The URB-e is an electric scooter that is great to:
- – be the last mile transportation solution for commuters, from your home to the train or from the train to your office, for instance
- – make short trips around your neighbourhood, like running errands instead of having a second car
- – getting around large workplaces (warehouses, airports, etc.)
- – as a no-exercise, no-sweat alternative to a regular bicycle
About the URB-e
Grant Delgatty, the industrial designer and co-founder of URB-e was trying to solve the last mile problem of the modern commuter.
You see, unless you work and/or live near a commuter rail station, driving is a far more attractive option than taking a train. Getting long distances is easy on a train but getting even a short distance once you’ve arrived at the train station to your final destination is often the biggest challenge.
He figured that if he created an electric scooter that can easily stow away on public transit, he could make the commuter’s life easier.
They focused the design on usability to create the perfect device for the last mile commute. The result is an attractive, well designed scooter that can be folded and unfolded in a single movement that is easy to transport when it’s folded up.
The company picked 15 miles per hour as the top speed because that ensures the URB-E qualifies as the same class of vehicle as a bicycle and won’t require a license in most parts of the US.
After some initial designs and prototypes by Grant Delgatty, URBAN626 (URB-E’s parent company) was started as an Indiegogo campaign in 2014. That campaign quickly raised $317,784 from 844 backers which was a whopping 212% of their $150,000 goal.
Grant’s bio claims that he has made hundred’s of products in his career, even leading design for the Vans shoe company. You can see that in the URB-e design. It has a very distinctly California-classy, high tech look. Grant has designed furniture, sporting goods, shoes, electronics and housewares and you can see his experience in the URB-e.
During the Kickstarter campaign, the company originally made prototype versions that were built in China. Because the product was so unique from a design perspective, they had a difficult time with Chinese manufacturers.
Near the end of 2014, they were behind their original Indiegogo schedule, got frustrated and found a fabricator in Pasadena California. They began building the URB-e there.
Even though American manufacturing meant higher prices and lower margins, it came with an increased design and manufacturing quality, since management could oversee manufacturing and quality assurance.
Sven Etzelsberger is the CTO and co-founder of the company. He cut his teeth engineering at places like Saleen, Porsche and Fisker. He even led studio engineering on the Porsche Cayman.
You can see the supercar experience in the build of the URB-e. It’s so well put together that the craftspeople who construct the electric scooters sign their names on the front 6-bolt – the heart of each URB-E. That’s right the person that made your scooter actually signs their name to it. Awesome.
The materials used to construct the scooter also scream supercar. American aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum. Carbon fibre. These materials makes the URB-e lightweight and they make it durable. The company claims to have removed everything that didn’t make it strong during the engineering process (which is likely why you see the holes in the forks).
It’s so well made that it’s almost impossible to find anyone with a recent complaint about the build quality of this machine. There are a few design complaints, but it is an extremely well constructed machine.
The URB-e weighs 35 pounds and has a range of 20 miles. In order to keep the device safe and classified as a type II electric bicycle, it tops out at 15 miles per hour. That’s way faster than walking but you’ll occasionally get passed by a spandex clad road bike when you ride in bike lanes.
Generally, like a bicycle, you have to keep both hands on the steering to keep it feeling safe. There are front and back forks to rest your feet but the rear forks feel the safest, especially for big riders.
The bike is 35 inches tall and is 28 inches above the ground. That basically means that most people can always put both feet down on the ground and that your center of gravity (and stability) is very low making it a stable ride.
Handlebars and Controls
The handlebars of the URB-e are carbon fibre. Each unit includes a bell and a cupholder attached to the handlebars in front of you. The cupholder is generally steady enough to hold a coffee with a lid on it without spilling too much, while riding on smooth pavement.
On the right hand side of the handlebars, there is a battery indicator (which only indicates full, half charged and done) and a button that turns the power on.
Once the unit is running, the power button also works as a kill switch. There is a brake handle on the right side as well.
Additionally, there is a USB connection that acts as a power charger.
That’s right. You can connect to your device to power it while you ride. It hangs just under the steering stem between your legs as you ride.
Folding and Convenience
Probably the most unique thing about the URB-e when compared to its competitors is its portability. By standing beside it, picking up the seat, folding the wheel in and pushing the seat down, it folds up and rolls.
It becomes no more difficult than a rolling carry-on suitcase. This makes it easy to put on a bus, train or even on an airplane.
It’s easy to lock to a bike rack (although you’ll likely take it everywhere you go). It’s easy to carry, even up stairs.
Is it Legal?
The URB-e is Type II electric bicycle. It’s basically an electric bicycle without pedals.
In most places, you can take this wherever a bicycle can go. Obviously, you’ll want to check your local laws to make sure that it you can take it where it needs to go before you drop the money on one of these.
