The new Vanpowers Urban Glide Ultra is the crown jewel of Vanpowers’ lineup of commuter e-bikes. What sets this e-bike apart from the rest? Well, it’s time to hop on and take a ride to discover the big secret that makes it truly special.
At Electric Bike Report, we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a wide variety of e-bikes, so if you’re currently in the market for one, you’ll certainly want to keep up with the latest and greatest models we cover. But let’s not delay any further; the Urban Glide Ultra is here, and it’s an absolute blast to ride.
The standout feature of the Urban Glide Ultra lies in its mid-drive motor, and this is where the magic happens. So, let’s embark on a ride to uncover what makes this e-bike so exceptional.
|Motor||Bafang® M600 48V/500W Mid Drive Motor|
|Rear Derailleur||Microshift® RD-M26L
|Brake||Tektro® HD-E350 Hydraulic
Disc Brake, 180mm Rotors
|Stem||Zoom® Adjustable Stem,
90mm, 0-90 degree
|Seat Post||Zoom® Suspension Seat
Post, 30mm Travel, with Quick
|Battery Capacity||690WH UL certified battery with LG cells|
|Weight||70.55 lbs./32 kg|
Design and Build Quality
The Vanpowers Urban Glide Ultra boasts an impressive combination of design and build quality, making it a standout choice in the world of urban electric bikes. Its sleek step-through frame design immediately catches the eye, offering both style and functionality. Available in two frame sizes and two distinct colors – lava red and gunmetal blue – this bike caters to a range of preferences while maintaining a modern and clean aesthetic.
One of the standout features of the Urban Glide Ultra is its exceptional ride comfort. This is achieved through a well-thought-out suspension system that provides a cushioned experience. The front suspension fork, with 100 millimeters of travel, and the suspension seat post, offering 30 millimeters of travel, both crafted by Zoom, work in harmony to deliver an ultra-smooth and comfortable ride. These elements are integral to the bike’s ability to effortlessly tackle various terrains, ensuring an enjoyable riding experience.
The drivetrain of the Urban Glide Ultra is manufactured by Microshift and includes a 42-tooth chainring paired with a nine-speed 12 to 36 tooth cassette. This combination provides riders with versatile gearing options, allowing for efficient climbing on hills and maintaining speed on flat roads or paths. The flexibility of the drivetrain adds to the bike’s overall utility.
Safety is paramount, especially for urban commuters, and the Urban Glide Ultra takes this seriously. It’s equipped with the Tektro E350 hydraulic brake system, specifically designed for e-bikes. This system features two-piston calipers and 180-millimeter rotors, delivering reliable and responsive braking performance. Detailed brake testing results are forthcoming, providing a comprehensive overview of this crucial component.
The bike rolls on 27.5-inch by 2.2-inch street tires by Kenda, striking a balance between stability and agility on city streets. The saddle, courtesy of Velo, offers comfort for extended rides, ensuring you stay comfortable throughout your journey. Additionally, the Urban Glide Ultra comes equipped with fenders, a rear cargo rack with a generous 55-pound carrying capacity, and both front and rear lights. While the rear light should function as a brake light, it’s worth noting that our test model did not perform this function consistently. Despite this minor drawback, the tail light remains large and bright, contributing to overall safety during nighttime rides.
The cockpit setup of the Urban Glide Ultra is thoughtfully designed, mirroring the bike’s clean and minimalist frame. This simplicity not only enhances the bike’s aesthetics but also makes for an intuitive and distraction-free riding experience.
So, the Vanpowers combines an elegant design with top-notch build quality to deliver a comfortable and versatile urban electric bike. Its suspension system, drivetrain, brakes, and additional features make it a compelling choice for commuters seeking both style and functionality in their daily rides. With its clean lines and attention to detail, the Urban Glide Ultra is a testament to the future of urban mobility.
