We don’t need no stinking trademarks: GetHenry changes name to Cycle

Fresh off a $17.4 million fundraise in May, GetHenry announced it is changing its name to Cycle, reflecting both the fact that the company makes bicycles and tricycles, and highlighting the company’s green sustainability ambitions.

“The new name and strong brand identity fit with our mission to decarbonise the commercial transportation sector. We are focusing on electric utility bikes instead of internal combustion engine vehicles,” says Luis Orsini-Rosenberg, one of the company’s founders. “As a brand, Cycle is urban, bold and cool, which is why we think couriers will identify with Cycle.”

To me, the name change was a bit of a headscratcher. GetHenry may not immediately shout “electric bikes”, but at least it has the benefit of being obscure enough to be trademarkable. Cycle, being a rather generic, if slightly anachronistic, term for bicycles and motorcycles, doesn’t have that benefit. Indeed, the company told me it isn’t pursuing a trademark of the word “cycle”.

Queried on this, the company’s founder told me they are trademarking the specific shape of the logo, but not the wordmark. This puts them at risk of another electric bike company swooping in with the same name or, more likely, a knock-off manufacturer jumping in and starting to make Cycle products that have nothing to do with the German brand. As someone who had huge issues with copycats copying a hardware product (complete with our logos!) and was eventually able to put a stop to that through trademark law, I hope the company has considered its name and trademark strategy carefully. May it not come back to bite them in the bike saddles.

In any case, the company is worth keeping an eye on, as it continues to peddle its last-mile delivery solutions.

Dat Bike is the creator of Vietnam’s first domestic electric motorbike

A photo of Son Nguyen, founder and CEO of Dat Bike, with one of the Vietnamese startup's electric motorbikes

Dat Bike founder and CEO Son Nguyen

Dat Bike is on a journey to reduce the amount of gasoline used in Vietnam. The startup makes electric motorbikes with key components that it designs and produces domestically to reduce costs and improve performance. Today, Dat Bike announced it has raised a $5.3 million Series A led by Jungle Ventures, with participation from Wavemaker Partners.

Both are returning investors. Jungle Ventures led Dat Bike’s seed round a year ago, when TechCrunch first profiled the company. The latest funding brings Dat Bike’s total to $10 million raised since it was founded in 2019 by Son Nguyen.

Dat Bike is recognized by the Vietnam Ministry of Transportation as the first domestically-made electric bike. Nguyen said that Dat Bike uses vertical integration instead of relying on third-party, imported electric drivetrains and parts because that keeps costs down while improving quality. Most of the parts on Dat Bike’s vehicles are designed by the company and 80% of its suppliers are located in Vietnam. It also uses a direct-to-consumer distribution model, pushing prices down lower.

Part of the funding will be invested in its technology. Nguyen explained that the three most important parts of an electric bike are its battery, motor and controller. Right now, Dat Bike owns technology for its battery packaging and controller. With its new capital, it will be able to invest in its engine technology. Nguyen added that the company will also upgrade its mobile app, adding new features and shortening the feedback loop on its error reporting feature.

One major thing the company had to address was consumer concerns about the performance of e-bikes compared to their gasoline counterparts. The company says its first product line, the Weaver, displayed three times the performance (5 kW versus 1.5 kW) and two times the range of (100 km vs 50 km) of most competing electric bikes. Dat Bike’s second model, the Weaver 200, was launched last year with higher performance, or a range of 200 km and 6 kW power. It also reduced charging time from 1 hour for 100 km to 2.5 hours for its full 200 km charge.

“We aim to develop a new product every year and research for faster charging,” Nguyen said.

Dat Bike currently has two stores in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and its bikes can be ordered online, too. Part of the funding will be used to expand its offline-to-online model into more large cities, including Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Ha Long, Vinh, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Danang, Can Tho and Vung Tau.

Lyft doubles micromobility footprint with PBSC acquisition

Lyft has signed an agreement to acquire PBSC Urban Solutions, a Canadian supplier for bikeshare equipment in technology, in a move that the company says will double its scale in micromobility.

The ride-hailing company is on a mission to increase its micromobility footprint. Last month, Lyft partnered with Tier-owned Spin to bring Spin’s electric scooters to the Lyft app in 60 U.S. markets by the end of the year. The PBSC acquisition, which Lyft announced on Tuesday, will bring to Lyft’s repertoire the company’s 7,500 stations and 95,000 bikes that are scattered throughout 45 markets in 15 countries.

Lyft currently operates bikeshare in 10 cities, as well as a scooter share in San Diego. Lyft expects this deal to bring that number up to 50.

