Just when you thought it couldn’t get any wilder in the electric bicycle space, this happens. UBCO has just revealed their upcoming UBCO FRX1 Freeride Trail Bike featuring motorcycle level specs, speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h), and functional bicycle pedals.
New Zealand-based UBCO is likely better known for its UBCO 2×2 electric utility two-wheeler. It’s not quite a bicycle but not quite a motorcycle either. It’s kind of its own category — something of an electric farm bike.
Either way, it’s nothing like the company’s latest announcement, which represents a hard left turn for UBCO.
The company has just revealed its first true electric bicycle, if you can call it that. The UBCO FRX1 Freeride Trail Bike is set to be debuted at the AIMExpo on Sept 26 in Columbus, Ohio. The reveal comes as UBCO announces a general agreement with Lithuanian-based Neematic to bring Neematic’s free ride electric bike concept into the UBCO product family as the FRX1 (Freeride Trail Bike One).
UBCO FRX1 Freeride Trail Bike revealed
The UBCO FRX1 is an electric two-wheeler with functional pedals and a pedal assist system. Technically speaking, that makes it an electric bicycle. But only technically.
Truly, this is an electric trail bike with all the capabilities of a lightweight dirt bike. Tipping the scales at just 115 lb (52 kg), the UBCO FRX1 features a 15 kW (20 hp) peak, liquid-cooled, mid-drive electric motor. The motor can be controlled either by the twist throttle or via pedal assist. Yes, pedal assist — like a cute little European e-bike. Except that this e-bike can hit speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h).
UBCO claims that it comes with a 9-speed gear box for pedaling, which should make it more pedal-able than one might initially imagine.
The UBCO FRX1 features a 2.2 kWh Li-ion battery pack that the company rates with a maximum range of 62 miles (100 km). At 35 Wh/mi (22 Wh/km), though, that’s likely at a reduced speed of closer to 20 mph (32 km/h). The UBCO FRX1 features the ability to regain up to 10% of its expended energy via regenerative braking. And charging up the pack the old-fashioned way (i.e. from the wall) takes just 2.5 hours.
The aluminum-frame design offers 8 inches (203 mm) of travel in the front and 7.9 inches (200 mm) of travel in the rear, both with adjustable compression and rebound. Stopping power is provided by four-piston hydraulic disc brakes in the front and dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes in the rear. There’s also user-adjustable regenerative braking.
We haven’t heard any word yet on pricing, but don’t expect it to be priced competitively with a $500 250 W electric bike — this is an entirely different beast.
UBCO says that while the FRX1 is the first new EV to follow the company’s UBCO 2×2 electric farm bike, it won’t be the last. The company is planning more product announcements over the next year.
The UBCO FRX1 looks fascinating as an electric trail bike, but I must admit that I’m left wondering why there are pedals at all. With this level of impressive performance, does it really need functional pedals?
We’ve seen this before on lightweight electric motorcycles like the Sur Ron Light Bee. That 45 mph (72 km/h) model can technically become an electric bicycle with an optional add-on pedal kit. But it’s still a motorcycle in its DNA.
The UBCO FRX1 reminds me more of a CAKE Kalk electric motorcycle in terms of size and performance. And again, we’re talking electric motorcycle levels here.
Generally speaking, pedals are added on these types of e-bikes to lend a smidgen of credibility to the claim that it can be operated street legally on public roads. But at these speeds, it is well above the 28 mph (45 km/h) limit for Class 3 electric bicycles in the US. And making it a bicycle also requires certain compromises, such as the less-than-comfortable bicycle saddle and the higher chance of pedal strike versus foot pegs.
Of course if the US took my suggestion and made a new class of drivers’ licenses for light electric motorcycles, vehicles like the UBCO FRX1 might be easier to register and ride on roads without needing to act like bicycles.
Until then, this one still looks like a lot of fun for the trails. If we ever get the chance to try it out, we’ll definitely report back on how well it rides.
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