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The UrbanX front wheel adds electric power to most bikes at a reasonable cost and weight

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UrbanX wheel, on commuter bike

There are tons of electric bike conversion kits emerging these days, but the folks behind UrbanX might have one of the simplest and most universal concepts yet. The UrbanX is a self-contained, motor driven front wheel that can quickly and easily convert a wide range of bikes into motorized machines.

Conversion kits like the UrbanX allow you to add power to a bike you already own and love, and are typically far more affordable than buying a whole new E-bike. Also, while the motorized wheel does carry some weight one could add it to a regular bike and come in well under the heft of many complete E-Bikes.

There are plenty of different rim sizes available, plus rim or disc brake compatible versions as well. The UrbanX’s Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded its funding goal, so let’s check out the ‘nuts and volts’ of it below…

UrbanX wheel, full

The UrbanX wheel is designed to fit almost any bike that has 100mm front axle spacing and traditional dropouts. Since the wheel uses a nutted axle, forks with proprietary thru-axles will not accommodate the UrbanX. There are six sizes available: 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”, 650c and 700c. (The company says it works for BMX bikes, but with no 20” wheels available they must mean 24” cruisers only).

Installation is simple- All you have to do is swap the complete wheel, bolt the throttle unit on the handlebar (if you choose to have one) and connect the throttle wire to the hub. The only other thing you may have to do is install a brake rotor if you run discs. The wheel even comes with a tire mounted, which can of course be swapped out or replaced with any other tire.

UrbanX wheel, mtb rider
Note that the motors are photoshopped into some of these pictures, including this one.

The UrbanX comes in Eco and Booster models, and either type can be purchased as a throttle version (which gives you the option to ride in pedal assist mode also) or as pedal assist only for areas where throttles are against the law.

The Eco model has a 240w motor, and offers a 15mph top speed. The more powerful Booster version puts out 350w and will take you up to 20mph. Both options provide the same range of up to 30 miles, and both carry a maximum weight of 300lbs.

UrbanX wheel, throttle unit

The motor is controlled by a thumb throttle unit which features a battery life indicator so you always know how much juice is on tap. There are three levels of pedal assist to choose from, which can be selected via the UrbanX’s iOS and Android compatible smartphone app.

UrbanX wheel, two bikes

The wheel’s 36v, 3500mAh battery pack clicks into the hub housing under the axle, and can be easily removed for charging or swapped out with a spare to increase your range. A full charge takes just 1.5 hours, and the battery should last for 1000 cycles.

The UrbanX wheel will add 15lbs to your bike. This is a good chunk of weight, but considering some E-Bikes weigh over 60lbs, an average commuter bike with this front wheel would still come in at 45lbs or less.

UrbanX wheel, road rider
…and this one. *Photos courtesy of UrbanX

Currently crowdfunders can pre-purchase an UrbanX Eco throttle or pedal assist wheel for $299 USD, or buy the Booster throttle model for $399. Once you’ve picked which motor you want, the price won’t change according to your chosen wheel size or brake type. Following the KS campaign UrbanX will send buyers a survey to determine which rim/hub combo they require.

The UrbanX wheel comes with a one year limited warranty, and the first units should be shipping out in July. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

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18 Comments
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Fritz
Fritz
5 years ago

Check out the sleek Italian Zehus motor/battery all in one hub, best solution I’ve seen so far http://www.zehus.it

Jon
Jon
5 years ago
Reply to  Fritz

The Pros:
Sure, it doesn’t require typical charging through an outlet, it’s pedal charged. That’s the ONLY thing that it has over the UrbanX.

Now the cons:
You can’t upgrade your existing ride, you have a limited choice of frames.
You don’t have the throttle option, only pedal assist and only one gear.
The price! US $2,250 to $8,780 for the standard configurations and up to US $10,920 fully customized.

Now, if that last con didn’t sway you back to the UrbanX, I wish I had your bank account!