“Forging a better way to serve both cities and riders with the best bike and scooter sharing systems has long been part of our vision,” said David Foster, head of transit, bikes and scooters at Lyft, in a statement. “Our agreement to acquire PBSC will help us deliver world-class products and experiences to riders in the largest cities around the world in the coming decade.”

Keeping branding consistent shouldn’t be difficult with this buy — Lyft’s docks and bikes are similar-looking to PBSC’s, which Lyft attributes to using customized versions of PBSC’s hardware designs that they pioneered.

This isn’t the first time Lyft has acquired a bikeshare company. In 2018, Lyft acquired Motivate and all of its existing contracts, including Citi Bike in New York City. Citi Bike now has more than 24,000 bikes that have seen over 28 million rides in 2021.

While many bikeshare programs are free-floating, PBSC, like Lyft, has had a station-based approach, which Lyft says creates predictability and order in the public right of way for pedestrians.

Lyft would not share the terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter.

Co-founders of Ukrainian startup Delfast discuss navigating through a crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic taught the world how to work from home, but Russia’s war in Ukraine has taught the employees at Delfast, a Ukrainian e-bike startup, how to work from bomb shelters, while on the move and under threat of violence. 

The usual priorities of a startup – securing venture funding, researching and developing new products, finding product-market fit – haven’t exactly been put on hold, but they are now much lower on Delfast’s to-do list. Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in late February, Delfast’s top priority has been to see its Ukrainian team of 30 safely evacuated from the most dangerous parts of the country. 

When not focusing on sales, marketing, R&D and customer support, Delfast’s smaller team of seven employees based in Los Angeles has been pleading with U.S. politicians and the European Commission to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and fighter jets that could help Ukraine gain back some control over its air space, and, hopefully, put a stop to this war. 

Delfast’s co-founders, Daniel Tonkopi and Serhiy Denysenko, say they have always believed in safeguarding the future. When they founded Delfast in 2014, originally as a delivery company, Tonkoply and Denysenko knew that providing couriers with green transportation options would be critical to the company’s operations. 

The most important thing for an entrepreneur, and in general for any leader, is to protect the team and be completely honest with them during a tough time. Daniel Tonkopi, co-founder of Delfast

The founders soon realized that a bike with the power, range and battery life their couriers needed didn’t exist, and so they set out to build one. In 2017, backed by a Kickstarter campaign that saw the company raise $165,000, the startup began manufacturing a bike to fit its needs – one that promptly won the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest distance traveled on an electric motorbike on a single charge.

More recently, the Delfast Top 3.0 e-motorbike won Forbes’ fastest e-bike of the year in 2022 after the company announced some serious upgrades to the vehicle during CES

We spoke with Delfast’s co-founders to discuss what it’s like running a startup during a war, how the startup is considering breaking into new business verticals, and the importance of always having a Plan B. 

The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders who are building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity. 

Note: Serhiy Denysenko’s answers were translated from Ukrainian by a member of Delfast’s team for TechCrunch. 

TC: Serhiy, you’re on the ground in Kyiv. What’s your day-to-day like?

Denysenko: Every morning starts with a check-in on Slack with all the colleagues. It’s important to keep in touch and know that everyone is fine, or as fine as is possible right now. 

Besides my work as a COO, I’ve been helping with volunteering, getting supplies and medicine to people, and this is something that pretty much every Ukrainian is now doing. I had my family relocated to Hungary, so I feel more or less safe, and I’m just trying to work as much as possible and do my best in every possible area, whether that’s supporting the company or supporting Ukraine in general. 

How are you managing your team through this crisis? What’s changed?

Denysenko: We got used to working remotely during Coronavirus times, so we have our task tracker, where everyone can see his or her task. Every Monday, we have an online Zoom meeting. Previously we only had these meetings at the executive level, but now during the war, we are gathering all together, just to see each other’s faces and ask how they’re doing, how’s everyone feeling. Just to talk with everybody. 

Rivian files trademark for electric bikes

Electric vehicle maker Rivian filed a new trademark for bicycles and electric bikes, as well as their corresponding structural parts. The move might signal that Rivian is considering getting on the e-bike demand train and diversifying its portfolio with a product that is cheaper to produce at scale than electric pickup trucks and in line with its targeted “adventure” seeking demographic.

Rivian told TechCrunch it had nothing to share on the matter.

Companies often file trademarks for products they don’t end up using, but other automakers are beginning to see the value in the e-bike industry that saw a growth rate in sales of 240% over the 12 months leading up to July. Last year, Porsche launched two new e-bikes that were designed with the spirit of the Taycan Cross Turismo. BMW has also released plans to produce several e-bikes and other micromobility vehicles lately, as well, like its all-electric CE 04 scooter.

