Having spent my formative years (i.e. hooligan years) growing up in Georgia and Arkansas, I know a thing or two about exploring a farm or backwoods on a quad, all terrain vehicle or dirt bike. They make great platforms for navigating rough terrain, if you don’t mind the loud engine noise, finicky carburetors and smell of exhaust.
But why suffer when there’s a better way? New Zealand-based UBCO developed an all wheel drive electric dirt bike that is now available in the US.
The UBCO 2×2 was developed as a way to enable Kiwis to explore their naturally rugged terrain while enjoying the benefits of electric drive over gasoline-powered vehicles.
Sure there are other Utility Electric Vehicles (UEVs) out there, and we’ve covered a few.
UBCO stepped up to fill in that gap.
According to the company:
“UBCO was founded on the idea of a Utility Electric Vehicle (UEV) that would transform the way people ride, work and play. The evolution of the UBCO 2×2 has been a constant journey since it was first presented at the 2014 National Agriculture Fieldays in New Zealand and the brand was founded in 2015. The journey has led to the production of a road compliant, homologated vehicle – The 2018 Ubco 2×2. This bike is the next step in the UEV market, and will be a superior bike, both on- and off-road.”
The 2018 UBCO 2×2 comes outfitted with a pair of 1 kW brushless DC motors, front and rear, for a combined 2 kW of continuous power, a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h) and 90 Nm (66 ft-lbs) of torque. Unlike a standard rear wheel drive dirt bike, the dual wheel drive setup of the UBCO allows for better climbing over rough terrain.
To hear UBCO describe it, the electric all-wheel drivetrain includes:
“No clutch or drive-train, no emissions, and no noise. Instead, an ultra-quiet, powerful machine with excellent handling, especially in slippery terrains and on wet road markings. The UBCO features improved handling and excellent performance in all terrain conditions, both on- and off-road – grass, water, gravel and asphalt are no match for the 2×2.”
That electric power is supplied by a custom UBCO 50V, 48Ah (2.4 kWh) Li-ion battery pack that is removable for recharging and rated for 120 km (75 mi). The battery pack can also be used to charge power tools or your USB devices in the field.
The UBCO’s frame is a lightweight 7000 series aluminum alloy and offers an Ubco ATFZ front fork with 130mm travel as well as dual 32mm UBCO ATR rear shocks with 120mm travel.
The tires are 17×2.75″ multi-use tires which are suitable for both on- and off-road travel.
Speaking of on-road travel, the UBCO 2×2 is theoretically street legal in many states (laws differ so check your local regulations). With head and tail lights, turn signals, mirrors and an illuminated license plate holder, the UBCO 2×2 has the standard parts usually required for registration as a motorbike or motorcycle in many locations, though its lack of pedals likely disqualifies its classification as an electric bicycle.
The 120 mm LED headlight features a low mode of 1,330 lumens and a high mode of 2,330 lumens.
And to ensure the bike has adequate stopping power, hydraulic disc brakes are used in both the front and rear.
UBCO has tested their electric dirt bike in a number of professional and tactical scenarios, including case studies with the Catalina Island Conservancy Volunteer Rangers patrolling the island, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, and Real Journeys’ picturesque tours of Walter Peak High Country Farm in Queenstown.
The 2018 UBCO 2×2 has a retail price of $6,999, though the company is currently running a promotion offering $500 off if you can answer a few questions about the bike. So study up!
While there are a pile of electric motorcycles and mopeds out there already and seemingly more on the way every day, electric dirt bikes are much more rare.
This is definitely a specialty product that is not being produced by the thousands, so it is likely going to be difficult to drop the cost as low as others like the Sur Ron, which is of course mass-produced in China. That leaves us with what is admittedly a pretty steep price.
But as electric dirt bikes become more popular, I’d expect to see their prices fall in the same way they did for e-bikes over the last decade.
And if you aren’t ready to shell out for an UBCO 2×2 but still want the awesomeness of an all-wheel drive e-bike, checkout the article we wrote showcasing the best all-wheel drive electric bicycles and instructing how to build your own!
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