Benedikt
Benedikt
5 years ago

my roadbike fork is not built for a motordrive.
is it dangerous to built in a motor in a roadbike fork?

TheKaiser
5 years ago

This thing seems like a great price compared to the early competitors in this market space, although it could be that others are getting more competitive on pricing by now too. Are those radial spokes though? I know they are short, but still, that can’t be great on a torque producing wheel.

Blake
Blake
5 years ago

nuts and volts, HA!

JBikes
JBikes
5 years ago

So is the boost speed limited as in after 15 mph I will no longer receive up to 240w or is it speed limited due to motor torque going to zero at “x” rotational speed. If the later, at what wheel size is the 15mph calculated?

Low speed limited E-bike commuters are strange. I really don’t need “boost” to ride along below 15 mph (excluding wind/hills). However, I would like a “tail wind” to allow me to cruise to work at 20mph at a 12mph effort.

Jerry Bear
5 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

Mine seems to top out at about 24 KPH or around 15 mph on a heavy Trailmate trike pulling a trailer with a full 20 lb propane tank..The range sucks..Lucky yo get 4 miles on a full charge at about half speed…

Allan
Allan
5 years ago

A motorized front wheel on a MTB? Going up any steep grade you are going to have to completely change the way you balance you weight, and forget about anything loose. This application seems impractical for off road use.

Jack Moore
Jack Moore
5 years ago
Reply to  Allan

I agree this is probably not a great solution for serious off road – that would be a purpose built bike meant for some abuse like models from Spesh, Trek et al.

I’m pretty interested in this solution as an option for my wife however – we are moving to a house that is up a 2 mile, ~ 5% hill. We enjoy a ride out for coffee or a drink – but she would not welcome a return climb like that. I don’t feel like dropping $3-5K on a dedicated e-bike, but an aftermarket add on like this would be an ideal solution.

We need more inexpensive solutions for powered bikes. When I travel in LatAm, I often see delivery riders, tradesmen like carpenters and plumbers on retro-fitted bikes that seem to have a small 2-cycle motor fitted to a bike with a trailer attached. These are probably in the range of $100 given the target market. $5000 bikes for the Prius set may be a nice niche market for the people sipping an Organic Lattes at Whole Foods, – but 99% of the rest of the population would never dream of spending that on a bike ( plus half the people that DO spend that much on a bike think e-bikes are from the Devil)

At a few hundred bucks – you do have the chance to change transportation dynamics.

James Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Allan

Working as assistive drive, the front wheel would only be powered when you are powering the rear wheel, so this is actually a pretty easy way to get two wheel drive on your mountain bike. And that’s like the difference between a two and four wheel drive car.

Pete
Pete
5 years ago

So THAT’S how those Navy boys get up the hill!

fiddlestixob
5 years ago

“Note that the motors are photoshopped into some of these pictures, including this one.”

LOL :)_

thesteve4761
thesteve4761
5 years ago

350w through radial spokes on a 29″ wheel. Seems smart.

iperov
iperov
5 years ago

motor dont give you health.
No thx.

SJC
SJC
5 years ago

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Front-wheel drive motors are horribly unsafe. Your dropouts are not designed to take the force exerted by a powered front wheel. I’ve seen several instances of bikes where the add-in front wheel motor ripped through the dropouts, leading to a bad crash.

Jim
Jim
5 years ago
Reply to  SJC

If you look closely, I believe the entire inner core is stationary with the fork. Only outer circle where the spoke attach to the pancake is rotating. For this reason, I believe there are plenty of space where you can put 2 torque arms to bind the fork with the inner core of the pancake

Ann
Ann
5 years ago

This urban x wheel sucks I used it 8 times no longer works can’t get a refund or a new wheel from them. I also ordered and paid for a second wheel for a friend never received it, again no refund. Also ordered a second battery never received this. DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF

Arlene Hernandez
Arlene Hernandez
4 years ago

are they legal in NY?

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