Last month, Rivian shared plans to use some of the $13.7 billion it raised when it went public to build a second factory in Georgia (its first is in Illinois) to double its production capacity and produce battery cells – cells which can ostensibly be used in batteries for other types of vehicles, as well.

According to the filing, which was first revealed by Rivian Forums, Rivian wants to expand the use of its trademark to include the following:

Bicycles; bicycle structural parts; electric bicycles; electric bicycle structural parts; electric bicycle components specially adapted for electric bicycles, namely, battery packs, motor controllers, electric motors, throttle controls, pedal assist sensors, display consoles, wiring harnesses, sprockets, cassettes, chains; bicycle frames; bicycle pedals; bicycle horns; bicycle brakes; bicycle chains; bicycle gears; bicycle wheels; bicycle seats; bicycle tires; bicycle cranks; bicycle tags; bicycle mudguards; bicycle motors; bicycle saddles; bicycle pumps; bicycle bells; bicycle handlebars; bicycle trailers; bicycle kickstands; bicycle seat posts; fitted bicycle covers; bicycle wheel spokes; bicycle wheel rims; bicycle stands; bicycle pedal straps; bicycle parts, namely, derailleurs; bicycle water bottle cages; bicycle carriers for vehicles; pumps for bicycle tires; inner tubes for bicycle tires; bicycle parts, namely disk wheels; bicycle parts, namely brake shoes

Rivian also recently filed a patent for an integrated tailgate cargo system for automotive vehicle, which is essentially a tailgate bike rack that will allow drivers to carry a bike in their pickup without losing bed space. Perhaps the company, which likes to provide accessories for its R1T truck, wants to design the whole package for its target audience – the eco-conscious rugged American explorer.

Institutional investors double down on Rad Power Bikes with $154M Series D raise

Fat tire e-bike manufacturer Rad Power Bikes just raised another $154 million. The Series D raise from existing investors, which brings the company’s total funding to $329 million, comes just eight months after Rad raised $150 million. The Seattle-based startup aims to use the funds to boost investments in product and technology innovation and beef out its distribution network, according to founder and CEO Mike Radenbaugh.

Rad’s latest round is led by institutional investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, with investments from funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Vulcan Capital, Durable Capital Partners LP and The Rise Fund, TPG’s multisector global impact investing strategy.

“I think the fact that some of the world’s most respected investors are doubling down just shows this competence in our business, both with the scale advantage that we have and also just the overall potential in the e-bike market,” Radenbaugh told TechCrunch.

It’s Rad’s scale that the company is leaning on now in order to really become a powerhouse. Rad Power has launched dozens of new bike accessories and multiple new e-bikes this year, despite the supply chain shortages that have caused delays on product releases across industries. That’s in part due to the company’s diversified and dedicated supply chain. Rad has multiple source suppliers and manufacturing partners across continents to fall back on and has even started chartering its own vessels to ensure bikes are delivered, Radenbaugh told TechCrunch in a previous interview.

Rad has also opened up multiple distribution centers this year, and by the end of the year, expects to triple its capacity to deliver bikes and accessories to customers within five days. The plan is to keep that momentum going into next year by adding more distribution centers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Europe in order to strengthen its logistics and fulfillment capabilities.

“I think of our business more like a solutions business, so it’s also our buy online experience and pickup in store experience, our integrations with our retail stores and mobile service centers and making all that a seamless customer experience,” said Radenbaugh.

The company says it will triple the number of physical locations of mobile service and retail stores by the end of next year.

“Our business has been largely break-even or profitable, and it kind of fluctuates around break-even, so this is all growth capital,” said Radenbaugh. “It’s all just designed to flow into expansion of our operations, customer service and innovation.”

For Radenbaugh, the guy who started building e-bikes at 15 years old, expanding Rad Power Bikes isn’t just about growing his business. It’s about making green transportation more accessible. It’s about getting people out of their cars and back outside.

“E-bikes are really the solution to a lot of our toughest challenges for the environment, and it’s the direct reason why customers are picking them up,” he said. “It could be teens and professionals commuting to school or work, running errands, retirees reliving the joy of riding again, commercial last-mile customers. These people are buying the product because it’s a better tool for everyday life and mobility, but there’s the environmental side, too, which gets our investor base really energized around the business.”

Rad Power Bikes has 350,000 customers, so it has plenty of data on how people use its vehicles. The company found that more than 70% of customers ride their bikes more than several times per week. In addition, Rad’s number one acquisition channel is word of mouth and repeat customers.

“The richness of our data is starting to show something bigger happening here, a kind of consumer-led movement by passionate, high-use customers,” said Radenbaugh.

