So I recently got my hands on an URB-E — a foldable electric scooter — to test ride. I’d known about this company for awhile because they are based in Pasadena, where I live. I walk past their storefront all the time and to be honest, I first took notice of them because URB-E made me think of WALL-E. The scooter may not be the adorable little robot that could, but it is small and futuristic looking and it’s here on Earth.
URB-E markets the scooter as a first mile, last mile solution, emphasizing how easy it is to take the scooter on board Metro. So I decided to put it to the test.
My daily commute consists of me walking to Del Mar Station and taking the train to Union Station. Normally, this walk takes about 10 minutes, depending on how I feel and how many walk signals I get. With URB-E, the time from home to station was cut down to about two to three minutes, which is nice when it’s really hot as it has been this week. (I actually like walking but I DO NOT like sweating.)
The scooter can travel up to 20 miles on one charge, and after riding around on it a bit more, here are my thoughts:
- URB-E is pretty zippy. It tops out around 15 mph but for some reason it feels faster than that.
- It’s easy to navigate on sidewalks. I dislike bicycles on sidewalks for a host of reasons, but the URB-E is small enough to maneuver around people without me having to worry about accidentally clipping them.
- The folding and unfolding process is quite simple. It could just be that I’ve had bad experiences with folding bikes, but I liked that this was easy to pop up and fold down.
- It is easy to take on board the train and takes up very little space.
- It has a USB port so you can charge your phone while you ride. That’s a nice bonus, especially when my phone has been constantly on the verge of dying thanks to Pokémon GO.
- It weighs 35 pounds. That’s about twice as heavy as an average folding bicycle and also heavier than the average electric bike. I was able to lift it and walk up and down the stairs with it, but it’s definitely an arm workout.
- It can be difficult to tote around when it’s folded up. While you can push or pull it along, the wheels are tiny and it can tilt over quite easily so it’s also an arm workout wrestling it back upright.
- You might feel self-conscious riding it. Because it’s a sort of new and novel product — think about how many you’ve seen around, if you’ve seen any on the streets at all — people will stare at you.
- Finally, and this is the biggest con for me, it costs a lot of money. The starting price for an URB-E is about $1,500. That’s definitely much more than the average bicycle.
Of course, URB-E isn’t meant to replace the bicycle. It’s just another new mobility option. It’s more expensive than a “hoverboard” and it’s cheaper than the average Segway, but it’s the only one that you can bring on board Metro and trust that it won’t randomly burst into flame. (Looking at you, “hoverboad.”)
So if you have some extra money lying around and want a fun new toy that can actually double as a way to conveniently get around, an URB-E might be for you. As for me, I’ll keep those walking shoes on because rumors of my wealth have been greatly exaggerated.
You can visit the URB-E showroom at 54 W Green St. in Old Pasadena. Use the Gold Line Memorial Park Station or Del Mar Station.
Categories: Go Metro