One of the standout features that I particularly appreciated about the Urban Glide Ultra was the ergonomic design of its handlebars. These handlebars boast a comfortable curve that enhances the overall riding experience. Measuring at a generous 710 millimeters, they provide ample width, allowing for a stable and controlled grip, especially during long rides or when navigating through urban traffic. This width contributes to a sense of confidence and comfort while steering the bike.
To further enhance the ergonomic feel, the handlebars are fitted with rubber grips that offer a secure and cushioned hold. These grips not only improve control but also reduce hand fatigue, making the Urban Glide Ultra a pleasure to ride for extended periods.
The control panel on the handlebars is thoughtfully designed, keeping things simple and intuitive. It features just a couple of buttons, ensuring that you can easily access essential functions without being overwhelmed by a complex interface. This streamlined design aligns with the bike’s clean and minimalist aesthetic, promoting a distraction-free riding experience.
Shifting gears on the Urban Glide Ultra is a breeze, thanks to the Microshift rapid-fire shifter. This component is renowned for its user-friendly operation, making gear changes smooth and effortless. It’s a setup that many riders find comfortable and reliable, and it’s one of my personal favorites as well.
The bike’s big color display is a noteworthy feature that adds a touch of sophistication to the overall cockpit setup. Its size and vibrant visuals make it easy to read, providing essential information at a glance. However, you noted that the battery readout could be a bit larger, which is a valid point, as monitoring battery status is crucial for e-bike riders. Nevertheless, the display’s uniqueness and ease of use remain commendable.
Vanpowers Urban Glide Ultra: Motor
As the highest-tier version of the Urban Glide, the Ultra is a Class 1 e-bike, which means it provides pedal-assisted speeds of up to 20 miles per hour without a throttle. What sets it apart and elevates the riding experience is its formidable 500-watt Bafang M600 mid-drive motor. Originally designed for electric mountain bikes and electric cargo bikes, this motor brings an abundance of power to the Urban Glide, far surpassing the needs of everyday urban commuting.
The 500-watt Bafang M600 motor transforms pedaling into an almost effortless experience, giving riders a sensation of exhilarating acceleration. While the Urban Glide isn’t built for rugged terrains or heavy loads like its intended counterparts, it benefits immensely from this extra power. To put things into perspective, most mid-drive commuter bikes are equipped with 250 or 350-watt motors. With an additional 150 to 250 watts at its disposal, the Urban Glide Ultra delivers not only fantastic acceleration but also exceptional hill-climbing capabilities.
One of the standout features of the Bafang motor is its use of a torque sensor. This sensor is incredibly responsive, providing power immediately as you pedal and seamlessly adapting to changes in your pedaling cadence. This responsiveness not only enhances the overall riding experience but also contributes to the feeling of being in complete control of the bike. Riding the Urban Glide Ultra with this motor can make you feel like a superhero, effortlessly gliding through city streets with a sense of power and agility.
It’s time to join me for a ride on the Urban Glide Ultra, where we’ll put its speed to the test. Spoiler alert: you’re going to be thoroughly impressed by this bike’s motor.
I’m currently pedaling without any motor assistance, cruising comfortably at around 11.5 miles per hour. Now, I’ll engage pedal assist level 1, where the mid-drive motor with the torque sensor comes into play. This means you can achieve a wide range of speeds on this bike, even in pas1, depending on your pedaling effort. So, let’s keep a casual pace and see what this bike can do.
In pedal assist 1, I’m smoothly riding at about 13.5 miles per hour. Moving up to pedal assist 2, and shifting into a higher gear, we’re now comfortably and casually cruising at around 15 miles per hour. Bumping up to pas3, the power from the motor is incredible, and pedaling feels almost effortless. I’m maintaining a speed of about 18 miles per hour.
Now, let’s switch to pas4. The difference in the bike’s feel between these settings is minimal, but my speed is steadily increasing. I’m now hovering around 19 miles per hour. Finally, we reach pedal assist 5, and we’re riding at approximately 19.5 miles per hour. Although the display indicates 20, there’s often a slight discrepancy.
