If you’re not a celebrity, but want to feel like one, then get yourself an Ultra Motor A2B. Wherever I rode this futuristic fully suspended machine onlookers were agog. Trips to Trader Joe’s, the gym, the farmer’s market, bank, post office, beach strand and everywhere else were perpetually punctuated with oohs, ahhs and what’s that? And while it makes a clear impression on the public, the plush front and rear suspension with smooth and fat motorcycle-like tires ensure that most bumps and potholes leave little or no impression on the rider. The 500-watt motor in the rear hub and motorcycle-like twist throttle delivers a comfortable and steady amount of power as you cruise along at the federally mandated max of 20 miles per hour. Encased in the aluminum downtube, the lithium-ion battery yields just over 20 miles of range over varied Los Angeles-area terrain including moderate ups and downs, groceries, and other cargo on-board AND very little pedaling.
Let’s be honest, the A2B is more akin to a scooter than bicycle because of its 73 pounds and laid back beach cruiser geometry. But the A2B’s designers were smart, by giving it pedals and keeping the maximum powered speed below 20 mph, you don’t have to endure the DMV’s motorcycle certification test pay any registration fees or even insure your A2B as a motorcycle. Since the A2B does have pedals you can actually extend the battery’s range (and go faster) by adding some of your own power in the bigger gears. However, it’s pretty clear that you won’t want pedal the A2B too far sans motor.
Securing your nearly three thousand-dollar investment to an outdoor bike rack is a bit of a challenge. The fat tubes necessitate a lengthy chain or cable (I don’t recommend cables for any bike you’d like to keep.) I was able to ease my mind with two Kryptonite NY U-Locks and a Kryptonite NY chain which also added more than 20 pounds to the payload.
In spite of the creative locking logistics, the A2B is by far the eye-catching electric “bike” in the market and provides a nice option for those who are green-minded, have a fair bit of extra green in their wallets but don’t want to shvitz their way to work and back.