Newcomer to the electric bike market, the Urtopia ebike seeks to outperform its rivals with a packaging that is fashionable, moderately priced, and lightweight.
The carbon fiber seatpost, frame, fork, and handlebars enable a distinctive design that deviates from some of the more conventional double-triangle style frames you’ll find elsewhere. It gives the Urtopia carbon ebike its distinctive appearance and allows it to weigh almost 30 pounds. That’s unquestionably on the light side for an ebike, and it’s challenging for many bike manufacturers to overcome given the unavoidable additional weight of a motor and batteries.
With a design that’s supported by a ton of clever features, Urtopia makes a lot of promises about its bike, but sometimes it doesn’t follow through. There is just so much going on with this bike that, at least until you actually use it, it’s easy to overlook the several places the Urtopia stumbles.
I’m constantly searching for unique ebike design ideas. Recently, I learned about the limited-production New Urban Urtopia ebike, which promised to be lightweight, have cutting-edge technologies, and have an extremely intriguing frame design. The business was kind enough to offer me an early unit for review a few weeks ago. Deliveries of bikes to customers should begin in June.
|MOTOR BRAND:||MIVICE 36V 250W|
|MOTOR TYPE:||Rear-Mounted Geared Hub|
|MOTOR NOMINAL OUTPUT:||250 watts|
|MOTOR TORQUE:||35 Newton meters|
|BATTERY VOLTAGE:||36 volts|
|BATTERY AMP HOURS:||9.8 ah|
|BATTERY WATT HOURS:||352.8 wh|
|CHARGE TIME:||2.5 hours|
|ESTIMATED MIN RANGE:||30 miles (48 km)|
|ESTIMATED MAX RANGE:||80 miles (129 km)|
|TOTAL WEIGHT:||34.2 lbs (15.51 kg)|
|BATTERY WEIGHT:||4.8 lbs (2.17 kg)|
|MOTOR WEIGHT:||5 lbs (2.26 kg)|
|FRAME MATERIAL:||Carbon Fiber|
|FRAME SIZES:||18 in (45.72 cm)19.5 in (49.53 cm)|
Video Review of Urtopia Carbon Fiber
Urtopia Carbon Fiber: Design and Build Quality
The Urtopia cannot be mistaken for anything other than a unique bike. Even though the frame is completely unique and has a lightning-bolt-shaped top tube that curves into a small portion of the seat post before bending down to the seat stay, the bike is still a 700C road bike. The end effect is stunning and undoubtedly draws attention. To fit a sleek battery pack that locks into place and powers this ebike, the down tube is thicker.
The unique design is a result of the construction, which is primarily made of carbon fiber. The complete frame, fork, handlebars, and seat post are made of matte-finished carbon fiber. Due to its strength and low weight, carbon fiber is typically seen on the best motorcycles. Although the Urtopia is reasonably priced for a carbon fiber model, it appears to scratch and blemish very quickly.
On the Urtopia, a lot of technology is in use. The bicycle has a “smart bar” portion with a cool/funky white LED dot-matrix display and a powerful built-in LED headlight on the carbon fiber steering stem. The bike is started by pressing a single button on the handlebar bar, which reads your thumbprint. Once in motion, it functions as the bike bell button, and you may choose from a variety of sounds. A 4-way D-pad controller for the display, adjusting assist level (choose from no-assist Pedal mode, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Turbo), and controlling the turn signals is located on the left bar. Turn signals, indeed. In a moment, more on those. A brilliant red LED V-shaped tail light is also present.
The fully assembled bike weighs in at 33.6 pounds, a full 3.6 pounds heavier than advertised. That’s no small variance in an industry where people will go to extreme lengths to shave a few grams off their bike’s weight. The frame claims to support a maximum load of 240 pounds, which isn’t the pinnacle of strength.
The Urtopia would respond to several vocal commands to change ride modes and other parts when you push and hold the right button, though it had some difficulty understanding me when I was moving swiftly, which may have been due to wind noise. It was fantastic to be able to adjust settings without having to take out my phone, press a button, or touch on a handlebar display when it did function. The key to safe trips on an ebike (or any vehicle) is to keep your eyes on the road ahead, and the voice control option greatly facilitates safe riding.
These clever ideas make sense on paper, but often fall short in practice. Voice commands are inconsistent in their effectiveness. The digital bell occasionally arrives after a delay and doesn’t sound as loudly as a real bell. That identical button’s integrated fingerprint reader likewise malfunctions more frequently than it works. Before realizing that the dot-matrix display is actually exceedingly low-resolution and unable to convey any comprehensive information, it is initially cool to look at. Shining the turn indicators onto the ground seems like a smart method to make sure that other drivers won’t see them because they are so glaringly dull. The ARES system, meanwhile, is difficult to rely on.
The bike connects to an app, but thus far it only displays some route tracking information and provides access to fingerprint setup, bike unlocking, and firmware updates. The app, however, requires a lot more work as it doesn’t do anything to interact with the bike (not even showing a battery level) and displays some ridiculous information (suggesting I burned 18,774 Calories and saved 13.12Kg of CO2 over a 16.5-mile ride).