That concludes our speed test for the Vanpowers Urban Glide Ultra. As you can see, the motor’s responsiveness and power delivery make it easy to achieve impressive speeds. Keep in mind that the torque sensor adapts quickly to your pedal pressure and cadence, so your speed may vary slightly from moment to moment. However, this bike’s performance is sure to leave you impressed.
Now, let’s switch gears (pun intended) and take a look at our hill test experience with the Urban Glide Ultra.
For our hill test, I rode the Urban Glide Ultra up our challenging test path, equipped with its 500-watt Bafang mid-drive motor. This bike offers an upright Dutch-style riding position, which is incredibly comfortable for long-distance rides.
As I began the ascent, I noticed the motor’s smooth power delivery. Even on this steep hill, I didn’t have to exert much effort to maintain a comfortable pace. The bike climbed steadily, maintaining speeds around 10 miles per hour, which is quite impressive for a mid-drive motor.
Throughout the climb, the Bafang mid-drive motor emitted a slightly higher-pitched whine, indicating its active engagement. However, I found this sound far from annoying, and it provided assurance that the motor was performing optimally.
Overall, the Urban Glide Ultra exhibited excellent hill-climbing capabilities, reaching the summit in just a minute and 28 seconds with an average speed of 12.3 miles per hour. This is a remarkable result, especially for a mid-drive motor. While some e-bikes may require more effort on steep inclines, the Urban Glide Ultra showcased its substantial power and torque, making hill climbs an effortless experience.
Now, let’s switch gears again and discuss the ride quality of the Urban Glide Ultra, highlighting its comfort and adjustability.
The Urban Glide Ultra is designed for comfort on your daily commutes or recreational rides. It comes in two frame sizes – small and large – ensuring a suitable fit for a range of riders. Even though I’m a bit taller than the recommended height for this small frame, I was able to achieve a comfortable fit thanks to the adjustable stem. This feature allows you to customize the handlebar height, reach, and even the handlebar rotation to match your preferred riding style.
The bike’s comfort is further enhanced by its suspension system, comprising a suspension fork and a suspension seat post, both manufactured by Zoom. These components work together seamlessly to absorb bumps and provide a smooth and comfortable ride. Whether you’re navigating city streets or tackling uneven terrain, the Urban Glide Ultra ensures that each ride is enjoyable and pain-free.
The bike’s handlebars are wide, allowing for precise control and comfortable handling. Paired with the 27.5-inch by 2.2-inch Kenda street tires, you’ll experience stability and agility as you cruise through urban environments.
Additionally, the Urban Glide Ultra features the Bafang mid-drive motor with a torque sensor. This sensor responds quickly to changes in your pedaling effort, making it feel almost effortless to reach and maintain your desired speeds. The five pedal assist settings provide varying levels of power, catering to both casual and more aggressive riding styles.
However, it’s essential to note that high-powered mid-drive motors like the one on this bike can exert significant force on the cassette. To mitigate potential wear and tear, it’s advisable to downshift and reduce your pedal assist setting when coming to a stop, distributing the force more evenly.
During our comprehensive brake test of the Urban Glide Ultra, we observed solid performance from its Tektro hydraulic disc brake system. To evaluate its braking capabilities, we conducted a series of tests by accelerating the bike to 20 miles per hour and then engaging the brakes, measuring the distance it took to come to a complete stop. This process was repeated three times to ensure accuracy.
The results of our brake test revealed an average stopping distance of 22 feet 11 inches. To put this into perspective, it’s just slightly over a foot longer than our current average for all the commuter e-bikes we’ve tested, which stands at approximately 21 feet 8 inches. Despite this modest difference, it’s essential to emphasize that this performance is still commendable and categorizes the brake system as both safe and effective.
