It is amazing to what extent locomotion in urban areas has changed in recent years. Some time ago, the streets were dominated by pedestrians, bicycles, private cars and buses, but now there are several more means of transport on the streets and sidewalks. In addition to more and more vehicles from car-sharing services, it is primarily e-scooters and e-bikes that are increasingly being used. The latter, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular, as they enable people to get around comfortably thanks to practical pedal assistance.
However, the bikes with electric motors usually have one major drawback – they are incredibly heavy. This is ensured not only by the motor, but first and foremost by the battery. The Urtopia Carbon One now wants to prove that this does not have to be the case. It promises not only to get its rider from A to B quickly. On top of that, it weighs just 15 kg thanks to its carbon frame. According to the manufacturer, this makes it 30 percent lighter than most other comparable models from the competition. What lies behind the promising technical data, we want to check for you in the detailed Urtopia Carbon One test.
It all started with a crowdfunding campaign
That the Urtopia Carbon One is a somewhat different e-bike is clear not only from the exciting design, which clearly stands out from the competition. Moreover, the startup is still a very young company. It was only at the end of last year that they presented the e-bike project, which went by the name New Urban Utopia. Both the name and the equipment convinced many investors of the project. After all, a frame made entirely of carbon in combination with a lot of power and state-of-the-art technology sounds more than promising. So it’s no surprise that the startup quickly raised the necessary funds and was able to collect more than 3 million US dollars in the end. Nothing stood in the way of high-volume production. Now the startup is attacking competitors such as VanMoof and Cowboy, which are also represented on the market with e-bikes for urban terrain.
|Engine||Power: 250 watts.
Pedal assistance: Up to 25 km/h
Power levels: Five levels
|Drive||Gates Carbon Drive belt drive|
|Total Allowable Weight||110 kg|
|Material||Carbon frame, handlebars, fork and seatpost|
|Brakes||Hydraulic disc brakes|
|Display||Matrix LED display with information about battery, speed and power level|
|Battery||Removable 360 Wh large lithium-ion battery (charging time: 2.5 hours)|
|Weight and dimensions||Weight: 14 kg
Frame height: 84 cm
Wheel size: 27 inches
|Distance according to manufacturer||Up to 100 km|
|Price||Price not available *|
Urtopia Carbon One review: straightforward build
I must confess to my shame that I have never changed a tire or dismounted wheels from a bike in my life. So I was all the more excited to see if I could get the Urtopia Carbon One set up at all. As it turned out, the assembly was no problem at all. After a short delivery time of just three to five business days, the e-bike arrived at its buyer. The shipping company brought me the e-bike in a surprisingly compact package.
After I took off its cover I was positively surprised about the few small parts. So the frame itself is already firmly connected to the drive, motor and rear wheel. Your task is actually only to attach the front wheel. Here is the advantage who has a bike stand at home. Alternatively, you get, as I did, two other helping hands to support, which hold the bike during assembly. Once the front wheel is attached, the saddle and pedals follow. So it took me just under ten minutes to assemble.
However, since this is not a conventional bicycle, but a modern and, above all, well-connected e-bike, you are not done with the classic screwing together. The next step is the Urtopia app. In a way, it serves as an interface between the rider and the “on-board computer. You establish a connection between the smartphone and Urtopia via the display. A QR code appears in the pairing process, which you capture with your smartphone camera. In practice, this worked really well, which is why the setup took just under 20 minutes all in all.
Urtopia Carbon One review: design and workmanship
- Almost all parts are made of carbon
- Modern design with curved shapes
- Barely visible cables
The Urtopia Carbon One is both eye-catching and unobtrusive. Let’s start with the eye-catching – the frame shape. Indeed, at first glance, its curved shapes make it look like a concept bike that has nothing at all to do with the average design of conventional bicycles. The main reason for this is the fact that the seat tube does not run straight down from the saddle to the bottom bracket. Instead, it bends backwards, which makes the e-bike a real eye-catcher.
So I have already been approached various times by passersby around me because of the frame shape. Not to mention the reactions to technical features – but more on that later. You ask yourself the question, what should be inconspicuous in the Urtopia in view of the exciting design? With this bike, it’s hard to tell that it’s an e-bike.
