber x 2 5000 60.0 24.0 25 1
17 Free Bike G1 960 20000 1.3 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 63.0 160 1
28 Free Bike Mad Custom 540 20000 2.1 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 27.0 160 2
41 Free Bike 2 1500 20000 1.3 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 75.0 160 1
57 Free Bike War Custom 3150 20000 1.35 Missile launcher x 2 12 ? 840.0 (blast radius 5m) ? 1
61 Free Bike Type X 3150 20000 1.0 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 157.5 160 1
63 Free Bike Hell Custom 4500 40000 1.666 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 225.0 160 2
76 Free Bike Type Z 6600 20000 0.8 Light Machine Gun x 2 1200 15.0 330.0 160 1

Trivia

  • The direct translation of the bike's Japanese name is "Freeger."
  • It is called "Freesia" on the Steam page for the Omega Free Bike DLC.
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