UBCO’s FRX1 hits the sweet spot between ebikes and electric dirt bikes
Further details have dropped on quirky Kiwi company UBCO's lightweight electric dirtbike, the FRX1. At just 132 lb (60 kg), it packs 15 kW (20 hp) of torquey grunt, and offers a range up to 62 miles (100 km) – at a price that might make it a winner.
This thing might be the perfect next-level step up for somebody who's spent too much time at full throttle on a 6-kW (8 hp), 110-lb (49 kg) Sur-Ron Light Bee. Nearly triple the power, only 20 percent more weight, a whopping 280 Nm (206.5 lb-ft) of torque and no more pretense of being any kind of bicycle.
Indeed, it's a development of the Neematic FR/1, with a bigger rear sprocket for harder acceleration, a longer, motocross-style subframe and seat unit, and the pedals yanked off altogether. Because let's face it, what are your puny legs really going to add to the output of a 20-kilowatt motor? Far better to have something solid to stick your feet on and let rip. UBCO has acquired Neematic, according to Forbes, and simplified the bike's design nicely.
The FRX1's 2.2 kWh battery gives it a range up to 62 miles (100 km), and a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h), and we reckon it'd be an absolute hoot on a tight trail. There's programmable regenerative braking, narrow 19-inch alloy rims, and a Bluetooth app for setting your options.
Suspension is adjustable at either end, with the swingarm cleverly pivoting right around the motor output shaft so the chain tension is constant. You'd probably want to think about suspension upgrades before throwing it off any big jumps, or some fenders if you're taking it anywhere messy, but right out of the box it's an incredibly simple and clean design that just looks like a ton of fun.
It's certainly a more mainstream and standard design than UBCO's other 2WD utility motorcycles, which are all about practicality for people working on the land. This thing's a pure-bred fun machine.
As for pricing, well ... US$8,999 is going to be a stumbling block. For that kind of money, you can get a 2020 Zero FX 3.6 kWh that's fully road legal and offers more power, even if it's twice the weight and can't give you the same range. Different use cases, for sure, but it also raises the question for us of whether the UBCO FRX1 could be put on the road sometime in the future.
A set of motard tires, a headlight, a dash, some mirrors, indicators and fenders would make this a super fun commuter with the crazy backstreet flickability of a BMX bike. You'd probably fit a smaller sprocket like the original Neematic bike, restoring the top speed back to 62 mph (100 km/h). The fun factor would be extreme. Sadly, without speaking to UBCO about it, I suspect the crushingly ugly and time consuming process of government approval will either nip that thought in the bud, or drag on for so long and cost so much that the retail price would end up being prohibitive.
So for the moment, it's a back paddock and trails blaster, and we'd love to see how it fares against some of the petrol powered competition. Check out a video below.