We noted that the brake system exhibited a solid bite, providing reassuring stopping power. While the rear wheels occasionally showed a tendency to slide slightly, this is a common occurrence in brake testing, and overall, the bike felt well-equipped with the Tektro system.
Battery and Range
The Urban Glide Ultra demonstrated its impressive capabilities during our range test, showcasing its ability to cover substantial distances on a single charge. Equipped with a robust 690-watt-hour battery, the bike delivered a range between approximately 42 and 51 miles, depending on the chosen pedal assist setting. While this range falls short of the advertised 70 miles, it’s important to note that the bike still performed admirably considering its specifications.
One key factor contributing to the Urban Glide Ultra’s slightly reduced range is its high-powered 500-watt Bafang M600 mid-drive motor. Designed for more demanding environments and applications, this motor naturally consumes more battery power due to its increased energy output. However, this power is precisely what provides the bike with its exceptional acceleration and hill-climbing capabilities, making it a worthwhile trade-off for many riders.
It’s worth mentioning that our testers, who are accustomed to riding bikes regularly, may have a heavier pedal stroke than the average rider. This could contribute to a slightly reduced range, as the torque sensor responds to their more forceful pedaling. For riders who exert less effort, it’s possible to squeeze out a bit more mileage from the battery.
In practical terms, the measured 42-mile range on pedal assist level 5 (pas5) is an impressive result, particularly for a commuter bike equipped with a mid-drive motor. Moreover, the overall range of 42 to 51 miles is more than adequate for most urban commuting needs. Even for those with an exceptionally long round-trip commute, the Urban Glide Ultra still has you covered. For riders with shorter daily commutes, the bike offers the convenience of lasting several days on a single charge, reducing the need for frequent recharging.
In addition to its impressive physical attributes and performance capabilities, the Urban Glide Ultra offers a seamless integration with the Vanpowers app, enhancing the overall riding experience and providing valuable insights into your e-biking journey.
The Vanpowers app is a powerful companion that adds a layer of intelligence to your e-bike adventures. With this app, you gain access to a range of features that extend beyond the confines of the physical bike itself.
One of the most practical features is the navigation capability. The app helps you plan your routes with ease, ensuring that you can navigate through urban streets and trails efficiently. This is especially valuable for urban commuters who need to find the quickest and safest paths to their destinations.
Data tracking is another key aspect of the app’s functionality. It allows you to keep a detailed record of your rides, tracking metrics such as distance covered, average speed, and ride duration. This information can be useful for monitoring your progress, setting fitness goals, or simply keeping a diary of your cycling adventures.
One unique and inspiring feature of the Vanpowers app is its environmental focus. It quantifies your positive impact on the environment by calculating the grams of carbon dioxide you’ve helped reduce simply by riding your e-bike.
So, the Vanpowers Urban Glide Ultra has truly impressed us, delivering an outstanding e-biking experience that left us with very few criticisms. It’s safe to say that Vanpowers has hit a home run with this e-bike.
Throughout our rigorous tests, the Urban Glide Ultra consistently performed admirably. The brake system, while not breaking records, stopped the bike within the expected range, ensuring rider safety. Climbing hills was a breeze thanks to the powerful motor, and the bike’s speed capabilities across all pedal assist settings left us thoroughly impressed. Moreover, its practical range in our tests showcased its suitability for daily commutes and beyond.
From a rider’s perspective, two aspects stood out as clear favorites. The first is the overall comfort level of the bike. Its adjustable components, suspension system, and ergonomic design make it incredibly comfortable for riders of various sizes and preferences. Second, the motor’s power and responsiveness made every ride enjoyable, turning even the most challenging routes into a breeze.
While we would have appreciated the addition of a throttle and experienced a minor issue with the brake light, these are relatively small considerations in the grand scheme of things.
We hope you found this review informative and, perhaps, even entertaining. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for joining us on this ride, and remember, I’m John with Electric Bike Report, and this is the Vanpowers Urban Glide Ultra—an e-bike that truly stands out.