Updated: Sept 20, 2016
- What is an URB-E Scooter?
- Benefits of using the URB-E electric scooter
- How much do URB-E's cost? Which should I buy?
Perhaps you've seen these innoative electric scooters in your city. They are sleek and different, but capable of taking you that 'last mile' on your daily commute if you need it. The URB-E electric scooter is built with carbon fiber and American aircraft-grade 6061 aluminun. This means it's exceptional strong and lightweight, 2 things the inventors were looking for when designing the URB-E.
Watching the videos we have provided might give you a better idea of just how the URB-E works. It's really a simple concept that is done beautifully. The machine features a patented folding design, so you can literally carry the URB-E to your office or place of work if you have to.
At 35 pounds, it's just on the edge of being heavy for some. We've seen these popping up in Portland, Oregon - our home town. For a city that loves bicycles, this is the next best thing for those riding our MAX lines into downtown areas that need a lift for that last little bit.
The URB-E will surely become more prevalent in cities worldwide as it serves a purpose. Our only complaint on this one is the price. At $1700 it's a little expensive in our eyes. Even the Segway MiniPRO is only $800, although it doesn't perform the same way. The Wall Street Journal first brought this vehicle to my attention with an article they did in late 2015. Originally pricing was supposed to be around $700, but the owners couldn't get manufacturing in China and now do it in Pasadena making the cost jump beyond $1500 for now. Hopefully the URB-E will become cheaper over time, or perhaps a competitor will jump into the scene and provide a more cost effective solution.
The video below shows the basic functions and design aspects of the URB-E as told by the owners:
What to expect from the URB-E?
The first thing that almost all that try the URB-E mention is that it's fun. The second thing you hear is that it's convenient enough around city streets and maneuverable amongst the throngs of city dwellers. Our biggest concern is lugging the thing onto subways and then having to carry it up or down stairs. At 35 pounds you aren't going to see many women in work attire carrying it through the subway systems in New York City.
You can definitely build up a sweat which is not what your co-workers are expecting from you first thing in the morning. Here in Portland where our metro system is above ground, owning an URB-E does make sense. There are several areas in town where you could see the potential of owning the URB-E and commuting that last 1/2 mile after getting off the bus or MAX line.
The majority of the weight comes from the 36-volt lithium-ion battery housed inside the front frame. The battery provides for nearly 20 miles of range on a charge and you can hit speeds up to 15 MPH. For those of you that don't ride scooters very often, believe me that 15 miles per hour seems like a lot when rolling through rush hour traffic. The handlebar design takes a little getting used to - the scooter reminds me of the one on the Dumb and Dumber movie - only this one is sleeker.
There is only room for 1 person, no passengers allowed. The seat is fairly comfortable, although as you can see in the photos and video, you do site really close to the handlebars. After a few rides around the block, riding is easy and simple. Steering the URB-E is smooth and when all else fails just put your feet on the ground to get your balance.
Other features include the ability to charge your tablet or smartphone right on the electric scooter. Folding the scooter when you are getting off of it to carry is a one-step process and designed perfectly. There are other foldable electric scooters hitting the market in Europe and Japan. Most of those are sub $1000 and would certainly give the URB-E a run for it's money. Keep in mind this is the early stages of this type of vehicle and over the next decade these are sure to become sub $500 options for commuters in cities. I'm not convinced they will ever catch on outside of commuting that last mile in big cities, but there is definitely a purpose for these.
One thing that Portlanders have to deal with is rain and I'm not sure I would want to be on this electric scooter when the streets are slick. It might be safe, but why hassle with getting wet when you can just hold up the umbrella and walk into work safe and dry. The battery will fully charge in 4 hours, so if you get to work and it's low, just plug it in. Since the URB-E has become popular, there are lots of accessories for the machine - kickstands, baskets, cupholders, smartphone holders, and more. For now I will just watch others riding these until I feel like the price is reasonable. You can browse the top selling electric scooters here.
URB-E vs the Segway MiniPRO:
Many of our readers wanted to know how the URB-E compares to the less expensive Segway MiniPro. We are all familiar with the Segway, a much promised machine that never really took off. Yes, you still see Segway tours in major cities around the world and they are used in warehouses, but rarely do you see them on city streets or in your neighborhood. The appeal of the Segway never took off like the inventors had hoped for.
There is still room in our society for a vehicle of this type, but perhaps more URB-E copycats will generate the ideal machine. The Segway miniPRO at $800 is really a completely different vehicle than the URB-E. I would say the Segway miniPRO is tougher to learn how to ride and maneuver. Sure, the videos make it look easy, but the learning curve is much longer on the Segway than the URB-E. Also, the Segway is just more difficult to carry around town, unlike the URB-E that folds up nicely. The Segway offers a lower MPH and distances of about 14 miles. So if you want a faster solution that will take you further, the URB-E is the one to go with.
To check out how to use an URB-E scooter and make it part of your regular commute - click the image below to go to video.
Additional Electric Scooter Options:
I think everyone imagined the infamous Hoverboard taking over, that is until they started overheating and causing fires. The Powerboard by Hoverboard is guaranteed to be safe and it's been certified by the US Government. Hoverboards are unique and perhaps the way of the future, but for now I say stay off of them unless you know you can ride it without the risk of falling off. Again, the videos look enticing, but in reality I know more adults that hurt themselves on these self balancing scooters. They are just not stable enough for the average person.
The Act-On Scooter sells for around $1000 and gets above average reviews. It's completely foldable and can carry a rider up to 350 pounds. The scooter is powered by a 48 volt Lithium-ion battery that provides a 12 mph top speed. It comes with a headlight and a stable 3 wheel design. The LEHE K1 electric scooter and the CleveYoung cBike are two other options on the market. Both those are in the $1000 price range but haven't taken off in popularity. See our review on electric scooters.
More videos and resources are here on our URB-E Resource Page.
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