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Electric bikes are pretty smart in general.
They help you get up hills. A lot of them have lights connected to the battery. Some even have a kickstand.
The Urtopia Carbon One doesn’t come with a kickstand as standard.
But it does have a built-in GPS tracker. You can unlock it with your thumb. It alerts you if someone tries to steal it. It has indicators. It has a carbon-fibre frame. It looks a bit like a lightning bolt. You can talk to it. It even has built-in speakers!
It’s the all-singing, all dancing, e-bike of the future.
But should you actually buy one?
Urtopia Carbon One E-Bike
A truly beautiful electric bike that is packed with smart features, including built-in lights, indicators, GPS tracking and navigation. Utiliises a belt-drive for minimal maintenance but remains a nippy and responsive ride.
- Real-world range of around 60km (with high power assistance settings)
- LOTS of fun to ride
- Built-in navigation is very useful
- Stunning design
- Need to remove battery otherwise 7% of battery life is lost each day due to GPS features
- Not currently available in UK
Your Utopia = Urtopia
Before I go into too much detail about what the Urtopia Carbon One can/can’t do, let’s just take a minute to appreciate this frame design.
This has to be one of the coolest e-bikes I’ve ever seen. It looks fast even when it’s at a standstill.
And perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by the gorgeous design considering that it was designed by Mathis Heller – who’s also designed for the likes of BMW, Ford and Siemens and won multiple awards while doing so.
Carbon Fibre Electric Bike
This e-bike is undoubtedly unique in terms of design and features. But I’ll pigeon-hole it a bit so you can get to grips with what it actually is/has:
Lightweight (weighs just 15kg/33lb)
Carbon fibre frame
Pedal assistance up to 100km
Gates Carbon Belt Drive
And that’s just the basic feature list.
Because the Urtopia One also has:
A smartphone app to track your rides
An anti-glare LED display
Built in front and back lights
Anti-theft warnings and tracking
And, to be honest, I’ve probably missed some.
So, after reading that list, you’re most likely thinking: “so how much does this thing cost”? And the answer is €3,299 if you’re in mainland Europe and $2,799 in the US. Unfortunately, Urtopia bikes currently aren’t available in the UK, but there should be some dealers soon.
My Experience with Urtopia
Upon receiving my Urtopia bike, I was grateful to realise the package was nowhere as difficult to carry and move as the one I received for my Himiway Fat Bike. And that’s because it weighs less than half of that e-bike.
Assembling the Urtopia was also considerably easier, although there are some fiddly bits. Namely, as most of the wiring is contain inside the frame, squeezing it into the gap behind the bike seat was a bit of a faff – but nothing major. The video below (which I didn’t discover until after I built the bike), shows the assembly steps.
Once the brief assembly was complete, it was just a matter of connecting my bike to my smartphone. Indeed, if you want to use the electrical assistance of the Urtopia, it is required to download the app on a smartphone. This is because the bike is turned on by pressing the fingerprint reader on the bike, something you need to set up on your phone. Thankfully, Urtopia know a thing or two about design, and the app is just as easy on the eye as the bike itself.
The Urtopia automatically tracks your ride stats, showing duration, average speed, calories burned and CO2 saved, as well as a map of your route.
But the functionality of the app is really taken to another level when you use to maps feature. Input your location in the app on your phone and it will automatically sync with your handlebar dashboard to give you real-time navigational instructions.
The other key feature of the app is the ability to track its location even when you’re not riding – i.e. making sure pesky thieves don’t try to steal it.
This feature works well and even quickly notified me when my partner moved by bike on the terrace. The fingerprint scanner is also great for theft prevention as even if a scumbag manages to make off with your bike, they won’t be able to enjoy any of the electrical assistance it provides. So, if nothing else, at least the thief will be sweating.
Urtopia One Range
But among this extensive feature list, there was one thing that stuck out to me above all others: a claimed range of 100km – which would make it one of the longest-range e-bikes around.
So after assembling the bike and charging it up, I use it for my standard 3.5km to my coworking space and back. Then I didn’t ride for a few days, before doing the same mini commute. However, on the way back from that second ride, I was dismayed to see that the battery was nearly empty.
