The Ubco two-wheel drive electric motorbike boasts quite a skill set. Designed to handle difficult terrain, it provides ample carrying capacity, doubles as a portable power source and offers very low running costs, easy maintenance, and lots of practical customization options.
Developed in New Zealand by Ubco Ltd, the 2x2 is built around a lightweight Super-X step-through frame. Made from 7000 series aluminum alloy, this sturdy structure can support a load of up to 200 kg (441 lb). That translates to a lot of gear on top of the rider’s weight.
A pair of 1 kW air-cooled electric motors, one in each wheel’s hub, provide a maximum torque of 90 Nm (66.4 lb-ft), enough to power the bike to a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). The power source is a 40 Ah lithium-Ion battery that needs 4 hours for a full recharge. The range is specified at 150 km (93.2 miles) over flat country, reduced to a maximum of 100 km (62.1 miles) when the route involves many elevation changes.
The suspension system includes 36 mm ATF forks in the front and two 32 mm ATR shocks in the rear, all adjustable for air preload and rebound damping. Connected to identical front and rear Innova Tough Gear wheels with 70/100-17 tires; this setup allows the Ubco to handle every terrain with ease.
The Ubco's greatest advantage is simplicity. A battery, two electric motors, two hydraulic disc brakes, suspension and wheels – that's it. No transmission, no lubrication system, just twist-and-go action and very few parts that require maintenance. Dropping it shouldn’t be much of a problem either. Only the brake levers are exposed, yet they are short enough to make it out unscathed in most cases. Even in the worst case scenario, the aluminum frame is re-weldable, allowing for relatively easy, low-cost repair.
The utility bike weighs just 50 kg (110 lb) and all the heavy parts sit low in the frame, so we should expect it to be very easy to handle. With the two-wheel drive and the copious torque it produces, riding through loose terrain should be just a walk in the park – with the right tires of course. Ubco claims that the bike can tackle gradients of up to 30 percent.
The two cargo racks at both ends of the frame can be customized to support a variety of cases or tools. It doesn’t even need any special accessories; just a little imagination is enough to fit the required gear in a convenient arrangement.
A 12 V outlet and a USB port on the main console provide power from the battery for different applications, such as charging electronic devices or power tools available on the spot.
This looks to be a versatile 2x2 package. While the Ubco might not be taking top honors at the Isle of Man TT anytime soon, it lends itself to a range of potential uses in remote and rural areas, including stock control and recreational purposes such as hunting, fishing, or simply strapping on your camping gear and getting off the beaten track.
Ubco is accepting pre-orders for the first 100 models in production. For those not yet convinced by the 2x2, maybe the following video will help.