Finally, the cable and battery are hidden in the frame, which is why you can fully concentrate on the special look of the bike. However, a closer look reveals a keyhole in the frame. The battery can be removed here with the help of the matching key. This is particularly practical, since you don’t have to lug the Urtopia into the apartment to charge the bike. Instead, you simply remove the 2.2 kg battery and charge it in your own four walls.
Ultralight carbon frame
- Extremely lightweight at 15 kg
- Significantly lighter than the competition
- Gap dimensions on the battery could be narrower
Not only the looks are right in the Urtopia, but also the build quality. You simply have to emphasize the choice of materials. The startup relies mainly on carbon fiber – better known as carbon – for its e-bike. We know this valuable material mainly from high-priced sports cars. And that is no coincidence. After all, the expensive material offers many advantages. For example, carbon fiber on the Urtopia not only ensures an extremely low weight of just under 15 kg.
This is an outstanding value compared to other e-bikes. For example, the VanMoof S5 weighs in at a whopping 23 kg. On top of that, the fabric is considered to be exceedingly robust. In view of a maximum payload of 110 kg, this can definitely be confirmed here. The sleek bike does give me a little cause for criticism in terms of workmanship. For example, I would have found it better if the battery had been even more invisibly united with the frame.
Finally, the gaps tarnish the otherwise clean design of the frame a bit. I’m also not fully satisfied with the charging port, which is located on the e-bike itself. Urtopia relies on a rubber cover here, which might tend to hang a bit loose on the frame over time. That may sound like complaining on a high level, but you have to remember that we are looking at a bike with an MSRP of just under 3,300 Euros. Since you have to be a little picky sometimes.
While we’re on the subject of price, I also have to gripe a bit about the features. The e-bike may come with various technical gadgets, but some basics are missing. Considering the steep price, Urtopia could have included a pair of mudguards and a bike stand. Both accessories have to be ordered from Urtopia itself at not inconsiderable prices.
Urtopia Carbon One Test: Choosing the Right Version
With the Urtopia, you have the choice between three different color variations. The “Midnight in Paris” version was available to us for testing. It uses the basic color gray and decorates the frame with stripes in green, red and yellow. Alternatively, the gray frame gets white (Lyra) or orange and white stripes (Sirius). Besides the right color, you also need to choose the right size.
Here Urtopia offers two different versions with M and L. While M is supposed to be suitable for people with a height between 165 and 180 cm, L is supposed to fit people with a height between 175 cm and 190 cm. I opted for the Urtopia Carbon One in the L version and found this to be absolutely suitable with a body height of 180 cm. So who should lie size-wise like me exactly between the two sizes, I advise decidedly to the larger version.
Is it compatible with the road law?
- Indicators could be seen as a legal gray area
- A cat’s eye is missing from front and rear wheels
- Urtopia promises that the e-bike is compliant with the StVZO
Anyone who buys an e-bike equipped with such technical gadgets should, of course, find out about conformity with the legal situation in Germany. Let’s take a look at what the Urtopia Carbon One has to offer. On the one hand, there is the permanently installed light at the front. This offers a wide light cone, which not only ensures that the path in front of you is well lit. On top of that, the Urtopia is very easy to see from oncoming traffic.
At the rear is again the taillight, which is located centrally under the saddle on the seat post. More exciting than the red taillight, however, are the two companions located to the right and left of it. These are two projectors that act as turn signals to the left and right of the rear wheel and are intended to indicate a change in direction to road users behind you. This may be a real highlight of the bike, but could sometimes lead to unpleasant questions from traffic cops.
Finally, it is considered questionable whether bicycles are allowed to have turn signals. However, there is no explicit ban on this technology either. Since the projectors definitely provide more safety, but probably few people will say something against it. Far more problematic is that the front and rear wheels each have only one reflector. This does not meet the requirements of the StVO, which can lead to a warning from picky law enforcement officers. However, this is only a minor issue, which will probably be a thorn in the eye of very few police officers. Since the Urtopia Carbon One at 25 km/h locks its support by the electric motor, the most important criterion for legality is namely fulfilled.
