Weight: 33 pounds
Battery: 9.8Ah, 352.8Wh Samsung Li-ion
Top speed: 25 MPH
Rated range: 25-60 miles
Gearing: Shimano 7-speed
When I was a child, I remember getting a bike that had three gears, and thought I was on something really high tech. I got that same feeling riding the Urtopia Carbon 1S, an electric bike that offers far more than a simple shifter. Starting with its carbon-fiber frame, this ultra-light e-bike is loaded with all sorts of features, including a fingerprint sensor, voice control, turn signals, an anti-theft alarm and GPS tracking, and an app that pulls it all together and connects you with other Urtopia riders.
On top of that, the Carbon 1S is also a fun bike to ride, with a powerful, responsive motor and a large battery that will take you far. But all these gizmos and its $2,799 price might not be for everyone; read the rest of my Urtopia Carbon 1S review to see if you like its features as much as I did, or if you should pick up one of the best electric bikes that might not be as futuristic, but more practical — and cheaper.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: Price
The Utopia Carbon first went on sale in 2022; the Carbon 1S, which has a 350W motor and a Shimano 7-speed shifter costs $2,799, though the company often offers discounts that lower the price. Urtopia also offers the Carbon 1, which has a 250W motor and a single gear, but uses a carbon belt drive.
The Carbon 1S comes in three sizes: Small (for individuals from 5’3” to 5’9” and with an inseam of up to 30 inches); Medium (5’7”-6’1”, inseam of 31 inches); and Large (5’11” - 6’5”, 33-inch inseam).
For my review, I requested the Medium model (I’m about 6 feet tall with a 32-inch inseam), and found the bike to be comfortable, but a hair too small.
The bike is also offered in four different color schemes: black with orange accents; black with green, red, and orange accents; white; and black. You can also purchase accessories, such as a rear rack ($99), fenders ($99), kickstand ($29), and water bottle holder ($39).
Utopia backs the bike with a two-year warranty, as well as a 14-day test period.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: Design
If you’re going to make an electric carbon fiber bike, why not make it look as cool as possible? The Carbon 1S’ frame has a unique design that really makes it stand out. The top tube of the bike extends back to the seat, where it makes a zigzag before connecting to the rear wheel. It gives the effect that the seat is sort of floating in the air.
The weight of the Carbon 1S is as impressive as its design. Never having ridden a carbon fiber bike before, I was astounded by the lightness of the Carbon 1S. At around 33 pounds, it’s lighter than many of the electric scooters I’ve tested over the years.
A large display in the center of the handlebars isn’t the most high-tech — it’s monochrome and made up of a bunch of dots — but it gives you your speed, battery life, and assist level at a glance. And, if you pair it with your phone or an Apple Watch, you get a few more clever features. For example, using the Urtopia app, you can plot a route, and the bike’s display will give you turn-by-turn directions as you go along. Connect your Apple Watch, and the bike will show your heart rate.
On the left handlebar is a diamond-shaped directional pad to change pedal assist levels and activate the turn signals, and on the right handlebar is a circular button that’s also a fingerprint reader (more on this in the next section).
I only had a few minor quibbles with the Carbon 1S’ design. The first was that it’s a pain to adjust the seat height - you have to use an Allen wrench to loosen a bolt and then raise or lower the seat. The other minor point of contention is that the control pad on the left side of the handlebar is set about half an inch too far inward. As a result, I had to extend my thumb a little further than I would have liked to change the assist levels and use the bike’s turn signals.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: Features
Normally, I would incorporate any discussion of bike features into other parts of this review, but the Carbon 1S has enough to warrant its own section. Until Apple or Elon Musk decide to come out with an electric bike, the Carbon 1S is probably the most high-tech ebike you’ll find.
For starters, the bike has a fingerprint reader built into a circular pad on the right handlebar, which is used to both turn the bike on and unlock it. Pressing the button while the bike is on activates its electronic horn and its sound can be customized in the bike’s app.
