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Ubco 2×2 review: Mountain goat
“Part moped, part mountain goat, the Ubco 2×2 is a fun way to ride anywhere you please.”
- Light yet sturdy design
- Excellent range
- Easy to ride
- Handles well on or off-road
- Never feels powerful
- Expensive for an electric moped
I cruised through my local neighborhood on the way to a buddy’s house with the soft whirl of dual electric motors buzzing beneath me. As I passed open garages and kids on bicycles, I saw more waves in a 10-minute excursion than I’ve received in the last year. People were genuinely excited to see something different coming down the road, and the Ubco 2×2 delivers ‘different’ in spades. With its aluminum trellis frame, knobby tires, and fat seat, the Ubco 2×2 looks like the star of a Pixar film.
Oddly enough, this utilitarian freedom machine was built for New Zealand farmers. The 2×2 was intended to withstand the rigors of daily chores across a rugged mountain landscape, but it also found a home with the two-wheeled recreation crowd.
That spurred Ubco to morph the 2×2 into the moped it is today. Being a moped carries a few requirements from the manufacturer like turn signals, mirrors, a headlight, and a maximum top speed of 30 miles per hour.While an off-road version is available, the road-going 2×2 is one of the friendliest neighborhood runabouts I’ve ever experienced.
Not too big, not too small
What makes the Ubco 2×2 friendly is its weight, or lack thereof. At 144 pounds, the 2×2 is unique. Even the smallest gas-powered scooters tip the 200lb mark, while e-bikes usually don’t exceed 70 pounds. The weight of the 2×2 gives it the heft to handle bumps with ease, but it’s light enough to feel approachable and nimble.
The notion that you can put a foot down in case things get hairy is comforting to a lot of riders.
Intimidation keeps a lot of people off of motorcycles. Maneuvering can be tricky for new riders, especially at low speeds. That’s where the Ubco 2×2 shines, because the chief benefit to something being light, besides increased range, is the confidence it inspires while riding. The notion that you can put a foot down in case things get hairy is comforting to a lot of riders.
The right speed
The Ubco 2×2 also inspires confidence with its modest power. The electric motor can put out 2.4kWh, which equals about 3.2 horsepower. That absurd lack of ponies is countered with a more impressive 66 ft-lb of torque. The result is power that dances the line between ‘as expected’ and ‘underwhelming.’ While the initial rush of torque is exciting, the Ubco 2×2’s pace is always peaceful.
Braking, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations. The Tektro-brand brakes look similar to what I’ve seen used on mountain bikes, but Ubco activates them with electric motors. The 2×2 actually uses regenerative braking to help improve battery range, while at the same time providing a simulated engine braking function that helps when you need to stop immediately.
Speaking of battery life, range anxiety is nearly nonexistent. With a 175lb rider going 20.2 mph, the 2×2 has a quoted range of 75 miles. Based on my usage as a 190lb rider trying to go 30 mph everywhere I went, 55 miles is a more reasonable estimate. I know 55 miles doesn’t sound like a lot, but this is a moped. It’s meant for short trips. I only had to charge the 2×2 once a week. Even my longest trip only used half the battery.
There’s an app, of course
Your real-time battery usage is made clear by the readout on the 2x2s dash, but for those looking for a little bit of additional, info the Ubco app provides a look into the bike’s different settings, motor temps, and regenerative braking usage. Once the 2×2 is on the charger, 0-90% takes six hours to charge, with the last 10% taking two hours.
What’s it for, anyway?
The Ubco 2×2 may have its root in off-road use, but I quickly found this moped isn’t built for tearing up trails. The suspension becomes overwhelmed on rough terrain if pushed. It’s happier between 10-15 mph while off-road.
Once I realized this and stopped acting like a hooligan, not only did the 2×2 get easier to ride because the front tire wasn’t spinning out, but I started enjoying the peace and quiet while meandering through the countryside. With that said, I found myself wishing I could adjust the power output of the motors, which is set at a 50/50 distribution to the front and back.
Being able to adjust the power would give the 2×2 an opportunity for rowdier characteristics, although maybe that’s missing the point. The 2×2 is a thoughtful explorer that’s built to traverse the great outdoors reliably, not quickly.
For someone like myself who sees two-wheeled machines as a way to push the limits of speed and traction, the 2×2 is certainly limited in power and ability.
The 2×2’s goal is to provide an easy ride for people who want to explore the joys of motorcycling freedom without the hassle a motorcycle endorsement. That’s what makes the 2×2 special. It’s the friendliest way to test the waters.
If you can afford to take the plunge. The Ubco 2×2 MSRPs for $6,999. That’s a lot for an electric moped, and it underscores Ubco’s niche appeal. It may be easy to ride, but the Ubco 2×2 isn’t trying to appeal to everyone. It targets a specific group of adventure seekers who crave a reliable, fun moped — and are willing to pay for it.
There’s a 12-month warranty on the bike and accessories with a 24-month warranty on the power supply.
The Ubco 2×2 does exactly what it was intended to do. The trick is figuring out that intention and understanding that it isn’t a dirt bike, but rather a meandering mountain goat for the dirt and a zippy residential runabout on the streets. Ultimately, it’s a niche moped that’s too expensive for most riders.
Is there a better alternative?
Electric two-wheeled exploration is on the rise. Other options include the Gotrax G2 electric scooter and Zero Motorcycles’ full lineup of electric steeds. The Ubco fits somewhere in between, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything with its mix of two-wheel drive, moped classification, and range.
How long will it last?
The frame and components on the Ubco 2×2 look to be nearly bulletproof, so our only concern is the battery and motors. Thankfully, Ubco has done their research when it comes to batteries and incorporated an automotive class battery from Panasonic. This means that after 500 charge cycles the battery is expected to drop 20% of its charge capability, which translates to 3.5 years if you’re using the 2×2 for daily commuting.
The advent of the Ubco app helps with firmware updates to keep things running smoothly and catch any issues, like overheating motors, before they become a problem.
Should you buy it?
No, unless it exactly fits what you need.