Review

Urtopia e-bike in short test: This bike weighs only 13 kg!

The topic of electromobility has also picked up speed in Germany at the latest since the official launch of e-scooters. E-bikes are particularly popular, and many people certainly think of VanMoof, Cowboy or the Sushi e-bikes. Competition is now coming with the Urtopia Carbon e-bike. We were allowed to test a prototype of the 13 kg light e-bike. And let’s put it this way: The fact that the e-bike can be successful is not un(r)topical.

We got the Urtopia e-bike for a short test for two days, and it was brought to us already assembled. Of course, you have to assemble it yourself after purchase, but the manual in .pdf form shows that this should be easy to do. Our test device is a prototype that is not yet compatible with the app and thus lacks some functions. We have mentioned everything we could test so far in the article.

The Urtopia e-bike weighs only 13 kg!

The Urtopia, a portmanteau of “Urban” and “Utopia”, e-bike obviously relies on a relatively unusual design. This cut does without half of the actual seat tube and leads this directly to the rear axle. Thus, the frame should bring its own suspension with it, with which you can also times cobblestones or other rough terrain pleasantly. However, this design is not new and can already be found on models from the manufacturer Urwahn. Nevertheless, it is rather intended for urban traffic, which is why the urban in the name. Visually, I like the Urtopia much better than many other models. You too?

Urtopia uses a carbon frame. This results in a weight of just 13 kg (incl. battery), which makes it interesting for commuters or residents of a higher floor, for example. The VanMoof S3 weighs 21 kg in comparison. That’s still 8 kg less, which you don’t have to carry to the third floor in case of doubt. The frame is available in three colors: Sirius (anthracite with orange accents), Lyra (light gray with white stripes) and Midnight in Paris (black with red and green accents). The cables of the Urtopia are routed in the frame.

For me, unfortunately, size M is a little too small.

In addition, the bike is available in two sizes: size M for riders from 1.65 m to 1.80 m tall, and size L for riders from 1.75 m to 1.90 m tall. For me, with a height of 1.87 m, the bike is too small in size M, which made riding a bit uncomfortable.

The e-bike is actually light, I have it due to the advertising perhaps even slightly lighter imagined. I was able to carry it up and down a steep staircase with minimal effort and intentionally did not take the elevator. If you reach under the saddle, you catch the center of gravity of the Urtopia relatively well, which allowed me to carry it even one-handed. If you like, you can also carry it over your shoulder, but for that you need a relatively wide staircase. Nevertheless, you should not forget that it is still 13 kg, which you have to lift first.

Workmanship of the e-bike

At first glance, the Urtopia e-bike really does look very high-quality, despite or perhaps because of the carbon frame from the 3D printer. The center bar is solid, as is the main bar for the battery. This is my first point of criticism – the gaps for the battery are quite large, so that it is clearly visible. This could have been done even better visually and the battery could have been integrated better. The rubber cover for the charging port is also a bit loose. In addition, the housing in the handlebar for the Smartbar’s display is surprisingly “hollow” and probably only made of plastic. The only real flaw is that there is a cable in front of the screw for adjusting the saddle in the frame, so we could not adjust it.

Otherwise, tires, brakes and saddle but sit bombproof and the wiring is almost completely integrated into the housing. I would be satisfied with it in view of the price, even if it does not seem quite as “from one cast” as, for example, a VanMoof S3, at least on the product images and videos. Admittedly, I still lack some experience and comparison values here.

Urtopia E-Bike UWW

How does the Urtopia e-bike ride?

The manufacturer relies on a motor from Mivice in the rear hub, which has a total of five riding modes up its sleeve: Pedal, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Turbo. The turbo mode is hidden and can be activated by holding down the upper button for a long time. The manufacturer also thinks of a torque sensor built in. This means that when you pedal harder, the driving support from the motor also increases – logically. When you exceed the limit of 25 km/h, the motor turns off so that you can only pedal manually.

Even if the frame is supposed to provide a “natural” suspension, I can not confirm that so far. The Urtopia is definitely a city bike, I find the ride very hard. Of course, this is partly due to the saddle, which can be easily replaced, but I could not determine any other suspension. In contrast to my 10-year-old Rabeneick mid-range bike, the Urtopia feels almost like a road bike, fortunately with much thicker tires.

But that’s largely due to the acceleration. My dear Scholli, that was fun! Already in Eco mode, the translation from manual pedal power to electronic acceleration surprised me. In no time at all to 20 km/h, where I then switched to comfort mode. Then simply up a hill at 25 km/h – no problem. Who wants to drive comfortably, gets in Eco mode in my opinion already enough pedaling support.

If you need the maximum speed and are fit yourself, you should at least use the comfort mode, in sport or even turbo mode even less power input is necessary. When I raced down a hill at 38 km/h and pedaled very lightly, the torque sensor kicked in, I immediately got a boost again.

But then I also noticed: “Oh, I think our prototype is not adapted to the StVO”. Actually, exactly the sensor should ensure that you pedal manually again at 25 km / h. I couldn’t determine that with our prototype, which is why I sometimes easily drove at 35 km/h. It’s fun, but not really fun. This is fun, but not legal.

Order Urtopia E-bike »

Range

The manufacturer does not officially state the range yet, but according to first reviews, up to 75 km are possible. The information from our contact was a range of 100 km, which will certainly depend on the driving style and weight. Since we only used the Urtopia for a short time, we cannot give any information yet. However, the battery status is permanently displayed on the pictogram.