These are heartening statistics because they signal a shift in modes of transportation that we’re starting to see mirrored in the way cities look at cycling infrastructure. Radenbaugh said the company initially built powerful utilitarian bikes with throttles, big batteries and fat tires in large part to overcome poor infrastructure. Now as the company tries to become a brand that is synonymous with the future of mobility, it’s doubling down on government affairs and lobbying for better accessibility.

“We believe that as an industry leader, Rad Power Bikes has a compelling market opportunity to fulfill the potential of e-bikes as an effective transportation and mobility solution globally,” said Andrew Davis, director of private investments at T. Rowe Price, in a statement. “In our view, they have the management team, technology strength and operational expertise to succeed over the long term and to play an important role in addressing the world’s current and future climate challenges.”

E-mobility startup Swft raises $10M seed round to expand light-duty vehicle lineup

Electric mobility startup Swft has raised $10 million in seed funding that it will use to expand its light-duty vehicle offerings, grow its team and scale its inventory management and supply chain systems. The company, which already has a deal to offer its three new e-bikes and new e-moped with Best Buy, is also on the lookout for more retail partnerships.

Swft officially launched in February 2020 as a direct-to-consumer business and developed over the past year within NYC-based venture advisory firm On Spec. It first brought electric hoverboards to market in December, followed by e-bikes and an e-moped in August. Now, as the company establishes itself as a brand, it’s making quick moves to build out a complete line of personal EVs over the next 18 months, according to David Liniado, co-founder and CEO of Swft and co-founder of On Spec.

The young company joins the multitudes of e-bike manufacturers that are sustaining the increased demand in the industry, with strong competition from established companies like Rad Power Bikes, VanMoof, Cowboy and Aventon. Demand is likely to continue to remain high in the coming years, according to a report from market research firm NPD, which found that from July 2020 to July 2021, e-bike sales grew 240%, while general cycling equipment grew only 15%. If Swft can navigate global supply chain issues and meet that demand with its low-cost vehicles, it might be able to get a piece of that pie.

Liniado thinks logistics is where Swft has an edge. The CEO previously served as Cox Automotive’s VP of new ventures and business development, which is where he got a taste for the freedom micromobility can afford. One of his co-founders, Joey Wahba was formerly the CEO of electronics manufacturing company DGL Group. Combined, the two were able to developed “a really comprehensive supply chain down to the parts,” which has allowed Swft to secure at least 90% of its expected product from its vehicle manufacturing partners in China. Liniado says Swft is also on track to have all of its stock touch down on U.S. soil by Christmas, a true holiday miracle.

Expanding its lineup to reach more uses cases might help with that. In 2022, the scrappy startup intends to launch a street legal and an off-road e-motorcycle, which will be available for both consumers and commercial delivery partners. Swft also wants to build a low-speed four-wheel vehicle next year, something akin to a two-seat convertible, which Liniado says is currently being tested in the U.S.

“The last of our expansion plans is the development of a three-wheel vehicle that looks most like a Vanderhall, but with our own proprietary designs, that will be ready for launch in early 2023,” Liniado told TechCrunch. “Due to our deep, longstanding relationships with our partners on the supply chain and product development side we’re really excited about how they’re all progressing.”

Swft’s supply chain savvy has not only helped the company secure vehicles, but Liniado says it’s also the reason why the company can provide products at a rather nice price point. The Fleet e-bike, a beach cruiser and the Volt, a steel road bike, are both priced at $999, can hit top speeds of around 20 miles per hour and have a range of 37 and 32 miles, respectively. The heavier-duty, lowrider Zip, complete with fat tires, is priced at $1,399. For comparison, Rad Power Bikes’ newest members cost around $1,999 for the RadRover 6 Plus and $1,799 for the RadCity 5 Plus.

“Our whole mantra with Swft is affordable luxury and bringing electric mobility to the masses,” said Liniado.

Swft aims to have 10,000 riders in the United States by the end of this year and hopes to be “many-fold above that” for next year. To get there, Swft is investing in collabs with fashion brands to get the word out, as well as finding ways to provide potential buyers with ways to test vehicles, from rent-to-own models, more partnerships and pop-up Swft stores in the second half of 2022, according to Liniado.

The company has aggressive plans for the future, says Liniado, so more funding will be needed soon in order to make all these dreams a reality. In the first quarter of next year, Swft aims to raise a Series A between $25 million and $50 million. Its current round of funding comes from strategic angel investors Martin Lauber, managing partner of 19 York, Mark Joseph, CEO of Mobitas Advisor and formerly CEO of Transdev and David Zwick, managing director of RedCap Technologies.

Ubco 2X2 Adventure Bike review: Utility that shreds

A recent move to Auckland, New Zealand — a city with lackluster public transit and hills that can turn a quick bike ride to the store into a sweaty workout — piqued my interest in e-bikes. 

