The Premise. That last leg of the commuter’s long journey is the distance between the train station or bus stop and the front door…the dreaded last mile. With no room on public transport for a bike, and no room in a grown adult’s life for a freakin’ scooter! (dopey razor kind, not retiree’s mobility kind)… however will one traverse it? Walk? Pashaw!
The Product. The URB-E is a folding electric mini-bike which collapses down to roughly the size of a rolling oxygen tank. This funky little take on the commuter vehicle comes in Carbon Grey, Cloud White, or “GoGo Green,” main colors (with Polished Gold and MRDR Black premium options), with accent choices of black, blue, white, hot pink, or orange. The rear-wheel assembly is modular, allowing users to switch between three-wheeled URB-E Commuter and two-wheeled URB-E GP versions, which provide optimal performance in slow populated conditions or faster open conditions, respectively (alternate wheel assembly sold as optional accessory).
The Pitch. Five, that’s right, FIVE videos outline everything from the URB-E’s marketing campaign and development to its adventures in the orient and rivalry with a gorilla. Clear and numerous pictures depict URB-E’s color options and smartphone-aware charging station (which will soon include an app to track range, battery life, speed, and even lighting). A three hour charge, a 36V battery and a 250W motor achieve URB-E’s 15mph top speed (max for electric mobility vehicles), 20-mile range, and a 250lb load capacity — pretty impressive for something that weighs less than your kids’ BMX bikes. Finally, URB-E’s development team’s references include the likes of Vans, Nike, Porsche, Samsung, and Disney, to name a few.
The Perks. Available in August 2014, the traditional options include: $1599 extra early backer with exclusive color, $1699 early backer, $1799 purchaser, and even a $250 down payment/reserve option, which locks in promotional price. Awesome options include: $999 race the gorilla option (to secure a chance to race the aforementioned gorilla. Seriously.), and a $20K “first model off the line,” option.
The Potential. With other compact products out there like the Yikebike Fusion, and the boxy Kickstarter alum Zeit-Eco (which is comparable in range and price, and includes built-in sound), commuters have emerging alternatives including many electric bike. However, with a 20-mile range and a design that can go basically anywhere, the URB-E is definitely worth a serious commuter’s second look.