Here we have the Uhvo Compact which was just released this year. I was fortunate enough to grab one up for a while and test it out. Its intended use is for mobile commuting, whether that’s to the shop or to work and I can see why. This bike is tiny and really compact which would be useful if riders need to carry it around or stow it away. So without further ado, let’s review it!
The Uhvo is as small as an electric bike you could possibly get. The miniature frame is foldable and can reduce down to a size of a large suitcase. It’s finished off with glossy white paint with the simple Uhvo logo on both sides. This is a very minimalistic bike. It’s literally a battery on wheels that you can sit on.
Spec wise, Uhvo has equipped this bike with Promax V-Brakes, alongside the Shimano 3 Speed Nexus drivetrain. These are simple equipment to carry out simple tasks, so no overkill here. The same goes for the street legal motor – just a 250W hub motor supplied by Aikema. Apologies to the people who wanted a pocket rocket. Imagine a 1000W hub on this, it would make you fly like ET! Jokes aside, the Uhvo has fitted the motor to front of those 16 inch wheels. These wheels are wrapped in Kenda tyres, which are Kwest tyres.
We’ve all seen foldable bikes before, but this Uhvo has done something a little bit different. Instead of the usual pivot point in the middle of the main tube which is secured by a locking mechanism, the Compact folds from an extension of the main tube with the seat post as the lock. This leaves the main tube in one piece and intact. It’s an approach I have yet seen and is interesting. The benefits from this I assume will be a stronger frame, as the conventional design will possess a weak point in the pivot which was compensated for a stronger joint. This usually resulted in a bulky joint that some people may not find appealing to the eye and also is sometimes heavier.
On the topic of weight, this e-bike just sits at 16kg which is quite impressive considering electric bikes are generally heavy due to the motor and battery. For a comparison, full sized electric bikes are in the 25kg weight class whilst full sized mountain bikes are typically between 13-15kg. So the Uhvo isn’t too bad in this category.
The battery you can find fits into the frame. So another difference from the common electric bike’s approach with in built battery is that the Compact’s battery is part of the frame. It essentially sits on top of the main tube whereas most other designs slide into the main tube. The 36V battery is fitted with Samsung cells and is rated to 5.2Ah. So it is of high quality, however a little on the small size. There is no word whether this is upgradeable. It’s quoted to provide an average range of 30km on medium pedal assist which may be enough for some consumers. Ideally this is meant to be used for short commuting where walking takes too long and not to replace your main mode of transport.
From the brake test which you can find in the video review, they work as you’d hope for. So nothing to worry about, they had minimal bed in time and are consistent. Something I forgot to mention is that the rear uses a drum brake. I assume the reason for the difference in the brake set-up between the front and rear is due to the design of the frame, where they struggled to find fitting mounts for the v brakes. This doesn’t impair the performance at all.
Using the bike was simple enough. They’ve incorporated an easy to use interface as you’d expect from most e-bikes nowadays. The information you get out of the meter are the usual battery level, PAS level (which there are 3 of), distance travelled and odometer. This may be important to some riders so they work out the shortest route to make the most of their 5.2Ah they have. If you are riding this in the city to work and such, there is something that may like – the quick charging time. The charging time on this Compact is quoted to be around 2.6 hours. This will allow you to travel around 30km to your destination, charge up in minimal time and ride another 30km. I can see this appealing to many riders, as some people I know do this to get to work and back.
The best thing about this bike has to be the internal gears. The Shimano Nexus hub is so pleasing to use. It doesn’t require you to pedal to change gears like the typical cassette and derailleur. Because of this, environments such as cities where stopping and starting is frequent in your route, will be less of a hassle. The gears are quite high; however are complimented by the motor at start-up. This allows quite a broad range of power output. In saying that, with only 3 gears riders will lose a bit of top end. From my rides, the bike did cruise at 25km/h, however I would’ve like a bit more like the Shimano Nexus 7. That’s just my personal opinion, as the areas where I rode were quite open spaced and allowed higher speed rides. Riding in city or such, might prove the additional gears from the Nexus 7 useless.
As usual I test foldable bikes on their folding mechanism and design. With this being different to most designs, it required a different approach however still remained simple. Firstly the seat post needs to be removed, followed by the unclipping on the seat tube as shown here. This allows the Uhvo to fold about this pivot point which is shown in the video. From here you can fold the handlebars and pedals to get this compact end product. I see where they got the name from. This allows the e-bike to fit in your car or be stored in compact places like your caravan for example. I will say that folding the bike was not as easy as the other designs. It could be due to pivot joint lacking some grease, however I found it was a little sticky to rotate. Whereas bikes like the Fat-E Mini or Opia folded a lot easier. A feature that would have made this stand out from the rest of the crowd is a handle to hold the bike and clipping mechanisms to contain the bike’s handle bars and rear end. This would’ve allowed people to carry it around like a suitcase. Because the bike is so lightweight, I can see this being a realistic feature that people would use.
Uhvo has provided a compact and lightweight street legal e-bike that riders looking for portability will find interest in. Whether you want to use to get you to the shops or from the car park to college, the Uhvo Compact will find itself in your commuting routine without any major issues. It’s comfortable with the plush saddle and convenient to use thanks to the LCD meter and Shimano Nexus. The only downfalls are the smaller battery capacity and lack of mounting points for a bike rack. However these are comprises that need to be made for the ultimate portable e-bike.
For some specs and images, check out EBikery Australia https://www.ebikery.com.au
You can find the full specifications below*
*Specifications may differ from supplier
|Frame||Foldable Aluminum Alloy|
|Rear Derailleurs||Shimano Nexus 3|
|Tyres||Kenda Kwest 16” x 1.5”|
|Brakes||Front: Promax Rim Brake|
Rear: Drum Brake
|Seat Post & Saddle||Promax Stem|
|Charger||Supplied. 2.6h Charge Time|
|Range||Average: 30km (Depends on use)|
|Additional Features||Foldable pedals and handlebars|