Hands-on practice: Urtopia's 13 kg carbon fiber electric bicycle is expected to achieve great wisdom

2021-12-08 06:22:57 By : Ms. Grace Xu

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Napier Lopez is a writer living in New York City. He is interested in everything related to technology, science, and photography, and he likes to play yo-yos in (All Shows). Napier Lopez is a writer living in New York City. He is interested in everything related to technology, science and photography, and likes to play yo-yos in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.

There are two types of e-bike riders: those who want as much power and weight reduction as possible, and those who like to strike a balance between power and a natural riding experience.

The Urtopia electric bike is a futuristic carbon fiber ride, which is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo, which is the latter.

The bike's current introduction price is $2,000, and the company plans to ship it to early supporters in February 2022. As of the publication of this article, the bike has raised more than $1 million, and there are still 26 days before the event.

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I have been able to try a prototype bike for a few days, and it weighs just over 13 kg (29 lb) meters, making it the lightest electric bike I have ever reviewed. The experience it provides is closer to an "acoustic" bike than almost all electric bikes I have tried.

But Urtopia goes a step further: it contains a variety of built-in intelligence, making it a veritable "technical" product. There are voice control, built-in alarm system, steering navigation, steering signal, radar, etc. Its goal is not just to provide a power drive-although this ambition opens up room for some potential pitfalls.

The bike's current introduction price is $2,000, and the company plans to ship it to early supporters in February 2022. As of the publication of this article, the bike has raised more than $1 million, and there are still 26 days before the event.

Put a lot of smarts into a bicycle, because the app is not ready yet, some smart functions cannot be used when I ride for the first time (I will update this article after the app is released). Urtopia also emphasized that since my review unit is a prototype, some finer details have not yet been finalized.

Nevertheless, even the prototype form has a lot to like-and some things I hope to see improved before release.

For me, the most important thing is always the pedal assist feel, and Urtopia does it perfectly. This bike seems to use the same torque sensor as the Tenways electric bike I reviewed recently, which means it provides some of the smoothest pedaling even when compared to high-end brands such as Specialized and Brompton.

The soft acceleration curve, the almost silent motor and belt drive, and the minimum weight of 13 kg make Urtopia feel more like an "normal" bicycle than almost all electric bicycles I have tested so far. Oops, the motor and belt drive are so quiet that Urtopia is actually quieter than most non-electric bicycles. It's almost a bit creepy, and the smoothness does add to the feeling that the bike makes you feel stronger, rather than simply being pulled by a powerful motor.

Admittedly, at a continuous power of 250W, this won't make the motorcycle good value for money, but the torque sensor means that the bicycle can intelligently provide power as needed. In my experience, this is more than enough on bicycles that intend to pedal (not to mention that 250W is the limit before the EU requires you to obtain a permit). It should also help the battery last longer.

It’s also worth mentioning that although the 360 ​​Wh battery isn’t that big overall, it’s the largest battery I’ve seen in an electric bike under 35 pounds; most of them are about 250 Wh, if you Want to buy a second package to expand your range, they are usually not easy to disassemble.

Although, like many carbon fiber bicycles, there is no suspension on the car, Urtopia provides enough vibration absorption, and it does feel much better on rough roads than most electric bicycles I have used with this narrow tire. As for durability, it is clearly in the pudding, but it is gratifying that Urtopia is willing to provide a 10-year warranty for the frame. Of course, it depends on whether the company is willing to honor its warranty — and whether Urtopia will still exist after 10 years.

The headlights and taillights are also very bright, and the projection lights are also very beautiful. The bicycle will project the Urtopia logo to your left and right sides, making you more visible at night. These lights also double as turn signals, but unfortunately, they are not visible during the day.

My bicycle has not been long enough for mileage assessment. I think even in Eco mode, the 80-mile claim may be optimistic. But based on my experience with similar bicycles, I think 40-50 miles is actually feasible, considering that the weight of the battery is larger than usual.

It is also very noteworthy that the bicycle is very suitable for pedaling without assistance. The motor does not produce any significant resistance, and although you will not fly uphill on a single-speed bicycle, I find that it can comfortably reach about 35 km/h (22 mph). If your battery is dead, you are basically left with an average-weight single-speed bicycle.

Urtopia has acquired the basic knowledge of the correct riding experience, which is my number one priority. In this regard alone, it can compete with some significantly more expensive bicycles. However, although many of the more futuristic details are also very tempting, I do have some reservations that potential buyers should pay attention to.

The carbon fiber frame allows minimal weight, but will cause some unfortunate restrictions. For example, the frame has no mounting points, and anything other than point A to point B limits its usefulness (some general-purpose frames may be useful, but not recommended for carbon fiber frames). This is an electric bicycle; I should be able to move things if I want to.

Similarly, the use of non-cylindrical "aviation" seatposts limits the ability to add accessories such as suspended seatposts or some cargo trailers, and the integrated display means that changing handlebars is not an option. In contrast, the cheaper Tenways C-GO 600 is only a little heavier and is as customizable as a regular bicycle, although the battery is smaller and non-removable.

Keep in mind that these problems are common in carbon fiber bicycles, so they are not unique to Urtopia, but they are still worth mentioning.

In terms of "intelligence", I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that voice control is reliable and fast, and can effectively change the assist level, lock the bicycle, or effectively turn the lights on and off. I rarely need to repeat it twice, even though I did not test voice commands at high speed.

Frankly speaking, I expect this review to be a disaster in the voice control field, so I am happy to see that this is not the case. I have also found that the built-in alarm is useful for very fast stops, which can be used as a convenient deterrent to tampering (except for proper locks, of course)

But at least on my pre-production equipment, without voice control, you cannot activate the headlights and taillights-what if I get rained or windy and the microphone cannot hear my commands?

List some other troubles, some of which can be fixed through updates or through upcoming applications:

It’s worth reiterating that this is a pre-production bike, and I don’t have permission to access the app and certain functions. I will update this article when I better understand which additional settings the app allows you to access.

Although Urtopia still needs to improve some of the bike’s intelligence, it has also done a good job—beyond my expectations.

In any case, they are mostly small complaints in the overall situation. Even if it doesn't include any fancy smart features, I think Urtopia is worth the money just in terms of weight and ride quality (well, at least its IndieGoGo promotion). There are not many electric bicycles that can be easily hung on your shoulders and climb a flight of stairs like ordinary bicycles. Even if it is not very powerful, the smoothness of the pedaling experience is second to none.

As always, you should only support crowdfunding projects that have a healthy understanding of the potential risks involved. Delays, product changes, etc. are not uncommon. Nevertheless, unlike the many crowdfunding activities I participated in, Urtopia was willing to send me a functional prototype that performed admirably. If the company can stay true to its delivery and warranty promises, Urtopia electric bikes are a compelling option for those who want to feel like the bikes of the future.

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