Much more intricate than it first appears is the rear tail light assembly. It has a “ARES” system, a tiny millimeter-wave radar system that turns on the tail light when something approaches the bike’s rear. A brilliant technological pattern is also cast onto the road by two tiny projection lenses while riding; press the blinker button to make the patterns blink. As long as it’s dry out, it appears to be fairly chilly at night. In the rain, not as much, and the patterns are harder for drivers to notice because they are also on the ground. Urtopia should rework the rear module and include a more noticeable turn signal that is in the form of a “normal” style LED.
By providing a few premium parts, Urtopia regains some ground. The handgrips are ergonomically sound. The hydraulic disc brakes were well-tuned right out of the box, despite being from an undisclosed manufacturer. The Gates belt drive transmission is another.
Its unique nature makes it difficult to replace or change out pieces, and it lacks support mechanisms for baskets, bottles, and other items of the sort. However, some components, such the saddle, pedals, and handlebar grips, can be changed. The pedals feel like an afterthought, with a cheap plastic construction and absolutely no grip, even if the saddle is narrow and lightly cushioned.
Urtopia Carbon Fiber: Motor and Driving
Instead of being all about power and speed, the Urtopia ebike is designed to make cycling easier for its rider. The 250W motor is activated using a torque sensor, which causes it to turn on and provide assistance more quickly than a cadence sensor, which often requires more pedal motion to start the motor.
It’s a lot of fun to ride the Urtopia. Even while it isn’t particularly powerful, it nevertheless gives the pedals a strong boost, especially in high Turbo mode. However, even in Eco, I felt a little pushed, despite the fact that Eco was the finest mode for casually tooling around the neighborhood. I typically set it on Tour or Sport when I needed to knock off some distance.
I placed it in Turbo and started up the incline as I rolled over to my hill test, which is normally not kind to single-speed ebikes. Getting to the summit wasn’t a problem because the Urtopia is so lightweight.
The motor doesn’t have much pickup, but it does a good job of accelerating from low speed to the bike’s top speed of 16 mph. Although the US model is designed to go 20 mph, my test unit was only capable of 16 mph. The bike isn’t well geared for unaided riding, which has been true to varied degrees of every ebike I’ve ridden, so the motor help is crucial. Thank goodness, the motor works. Strangely, the bike felt about the same whether I had the power set to the lowest or the highest setting — ignoring the “pedal” mode, which is a cover for having the motor off.
Despite having no suspension, the Urtopia seemed grounded and confident as it descended the slope, easily surpassing 35 miles per hour. This is a strong indication of its road manners. The hydraulic disc brakes are fantastic, providing good power and feel with almost any brake line evidence. Front to back, fit and finish are great.
The finest rides I had on the New Urban Urtopia were when I had time to just pedal around Portland as winter gave way to spring and the temperatures climbed out of the subfreezing range where they seemed to have been stuck for weeks at a time. It was a lot of joy to roll around the neighborhood, the local parks, and the bike lanes with the sun shining.
The ride is decent all around. I don’t get sore after a long ride because the frame isn’t too stiff. Given the set handlebar position (remember, you can’t modify it) and shorter seat tube, there is less room for adjustment than on standard frames if you are taller or shorter than average. However, as Urtopia would only supply a Medium review sample, I couldn’t fully assess the bike’s comfort.
I enjoyed a pleasant ride in the Urtopia to have lunch across town. Even though the weather turned bad as soon as I started riding, there were no problems with the bike moving forward in the rain.
I was worried that the New Urban Urtopia would be a delicate, too-small, fussy ebike that would be difficult to ride or uncomfortable because it is such a light bike. I give New Urban credit for making a bike that is roomy, stable at any pace, and enjoyable to ride. With the exception of the voice controls, the technological aspects functioned flawlessly, but I discovered that I could rapidly adjust the majority of settings using the left bar pad. But when it works, voice control completely changes the game in terms of safety. Hopefully, this technology will be used by more motorcycles in the future. I believe the New Urban Urtopia is the only bike available right now that has this particular technological feature.
The battery was almost completely depleted and no longer providing the same level of assistance as it did at the beginning of a 16.5-mile cycling excursion. If the battery hadn’t lost two bars between charging and riding, I think it’s reasonable to say it might have gone 20 miles. However, that 20 miles isn’t too far off from ebikes like the Detroit Bikes E-Sparrow, and it’s still less than the 30-80 miles Urtopia suggests.
Urtopia Carbon Fiber: Conclusions
This is a fantastic ebike for dedicated or traditional cyclists who want a small, single-speed machine with cutting-edge technology and a distinctive style — and perhaps secretly want a little help on the hills or long trips as well.
There aren’t many things I dislike about Urtopia. I loved the projection system, however the rear signals might need to be slightly redesigned to be more apparent to distracted drivers, especially in the rain. Despite my initial concerns that the bike would be fragile or too small, I always had no issues with it, and after a few kilometers on it, I was extremely confident in the durability of the design and pleased with the riding quality.
The carbon fiber ebike called the Urtopia makes a lot of bold claims but struggles mightily to keep them. It is essentially a straightforward ebike that helps the rider accelerate and cruise. It does that task perfectly well. But Urtopia went overboard with the design, included too many flimsy smart features, and chose a carbon fiber frame without actually succeeding to create a lightweight bike.
While $3299 (before any pre-order discounts) isn’t a lot for a carbon fiber bike, it is still a large investment in a startup with no track record, which is the problem.