UPDATE: The UrbaNext has joined my Red List. If you take a look at their Facebook page you’ll notice a large amount of unhappy investors.
The UrbaNext team aims to make electric bicycle technology accessible. They’ve created a prototype motorized wheel that’s easy to install and fits almost any bicycle. They’re using Indiegogo to crowdfund the project.
So you read an article about the Flash e-bike and you think it’s gorgeous.
You’d love to own an electric bike; do your part for the environment; get a little more exercise.
But the price tag, even though it’s not bad, is out of your reach. (It’s an e-bike, after all.)
Besides, you have a bicycle. She’s a little rusty and moans when you take her for a ride, but she does the job.
Can you have the best of both worlds?
UrbaNext says you can.
They’ve created a prototype motorized wheel that fits most bicycles.
Let’s take a closer look…
The top model UrbaNext wheel, The UrbanX Booster, is powered by a 350 watt motor, delivering a top speed of 32 kph. Not the quickest bike on the block, but not bad.
The UrbanX Booster delivers a range of up to 29,8 miles (48kms).
I live 1.8 miles (2.9kms) from my office. That means I’d be able to commute to work and back for 8.27 days.
That’s a week and a half of (week day) travel before it needs a charge.
The UrbaNext comes in seven sizes. They started with six, but they made their stretch goal of half a million dollars, which unlocked the 20 inch wheel.
Here are the sizes:
That covers most bicycle wheel sizes.
Brake type compatibility
The UrbaNext works fine with rim brakes or disc brakes.
You’re not limited to using a specific tire size for the UrbaNext to work.
The UrbaNext offers three models:
- Urban X Eco Throttle V
- No need to pedal. Use the throttle and let the wheel do the work.
- Urban X Eco Pedal Assist
- Activate one of the UrbaNext’s three assistance levels and get by with a little help from your friend.
- Urban X Booster
- Why choose? Get the throttle and receive a little help through pedal assist. The best of both worlds.
How to install
You can have an electric bike in five steps:
- Remove your bicycle’s front wheel.
- Secure the UrbaNext wheel in its place.
- Remove one of your handlebar grips.
- Mount the UrbaNext throttle to the bike’s handlebar.
- Connect the throttle cable to the wheel.
The UrbaNext comes with a removable lithium ion battery (36V, 3500mAH, 126WH).
It’s easy to swap out, which means you can buy two, keep one in your backpack and double your range.
They don’t share battery size in their campaign, but from pictures and their promo video it’s clear that you can handle the battery with one hand.
It takes approximately 1.5 hours to charge the UrbaNext battery.
The wheel weighs 14.99lbs (6.8kgs).
That’s what you’re adding to your bike when you use the UrbaNext.
You won’t be able to pull off wheelies if you use it. If you plan on doing that, you might want to buy a kidney belt. 15 pounds is a lot of extra weight.
They make the UrbaNext of aviation aluminium, but they don’t say which grade.
The UrbaNext comes with an app (Android or iPhone) that allows you to connect to the wheel via Bluetooth.
You can see the wheel’s battery level in the app. You also use the app to select one of three levels of pedal assist, if you own the UrbanX Eco Pedal Assist or UrbanX Booster model.
I couldn’t find these apps on iTunes or Google Play. No idea why UrbaNext doesn’t share links.
UrbaNext offers the following extras:
- 3,28ft (1m) extension cable for larger bikes.
- Stainless steel torque arm.
- Anti-theft wheel lock.
You can get these extras through the Indiegogo page.
The UrbaNext seems much cheaper than the Flash, but it’s a single component, not a full electric bicycle.
Here are the Early Bird prices:
- Urban X Eco Throttle V – $319 (55% off retail)
- Urban X Eco Pedal Assist – $319 (55% off retail)
- Urban X Booster – $419 (47% off retail)
The UrbaNext ships worldwide. They one up Flash in this regard, since Flash only covers US destinations.
The UrbaNext comes with a one year limited warranty.
The UrbaNext looks like a great product. It’s received more than a 1000% of its funding on Indiegogo, so people love the idea.
But there are some concerns.
From what I can gather, the UrbaNext throttle won’t fit bullhorn handlebars, drop handlebars or aerobars.
If I’m mistaken, please leave a comment below to correct me.
Scant company details
Compared to the Flash electric bicycle guys, the UrbaNext guys did a poor job of sharing company and product info.
For instance, it’s not clear whether the two cheaper models, the Urban X Eco Throttle V and Urban X Eco Pedal Assist, house smaller motors than the Urban X Booster.
They also don’t have a website.
I find this strange.
How am I supposed to trust someone who shares as little info about themselves as possible?
Time will tell if they can deliver.
The UrbaNext looks like a great alternative to a full electric bicycle.
The real boon is that you can use it on your existing bike. If you don’t feel like receiving assistance, remove it. Need a little help? Reattach the UrbaNext.
You can share The UrbaNext with a loved one or housemate. Buy one wheel, use it on more than one bicycle.
The UrbaNext is not much cheaper than the Flash. It’s less than half the price, yes, but it’s not even half the product.
Still, it’s a great looking product.
It gives you ample speed and enough range. If you’re not happy with the range, you can buy an extra battery and keep it in your backpack.