Hands-on: Urtopia’s 13 kg carbon fiber ebike promises big smarts

There are two types of ebike riders: those who want as much power as possible, weight be darned, and those who prefer something that balances power with a natural riding experience.

The Urtopia ebike, a futuristic carbon fiber ride currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, is the latter.

The bike is currently being offered at an introductory price of $2,000 and the company plans to ship to early backers in February 2022. As of the publication of this article, the bike has raised over $1 million, with 26 days left on its campaign.

I’ve been able to test ride a prototype unit for a few days, and at just over 13 kg (29 lbs)m it’s the lightest ebike I’ve ever reviewed. It’s one that offers an experience that feels closer to an ‘acoustic’ bike than almost any ebike I’ve tried too.

But Urtopia goes a step further too: it packs a variety of built-in smarts that make it a veritable ‘tech’ product too. There’s voice control, a built-in alarm system, turn-by turn-navigation, turn signals, radar, and more. It aims further than just providing a powered ride — although that ambition opens up room for some potential pitfalls.

The bike is currently being offered at an introductory price of $2,000 and the company plans to ship to early backers in February 2022. As of the publication of this article, the bike has raised over $1 million, with 26 days left on its campaign.

Lots of smarts

First, some specs:

  • Carbon fiber frame, fork, and handlebars
  • 13 kg (29 lbs)
  • 250W rear hub motor with 40 Nm of torque
  • Torque sensor-based pedal assist
  • Hydraulic disk brakes
  • 35mm 700C puncture-resistant tires
  • 360 Wh removable battery (36V/10 Wh)
  • Claimed 130 km (80 mi) range in the assist level 1
  • 5 levels of pedal assist, ranging from no assist at all, to a throttle-like ‘turbo mode’
  • 20/32 km/h (15.5/20 mph) speed limit in the EU and US, respectively
  • Two frame sizes covering people from 165cm to 200 cm (5′ 5″ to 6′ 7″)
  • 3 frame designs
  • Single-speed gates carbon belt drive (as opposed to a chain)
  • Large dot-matrix display integrated into handlebars
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G compatibility
  • Integrated headlights, tail lights, projection lights, and turn indicators
  • iOS and Android apps for changing some settings
  • Integrated bell sounds (customizable via app)
  • GPS location
  • Motion alarm
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Haptic feedback in the handlebar
  • Millimeter-wave radar to alert you of vehicles behind you
  • A gyroscope for adjusting power if you’re going up a hill and fall detection
  • 10-year warranty on the frame
  • 2-year warranty on all other components (including the battery)

Urtopia carbon fiber ebike

That’s a lot of smarts to pack into one bike, and several of the smart features were not available during my first rides as the app was not yet ready (I’ll update this post once the app is released). Urtopia also stressed that as my review unit was a prototype, some of the finer details were not finalized.

Still, there’s a lot to like even in prototype form — as well as some things I hope to see improved before launch.

A wondefully natural pedaling experience

The most important thing to me is always the feel of the pedal assist, and the Urtopia nails it. The bike seems to use the same torque sensor as the Tenways ebike I recently reviewed, which is to say it offers some of the smoothest pedaling around, even compared to high-end brands like Specialized and Brompton.

The gentle acceleration curve, the nearly-silent motor and belt drive, and the minimal 13kg weight make the Urtopia feels more like a ‘regular’ bike than almost any ebike I’ve tested to date. Heck, the motor and belt drive are so quiet that the Urtopia is actually even quieter than most non-electric bikes. It’s almost a little eery, and the smoothness really adds to the sense that the bike is making you feel stronger, as opposed to simply being hauled by a powerful motor.

Urtopia carbon fiber ebike

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