Strong demand and skyrocketing prices, however, made it difficult to access these coveted e-bikes here in the Land of the Long White Cloud. That changed after learning about Ubco, the New Zealand-based electric utility bike startup that recently raised $10 million from investors. 

The company provided me with the Ubco 2X2 Adventure Bike for nearly a month, which gave me plenty of time to put it to the test. 

I may not be Ubco’s target audience, although I did my best to use the bike as its design suggests, and packed it up with bags of books and other heavy things that might simulate the weight of delivered garlic bread, mail and other packages. The Ubco 2X2 Adventure Bike is made for city utility riding, with the option of going off-road, which I would later try with gusto.

The company’s flagship is the Ubco 2X2 Work Bike, an electric dirt bike that was originally designed to help farmers. The fresh capital the company raised in June will be used to expand into existing verticals like food delivery, postal service and last-mile logistics, scale a commercial subscription business and target sales growth in the United States. 

Domino’s drivers in Auckland, and I hear in the U.K., can be seen delivering hot pizzas on Ubco bikes, and the company has a range of other national clients, like the New Zealand Post, the Defense Force, the Department of Conservation, and Pāmu, or Landcorp Farming Limited, as well as other local restaurants and stores.

Image Credits: Rebecca Bellan

The handoff

CEO and co-founder Timothy Allan drove out from the company headquarters in Tauranga to hand off the bike personally. It was a sunny day in my neighborhood, and I listened impatiently as he described the various bits and bobs, how to work the machine and how to charge it.

Allan helped me download the Ubco app to pair my phone with the bike, which, among other functionalities, allowed me to select beginner mode, which would cap the vehicle speed at around 20 miles per hour. I made a mental note so that I could write about it here, but was determined to reach the top speed of 30 miles per hour right away. 

I did, and it was … pretty sick. I’m not supposed to gush, but man! It’s a sweet ride. Here’s why:


The Adventure Bike comes standard in white and sits on 17X2.75-inch multi-use tires with aluminum rims, both of which are DOT compliant. My version also had Maori decals on the frame, in a nod to the indigenous people of New Zealand.  

The bike’s height is about 41 inches and the seat comes to 32 inches. From wheel to wheel, it’s about 72 inches. The payload, including the rider, is about 330 pounds, so both my partner (6’2” man) and I (5’7” female) rode this bike with ease, needing only to adjust the wide rearview mirrors sticking out of the handlebars. And no, we didn’t ride it together. This bike is designed as a one-seater. 

Image Credits: Rebecca Bellan

That said, there’s a little cargo rack above the back wheel, which holds the license plate (apparently these are classified as mopeds, which require registration in many places) and any other cargo one might carry. I didn’t try, but I reckon it could hold at least five pizza boxes tied down with a bungee cord. The bike rack also allows for saddlebags to be strapped on. Ubco sells what it calls the Pannier Back Pack, a weather-resistant roll-top cargo bag, for $189 that slots in very nicely and is actually a quality bag with 5.28-gallon capacity. 

Accessories aside, the alloy frame is lightweight and step-through, which I love in a bike — it lets me start to shift myself off before I fully park and I feel super agile and swift. Speaking of parking, the rules are different everywhere, I assume, but here, you park it on the street or in parking spaces, not on the sidewalk. It’s got a kickstand to hold it in place, and you can lock the front wheel so no one can just wheel it away. They could, however, probably chuck it into the back of their pickup truck if they so chose, since it’s only 145 pounds. 

The appearance of the bike stood out, and not just to me. During my multi-week test drive, numerous tradesmen and bike folks went out of their way to compliment its design, the exact demographic that Ubco is aiming for. 


The lightness of the bike means that it’s easy to take off and find your balance. The battery is also in the middle of the frame, just near where your feet sit, which anchors the bike and gives you a stable center of gravity.

The lightweight nature of the bike is a blessing and a curse. Cutting a turn is easy, but on a windy day and an open road, there were moments I worried that I’d be knocked off it — but maybe that had more to do with riding next to a 10-wheeler on the street. Because it’s so light, it did feel a bit strange to me to be in the street lane with the other bigger, meaner cars rather than in the bike lanes.

The bike accelerates quickly via the fully electronic throttle control, even up steep hills, due to the high torque geared drivetrain. The drivetrain has two 1kw Flux2 motors with sealed bearings, active heat management and active venting for residual moisture — a necessity in this moistest of cities.

The acceleration sound, which mimics those of a gas-powered dirt bike but with a softer electronic tone, was a surprising plus. I didn’t realize how much I relied on my sense of sound to tell how fast I was going until I rode the Ubco. 