Press and hold this button for three seconds, and you activate the bike’s voice control. Using your voice, you can change the assist level, tell the bike to go to sleep, activate the turn signals, and more. It feels a bit gimmicky, as it doesn’t save you any time versus merely pressing a button, and it’s a little distracting; a few times, when I was trying to tell it to activate a turn signal, I didn’t pay attention to what was in front of me.
In darkened conditions, signal lights project lights onto the pavement on either side of the bike, so that cars can better see which way you’re planning to turn. It’s a neat function, but I wish the rear light on the bike itself would flash, too. Also, the side turn signals won’t activate if you change the bike’s display to the expanded data mode - so, it’s either see more info at a glance, or let cars know when you’re turning.
The bike also has a built-in anti-theft system. If Alarm Mode is activated, the bike will start to blare a siren and flash its lights if it gets moved a few feet without having first been unlocked by your fingerprint. Additionally, it has an eSIM with 4G, so you can locate it on a map in the Urtopia app. The first year of service is free, but afterwards, it’ll cost you $39 a year.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: Performance
The Carbon S1 was a real joy to ride. Its 350W motor offered plenty of power when going up steep hills, and the bike’s torque sensor was quick to activate the motor as soon as I started pedaling. While riding, you can choose between four pedal-assist modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Turbo, the last of which will really get you cruising.
There’s no throttle offered with the bike, but I found its assist modes offer more than enough power. I took the bike up a fairly long and steep hill — nearly a mile — and didn’t feel like I was working all that much.
I thought the Shimano 7-speed shifter was a little simplistic for a bike this techy, but it responded quickly when I wanted to change gears.
As mentioned earlier, the Medium-size model felt a tad too small for me — I couldn’t extend my legs as much as I’d like, even with the seat at its maximum height — but otherwise, the bike was very comfortable to ride. As it has narrowish 700 x 35C tires, I kept to roads and didn’t try it on gravel or anything rough.I definitely felt all the bumps I hit.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: Battery life and range
Urtopia says that the Carbon 1S’ 9.8Ah, 352.8Wh Samsung Li-ion battery has an estimated range of between 25 to 60 miles, depending on a number of factors. I set the bike’s pedal assist to Sport mode, and took it on a 10-mile round trip, which included a fairly steep hill roughly a mile in length. At the end of the ride, the battery had dropped from 94 percent to 41 percent, so I’d say that the company’s estimates were fairly accurate.
The Carbon 1S’ battery is removable, and secured in place with a key. Additional batteries cost $449 each.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: App
The Urtopia app not only lets you customize various aspects of the bike (the sound of the horn, TK, and TK), but also tracks all of your rides, and connects you with the larger Urtopia community, where you can share your rides, and ask questions about the bike itself.
Like some of the best fitness apps, each ride charts where you went, your average speed, calories burned, cadence, and power. If you have an Apple Watch, it will add in your heart rate data, too. It’s super clear and easy to read.
In a nod to environmentalism, the app also estimates the amount of CO2 you saved riding the bike versus driving a car. You can then redeem these credits for various merchandise, from a fridge sticker (600 credits) to a Hover X1 Pocket drone (35,000 credits). But, you’ll have to ride a lot. After 18 miles, I had accumulated 13 credits, so I’ve got a ways to go before I get that drone.
Urtopia Carbon 1S review: Verdict
The Urtopia Carbon 1S is hands-down the most high-tech electric bike I’ve ridden. From the carbon fiber design to the security to the ride tracking in the app, there’s a ton of neat features for those who love bells and whistles. And, except for the voice control, all of them are very well executed.
Now, I’ll grant you that most e-bike riders won’t — or don’t — need all these features. Some of the best budget electric bikes will get you around just as well for half the price of the Urtopia. The Rad City RadPower 5 Plus, for example, isn’t as flashy, but it offers a great and comfortable ride for less than $2,000, and can be easily customized with a host of accessories. And, as we saw with Van Moof, there is a risk to purchasing an electric bike that’s very dependent on an app to function. But if you’re willing to take the chance, the Urtopia Carbon 1S will make you feel like you’re riding into the future.