THE CITY BIKE
The motivation behind the Urban was to build
a commuter bike that is relatively light and minimalist for an e-bike. The basis of the bike is a
cyclocross-style frame with fast-rolling wheels and
tires matched to a set of mechanical disc brakes.
There are choices for power and batteries, as well
as other bike parts like the seat and handlebar.
The $2295 version we tested uses a 36-volt battery for the 750-watt mid-drive motor. For street
use, a hub motor actually performs quite well, but
the choice of the mid-drive allows HPC to use
standard bicycle wheelsets. That decision makes
it easier for the owner to get parts, and it makes
changing or repairing tires vastly quicker and
more convenient. The end result is a quick, comfortable bike that weighs 43 pounds. The battery/
motor combo we tested allows a 20-mile range
at 20 miles per hour, and that is with no pedaling.
Obviously, the more work you do, the farther the
batteries will take you.
There are five levels of assist, plus a throt-tle-only mode designated as “high.” There is a little
difference in the assist feel at each level, but the
assist ends at increasingly higher speeds as the
assist level goes up. At any level of assist, you can
override with full power by using the thumb throttle. The pedal assist works to 20 mph, but with the
throttle and hard pedaling, the bike will push up
to 30 mph on the flats. The combination of a fairly
light, fast-rolling chassis and effective assist pays
off with ground-eating speed.
While the mid-drive looks identical to the one on
the Trailblazer X, the Urban use a 36-volt, 750-
watt version. The frame-mount battery keeps the
mass low and stays out of the way.
Cable-actuated disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power and are welcome on a bike this quick.