2WD electric Ultra Bike stores range-extending fuel in its huge wheels
This modular motorcycle is built to tackle just about anything, with torquey electric motors driving huge balloon tires at the front and rear. It can cross water in amphibious mode, and handle serious distances with a range-extending generator and two huge fuel tanks in the wheel rims.
Electric motorcycle startup Robo.Systems built and tested its "Ultra Bike" in Russia, but the team tells us "when Putin started a war in the Ukraine we moved our production to Dubai." Indeed, it's reminiscent of another 2WD fat-wheeler from Russia that caused a bit of a sensation back in 2016.
The Ultra Bike is electric, though, and far more modular than the Taurus 2X2. Each of its wheels has a brushless DC motor in the hub capable of a peak 2 kW, or a sustained 1 kW, selected for high torque given its obvious predilection towards extreme off-roading in snow, mud and sand. Top speed is a modest 30 mph (48 km/h) – although that can definitely feel quick in the rough stuff.
The chassis is super basic, with front and rear racks, bicycle-grade lighting, a rigid fork up front and an extremely simple dual-shock setup on a treacherously thin looking swingarm that would frankly look under-engineered on a mountain bike.
The battery isn't huge, carrying just 1.6 kWh in a waterproofed LiFePo4 pack that's designed to last more than 2,000 cycles in temperatures from -20 to 60 °C (-4 to 140 °F). That's enough, the company claims, to take you and this 121-lb (55-kg) beast some 40-odd miles (64 km), perhaps more if you switch it to power-saving single wheel drive mode.
But here, things get interesting. The Ultra Bike has an open space in the frame where you'd normally find a fuel tank, and if you like, you can spec it with an 800-watt inverter/generator capable of putting out AC or DC power, either to charge the bike's battery and extend its range or to run power tools or anything else you might like to plug in when you hit your destination.
This generator runs off a pair of surprisingly large fuel tanks in the wheel rims themselves, each capable of carrying some 5.3 gal (20 l) of liquid. You could fill both with gasoline and enjoy a stupendous range and endurance, or you could load one up with water or vodka for your campsite.
Another option is to roll with a small inverter option that can put out a constant 1.5 kW or a peak of 3 kW directly out of your battery reserves as AC power – that could come in handy on smaller jobs around a farm.
And if you want to get really silly with it, you can option it up with a 50-gallon (189-L) pair of balloons and a frame to mount them to the bottom of the bike. Pump those suckers up on a 12-V compressor, and you've got yourself an amphibian capable of floating on water in a stable fashion, and progressing across it at a slow walking pace using the wheels as paddles.
For a two-wheel-drive utility machine like this, the price tag is impressive. Optioned up with all the fruit, including the balloons, inverter and generator, Robo.Systems is pre-selling the Ultra Bike on Indiegogo for just US$2,590 as an early bird offer. Strip it back to just the bike itself, and you're looking at $1,790. Less than most name-brand ebikes, then.
Naturally, standard crowdfunding cautions apply. We hope Robo.Systems gets a chance to beef up the suspension before these things roll out. Check out a short video below.
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This is obviously a copy of America's Rokon, so before you buy, contact Rokon and buy American!
Gotta see video of it traversing open water first.
I'd be interested to see the research on how liquid increases its mass by rotating.