The braking system was a bit touchy. It felt very sensitive to me, probably because hydraulic and regenerative brakes are operating together on the vehicle. There’s also a passive regenerative braking system, which I gather is what put the brakes on for me when I was just trying to coast down one of those mammoth hills.

Image Credits: Rebecca Bellan

Both the front suspension, 130 mm, and rear suspension, 120 mm, have a coil spring with a hydraulic dampener and have preload and rebound adjustment. In other words, the shocks are awesome. Even when I actively drove myself off sidewalks and over speed bumps, I could barely feel a thing. 

To test its off-road capabilities, I took the bike to Cornwall Park, where I ran it at full speed on the grass, swerving between trees, flying over roots and rocks, doing doughnuts in the field. It was good fun and I felt completely in control of the vehicle. I can imagine why farmers have turned to the Work Bike.

When it was time to test out its use as a delivery bike, I packed the two saddlebags with books and groceries and took it for a spin. Still a great ride, although I was a little wobbly turning corners until I got the hang of it.


Since the Ubco Adventure Bike doesn’t neatly fit into a specific bike category, it’s not a simple price comparison. An electric moped, like a Lexmoto Yadea or a Vespa Elettrica, could set you back anywhere from $2,400 or $7,000, respectively. Electric dirt bikes could cost anywhere from $6,000 to $11,000 for something like a KTM or Alta Motors. 

With that in mind, the Ubco Adventure Bike costs $6,999 with a 2.1 kW power supply and $7,499 for a 3.1 kW power supply. Depending on what you want it for, I’d say it’s somewhere around mid-range for a bike like this. Since you’d probably use it for work-related activities, it could get a tax write-off. Plus, you want quality in a bike that’s down to do some heavy lifting, and Ubco has plenty of that. It’s not only a handy utility bike, but it’s also got some excellent tech under the proverbial hood, which we’ll get to later. 

Ubco estimates a 10- to 15-year life expectancy, depending on use. Over-the-air software updates, replacing parts and full refurbishments can help keep the bike going for longer. The company encourages riders to send back the dead bikes because it’s committed to full product stewardship.

That said, if you wanted to buy a bike now, it’d be a preorder (unless your local Ubco dealer had some in stock). Ordering now could get you an Ubco by September if you live in the States. The company says it’s still feeling the effects of COVID, with high demand and a stretched supply chain causing delays. The preorder requires a $1,000 deposit. 

Ubco also has a subscription model, which is mainly available for enterprise customers at the moment and priced on a case-by-case basis. However, it’s piloting subscriptions for individuals in Auckland and Tauranga before rolling the program out globally. Subscriptions will start at around NZD $300 per month for a 36-month term.


The Adventure Bike comes with either the 2.1 kWh battery pack, which has around 40 to 54 miles of range, or the 3.1 kWh, with 60 to 80 miles.

The battery is run off a management system, called “Scotty,” to monitor real-time performance and safety. The battery, which is sealed with alloy and vented during use, is made with 18650 lithium-ion cells, which means it’s a powerful battery that can handle up to 500 charging cycles. Ubco says its batteries are designed to be disassembled at the end of life.

Image Credits: Rebecca Bellan

The 10amp alloy fast charger can fuel the battery fully within four to six hours. You can charge it while it’s still in the vehicle by just connecting it to a power outlet, or you can unlock the battery and yank it out (it’s a little heavy) and charge it inside. Note: Charging is loud. Not sure if this is standard, but probably is. 

I charged it every two to three days, but that will depend on use and where you are. It’s winter in Auckland, so a bit cold, which affects battery life, and the hills are brutal, which also use up a lot of battery life.

I’d ride it downtown and around my neighborhood every day, but I’d wager a delivery driver would need to charge it nightly. As I mentioned earlier, the battery can be removed for charging, so if you take it to work, you can always take it up to the office or wherever to charge while you’re doing other things. 

Tech features

Vehicle management system

The vehicle runs off what Ubco calls its Cerebro vehicle management system, which integrates all electronic and electrical functions of the vehicles and provides control and updates via Bluetooth. Ubco builds with end of life in mind, so the CAN bus is isolated so future CAN devices can be easily integrated. 

Now, one of my first questions, given the heftiness of this bike and the likelihood of gig economy workers who would ride it for work living in urban dwellings, was this: How can I ensure no one will steal this thing when it’s on the street, because there’s no way I’m lugging it up to my fifth-floor walkup?

Like I said, you can lock the wheel in place, which would make it far more difficult for someone to wheel it off. If someone did decide to capture the whole cumbersome vehicle, Ubco would be able to track it for you. Each Ubco bike has telemetry, aka a SIM card, hardwired inside, and that can help provide data that can be used for location, servicing, theft, safety, route planning, etc. 

