Buying a bike from a dealership—or even a private seller—often means the bike is already prepared for you to ride. Unless you’ve purchased a project bike, all the necessary parts are usually already in place. You just have to get your insurance arranged, put your gear on, and go.
That’s where UBCO is different. The company ships its bikes directly to customers, along with detailed instructions on how to perform final assembly tasks. There’s also a handy Field Kit full of all the tools that riders need to do things like installing the rear turn signals, putting the mirrors on, and adjusting the handlebars.
Based in New Zealand, UBCO and its 2x2 electric bikes are known for their unique design. The company occupies a rugged, workhorse, low-speed niche, and it’s proud of it. While there are plenty of other low-speed electric bikes and scooters on the market, most of them don’t also feature all-wheel drive—which is the entire point of the 2x2. It comes in two flavors: Adventure, and Work. The Adventure one is essentially a dual-sport moped, while the Work one is solely meant to stay off of all roads.
What’s in the box? Your bike, its charger, and a whole lot of cardboard. A simple snip of the nylon straps holding the box lid on is all you need to start to unbox the thing. Although some setup is necessary, the bike comes mostly assembled. Only small things that stick out—like the foot pegs, turn signals, and mirrors—are either removed or else folded down and tightly secured so they don’t get damaged in transit.
Once you remove the cardboard surrounding the bike, you may be tempted to wheel it out of the bottom cardboard stand. As the instructions will tell you, please resist that urge. It’s a lot easier to do your initial setup with the cardboard carrier holding the bike straight up and down, instead of leaned over on its side stand like it will be when you get it all the way out of the box.
So, what’s the setup process like? I recently spoke with UBCO CEO Katherine Sandford (interview coming soon to RA), who explained that UBCOs are meant to appeal to a wide variety of people—some of whom have never even thought about riding before. The setup process mostly reflects this. Printed and illustrated startup instructions are neatly tucked inside the Field Kit, along with a User Manual.
Speaking of which, the Field Kit is a fairly robust tool kit, and one with some pretty nice, full-sized tools included. The key fob for the bike is also tucked inside, and there’s even a spare set of brake pads in one of the zippered pockets. (They are TINY.)
While the aesthetic is undeniably adorable, this tool kit is also quite useful. (I’ve seen some from better-established OEMs that aren’t as nice, to be honest.) In the interest of getting the full experience, I opted to go through the setup process using only the tools included in the Field Kit, as much as possible. I opened up the startup sheet, read through the steps, looked at the diagrams, and laid out my tools.
Most things went very smoothly. The rear turn signals went on with no trouble, and were easily tightened down using the enclosed 17mm wrench. The mirrors, likewise, were quite easy to screw into place, and only required tightening of a locking nut and sliding the little rubber boot down to tidy it up afterward.
In fact, the only time I had to resort to a tool not found in the Field Kit was in adjusting the handlebar lugs. The UBCO 2x2 Adventure ships from the company with its handlebars turned all the way to one side, and then locked into place to secure them for shipment. One of the lugs was fairly loose and able to be easily loosened even more when I went to adjust the bars. The other, however, was torqued down pretty tight. After trying (and not having much luck with) the allen wrench set included in the Field Kit, I resorted to the comparative ease of a ratchet instead. Obviously, your mileage (and hand/arm strength, and patience) may vary.
The charger that comes with the bike is simple to plug in and get charging your 2x2, as well. One warning, though: That little charger is LOUD. I was surprised at how loud it was, in fact—and although I haven’t taken the bike out for a ride yet, I’m 99 percent sure that charger is louder than the bike itself when it’s doing its thing.
Like many electronic charging devices, it uses colored LEDs to tell you what’s going on. If it’s solid red, it’s charging. When it turns green, it’s done—and it’s smart enough to shut off, so the charger is nice and quiet once again. (That volume is something to keep in mind if you’ll be charging your UBCO near where anyone is sleeping, though.)
My first impression is that the UBCO 2x2 has an extremely pleasing, utilitarian, and unpretentious design. The whole bike basically functions as a handy rack, where you can mount just about anything you need to haul with you. Although the bike itself weighs just 150 pounds (including the battery), the payload is 330 pounds!
Gallery: UBCO 2x2 Adventure Unboxing and Setup
As the User Manual proudly indicates, there are 18 different M8 accessory mounting points all around the bike. You can bungee, zip tie, velcro, or otherwise secure just about anything you want, just about anywhere on the bike—and it can just be whatever you have handy. Got a milk crate? Get going! It’s extremely appealing as a form of low-speed urban mobility—but one that can also do a whole lot more, as long as you don’t need to go at high speeds to do it.
It was born as a work bike, for farms and other off-road pursuits—but it’s a low-speed dual sport, and I’m looking forward to finding out all about that life as I get to know the UBCO 2x2 Adventure better. What do you want to know about the UBCO 2x2 Adventure? Let us know in the comments!