They’re made in Taiwan and are regarded fairly well in the mountain bike
world. The fork is a Spinner Grind, also
from Taiwan. The handlebar and stem
are mountain bike items, but the wheels
and tires are from the motorcycle world.
The motor is a compact 750-watt
unit, but the heart of any electric motorcycle is the controller. As we all know,
electric motors are either on or off by
nature, so the challenge for a motor
vehicle is finding something in the
middle. The Kuberg has a twist throttle that meters out power gradually. It
also offers a means of altering the top
speed. When you first flip the bike on,
it communicates with a series of LED
flashes. Five flashes means it’s set at
full speed, which is about 17 mph. If
you hold down a well-hidden button,
you can select any of the five settings.
The lowest of these restricts the bike to
walking speed—slow walking speed.
Our test bike was a Trial E with an
optional seat. Stock, there’s no seat
at all in keeping with the trials-bike
theme. But in our experience, young
riders don’t understand the concept of
standing up on the pegs without a lot of
coaching. The seat is an $80 add-on.
THE ULTIMATE JURY
We immediately threw the Kuberg
Trial E at an angry pack of wolves—9-
year-old kids with very little experi-
ence. At that age, an average-sized kid
already makes the Trial E look a little
small. At the other end of the age enve-
lope, a 5-year-old could probably han-
dle it easily. The greatest thing about
the bike is that it opens up new possi-
bilities. It’s absolutely noiseless. There’s
only slight sound from the tiny chain.
You can get away with rides in urban
environments where motorcycles would
result in helicopters and sky hooks. If
you have a big backyard, all the better.
The neighbors will never hear a thing.
Another big advantage is the size.
It’s physically similar to a Yamaha
PW50, which is the gold standard in
gasoline-powered youth motorcycles.
But, the Kuberg is much lighter. The
Trial E is about 65 pounds, whereas a
PW is over 90. Anyone can pick it up,
including Dad when he throws it into
the trunk. The Kuberg doesn’t have any
liquids and the batteries are sealed, so
it can be stored sideways or upside
down. If you live in an apartment,
it could even stay in little Ralph’s
bedroom every night. What kid wouldn’t
Before you turn the kids loose,
you should decide how much power
they can handle and adjust the output
accordingly. Even though the Kuberg
has a good system for this, it still has
very sudden throttle response compared to a gasoline-powered machine.
Start on one of the milder output set-
tings and move up. It kind of works
the opposite of a throttle limiter on a
gasoline machine. On those, turning the
throttle adjuster inward limits accelera-
tion, but not top speed. On the Kuberg,
it alters top speed more than accelera-
tion. Kids will quickly learn the value of
throttle control. The Kuberg’s throttle
also exhibits a trait common among
electric vehicles. As speed increases,
the throttle seems to develop more free
play. Again, kids learn to deal with that
quickly. Adults learn more slowly.
One of the few criticisms we have
of the machine involves the rear shock.
It’s very stiff and has no hydraulic
damping, so the bike can be quite
bouncy on bumps. For the backyard
crowd, this isn’t much of a factor. But
for real off-road terrains, it’s a good
idea to upgrade to a 6.5-inch mountain bike air shock. We dug one up on
eBay for $95, and it was well worth the
money and time spent finding it.
In light of the Trail E’s suggested
retail price of $1299, there’s probably
some room left over in the budget.
Compare that to the PW50, which costs
$1440, and Dad has to kick-start it. The
Kuberg was a hit with our 9-year-olds,
but you need to understand that it is
a gateway drug. They’ll want more of
what the motorized world has to offer
very quickly. That’s fine; the bike has
great hand-me-down potential. There
are few moving parts to wear out, and
the U.S. importer already has a good
supply. The Kuberg will probably be
in the extended family for a very long
This is the Kuberg
Trial E, which is sized
for kids between the
ages of 5 and 9.