This VMS architecture is made for handling fleets via Ubco’s enterprise subscription vehicles, but it obviously has other uses, like providing peace of mind (personally, I’d still lock it up with chains, but I’m a New Yorker and trust no one). Obviously, if you think this telemetry is creepy, you can opt out, but it does come standard with subscriptions, allowing subscribers to track their bike’s location on the app.


Image Credits: Rebecca Bellan

Mounted on the handlebar is an LCD display that shows speed, power levels and more. Also on the handlebars are switch controls for high or low beams, indicators and a horn. I found the indicators to be a bit sticky and sometimes I would slip and hit the horn. What I wish the handlebars also had was a mount for your phone so you could follow directions. I had my headphones in and was listening to Google Maps tell me how to get around, but that felt less safe and efficient. 

Turning it on

You can turn the power on with a keyless fob by either clicking the button on the fob or the button on the handlebars. I will note that the keyless fob button is weirdly sensitive. At multiple points, I had it in my pocket with my phone or other pocket inhabitants and it must have knocked into the button, turning the vehicle off while I was riding it. Thankfully, that never happened anywhere busy, but that’s something to be wary about. 


As I mentioned earlier, you could pair your phone, as well as other users’ phones, to the bike using the app. The app allows you to choose learner mode or restricted mode, which controls ride settings; turn the bike and lights on and off; change the metrics; and check the status of things like battery life, speed and motor temperature. It’s basically all the info on the dash, but on an app. I didn’t really feel the need to use it.


The LED headlights are on at all times when the vehicle is turned on, but there’s also a high and low beam, as well as peripheral parking lights, all of which are designed for disassembly at the end of life. There are also LED rear, brake and number plate lights, as well as DOT-approved indicator lights.

Other stuff

Among the features that don’t fit neatly into the other categories, there’s the field kit, which is fastened to the lift-up seat and contains a user manual and tools to set up and maintain the 2X2, which is really handy. Usually, when people buy an Ubco bike, it comes in a box and there are “a few simple steps to follow to get it ready to ride.” There’s also an UBCO University course that shows how to set it up. If you buy from one of Ubco’s dealers, they’ll unpack it and set it up when you come to collect it. 


Maintenance comes with the cost of a monthly subscription. Ubco has a network of technicians placed wherever the company sells its bikes if they’re in need of fixing. If there’s no authorized mechanic nearby, Ubco’s head office will work with customers to help them fix the bike. Ubco did not respond to information about how many authorized mechanics are in its network.

Again, being from New York, I’ve seen probably thousands of delivery riders on bikes and mopeds, oven mitts covered in a plastic bag taped onto the handlebars so drivers can keep their hands warm during the colder months. This bike can handle a hefty load for delivering goods, it’s quick and agile for weaving in and out of traffic, and it’s easy to ride and use.

The subscription offering, especially for enterprise, makes this a great city utility bike that can probably handle a range of weather conditions. I already know it can handle rain and mud, so all signs point to success in the sloshy, icy hell of a Northern city winter. And for the adventurer — the person who just wants to ride something sweet on- and off-road, out of the city and into the wilderness — this is also a great consumer ride that will last you quite a while.

Cake launches the Makka, a $3,500 electric moped for city riding

Swedish electric motorcycle manufacturer Cake has released its newest vehicle, the Makka, a super lightweight e-moped that’s built for urban convenience. The bike starts at $3,500 and is now available for pre-order in the U.S. and Europe.

The Makka is a step outside the norm for Cake, which is best-known for off-road motorbikes like its flagship high-performance Kalk and its utility machine Ösa. This third platform will be Cake’s first motorbike specifically made for city riding like short-haul commercial transportation and commuting needs. 

“These new electric mopeds further define Cake’s ambition of making two-wheeled electric vehicles accessible to everyone, while constantly pushing the envelope of performance, durability and relevancy in line with the company’s mission to inspire towards a zero-emission lifestyle,” the company said in a statement.

The Makka weighs about 132 pounds and comes standard with a rear cargo rack. Mounts and other accessories like saddlebags, a child seat or even a passenger seat can be attached to the rack.

The e-moped comes in white or gray and is street legal. In the U.S., it’s classified as a motor-driven cycle, meaning it produces 5-brake horsepower or less, and requires a car or motorcycle license. In the EU, the Makka has an L1e-b classification, which means the motor does not exceed 45 kilometers per hour (28 miles per hour), and requires a moped or car license.

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Cake’s newest moped comes in two forms. The Makka Range, which is available only in Europe, has a lower maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and a range of up to 35 miles. The Makka Flex, which is available in Europe and the U.S., costs $3,800 and can hit top speeds of 28 miles per hour,. The range of this vehicle is slightly less at 30 miles.

