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United City Bikes attracts deluge of pledges for folding e-bikes

Published May 21, 2019
At 27.5 pounds, The One's three models have raised more than $770,000 through Indiegogo.

ZURICH (BRAIN) — United City Bikes saw the need for a lightweight folding e-bike in the ever-growing electric urban universe, but the response to its solution, The One, even caught the company by surprise.

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After a year-and-half of research and development, the Swiss startup launched its three 16-inch wheel models, each weighing 27.5 pounds, on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo in April. According to United City Bikes, more than $100,000 was collected in less than an hour. As of Tuesday, 10 days from the end of the campaign, more than 800 backers have contributed nearly $770,000. United City Bikes’ goal was $50,000.

“We knew there was a big interest in a real lightweight urban mobility folding bike,” said Ralf Miller, United City Bikes customer relationship manager for sales. “But, finally, it was still overwhelming to see the great success of the crowdfunding campaign. Our plan from the beginning was to reach $1 million in sales. We are right on track to achieve this goal.”

Preorders are accepted through Indiegogo until May 31. The first 100 bikes were sold for $699; early-bird pricing is in effect now for the U1 ($799), U2 ($899) and U3 ($999), half the MSRP prices. The bikes will be delivered to backers this summer, the company said.

“We want to make urban mobility affordable for everyone,” Miller said. “Our plan was to integrate only state-of-the-art technology and elements to one single and unique electric folding bike with no compromise. It comes with a unique design and it should be your indispensable companion in any living conditions.”

Folding e-bikes easily can weigh more than 50 pounds. The One achieves its light weight chiefly from a magnesium alloy frame, a custom-built 250-watt motor that weighs 4.4 pounds and a single-sided fork. The bikes fold to a thickness of 10 inches. United City Bikes claims they can be folded in less than 10 seconds to a size of 31x25 inches.

Price points are determined by battery capacity and disc brake systems. The U1 has a 5.4Ah lithium battery (24.8-mile range) and generic mechanical disc brakes; the U2 has a Samsung 7Ah lithium battery (32.3 miles) and Shimano mechanical disc brakes; the U3 has a Panasonic 8Ah lithium battery (37.2 miles) and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.

The battery on all models is integrated into the seatpost, which is removed for access. The battery can be charged on the bike or removed to charge anywhere without carrying the bike.

Miller said United City Bikes will begin building an IBD network later this year, and is putting a sales team in place. Online sales will be handled through its website. He said he expects sales of 5,000 units this year. Marketing will focus on social media.

The bikes were designed in Switzerland and Germany, with parts coming from China, and assembly in Europe and Taiwan.

The One weighs 27.5 pounds and folds in seconds.
Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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