The battery already weighs over 2 kg!

The battery is removable, for which you have to turn the key and open a lock. It is a Phylion Li-On battery with 36.5 V voltage, 10 Ah and 365 Wh capacity. This alone weighs 2,242 g, which shows how light the bike actually is.

How to operate the Urtopa e-bike?

The Urtopa Smartbar is installed in the handlebar, a display with pictograms consisting of 24 x 24 pixels. On it, you get the relevant ride data such as the speed, the battery status and the current mode displayed. There are also several animations. For example, when you start turbo mode, a rocket appears, and when you lock it, a lock appears – very cool!

Easy to read even in daylight!

To the right of it is a fingerprint sensor that is supposed to unlock and lock the bike, which does not work yet. You can also “ring” the bell with a short click. Depending on the selected volume, this is sometimes too quiet and should always be equally loud in my opinion, regardless of the speaker volume of the bike.

As with the smartphone: Soon you will also be able to unlock your bike with it.

The diamond-shaped control panel is located to the left of the display. You can switch between the different riding modes by clicking up and down. A long press and hold upwards activates the turbo mode, a long press and hold downwards switches the Urtopia e-bike on. You can use left and right to flash. To do this, a small light under the rear light projects the direction indicator onto the ground, about 50 cm from the wheel. This is hardly visible in daylight, but more so in the dark. Nevertheless, you should probably rely on the good old hand signal. If you hold down the left button for a long time, you put the Urtopia e-bike into sleep mode.

This bike can be safely controlled by voice!

But the craziest feature is definitely the voice control. You talk to your bike! By holding down the fingerprint sensor, you activate the voice assistant and can give commands like “Lights on!“, which actually turns the bike’s lights on. We’ve seen a lot of things, but we haven’t seen this yet. For example, you can also change the volume of the sounds, flash, change modes or lock the bike. This never works so well outside so far depending on the weather, the two microphones are of course very vulnerable in windy conditions and have not always understood me. An AI voice recognition should probably also come via update. By the way, the light can only be switched on via app or voice, which is very borderline for me. That should be reconsidered!

According to the promotional videos, the speech recognition can do even more. A kind of smart assistant can probably also answer rudimentary commands like the date or weather. The manufacturer installs an eSIM with LTE for this, but Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also installed so that OTA updates can be installed.

Smart features of the Urtopia e-bike

For safety, there are appropriate lights attached to both the front and rear. In addition, Urtopia relies on hydraulic brakes – so far, so familiar. However, the integrated mmWave radar is interesting, which is probably supposed to ensure that the bike warns you of approaching traffic with a vibration in the handlebars. We could not yet test how well this works with the prototype. This is also only supposed to be activated when you use the turn signal and hold down the left or right button. Every vehicle that then approaches from the left or right within 3 m as well as from behind with a distance of 20 m triggers a vibration in the handlebar.

Urtopia E-Bike Light

The “E” in “e-bike” is no coincidence: The Urtopia carbon e-bike also has its own smartphone app. This is especially helpful when you want to locate your bike. The Urtopia is equipped with a GPS sensor, which is probably active even when not in use. Also, thanks to the integrated gyro sensor, you can thus get a notification on the smartphone when it is moved. While VanMoof relies on the kickstand with lock for their S3, you probably simply lock the Urtopia with the fingerprint sensor like on the smartphone. We could not test the app yet, since our test bike is a prototype.

Besides the animations, the Urtopia is also equipped with a loudspeaker. This means that, for example, blinking makes a corresponding “blinking noise” like in a car. Unfortunately, the same is true when you turn on or lock the Urtopia. It might be pretty cool the first time, but in everyday life I imagine it to be a bit annoying and weird. Hopefully you can disable the sounds in the app then.

Accessories for the Urtopia e-bike

If you pre-order an Urtopia e-bike via the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, you can still order extras or accessories. There is an extra battery, which costs about 315€ and is probably worth it for frequent riders. In addition, there is the 1-year eSIM card, which is currently available for 26€, but the 1-year seems to be included in the price. In addition, you can still order a stand, a more comfortable saddle and mudguards. These accessories can certainly also be obtained from another source and attach, but I would really recommend mudguards!

Assessment: Buy an Urtopia e-bike?

First, a thank you to Urtopia for letting us test a prototype before release. There have been few tests more fun! The strong acceleration, design, and carbon frame appeal to me right off the bat and just make for a really fun and fast ride. Whether you absolutely need all the smart features remains to be seen, but GPS and the mmWave radar are certainly useful. However, the biggest advantage is probably the weight of 13 kg, depending on your own living situation. Who lives in the city, will sooner or later encounter a staircase and be happy that the bike can just carry. However, since some of the features, the final range and simply more riding time are still missing, we can only provide this positive preliminary conclusion. We are very much looking forward to the final version!

The Urtopia e-bike immediately appealed to us because of its design, carbon frame and smart features. Personally, I’ve had a look at a VanMoof for a while, but still can’t justify buying one. This is exactly what Urtopia is probably looking to compete with, with a price tag of $1999 it’s on par with the current S3. The EU version currently costs 2.071€ on Indiegogo crowdfunding. This includes a two-year warranty and a one-year prepaid eSIM card.

If you have experience with e-bikes or maybe even a VanMoof, feel free to post it in the comments!

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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