Both bikes feature a foot board and aluminum step-through frame, which rides on top of two 14 by 3 inch motorcycle tires. The Makka range comes with a touchscreen display that shows information like battery, speedometer, odometer, ride mode (for extended range or balanced performance) and brake mode selection.

The Makka’s drivetrain has 3.6 kW of power and a battery capacity of 1.5 kWh. It takes about two hours to charge the battery up to 80%, which can be done by removing the battery or plugging the bike in. It takes three hours to charge the battery to 100%. The electronic motorcycle braking system with hand levers for both front and rear braking regenerates braking power into the battery to increase range.

Cake isn’t the only manufacturer to see the utility in repurposing off-road bikes for urban use. Ubco, a New Zealand electric utility bike brand, has recently raised $10 million to expand sales of its moped, which has a similar look and feel to the Makka, internationally to the U.S. Cake’s last funding round was a $14 million Series A in 2019.

Electric utility bike startup Ubco raises $10 million to fund its global expansion

Ubco, the New Zealand-based electric utility bike startup, has raised $10 million to fund a global expansion focused on the U.S. market and scale up its commercial subscription service business. 

Ubco’s hero product, the Ubco 2X2, is an all-wheel drive electric motorbike that looks like a dirt bike but rides like a moped. What began as a solution for farmers to get around pastures and farms easily, safely and quickly has expanded to include an urban version of the bike that caters to fleet enterprise customers, gig economy workers and city riders. 

Since its founding in 2015, the company has produced two versions of its 145-pound utility bike: The Work Bike, the original off-road vehicle, and the Adventure Bike, the newer version that’s made for city riding but can handle itself off-road. 

Now that Ubco’s got a fresh cash infusion from the round led by Seven Peak Ventures, Nuance Capital and TPK Holdings, it hopes to continue expanding into existing verticals, like food delivery, postal service and last-mile logistics. The company already works with Domino’s in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as a range of other national clients, like the New Zealand Post, the Defense Force, the Department of Conservation and Pāmu, or Landcorp Farming Limited and other local restaurants and stores.

“We have a strong enterprise market in New Zealand and have developed a strong pipeline of sales internationally,” Timothy Allan, CEO and co-founder, told TechCrunch. 

While direct consumer sales make up for most of Ubco’s revenue at present, the company is pushing aggressively into enterprise, and more specifically, subscription services. The 2X2 is built on an intelligent platform that includes vehicle and power systems, cloud connectivity and data analysis, which enables the subscription model to work alongside fleet management systems. 

Ubco expects revenue to climb from $2.1 million in 2020 to $8.4 million by the end of 2021 as it pushes to increase its annual recurring revenue through subscriptions. Ubco’s subscription model, which costs about $50 to $60 per week ($75 to $85 NZD) for fleet enterprise customers, is being rolled out in New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., Europe and the U.S. this year and into 202. Consumers will get access to the subscriptions as well within the next couple of months, according to a spokesperson for the company. 

Allan sees subscriptions as the future of the EV industry, not just because it allows for a high chance of profitability, but also because it’s far more environmentally sustainable. As the company expands this part of its business model, it hopes to lead the circular economy space.

The company predicts that vehicles run through the subscription model will have four times the life expectancy as those sold outright and produce 80% less carbon overall compared to a combustion vehicle. 

“Subscription means we own the vehicle, so we manage the lifecycle,” said Allan. “So the first life starts at high intensity, and that might be 60,000 kilometers delivering pizza, or it might be 30,000 kilometers on a farm, which are equally hard for different reasons. Then after, that vehicle will go down to a lower intensity application. After that the battery can then be pulled out, and that might go into passive solar storage or something like that.”

Allan sees solving the end-of-life issue as a personal and professional challenge, one with room for creativity since no one has fully figured out the correct way of doing it. He says he takes a bottom up approach when it comes to the engineering of the vehicle in a way that allows for easier recycling.

“Like when you design a battery, fuck putting fire retardant foam into it because you can’t get it back at the end of life,” he said. “So it starts with correctly labeling, engineering with intent so that you’re designing for this type of assembly, and then your business or commercial system needs to support the concept. Now, we’ve got the advantage because the economics and incentives are aligned, and that all aligns with New Zealand’s product stewardship legislation.”

Trying to perfect the circular economy through utility vehicles isn’t just about doing what’s right for the environment. Allan thinks it’ll be a smart business decision in the end, one that will draw in customers and give the company a competitive edge with enterprise clients. 

“This is a part of your journey with us as a customer,” said Allan. “If we can design subscriptions and the life of the vehicle in such a way that you feel good about it, that’s where we’re driving from. Most people want to do the right thing, and we can provide something that logically fits the economics, can be done at scale and can be managed holistically.”