Although the URB-e marketing shows it all over sidewalks, you’ll probably want to check the status of your local riding area to see if electric scooters are legal on sidewalks and bike paths.
The ride is really smooth considering that there is no suspension forks. Instead, the URB-e depends on a suspended seat mounted on top of a 1200lb spring.
The carbon fibre handlebars also help to absorb shocks.
Because the unit is so short for portability, it means that you’re close to the ground. Therefore, your center of gravity is low and it’s really easy to maneuver. The seat is about as comfortable as a good bike seat.
Check out the video above that the company made of people reacting to their first ride on the electric scooter.
Brakes and Tires
To stop, the URB-e uses cross-drilled disc brakes. These top-of-the-line breaks mean that stopping is easy and safe, even on hills.
And you don’t have to worry about flat tires. The URB-e uses solid rubber tires that don’t inflate.
Drivetrain and Battery
The battery fits in the main down tube but it is easy to get out to charge.
A 36-volt lithium-ion battery powers the 250-watt brushless motor. You can get to a full charge in four hours and drive for 20 miles before you need to charge again.
Although speed tops out at 15mph, the URB-e still feels fast thanks to an advanced sport tune controller which outputs high acceleration and torque.
The URB-e is great for commuting’s “last mile”. You could store the Urb-E in your car while you to drive to a suburban train station. Because it folds up so well, you could bring it with you on a commuter train. Then when you arrive at your station, you could wheel it out to the street, unfold it and ride it a mile or two to your final destination.
In addition to the “last mile” commute that the URB-e was designed for, we think that there are a lot of other applications for it and judging by the commercial page on URB-e’s site, so do they.
Malls, airports, office parks and warehouses could all benefit from the device. URB-e have started to sell to high end hotels and resorts. A few URB-e’s at the bell desk are allowing guests to quickly explore the immediate area using the convenience of an elegant electric scooter.
Anywhere that your employees spend too much time getting from one place to another could benefit from an URB-e. Maybe you have a tradeshow booth company and your people spend 3/4 of their time walking around a convention hall. Maybe you own a car racing team and your people need to get around a racing venue quickly. The URB-e would be a great addition to these places.
Boats and RVs
This thing is just great for RV’s or boaters. How many times do you pass a motorhome on the highway that’s either towing a car or has a big gas scooter or two strapped to the back?
With an URB-e, you could just fold it up and keep it inside. It easily fits on a boat too, so you’re not stuck taking cabs or walking long distances once you get to a port.
Quickly getting around an urban environment might be the best use case for the URB-e and getting one should appeal to young singles.
When you live in an urban jungle, bikes and walking are generally the best modes of transportation. Electric scooters usually aren’t a good bet because you can’t easily lock them up when you get somewhere or store them in a small apartment. The URB-e is portable enough to store in a restaurant or take with you into a grocery store (the basket accessory even makes carrying groceries easy).
URB-e vs. Scoot E-Bike
The Scoot E-Bike is probably the closest competitor to the URB-e, but it doesn’t really come close to matching it in terms of quality, functionality or design.
The only categories where it excels are top speed and celebrity endorsement. The Scoot E-Bike has a top speed of 20mph (compared to 15mph of the URB-e) and counts Sean “Diddy” Combs, Ray J, Chris Brown, actor Terrence J and Snoop Dogg as owners. It also has an alarm system.
Uber Scoot vs. URB-e
The Uber Scoot is shaped like a child’s scooter with a brushless motor and battery underneath where you stand. Design wise, it’s more dirt bike inspired than the slick California cool of the URB-e. Be warned that some Amazon reviewers have complained about build quality and that it’s not easy to fold.
Four 12V batteries mean that the Scoot won’t get you too far without a charge. Uber advertises it at 12 miles per charge, although there is a battery saving economy mode. However, it’s fast. Some users have reported speeds of 34mph, albeit going downhill. It’s will clearly win a race with the URB-e.
If speed is your thing, this is probably the fastest electric scooter.
URB-e vs. Xcooter
The Xcooter is goes 15 miles on a single charge and tops out at 15mph so it has half the battery of the URB-e. An aluminum alloy body means that it’s really lightweight.
Because the handlebars fold down and it’s a cheaper build, ultimately it’s a little more portable than the URB-e. If you need to squeeze this into a tight space or are concerned about bringing it on a tight public transit situation, you may want to consider the Xcooter.
URB-e vs. TuTu SL350
The SL350 by Tutu looks more like a classic Vespa style scooter. It tops out at a rather sad 10mph, meaning that although you may be able to recreate that classic Italian scooter feeling in photos, you won’t be going anywhere quickly.
The Tutu will take you 34 miles on one charge though, which a bit further than the URB-e will get you. It also has an alarm.