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UNI MK Classic Review: Motorcycle muscle, kindergarten heart

The UNI MK Classic from UrbanDrivestyle is a frontrunner in the electric mini-bike market. Despite the hard classic motorcycle look and rugged features, the bike has a soft side that was the focus of my attention. Electric mini-bikes are pouring onto the public at a very fast rate. Without even getting into the actual electric motorcycles that sometimes blur the lines, just the bicycle flavor is already becoming a neighborhood favorite.

So where does the UNI MK Classic sit among so much competition? Compared to the others, UrbanDrivestyle has been making their electric mini bike for a long time. In early 2017 they finished crowdfunding their first production run, and have been fine-tuning their bikes ever since. When I first laid eyes on the bike, I thought it was going to be an impractical monster that I didn’t want to deal with. ‘Just finish the review, and be done’ I said to myself.

I was very wrong.

After riding for about 20 miles, I see the UNI MK Classic as a highly practical monster that I thoroughly enjoy wrestling with. So much so, in fact, that I gave it a permanent home.

  • Motor: 750W Bafang rear hub motor
  • Top speed: 25 mph (40.3 km/h)
  • Battery: 48V 14.5Ah (696Wh) lockable and removable battery
  • Range: 40 mi (64.3 km) estimate
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Weight: 80 lb (36.2 kg)
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc (180 and 160mm disc)
  • Tires: 20″ x 4″ Kenda
  • Price: $2,990
  • Extras: integrated large retro headlight, integrated taillight, throttle, extended seat, footpegs, optional rear rack, optional metal fenders, optional extended seat with backrest, optional front basket (replaces headlight)

Let’s start with the basics: The bike is pretty big: 5 and a half feet long and 80lbs. I had to adjust the furniture in my house to accommodate this great presence. Fat, short tires that are fine for off-road, and look pretty hardcore riding around town. The tires provide some comfort, which is great since there is no rear suspension. The long seat lets you slide back and forth depending on your needs, and the handlebars are very comfortable and natural.

The UNI MK Classic, or really any of the mini-bikes, they’re not made for pedaling, let’s get real. You can slide on the seat, but since it doesn’t extend up or down, you’re pretty limited. In my case, even when I extend all the way back, I can’t get proper leg extension, and my hands don’t have much control either. The limited gearing, simple derailer, and the folding pedals also denote the bike is made for a different purpose; the throttle!

Somehow, they sell this bike in Europe, where throttles are not permitted. The throttle really makes this bike come together. With the 750W motor and plenty of amps, the bike jumps up to speed fast, and the added weight feels great going over 25mph. It’s very comfortable to throttle along and explore without hesitation.

My favorite part about the UNI MK Classic is the long seat and the footpegs. Right away, my 3-year-old daughter, Sweet Pea, jumped on the front of the bike and demanded we ride. And ride, we did. Literally, for hours at a time, we’d ride the bike all over town. We’d go to the river trail, up to school, down to China Town, around the college campus, through the park, in the snow, the rain, you name it. Her face beams with excitement each time, and she’s told me she doesn’t care where we land, she just wants to ride.

Now, is this kind of result exclusive to this bike. No. Is it exclusive to bikes at all? No. Little kids want to be with their parents doing anything. I don’t want you to feel like I’m selling you a happy child, because that’s messed up. Honestly, it doesn’t affect me one way or another if you get one of these. I have no connection to the company. Now that I think of it, I’ve actually never spoken to them.

Anyways, for me, since I ride bikes all the time, the UNI MK Classic opened the gateway for Sweet Pea to do what I do. Instead of being trapped behind my back with a limited view, she’s up there with me with her hands on the bars, feeling what I feel and participating, instead of observing. This really is a family bike, and it’s clear to me the UrbanDrivestyle company staff ride this bike too since there are so many quality of life options listed on their site. Baskets, fenders, battery covers, footpegs, seat extensions, a surf-board rack, and all sorts of bike-store items, like gloves, lock, poncho… you get the idea.

Compared to the other mini-bikes, I’ve ridden, the UNI MK Classic is on par. The price isn’t making any headlines, it’s $2,990 MSRP. The electric system is great for the size, but it’s not overkill. Where it stands out are the little things, like the accessories, long seat, and the easily swappable parts. UrbanDrivestyle is upfront about that. The controller is easy to access and it’s not a proprietary mess.

The display, same deal. I could get the battery rebuilt here in the states, it’s a common size. I’m grateful that UrbanDrivestyle isn’t possessive about it. That’s nice. For a family bike, it’s great to know I’m not beholden to a single company for all service needs.

Riding alone is still a lot of fun too. The UNI MK is still at home zipping around town, going out for fun, or even doing some light off-road. The bike is heavy, but it’s strong. The cargo capacity is surprising, not just with the baskets or rack, but the frame itself has plenty of space for mounting straps. The headlight is super-cool. Even though you can replace it with a front rack, I can’t seem to let it go.

The bike comes stock with a 48V 14.5Ah Battery. I didn’t explicitly test the range, but as one example: At 32º Fahrenheit,  I did 20 miles, which included a 500-foot climb and one mile off-road. My daughter was with me, and all her school and winter gear, so we probably stacked about 240lbs on there. We did the same thing the next day.

Looking Swass

Normally with other bikes I review, I test commuter bikes on the train, mountain bikes in the mountain, and so on. The UNI MK Classic I just tested in my daily life, and it was a perfect fit. It was kind of hard for me to admit this since it’s not much of a pedaling bicycle. And if that’s what you’re looking for, subscribe to Electrek because there’s plenty of options for you. If you’re looking for a car replacement, an aggressive-looking daily driver, a fun bomber to take on some light off-road, or as in my case, a small family van on two wheels, the UNI MK Classic is worth a good hard look.

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