Bicycles

Full-carbon, 30-lb Urtopia ebike packs in radar, voice control and GPS

Full-carbon, 30-lb Urtopia ebi...
The US/Canadian version of the Urtopia should ultimately sell for $3,999
The US/Canadian version of the Urtopia should ultimately sell for $3,999
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The Urtopia's thumbprint scanner
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The Urtopia's thumbprint scanner
The US/Canadian version of the Urtopia should ultimately sell for $3,999
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The US/Canadian version of the Urtopia should ultimately sell for $3,999
The Urtopia features a Gates Carbon belt-drive drivetrain
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The Urtopia features a Gates Carbon belt-drive drivetrain
The Urtopia is being offered in two frame sizes
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The Urtopia is being offered in two frame sizes
The Urtopia's front and rear lighting system includes projected turn indicators
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The Urtopia's front and rear lighting system includes projected turn indicators
The Urtopia's stem-integrated LCD screen
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The Urtopia's stem-integrated LCD screen
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While some ebikes try to keep things simple, others revel in their electronic nature, packing in as many high-tech features as possible. The single-speed Urtopia is definitely one of the latter, and has just hit the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.

First of all, no, that's not a typo – the Hong Kong-designed Urtopia is designed for city use, so its name is an amalgamation of the words "urban" and "utopia."

One of its most striking features is its full carbon fiber frame, which includes the fork, handlebars and seatpost. As is the case with an increasing number of bicycles that are trying to make a strong visual statement, its frame lacks a seat tube – the top tube sort of zig-zags to become the seat stays.

Besides being made of carbon fiber, its flat handlebars further distinguish themselves by incorporating an LED headlight (angled so as not to dazzle oncoming drivers); a thumbprint scanner that unlocks the bike's drive system when touched by its registered owner; left-hand controls for activating the turn indicators (which are projected onto the road); and an LCD display on the stem.

The Urtopia's stem-integrated LCD screen
The Urtopia's stem-integrated LCD screen

That display shows all the usual stuff, like the current speed and battery charge level. It also has two wind-cancelling mics, however, which allow users to access the Urtopia's numerous functions via voice control.

The seatpost incorporates not only the tail light/brake light/turn indictor module, but also a rear-facing millimeter wave radar unit. Like the existing Garmin Varia Radar system, that unit warns the rider when it detects vehicles approaching from behind – in this case, that warning takes the form a vibrating handlebar.

The rider's pedalling power is augmented by a 250-watt rear hub motor, which is powered by a removable 360-Wh LG lithium-ion battery. One 2.5-hour charge is claimed to be good for a range of 30 to 80 miles (48 to 129 km) depending on factors such as terrain, and which of five levels of electrical assistance is chosen. A top motor-assisted speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) is possible in the US/Canadian version of the bike, with 16 mph (25 km/h) offered for the European model.

The Urtopia is being offered in two frame sizes
The Urtopia is being offered in two frame sizes

Should anyone try to steal the Urtopia while it's left unattended, a built-in gyroscope will detect the movement, sounding an alarm and sending an alert to the rider's smartphone. And if the bike gets stolen anyways, its whereabouts can be tracked via an onboard GPS chip.

Some of its other features include internal cable routing; hydraulic disc brakes; a Gates Carbon belt-drive drivetrain; and 700 x 35c puncture-resistant tires. Despite all its added "stuff," the whole thing reportedly tips the scales at just 30 lb (13.6 kg).

If you're interested in getting a Urtopia of your own, Indiegogo pledge levels start at US$1,999 for the North American model. Assuming it reaches production, that version's retail price will be $3,999.

You can see the bike in action, in the following video.

How we became Urtopia brothers

Sources: Indiegogo, Urtopia

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5 comments
5 comments
Bob Stuart
I have a FEA poster on my wall of a bike frame, and the very highest stress is just above the bottom bracket, where this design features air. This is art, not engineering.
Douglas Rogers
It is gratifying to see some lightweight e-bikes. The price is getting reasonable.
Ornery Johnson
Yes, Bob Stuart, I'm left wondering exactly how much weight was actually saved by eliminating a short segment of carbon fiber tubing between the seat post and crank. Maybe six ounces? Is that "artistic win" worth the loss of so much frame strength? Doubtful.
Daishi
One potential benefit I see with the lack of seat post is that the bike has no suspension. The small amount of flex in the carbon frame would help dampen the impact of bumps to the rider. The frame is under (10 year) warranty which is only good for as long as the company is around but it seems like they have a decent budget and momentum in a market that's currently almost impossible to fail in. Seems like a decent bike for the price and they have the software/features working on the review prototypes. If weight was something I cared about in an ebike I'd consider one. The 360Wh battery is not great but it's one of the trade offs of the platform.
Rustgecko
They are going to get all this expensive technology into an expensive carbon fibre bike frame for a few thousand dollars?
Come this way I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.