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UBCO 2X2 Adventure, Special Edition, and Similar

Motobene

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Joined
Apr 9, 2023
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1784
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Location
New Mexico
Brought my first electric bike, or rather moped, an UBCO 2X2 Special Edition to my machine shop to improve the ergonomics. Gonna correct the absolutely
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horrid bar bend and move the foot pegs back.

Last year we bought one of these - for my wife - a surrogate for her sold and missed F650GS (she became done with big and heavy, and so she says, 'loud and smelly.'

She now babbled on about her UBCO and wanted me to ride with her on the same machine. We had two motor controller go bad, so for me it was wait and see. Along the way I kept borrowing hers for land work because it was push button and go. Then UBCO they go to me with the green Special Ed model! Matches all my clothes and my eyes.

Dual hub motors are somewhat weird to the experienced off roader as the front wheel breaks traction at the merest hint of whiskey throttle, and jumping over a ditch can have the front motor spinning up oddly., only to stop at landing with a clunk.

The poor suspension limits one out in the rougher terrain, but if one relaxes and accepts the idea of creeping along with a ultra steady throttle hand, these machines are a real hoot!

32 MPH max, and theoretically 70-mile range from the 3.1 kWh Lifepo battery (we shall see).

One fun thing is to pack the charger for each bike on each bike and riding distance to, say, a restaurant with good beer about 30 or so miles out. Places plug-in friendly so we can make it back :-)

The zero emissions thing is of course BS, as there is no free ride, But I must say I have enjoyed semi-quietly flitting about to the whine of only the hub motor planetary gears.

Anyone else have one of these New Zeeland designed, Chinese made machines? They aren't cheap.
 
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The wife and I went with a much cheaper atv tire minibikes.
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I like the ubco concept. I have almost purchased the ariel rider grizzly. The pic is playing around on a logging wood chip pile. The neighbor to the right is digging out the mud mower after looping it.
 
Would make an interesting farm vehicle. 116lbs, $7k, kinda kills the novelty.
I think there is rebates. But still expensive. The much cheaper atv tire bikes are great for hunting and farm use.
 
Nice UBCO. It's one of the more interesting e-bikes. Does New Mexico consider it a moped?
Yes. No registration, no plates. Not sure how long that window will stay open, but the nice thing about the majority of UBCO models is that they come trimmed out 'street legal.' Other than my trials bikes, I avoid buying any two-wheeled vehicle these days that isn't street legal-able, as I want maximum use bandwidth for my shrinking dollar.

We plan to venture out on longer rides and wonder how that first interaction might go with a cop wondering why we are motorcycle looking but plateless, attracted to us because we proceed too slowly relative to other traffic. But in the last couple of years the risks have flipped from attracting The Fuzz, to being run down by plateless insane speeders, or running over rats pushing with stuffed shopping carts, shooting suddenly out from coverer while fleeing the stores they just ripped off with impunity.
 
I think there is rebates. But still expensive. The much cheaper atv tire bikes are great for hunting and farm use.
The expense is in details like TIG (or robotic pulse MIG) welded aluminum frames, a big 48V battery, and stainless steel fasteners and spokes. They screwed the pooch on handlebar ergonomics, but on the whole, the bike is well conceived and designed.

When you see comments about 'greasing the forks' in the Facebook UBCO area, you know some suspension components are Chinese look-good-but-internally-suck (and they do). My wife's white-framed Adventure needs a drop of oil every now and then on the shocks shafts to lube the seals externally. Otherwise it'll get squeaky with seal bind (fixed by the time mine was made a year later). How long can seals last being smeared like that?

The frame geometry/handling basics, comfortable seat, and many other details are quite good. Once you boil out some stupidity here and there (if you know or care) they're worth the bucks, and worthy of creating dedicated followers.

All of the weaknesses of electric vehicles still apply, however, like limited range and poor net energy efficiency. The air-cooled hub motors under sustained loading can overheat, triggering reduced power fir self protection.

And there's the inconvenient truth of electric vehicles when you view them from the frame of reference of having to charge them from a generator fueled by the miracle fluid. A gallon of generator fuel doesn't propel the electric vehicle as far as pouring that gallon into an evil fuel burner.

Range - or lack of it - is why I didn't by an Alta before they went poof. Excellent design, but the idea of my friends continuing their trail ride for many more hours, and me the early adopter having to slink back to camp to sit lonely by a noisy WFO generator for hours... just to be able to meet up with my friends coming back to camp from a long ride... it just didn't appeal.

We have two large parcels perfect for the UBCOs, for fun and work utility. After we spend wads of cash to achieve solar on these off grid properties, we can boast like idiots about our quiet 'free' or 'zero emissions' energy, ignoring all it took to get there ;-)
 
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Definitely interesting bike and life. I would think the hubs cannot be submerged. I guess the price is less than a golf cart. Which is the choice in town and on the farm around here. I bet more 2 wheel work vehicle options will be available in the future. Haha have fun on that wonderful landscape.
 
They say to to not clean the bike with a pressure washer, which I totally ignore because I know HOW to use that tool and I absolutely despise permagrunge.

Maybe the admonition to not immerse the hubs is aimed at the backwards-ball-cap types who, after imbibing a 12-pack of bubbly water with yellow food coloring, entertain themselves falling over in deep mud pools? You know... rules are for idiots? Then again, there is the Jordan Peterson principle of, 'Do not submit yourself to stupid rules.'

Not to say you shouldn't have shits and giggles fun! But maybe yes, on something more throw away than a $7k machine.
 