Anyway, I charged up the bike again and repeated my commute. After coming home, I check the battery level – which was still showing as essentially full. Again, I didn’t ride for a few days and then started my bike up again. The battery was half empty. What was going on?
I decided to get in touch with Urtopia about this and they informed me that the anti-theft function GPS function uses about 7% of its battery per day, even if you don’t use the bike. The workaround they recommended was to remove the battery between rides – provided my is in a secure place.
I tested out this theory and it was right. I didn’t get the claimed 100km, but I did manage to do 60km (with full assistance power), so long as I removed the battery between rides.
Removing the battery is easy (simply turn the key in the built-in lock and it pops out), but it’s undoubtedly annoying to have to do this (and remember to do this).
The good news is that Urtopia are soon to release a setting in the app that allows you to turn-off the GPS tracker when you want – so it doesn’t drain the battery. That means you could have the GPS protection enabled if you leave your bike out on the street, but turn it off overnight if you bring it inside your home, for example.
My Urtopia Experience
While my battery experiencing was a little underwhelming, my ride experience on the Urtopia wasn’t. This is a fun bike to ride.
This e-bike is extremely responsive and nippy. By law, in Europe, e-bikes are limited to 25kmh, but it’s easy to pedal beyond this with this lightweight bike – something I’ve found almost impossible to do on heavier e-bikes, unless you’re going downhill.
Dashboard and Lights
The smart features of this bike are centred around the bike’s dashboard that connects to the app on your phone. The LED screen can show directions, speed and give alerts. The primary controls for the bike can be found just to the left of this, with a little square that can be used to change power settings, turn lights on/off and indicate. Thankfully, it’s extremely intuitive to use.
Belt-driven bikes have also long appealed to me as I’m absolutely hopeless at bicycle maintenance. The Urtopia One features a premium Carbon belt-drive and – along with riding the Honbike Uni4 at the same time – this was my first real experience with riding an electric belt-driven bike.
The standout feature of belt-drives is that are exceptionally low maintenance. You don’t need to faff about with oils, lubes or even candles to set the mood. If it gets filthy, just spray a bit of water over it and you’re good to go.
The downside of belt drives is that they’re not quite as efficient as chains and having gears is more complicated (an internal gear hub will be needed).
But with electric bikes, pedal efficiency and gears aren’t so important. You can have gears on e-bikes, but you don’t really need them like you did with an acoustic bike. The only challenge can arrive when you to go up a steep hill from a standing start, if you don’t have a throttle, which this bike doesn’t.
On the Urtopia One, I love the belt-drive. The ride feels very responsive, and I don’t need do any maintenance. There are no gears, but it’s exceedingly rare that I ever miss them on this bike as it’s so nippy and light. Even going up hills isn’t an issue.
The All-Singing, All Dancing E-Bike
And while the Urtopia keeps things very simple in terms of the core e-bike riding experience to great effect, it has added pretty much every bell and whistle you can imagine with its inboard dashboard computer.
As well as the anti-theft functionality and ride GPS tracking, you can also talk to your bike (and it will courteously respond, unlike your unloving ex bike). Just press the fingerprint scanner while you’re riding and you can give the bike commands in order to modify the settings if needed.
One of the most practical features of this bike is definitely the built-in navigation – especially if you like to explore new places. Just set your destination in the app and the screen on your bike will give you directions as you need them.
Urtopia Carbon One E-Bike Review Summary
It’s pretty incredible what Urtopia have squeezed into such a tiny package. Weighing just 15kg (33lb), this Carbon fibre bike has a treasure trove of features, including GPS tracking, built-in alarm systems, front and back lights, a secure fingerprint scanner and even built-in navigation.
This is the first bike that Urtopia have produced and it’s certainly impressive. It’s not perfect with the GPS draining the battery, but there is a lot to build on for this company and I think we’ll be seeing some really exciting innovations from Urtopia in the future (including their newly-released Urtopia Chord).
This e-bike is far from cheaper at $2,799/€3,299, but it’s a fair price for the premium build quality and fancy features that you get. Oh, and most importantly: the Urtopia Carbon One is a lot of fun.
3 Reasons to Buy Urtopia Carbon One
Real-world range of ~60km/37 miles
Provides a fun and responsive riding experience
Tonnes of interesting smart features