Author: Andrew Thijssen | BMS E-Motorrijder | UBCO, which stands for Utility Bike Company, has launched the UBCO 2X2 Adventure Bike as an ambitious move to establish their presence in the growing electric transportation industry. The New Zealand-based company is determined to make a mark with this innovative product.
In the Netherlands, the UBCO is considered a “moped” by classification standards. However, it’s much more than that – it’s an emission-free moped with a distinctive hum. As its name suggests, the 2X2 has two driven wheels. Each wheel is powered by a 1 kW Flux hub motor, providing smooth acceleration and easy maneuvering on any surface. Weighing in at just 52.7 kg without the battery, the UBCO 2×2 Adventure bike is a lightweight yet powerful electric vehicle. It can carry a maximum load of 150 kg and has a maximum speed restricted to 45 km/h.
Equipment / Accessories
The UBCO Utility Bike comes with a variety of easily attachable accessories, allowing for versatile use and customization to fit your individual needs. These options include front and rear luggage racks, a dedicated mounting rack for UBCO-specific add-ons, and brake lever protectors.
The battery and hub motors have an IP66 rating, making them resistant to both dust and water. The dashboard shows important information such as speed, battery life, and motor temperature. You can download software and firmware updates through the app, which also includes a helpful FAQ for any troubleshooting needs.
The ride mode on the UBCO automatically deactivates when the side stand is unfolded. While activated, the UBCO offers different riding modes for selection. The “learning” mode is designed for novice riders and provides a reduced throttle response.
The app allows for customizable regenerative braking. Changes to all modes can only be made when the UBCO is in neutral and the side stand is down. Charging is done through an external charger that can be plugged into a regular outlet, with a charging capacity of 1.2 kW. It takes approximately 4-6 hours to fully charge the battery, depending on its current level. The battery can be easily removed for convenience.
With one press of the kill switch, the UBCO enters accessory mode, indicated by a green N on the display. Another press and the UBCO is now active. The dashboard display is easy to read and understand. If you’ve ridden an electric scooter or motorcycle before, you’ll be familiar with the instant torque feeling that comes with it. Even on the modestly powered UBCO, this is one of the most enjoyable aspects of electric riding. All controls are intuitively placed, so even those who haven’t ridden a motorcycle or moped before will feel comfortable. As I start the UBCO, I hear a soft whirring sound from the motors, providing a smooth and quiet ride.
The UBCO is not designed for off-roading, but it can handle unpaved surfaces with ease. Its two-wheel drive system is crucial in this regard. On loose terrain, the front wheel may spin slightly, which may feel strange at first. However, thanks to the 2×2 drive, the UBCO remains impressively stable. This is especially noticeable on sandy surfaces, where the rear-wheel-driven motorcycle would struggle with pushing its front wheel through the sand; the front-wheel drive of the UBCO makes it much easier to navigate through these conditions.
UBCO’s excel on rider and mountain bike trails with their silent motors. Small logs on the path are easily overcome, and if there is a thicker log, the UBCO can be lifted over it or assisted by the 2×2 drive system. The front and rear suspensions, measuring at 5.1 inches and 4.7 inches respectively, can be adjusted to personal preference with ease. And when it comes to braking, the 203 x 2.3 mm disc brakes and Dash 3 brake lines provide precise feedback through the handlebars, similar to a bicycle. While regenerative braking may be useful for city streets, it adds little value on off-road terrain unless you live in a hilly area.
Fixing a flat tire on the UBCO is a simple task, thanks to the absence of a messy chain. All you have to do is disconnect the motor cable and remove the wheel. Plus, with an IP65 certification, you won’t have to worry about water damage to the electrical system. However, UBCO recommends avoiding full immersion in water.
The UBCO’s maneuverability is impressive, with the ability to easily make 180-degree turns on narrow forest paths. Its front-mounted luggage rack is designed for handlebar-turning, allowing for longer objects such as hunting rifles or fishing rod sets to be mounted securely. The frame and headstock provide sturdy support while the luggage rack rotates over them, keeping everything neatly in place.
The 3.1 kWh battery allows for a stated range of 120 km, but only when traveling on back roads with frequent regenerative braking. In ECO mode, the maximum distance achievable is 90 km for longer road trips. This is more than sufficient for a moped. Charging the battery from empty to full takes approximately 6 hours, though plugging it in may require some skill due to its proximity to a frame tube. However, with practice, this becomes less of an issue. The standard model comes with a 2.1 kWh battery weighing 13 kg, while there is an optional 3.1 kWh battery available that adds an additional 30 km to the range, but is slightly heavier at 5 kg.
The UBCO is a reliable and practical vehicle designed for functionality over style. Its sturdy aluminum tubular frame gives it a robust appearance, while the battery can be easily removed and upgraded to a 3.1 kWh version. With front and rear wheel drive and almost silent hub motors, the UBCO is perfect for traveling through forests, nature reserves, urban areas, and farms without disruption. It has adjustable suspension and brakes for all types of terrain and can carry large amounts of luggage such as hunting gear or tools.
Equipped with two-wheel drive and off-road tires, the UBCO provides maximum grip on any surface. It is also suitable for commuters, city use, or as a last-mile solution. Thanks to its lightweight design, the UBCO can easily be brought indoors, mounted on a bike rack, or taken in a camper for vacations. One major advantage is that there are no oil or gasoline fumes to deal with.
Overall, the UBCO 2×2 is a versatile and functional electric moped that allows you to access and ride in areas where traditional motorized vehicles may not be permitted.