I think the "submerge" fear I have is terrain. My whole yard has been submerged a few times in the last couple years. And the "trails" are basically swamp land. I dont ride my real bikes offroad locally because of this. I ended up riding a 100 yrds of flooded atv tracks last time out.

I have entertained the ev concept for decades because I like electronics. Way back it was dc and lead acid batteries. I had a 350watt stand up scooter over 20 yrs ago with pneumatic tires. Not fast but fun as heck to ride and even jump. I usually kicked in hybrid mode to extend the battery.

All this is a great reminder of info I found a few months back. The 20x4 bicycle fat tires were being used in a stand up adventure style scooter. The weight capacity was 350lbs. This concept was awsome. I could barely find any info. But there was some speculation of things going to mid drive and a jackshaft with internal gearing or just the geared hub in the wheel. I liked the idea of switching gears and cargo carrying. And the easy mount or dismount ability. This would be great for rail and canal trails of the north. The scenery is beautiful and civilization is close for charging.
 
I think UBCOs have 2X 1kW hub motors.

Today I tackled the ergonomics issue on the UBCO (horrid handlebar bend). I can bend more sweep back and sweep up into the stock Sanfort bicycle bars or fit trials bars.

The Sanfort bicycle bars oddly have negative sweep up (angled down) and very little sweep back. Very 'flat' both ways for alien arms. Adding to the suboptimal, UBCO assembles the bars rolled back into squid position, putting the 'in your lap.' You can't approach a full lock turn without your hands limiting out against your legs. Sad, but they apparently don't know any better. I've told them several times but finally gave up.

The brake levers also come 'a la squid', as in angled way down. Rolling the bars way forward and bringing the levers up certainly helps, but still the bar bend is just too flat to line up with human hands, sitting or standing, by rotating the bars amply forward.

I will attempt my second bending of the stock bars tomorrow so they aren't throwaways. I fixed my wife's bars last year, holding them in a vice and bending with a long pipe. Somehow I pulled off the same bend on both sides! I wasn't easy as the aluminum is solid solution heat treated.

Good bicycle bars bends are very rare, so if you stay in the bicycle standard there is very little to choose from.

Another trick is to use trials bars. When standing all the time, poor ergos are more obvious and trials design culture had boiled the lion's share of ergos out by about the mid '90s.

I had some TRS bars because I didn't like the TRS bend on my TRS, so I fit Sherco bars (my personal fav).

The TRS bars are a real big up over the Sanfort bars that came on the UBCO (bottom):
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I will use them because I have them and maybe fit Sherco bars later.

[UWSL]While the world is full of helpful standards, unfortunately the bicycle and motorcycle standards did not merge when motorcycles jumped up from 7/8" clamps. The bicycle bars are 1-1/4" diameter maybe from long ago. The newer moto bars bars are 1-1/8" diameter at the clamp.[/UWSL]

To fit moto bars to a 'bicycle', I machined an adaper, here seen in the UBCO clamp before slicing it into halves on the mill (tomorrow).
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Fortunately I happened to have some 1-1/8" bar stock to chuck up. Not much was left after boring it out!
 
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The bike is aimed at the sit-down crowd that turns in the diameter of a freight car, but fixable for the most part with some mechanical skill and determination.

The seat is right in foam density and actually fits asses whereas bricks fit walls, so there's that. I find I can sit for a few hours without the pain signal rising from my condition: Noassatall.

Rotating bars well forward to trials position opens up the cockpit and help corrects the perceived seat-too-forward problem (cramped cockpit from bars in the lap). Stock position is just inside the window of not too objectionable for even my lanky-tall frame. I can slide back without the hip protuberances falling all the way off the back edge.

Other than the horrid handlebar bend and from-UBCO position, the majority will be pleased with the ergos, once the serious wart of the bars problem is addressed.

Here's more detail on the seat. Pivots up without latch. Tools and info store underneath. Pretty slick.
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No 'adjustment' but I will check out raising it and moving it back a bit on its mounting plate.

A slight negative to moving pegs and seat back can be more breaking traction on the front wheel going up slope from equal power output of the two hub motors. The resulting misperception is the front motor is more powerful than the rear, but that is not so. Rotating bars forward helps offset this issue, along with the very steady throttle hand and getting your weight well forward going uphill, standing or sitting.

The typical motorcyclist bypasses the trials-level skill of damping out gross wrist movements classic to whiskey throttle, and such pit racing spasticity can be part of the fun. The UBCO will spanks whiskey throttle on uphills. When front traction breaks the forward progress stops and it can be hard to get going again. It's entertaining to watch guests, even experienced fast guys, struggle with that. My wife's getting it. If I could only get to to keep her feet on the pegs....
 
Finally git back to the handlebar adapter, milling the tube in half. Bit of a pain having the half shells moving around independently during adjustments, but the fit is great. Thin layer of silicone grease on the threads and in the clamping interfaces.

The TRS bend does feel quite good in this application. Certainly not horrid like the stock bars sitting on the seat were.
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One detail is the difference in bar thickness.
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The bicycle bars are lots thinner. UBCO has these slick bar-end hickey-dos that would be nice to keep. I think drilling the bars ends out some plus turning the hickey-dos down a bit I can get them to work with the trials bars. More on that later.
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Bicycle looking for sure, but overall chunkier than pedal power stuff. The steering stem part of the frame, for example, is larger than many motorcycles.
 
I put a set of bars off my tiger on my ebike (huge improvement over a mtn bike bend) I also ran into the same issue, to get the grip I needed I machined off the 4 areas of the clamp that touched together before the bars were tight. Not as elegant but they are tight.
 
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