The URB-E


*If you came to this post earlier, you are right, it did have a different title. But, thanks to Erik for providing the information I lacked, I figure I should use their proper name - the URB-E. Clicking the link will take you to the URB-E website and more information about them. 

The other day we took the Gold Line in to Pasadena to spend a few hours. Disembarking at the Memorial Park station we were greeted by the sight of a photo shoot taking place at the platform for these little adult strider-type bikes. I snapped one shot, looking across the tracks, of these two, but then failed to get a close up of the ones on our side of the tracks, trusting that I could remember their name. Ha! So much for that. The only thing I can remember is that the first letter of the name is an 'E', and the name is about four letters long.

What is most interesting about them, I suppose, is their foldable compactness - they take up less space than a typical folding bike, such as made by Dahon, or Brompton. At the same time, the lack of pedals makes them less versatile, especially with regard to distance. My guess is the maker is looking to slot into a niche between walking and pedaling, which is interesting (in a marketing kind of way, I guess) since all the models were young and looked as if they were quite capable of being mobile by either of those other modes.

You will notice that the bikes are hand-brake equipped, while some even had attached baskets. My initial, and quick, impression (and this is probably shaped by the age of the models) is that "fun" or "recreation" is the main marketing angle. Yet the inclusion of a basket broadens the scope and function to more "utilitarian" especially, perhaps, for people
 who due to health reasons, are unable to walk long distances. That may be the more significant marketing angle, if you ask me.

So, and perhaps obviously, knowing what I now know, this would have been written a little differently - the electric motor gives the URB-E more versatility and a longer range - up to twenty miles on a four hour charge. While there is still a clear recreational aspect, this range also increases their viability as a medium range commuting option. You will not convince me they are better than pedal power, but they are worth considering as a transportation option.

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