Zooz Urban Ultralight 250 e-bike review

13 Dec 2021

Zooz Urban Ultralight 250 e-bike review

What does it cost? 
£2,100.

What is it?
The Zooz Urban Ultralight 250 is the epitome of American creativity. It’s like the 2022 Corvette of the e-bike world, a mid-engined (or mid-battery in this case) beast that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Visually, it looks like the love-child of a chopper and a BMX. But by combining the comfort of a city bike with the agility of a BMX, have the Chicago based brand scored a winner?

What is it like? 
This isn’t a bike of practicalities, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. And that’s what makes it so alluring. Of all the bikes I’ve reviewed, this one is the one that’s turned the most heads, started the most conversations, and for good reason. The polished aesthetic and long seat paired with the 24” wheels and BMX bars is striking. It pulls people in. 

As someone whose short BMX career included a pedal to the shin and subsequent swift retirement, I cannot attest to the manoeuvrability of the bike when it comes to tricks. But while I'm not talented enough to pull tricks on it, apparently some are so I'll refrain from blaming the bike for the lack of wheelie pictures. 

On the street, the ride quality is great. It is agile, the bars although quite wide for a BMX styled bike, provide confidence when you’re pretending you know how to bunny hop (my attempts were pathetic). The wide 2.1” tyres absorb much of the road buzz, and I’ll admit the seated ride position is comfortable, but it’s not a bike you can particularly pedal. The width of the seat (below which lies the battery) acts like a giant wedge between your knees, so the best way to get around is by standing up. While this may be fine for a ride up and down the street, it doesn’t seem like a practical option for someone who wants to ride further than a couple of miles. 

The motor is situated in the rear hub, but unlike most rear-hub motors, the bike uses pedal sensors to determine the assistance. There is a little bit of hesitation, but in a way, this helps to make the bike more predictable – particularly when setting off at junctions or traffic lights. 

There are five assistance levels and the display unit is very similar (if not the same) to the Perry Ehopper. It contains the usual metrics of mileage, speed and battery life. The battery life is not astounding, but the Zooz 250 promises up to 40 miles depending on many variables. One word of caution, the charger does sound like an aeroplane waiting for take-off, so don't be alarmed. 

And if you find yourself wanting a little bit more power, the Zooz range doesn't end at the 250 ultralight. There are options for larger motors, all the way up to 1100W. These aren't, however, road legal, so if you're desperate for some on-road e-BMX action then the 250 is your best bet. They're also available with a throttle lever on the handlebar – fitting this (and using it) is not road-legal in the UK, so unless you want to ride on private land, I’d suggest leaving it disconnected. 

The 250 Ultralight is the lightest in the Zooz range, at 20kg. While this isn’t exactly lightweight, it’s easy to move about, especially if you put the bike up on the rear wheel. The weight is well distributed actually, as the battery is under the seat and the motor in the rear hub.

Something to bear in mind is that the Urban Ultralight 250 is made with a lot of Zooz proprietary parts. For some, this could be off-putting. But Ride & Glide, the sole UK distributor of Zooz bikes has assured me that many components such as disc brakes can be replaced with alternative brands. Additionally, any warranty work is undertaken for free by Ride & Glide. And in the case of non-warranty fixes, "If it's not a warranty fix and someone wants to fix themselves or get it fixed locally (and it requires a proprietary part), we would ship the part to them or their local shop." 

In terms of usefulness, this bike isn’t one you’re likely to use for long rides. But, it does come with some helpful additions like a kickstand, a chain cover and an integrated rear brake light. Although these alone might not be enough to sway you to the ways of the BMX hybrid, take one for a ride yourself and see if you’re not smiling afterwards. 

Where can I buy it?
Ride & Glide, are the sole UK distributors for Zooz

How does it arrive?
It does require some assembly. You need to attach the front wheel, pedals, and handlebars.

Verdict:
This bike isn’t about practicalities. That’s not what it’s designed for. No, it’s not the most efficient way of getting around, but it certainly is one of the most enjoyable. And if putting a smile on your face is the reason you choose an e-bike, then this is the one for you. 

Move Electric verdict: three and a half stars out of five

Zooz Urban Ultralight 250 specification

Cost £2,100

Frame size tested One size

Weight of bike 20kg

Groupset Single-speed, Hydraulic discs, 160mm rotors

Wheels/tyres 24" wheels, KENDA Kranium 24*2.1

Motor 250W, 36V gear drive

Pedal-assist Cadence sensor

Battery 16aH Lithium Ion 18650 cells

Mileage range Up to 40 miles

Assistance levels 5 levels

Charge time 4-6 hours

Included extras Kickstand, Integrated rear light (which works as a brake light)

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