Urtopia Carbon One Test: High ride comfort thanks to e-motor
- High-quality Gates Carbon Drive belt drive
- Electric motor with 35 Nm of torque
- Five power levels
- Puncture-proof tires from Kenya
What distinguishes an e-bike? Correct – an electric motor. This sits at the Urtopia in the rear wheel and provides a torque of 35 Nm. This you feel especially in the highest of the total of five available power levels. The differences between the different power levels are immediately noticeable when pedaling. However, this does not change the maximum speed with motor assistance.
Here, the Urtopia complies with legal standards, so it stops at 25 km/h. Who has the necessary muscle power, of course, can go faster. The non-plus-ultra in bicycles, whether e-bike or normal bike, are belt drives. After all, they are not only more durable than classic chain drives. On top of that, you practically never have to maintain them. The technology allows them to function perfectly without oil or other lubricants.
As a premium e-bike, the Urtopia is of course no slouch and comes with a belt drive consisting of carbon. This drives the two wheels of the Kenda Kwest model. These are notorious for their puncture resistance. Not only the acceleration, but also the braking distance of the ultra-light e-bike is impressive. This is ensured by the two hydraulic disc brakes that the young company donates both front and rear wheel.
Astonishingly light battery
- Battery weighs only 2.2 kg
- Full charge within 2.5 hours
- Stated range of 100 km a bit high
Part of the Urtopia’s winning formula is its ultra-light battery, which can be conveniently installed and removed with the help of the matching key. It weighs just under 2.2 kg and offers a capacity of 360 Wh. Urtopia claims that this should provide a range of just under 100 km. In practice, however, the bike did not really show that much endurance. In my endurance test, I cycled continuously in Eco mode (level 1) and still only managed a distance of just under 60 km before the battery went to its knees.
However, temperatures between 0 and 10 °C also prevailed during my test period. According to experience, these regions are not conducive to the endurance of batteries. Nevertheless, I don’t really consider the range stated by Urtopia to be feasible. Whereby, similar to the WLTP values of electric cars, one must also assume the best possible conditions here.
Be it as it is – for me the 60 km are also perfectly sufficient. If you need more, you can easily make provisions here. Given the handy design of the battery, a spare battery can be packed for longer distances. This costs 499 euros at Urtopia. Once the battery is empty, it can be recharged surprisingly quickly. After just under two and a half hours, the power adapter with 168 watts of power was able to charge the battery completely full again.
Urtopia Carbon One review: technology ensures high operating comfort
- Matrix LED display
- Button with fingerprint sensor serves as a bell
- Digipad can be freely assigned
In theory, the previous key data sounds very good. But how do they perform in practice? When you first switch on the e-bike, it quickly becomes clear that the display sitting in the center of the handlebars serves as a kind of command center. Here you always have an overview of the current speed and the currently selected power level. It also shows you the current turn signal and has cool animations for special features.
For example, a small rocket appears when Turbo mode is activated. The manufacturer relies on a stylish matrix LED display here, which I really like the look of. However, I would like to see a bit more information in some points. For example, the display of the remaining battery. Instead of a bar, I would rather see a numerical value.
You always have a good grip on the handlebar itself thanks to high-quality rubber grips. On the left side of the handlebar is a digital pad that offers four directional arrows. Different functions can be activated via these. While the left and right arrows activate the respective turn signal, you can change the power level with the up and down arrows. However, adjustments are possible within the app here.
To unlock the bike, you use the fingerprint sensor on the right handle. While riding, it serves as a bell when you press the button briefly or to activate the voice assistant when you press it for a long time. That’s right. You can also give the e-bike voice commands and thus activate the turn signal with your voice, for example. This worked very well in practice, but can make for oblique looks from passers-by.
High customizability thanks to Urtopia app
- App for iOS and Android
- Lots of info for statistics fans
- Many customization options
- Location of the bike possible thanks to eSIM
Of course, the young startup also offers a customized app to go with its stylish e-bike. The Urtopia app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices, is extremely multifaceted in practice. It is not only used to set up the bike, including storing the fingerprint. It can also be used to set basic settings, such as the volume of the system sounds.
