It’s so quiet! That’s the real beauty of the UBCO electric bike. It’s the silent stalker of the wheeled world.
The effect on game is remarkable. I whispered along on the UBCO, hundreds of metres ahead of Tony on a petrol-powered quad, and saw plenty of creatures before they saw me. When they did look up, they looked towards the roaring quad coming from somewhere else. The quad wasn’t yet in sight but the animals bolted. Tony arrived to see empty paddocks.
The UBCO 2X2 WRK (or Work) electric bike cemented itself as a great hunting machine there and then. For patrolling the farm, it’d be just as good, because the effect on stock is very similar. The quiet machine doesn’t attract much attention at all.
This product of New Zealand is the simpler of two models: it’s the basic agbike while the UBCO 2X2 ADV is more a trail bike and can even be road-registered.
Both consist of an alloy frame holding a 2.1kWh battery, with mountain bike-style suspension, wheels, brakes, handlebars and fat tyres; for $850 more you can opt for a longer-lasting 3.1kWh battery, which we had in this bike. The rig weighs only 69kg with the 3.1kWh battery fitted.
The UBCO is two-wheel drive. After the silence, this is another revelation if you’re only used to rear-wheel drive bikes. Driving both wheels is easy to do with electric bikes because you simply put an electric motor in each hub. The result is massively improved control, mostly.
With the front wheel pulling at least as much as the back pushes, the bike tracks brilliantly, going exactly where you want it to in muddy or sandy conditions. This stability and precision let you spend more time looking around rather than at the trail. The only time it isn’t excellent is going up steep hills, when the front gets light and loses traction, skipping sideways a bit as it spins. Shifting your weight forward helps, but on a very steep hill with loose rocks I got off and walked beside it as we ascended.
That was no big deal, just different, and more than compensated for by the benefits of 2X2. I’d have it every day of the week.
With no clutch worry about and no engine to stall, plus the 2X2 control and a very low centre of gravity, slow-speed riding is a piece of cake. You can come to a feet-up stop with the twist-grip throttle closed, and just roll your wrist to get moving again. High-speed riding is much the same, and peaks at about 50km/h.
The suspension is adjustable front and rear but fairly basic — remember this is very much like an agbike, so don’t expect much. The ADV model has longer suspension travel if you want it. The bicycle brakes, with rear on the left handlebar and front of the right, are adequate.
The overall impression is of a light, nimble and easily ridden bike that you don’t ride hard.
If you potter around a property on an UBCO with a 3.1kWh battery you’ll probably go all day on a charge. My day’s testing didn’t go all that far, but it did involve around six hours on and off the bike and used only about a third of the charge. Recharging takes four to eight hours, and you could always buy a spare battery if you think it would be necessary.
Using the UBCO app, you can vary power output and consumption as well as a host of other parameters. You can mount your smartphone to the handlebars as a dashboard and controller.
The 2X2 WRK is a very utilitarian machine, with front and rear racks as well as space between your legs to carry things. Load capacity is stated as 150kg spread across the bike, and there are a total of 19 clever lugs attached to the frame to assist in carrying it. I say clever because they’re design for M8 nuts and bolts, and each lug holds its nut captive.
UBCO has accessories you can bolt to the lugs, such as the luggage tray on the back of the bike we tested, and the strong lever guards on the handlebars. BYO gun boot. UBCO has even promoted the fitment of hunting accessories like a SmartRest Quad Rest.
They know hunters will use these bikes, and being a Kiwi design I’m sure hunters were involved from the beginning.
And the UBCO 2X2 WRK does make an excellent hunting steed. It will not only get you around your hunting grounds safely and competently, it’ll get you there so quietly you’ll see far more game than you’ve ever encountered on a petrol-powered noise maker.
At a starting price of $8300 with a 2.1kWh battery, an UBCO 2X2 WRK is a good $1500 more than a new Japanese 200cc agbike, but with two-wheel drive and all that silence, it’s easy to justify it.
- UBCO 2X2 WRK
- Battery: 2.1 or 3.1kWh
- Weight: 64/69kg (2.1/3.1kWh)
- Seat height: 815mm
- Wheelbase: 1215mm
- Length/width/height: 1820/820/1040mm
- Max speed: 50km/h
- Drive: 2WD with 2 x 1kW Flux2 motors
- Brakes: Hydraulic/disc & regenerative braking
- Suspension travel: 130/120mm (front/rear)
- Price: From $8300/$9150 (2.1/3.1kWh)
- Contact: www.ubcobikes.com/au