Urwahn is a German-based bike company specializing in building steel-framed city and gravel bikes. The company utilizes 3D printing, a process that only one or two other manufacturers are using to aid frame construction, so naturally, it was important for us to find out more about it.
About The Urwahn Platzhirsch
The innovative frame-build concept was created in collaboration with the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg in Germany, with research into the construction partly funded by the European Union. The project and product aimed to create a sustainable-build concept close to the market that could someday represent a practical norm.
In simple terms, Urwahn has come up with a process to take simple steel tubes and weld them to complex 3D junction points in a very precise way. From a design point of view, the effect is mesmerizing. The frame is subject to a sustainable materials policy. Steel promotes material recycling and is much easier to repair or reprocess than other commonly used materials. The “fair frame” label drastically reduces CO2 emissions during production.
The first thing we noticed about the bike was its exceptional build quality. The paint finish on the frame is one of the best we have ever seen on an urban bike, and the overall product readiness for our specific tastes was perfect. We can rarely take a bike out of the box, closely examine it, and find so few things to question.
The geometry is interesting, as Urwahn has focused on maneuverability with a rear end that is quite short about the rider’s seating position. The rider position is comfortable and not aggressive, although it is not a sit-upright, Dutch-city-style bike. This position gives the rider a dynamic ride-mode ability, meaning fun can be had at the rider’s discretion.
Overall, this is a modern-design urban bike, and it caught many people’s attention when we were out riding it. We personally stepped back a few times and looked at the lines and felt it had an almost artistic quality.
The Urwahn Platzhirsch Parts
Our single-speed model was driven by a Gates Carbon belt drive, which is ideal for flat or gentle hills and all-around city use. Apart from being silent, the Gates drive also runs completely clean, meaning no dirty, lubed chains dirtying your pants or sofa. As each bike is customizable, a traditional geared version with a derailleur is also available. The frame is then powder-coated with one of the highest-quality paints on a bike.
The 28-inch wheelset is robust enough for pavement and other urban surfaces. We liked including the full-coverage mudguards and Shimano MT disc brakes, which are reliable and very low maintenance.
Other extras to note are the hex-lock components, which means the bars can’t be removed or stolen if it’s locked up, along with a GPS tracker for further peace of mind. The internal lights were very efficient and significantly increased the rider’s visibility in the daytime. The fact you don’t have to worry about removing them or remembering to charge them was also very useful.
Also worth mentioning is the Mahle e-bike remote, which has feedback, enabling the rider to feel each shift into a different power mode. This is a very clever accessory within an urban environment as you’re not distracted in traffic by looking at a display to get the same information. Everything about this bike is subtle, and it’s very well-designed and extremely modern.
The Urwahn Platzhirsch Motor
Mahle is probably the most well-known rear hub motor on the market, known for its extremely high-quality build. The motor is basically silent and very well-integrated, while the controller on the bar is very well-positioned and easy to operate. The 250Wh battery was sufficient for typical daily urban usage, and we never flattened it during our time on board. Ultimately, the range for bouncing around the city is enough for a few days, assuming you’re riding 10 to 15 miles daily. There is no display, but you can see charge levels and support levels according to the LED lights on the controller and the various flashing combinations.
Who Is The Urwahn Platzhirsch Made For?
The Urwahn Platzhirsch is one for the e-bike purist who appreciates style, advanced technology, and wants to ride every day. We would liken it to a “pro” version of urban bikes. It is directly comparable to the top-of-the-range e-bikes from the big brands but with more finesse. Nothing about the e-bike is compromised.
The Urwahn Platzhirsch Ride
We spent time riding the Urwahn around the busy streets of Firenze, Italy, with a mix of cycling paths, bike lanes, and plenty of traffic at rush hour. The mix of road conditions (from paved to pavé) was a good test of well the Platzhirsch handled urban abuse. We appreciated the short back end, as it provided a very agile ride, which was especially good fun in the busy town environment.
The single-speed Gates drive system was very smooth, and the rider could choose the ratio that suited their needs. However, in this spec, we think it would be better to opt for the standard cassette and gear option if you have steep hills. But the Gates drive is smoother, and power delivery feels more direct, cleaner, and quieter. A single-speed is also actually surprisingly easy to use and maintain. Acceleration is slower with a single speed, but the assist power is so smooth and noticeable that any rider will be easily up to traffic speed at the right moment.
The steel frame feels very smooth to ride. It’s more flexible than aluminum, meaning it absorbs road vibrations and bumps very well, plus it’s very strong. In this sense, durability is one of Urwahn’s selling points, as the frame material is repairable. We didn’t feel we needed suspension in a mixed-surface environment, as the frame was compliant.
The Urwahn proved its urban worth after riding around a busy town filled with sudden braking and traffic-lane changes. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. Our bike also had a rack, allowing us to easily carry some shopping bags. Of note, gravel versions are also available, allowing you to spec an off-road-ready variant for extended use outside the urban environment.
Our Urwahn Platzhirsch Verdict
Urwahn has produced a range of custom bikes in style and pricing. The 3D technology involved in the bike’s production has attained enough recognition for its level of innovation to have already picked up a range of design awards. Bike manufacturing should always try to be as sustainable as possible, and the Urwahn is an impressive step in that direction. Better still, it ends up being a valuable component to anyone looking for a better way to get around the city without getting in a car.
Considering the smooth-ride feel and looking at all the specifications, this is definitely a luxury-level product for a dedicated enthusiast or someone looking for a more distinctive electric commuter bike. It’s a sporty, fast ride around town and rewards the rider with a top-brand product feel. The concept proved by this bike is that close-to-home production works. On-demand production is also feasible.
Judging by the reactions we received from passersby, the bike clearly has broad appeal, especially when you ride it! We think the Urwahn competes with the top brands and their e-bike urban offerings, yet it is actually taking a stab at being “better” for the world.
Would we buy one, shortlist it, or avoid it? Honestly, if we needed a city bike and the budget, we would go right ahead and buy it. It has just about every feature we could want, plus it was really a lot of fun to ride, and we would expect a very long life out of this product, despite the initial high-end purchase price.
The Urwahn Platzhirsch Specifications
Price: $5,112.90 (our specific spec)
Frame: CT1 FR1 steel, internal routing 3D printed and welded.
Fork: Ct1-FS1 rigid
Motor: Mahle 250W, 40 N/m, 15-20 mph (market depending)
Battery: 250Wh (50-mile range) extender, 208 Wh
Controls: Mahle iWOC Trio with taptic feedback
Top speed: 15-20 mph (market depending)
Chain: Gates Carbon Drive
Brakes: Shimano MT disc 160mm
Lights: Lightskin handlebar with integrated light. Lightskin seatpost with integrated light.
Saddle: Ergon SFC30 EVO Gel Stealth Edition
Racks: HR Gepacktrager
Rims: Ryde Dutch 19-622mm with wheel-mounted Mahle motor
Weight: 40 lb. (L size)
Color choice: Customer chooses upon ordering