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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.