Statistics fans will again enjoy the fact that you can track your journeys in detail in the app. In addition to the distance traveled, average speed and calories burned, the indication of the CO² saved also gives a good feeling. Moreover, those who decide to buy the exclusive carbon bike need not fear losing it.
Finally, thanks to the integrated eSIM, it can be located via the app at any time. So if a thief picks out your bike, you can easily locate it again via the app. An alarm sound can also be played to give them a deterrent warning. This should ensure that most people keep their hands off the ultra-light e-bike.
Urtopia Carbon One test: the perfect companion in the city
- Great ride feel on flat roads
- Missing suspension makes itself quickly noticeable on uneven surfaces
But how does the stylish e-bike perform on the road now? The Urtopia Carbon One is a classic urban bike. So you get here no real suspension offered. Only the natural flexibility of the carbon frame ensures that the bike reliably absorbs slight irregularities. However, you should keep in mind that this bike was primarily developed for road use. If you regularly have to ride through rough terrain, you will quickly lose the fun of the Urtopia.
The feeling is all the nicer when you’re on a well-paved road. Then the e-bike rides incredibly smoothly and offers maximum comfort. Even the ears are spared, as both the carbon belt and the electric motor operate extremely quietly. That is anything but a matter of course. Personally, I am extremely satisfied with the saddle that comes with the bike ex works. But if you want more, you can also buy an even softer extra comfort saddle for an additional cost of 65 euros.
250 watts for a hallelujah at the traffic light
- Fast acceleration thanks to turbo mode
What turned out to be another big advantage for me in practice is the Urtopia’s light weight. Since it weighs just 15 kg, you can also comfortably carry it up one floor. I was allowed to go through this scenario several times without any problems during my test, as I parked the bike in my apartment for safety reasons. If you talk about comfort, you also have to mention the electric motor. This offers a power of 250 watts and shows itself to be extremely powerful, especially when starting up.
You’ll feel like a rocket on two wheels when you’re in turbo mode. I’ve even won the odd “drag race” against cars at traffic lights – at least for the first ten meters. If there’s an incline, you can’t avoid pedaling a bit harder even on level 1. Then, at the latest, it’s worth increasing the power level. At the maximum level, the inclines are no longer a problem. The Sport mode is also a lot of fun. After all, every pedal stroke here gets a powerful boost from the engine.
Urtopia Carbon One Test: Conclusion
The Urtopia Carbon One is a very special piece of technology. For one thing, there’s the design. With its curved shapes, it immediately stands out in road traffic. The carbon frame makes it surprisingly light and robust for an e-bike. Once you take a seat on the saddle of the chic e-bike, it convinces with its high-quality components. The Gates Carbon Drive belt drive meets puncture-proof tires from Kenda and high-quality disc brakes. The motor at the rear wheel hub ensures convincing performance. It provides a pleasant boost with every pedal stroke and scores with a lot of power in turbo mode.
Most people will probably be satisfied with the 60 km achieved in the test. If the range is not enough, you can simply buy a handy spare battery and put it in your backpack as a reserve. The operation via digicross and button with integrated fingerprint sensor is easy, but I would have liked the display on the stylish matrix LED display to be a bit more informative from time to time. I would like to see a software update that displays the battery level a bit more precisely (maybe by means of numbers?) in the future, especially for the battery display. However, the other technology is completely convincing. For example, the integrated eSIM protects against theft, as the bike can be conveniently located.
But my secret highlight is definitely the lighting system. Here you have to highlight not only the luminous front light, which lights your way and ensures that you are best seen by oncoming traffic. Really impressive is the rear light with its two projectors that act as turn signals. Since the two projectors were permanently on while I was driving, I noticed that cars kept more distance from me because they understood the projection as a kind of distance cue. Consequently, the lights made me feel safer, which is exceedingly important, especially for cyclists in the big city.
Perhaps the only real gripe with the Urtopia Carbon One is the pricing. Don’t get me wrong – the lush technical equipment justifies the MSRP of 3,299 euros in my view. However, I think that at least a bike stand could have been included. If necessary, you have to buy this as well as the matching mudguards in the store of Urtopia. The fact that such basics are missing somehow does not fit in with the otherwise full equipment. But this is only a small downer in view of the otherwise so positive overall picture that the Urtopia Carbon One has left in the test.