The UBN Five is Riese and Müller’s answer to the recent increase in demand for lightweight urban e-bikes. It uses the latest German Fazua Ride 60 motor and battery system and sports a lightweight alloy frame with some clever integrated features as well as some very high spec components. But has Riese and Müller come up with a lighter weight bike that both embraces the demands of the urban environment while still holding true to their touring bike roots?
Updated Sept 23:
A year with the UBN 5
I’ve been riding my UBN 5 for a year now and thought I would update this review with my experiences riding this bike and boy have I ridden this bike!
I use this bike nearly every day and it has even replaced my other bikes for weekend leisure rides with friends and family, some of the time with the power turned off completely, as the bike feels pretty much like a normal bike on the flat, even with pannier bags onboard. Most of the time I find myself riding around in ‘Breeze’ mode, the lowest power setting, unless I’m having a tough day.
The bike has proven to be extremely durable and stood up to all weather conditions. I’ve had a new set of front brake pads, and new chain, oh and a new front rim, after being hit by a car! Ha ha, don’t worry, I’m fine!
I would have liked the bigger pannier rack on the back of the bike that Riese and Muller have just launched and would definitely recommend this option, I don’t miss not having suspension though, as I don’t ride much offroad and have worked out that 60psi is the perfect tyre pressure for me. Speaking of which, the tyres have been excellent, although the rear tyre will need replacing soon, I will use the same tyre to replace it, as they are an excellent mix of fast rolling speed, comfort, grip and puncture protection, I have had zero punctures!
So far I haven’t come close to running out of battery, but I do only use the bike around town for commuting, shopping and socialising. The integrated shield lock (with the addition of the chain, which plugs into the side of it) has been very handy and the RX chip tracking and alarm service gives you peace of mind when leaving the bike unattended in less desirable parts of the city.
So in conclusion, the UBN 5 has been a perfect companion for me over the past 12 months and I particularly like the comfortable Fizik Terra AIdon saddle. I’m glad I chose the chain and cassette ‘Touring’ version as it keeps the weight and resistance down so I can ride the bike over the assistance level or even switched off. The power is there if you need it though and through the Fazua app you can tweak the power settings to fully adjust it to your riding style. Would I recommend the UBN 5? Yes, definitely, but before choosing it, make sure it has enough power and range for you and definitely get the bigger pannier rack, as you can never have too much carrying capacity on an ebike.
UBN Five: My first impressions
The first thing you notice about the UBN Five is that it isn’t immediately obvious that it is an electric bike. This sounds strange, but the sleek integration and discrete motor and battery mean that you are more drawn to the stunning paintwork and smooth welds of the space age frame than you are to the electronic components. The colours available are a not-terribly-inspiring matt black and a stunning dark green matt metallic finish that Riese and Müller call ‘Selva’. From the first pedal turn, the progressive power delivery and low noise motor remind you of riding a normal hybrid bike but perhaps on a day where you have particularly good legs and a blasting tail wind.
Riese and Müller are famous for operating more like a car industry manufacturer than a bespoke bike builder. As such, they offer a number of different build options and gear selections. The UBN Five is available in ‘Touring’, ‘Silent’ and ‘Singlespeed’ versions, this gives you the choice of a chain and cassette bike, an Alfine 8 speed hub gear or no gears at all. The 11-speed Shimano Deore gears are a solid option and the Alfine hub gear is a proven performer, even if it does lack the bigger gears of the 11-speed variant, but the singlespeed option should only be considered if you are riding on entirely flat terrain.
There is a comfort kit available, which gives you a swept back handlebar and wider version of the excellent Fizik Terra Aidon saddle. A suspension kit which gives you the capable Suntour GVX32 suspension fork with 60 mm of travel and a suspension seatpost and a ABUS shield lock option.
UBN Five: How does it ride?
The ride quality is, like most Riese and Müller bikes, very stiff and stable and the frame feels very strong and robust. The frame handles well around corners and at speed, which is very reassuring. The TRP brakes are excellent progressive stoppers with both good power and modulation as well. The stiffness of the frame means that hitting bumps in the road could be a problem but the large and supple new Schwalbe Performance Marathon Supreme tyres handle these pretty well as well as being fast and full of grip. If you spec the gravel fork and suspension seatpost, you won’t feel a thing as they soak up nearly everything in your path.
The 60Nm motor has three power modes, ‘Breeze’, ‘River’ and ‘Rocket’ and it delivers this power both seamlessly and progressively. Breeze mode gives you a gentle hand up hills and away from lights but will preserve battery life for longer rides and both River and Rocket mode provide adequate power for all terrains combined with the correct gear combination.
For a power system that weighs just over 4.2kgs in total, it is a very impressive companion on your travels, be they urban or extra urban. The battery is super light for the amount of energy it provides at 430Wh and only 2.3Kgs and is importantly removable and locks with an ABUS coded key, which is also used to operate the optional ABUS Shield lock. The battery should be good for 40-50 miles but in reality, if you are happy to ride above the assistance mode and spend a lot of the time in Breeze mode, you can go a lot further.
UBN Five: Integration, sizing & connectivity
The bike comes well equipped with mudguards that have a smartly integrated pannier rack capable of carrying a 20kg load. There is also a bright array of LEDs integrated into the rear mudguard and the incredibly bright, yet compact, Supernova Mini 2 light at the front of the bike, slung under the handlebar.
The UBN Five comes in three sizes to suit riders from 5’1” to 6’4”, so the bike will suit almost anyone and if you prefer a more sloping top tube, the UBN Seven is also available in the same frame sizes and pure white and rose gold colourways.
The bike offers the Riese and Müller RX system connectivity (soon to be available in the UK). This is a subscription service, free for the first year, that offers both a tracking device and alarm and speed, range and performance data. The information is provided on your mobile device mounted on the bespoke stem as long as you have purchased the appropriate phone case. At time of testing this feature was unfortunately still unavailable.
UBN Five: Who’s the competition?
Riese and Müller have plenty of competition in this area of the market with bikes coming in from Cowboy, Vanmoof, BMC and Canyon to name a few. However the UBN really holds its own in terms of value for money, looks, range, power and quality of components. It may not be the cheapest option but what really makes the UBN Five stand out from the crowd is the diverse range of applications this bike can be used for. It can carry all your shopping, get you to work and back but unlike some of the competition, it is also great for longer weekend leisure rides and it is this ability to cover all bases that makes it a viable car replacement.
UBN Five: A summary
What really stands out about the UBN Five is that once you breach the level of assistance it is quite easy to ride unassisted at higher speeds. The lightweight but still incredibly strong frame makes journeys both fun and fast with inspiring handling, getting you around town a little bit quicker than heavier e-bikes on level surfaces and still flying up hills with ease.
There are obviously higher powered e-bikes on the market and also lighter e-bikes out there. But if you’re looking for a lightweight but still robust e-bike that can handle the tough urban environment without hesitation on the flat whilst giving you plenty of help up the hills and still capable of carrying a reasonable load over a long distance, you may have met your perfect match.
The UBN Five is available to test ride today. Book Test Ride Instantly
The author, AJ, our Boss Of Bikes and he’s kind of a big deal (according to him)! He’s been a bike tech for the past 10 years and has been messing about with bikes since he can remember. He has a keen eye for detail and is very patient and meticulous when fixing bikes. He rides a Riese and Muller UBN 5 almost everywhere with his trusty Vaude panniers and ABUS helmet.