Urtopia Chord e-bike: test / review
Published on: 05-03-2023 / Modified: 18-01-2024
I regularly monitor new products launched through crowdfunding campaigns and this is how I discovered the Urtopia Carbon One electric bike in 2022. Until then I had always thought that using an electric bike was a bit of a cheat but I changed my mind. The success of the Carbon One has also confirmed my opinion.
I now use this electric bike in combination with my racing bike, depending on my mood. I'm not a great sportsman, I try to do 2 hours of cycling per week depending on the weather and my free time. I push these two bikes to the maximum of my capacities to get the maximum satisfaction from them. This pair of bikes will now have to make way for a third bike with the launch of the Urtopia Chord.
The Urtopia Chord will be available from March 6, 2023 in Europe and for the launch you get free shipping.
To take advantage: Urtopia Chord / official website
What about Urtopia?
I have tested their first bike, you can find the video here:
it's in French but there are subtitles in many languages. The Carbon One is a totally different bike but it only shows that Urtopia is for real and they did not start with the easiest type of bike. The Chord will probably be easier to produce.
The Urtopia Chord is the latest addition to the Chinese company NewUrtopia and even if this new model takes the bases of the Carbon One, it is another type of animal.
The Urtopia Chord is closer to a traditional bike with a more complete equipment (mudguards, stand, luggage rack, ...) and a Shimano derailleur instead of a single speed on the Carbon One. The extra equipment doesn't really interest me because I don't have a direct use for it. The addition of a derailleur, on the other hand, interests me much more because it is what I was missing on the Carbon One.
Saddle height: 170mm
Handlebar height: 1100-1300mm
Height of saddle support: 500mm
Overall length: 1800mm
Wheel width: 690mm
Horizontal tube: 620mm
Handlebar tube: 200mm
Handlebar height: 90-120mm
The screen has the same features as the Carbon One, I will see once the bike is tested if there are differences between these two models.
The first thing that jumps out is the difference in the frame. The Carbon One had no support tube under the seat and was completely made of carbon. The Chord has a forged aluminum frame and that translates into more weight. The Chord weighs 21kg where the Carbon One weighed 15kg.
The bike is powered by a 350W motor for the US and 250W for Europe which results in a speed of 32 and 25 km/h (20/16 mph) respectively. The motor seems to be the same as the Carbon One. The battery also seems to be the same capacity as the Carbon One, the autonomy should be similar except that this bike is heavier.
The Chord is equipped with a Shimano 8-speed derailleur as well as hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro as on the Carbon One.
This bike is aimed at a wider audience than the Carbon One, its format allows to keep a position very similar to a normal bike.
I received some pictures of the Chord while waiting to receive mine, I will add my pictures later (probably early May). The Urtopia Chord comes in two colors: white and black.
Here's a look at the two models next to each other:
Front ¾ view:
The handlebars can be adjusted in height and the shape of the handlebar is curved. This type of handlebar will allow you to stand more upright in relation to the saddle. The battery is housed in the horizontal tube between the saddle and the handlebars, it is in the tube between the bottom bracket and the handlebars on the Carbon One.
The choice to add a derailleur also brings a change in the chain where we return to something more classic. The roads are 700C with a 19mm rim, I don't think they are carbon. There is a reflective strip on the circumference of the wheel that will make you visible if for example you cross a street at night
The derailleur is a Shimano 8-speed with a small 12-tooth sprocket and a 50 chainring at the bottom bracket. This allows for almost 9 metres of development with each pedal revolution and gives a speed of 31 km/h with a cadence of 60 revolutions per minute. I'm curious to test this on this type of bike as it's the kind of setup I would have liked to have on the Carbon One as above 25km/h I was pedalling a bit in the dark.
The saddle seems to be the same as that of the Carbon One. I found this saddle very comfortable, it is adjustable in height to allow tall people like me to ride in good conditions.
The light is also identical to the previous model, it can be used as a light or give an indication of braking. The two lights on the sides project a halo of light on the ground to indicate your direction when you turn, these lights are only visible at night.
The configuration of the guide has changed a lot and I'm probably not going to like it as much because I'm not used to standing up straight on a bike. With a racing bike, I spend most of the time almost lying down.
The brake cables are clearly visible and the controls are different. On the left side there is the control to choose the level of intervention of the motor, indicate in which direction you turn and probably also the voice control. On the right side there is a novelty that is related to the use of a derailleur, here we find the possibility of changing gears.
This new Urtopia is positioned as an elegant and practical bike. It's not a performance-oriented bike or a bike you're going to take on trails.
The Urtopia Chord is available on the official website. I will receive my unit later in August as Urtopia prioritises its customers.
Urtopia Chord and ChatGPT
Urtopia is testing ChatGPT integration on the Urtopia Chord and the result is pretty interesting:
All this is obviously just a prototype, but it opens up a host of possibilities and also demonstrates that Urtopia is not a survival mode like other brands and that they are already thinking about the future of cycling with this kind of experimentation. The key to success will be to be able to integrate ChatGPT with the bike's functions, for example with navigation adapted to points of interest, as shown in the video.