With its UBN series, Riese & Müller offers slim and relatively lightweight e-bikes that are equipped with a powerful drive system thanks to its Fazua Ride 60 mid-drive motor. In the UBN Five Silent variant, the bike is also equipped with hub gears and a belt drive, which promise a quiet drivetrain and a minimum of maintenance. Thus, the bike offers many interesting features that are rarely offered in this combination — especially since Riese & Müller has also equipped the UBN with extensive smart functions, including an alarm system and a tracking option for the bike. As you can see, there are more than enough reasons for us to take a close look at the UBN Five Silent in our test!
Straight lines and a slim design: the UBN Five impresses with an uncluttered look that hardly shows the electric drive. The fairly new Ride 60 from Fazua is installed here, consisting of a mid-motor and a removable battery. Both parts are installed longitudinally in the down tube and are extremely compact. The controls of the drive system are just as inconspicuous: in addition to a small LED display on the top tube, there is also a round thumb button on the handlebars.
Also the driverrain with 8-speed hub gears and belt drive looks very tidy and reminiscent of the purist look of a singlespeed bike — while still offering the comfort of a gear shift!
Only logical that Riese & Müller has also focused on maximum integration in the cockpit of the bike: all cables and wires are routed under the handlebars directly into the stem, which minimizes the tangled mess that is often common there. The lighting system is also nicely integrated, which is particularly evident in the rear light — this is flush integrated into the mudguard.
The black frame of the test bike in combination with the black add-on parts creates an almost monochrome look. And here, too, the attention to detail is evident: the fork tubes are also black, and all parts have a uniform matte finish. All in all, the whole bike looks like a unified whole!
Many components have already been praised due to the well done design integration — nevertheless, we will go into the extensive equipment once again here. With a torque of 60 Nm, Fazua’s Ride 60 motor offers a decent performance, which is especially sufficient in such an urban bike. The same applies to the battery with its capacity of 430 Wh, which is removable. A big advantage over many comparably slim bikes with hub motors, but where the battery is usually permanently installed and thus offers less capacity. The LED hub on the top tube shows the current battery status and also offers a USB-C port when you flip it up (handy for connecting a smartphone, for example). Finally, there is the Ring Control on the handlebars: a round thumb switch that is used to turn the support and lights on and off.
The hub gears come from Shimano’s Alfine series and offer 8 gears and are shifted with the thumb instead of a twist shifter via a Rapidfire shift lever. No surprise about the belt drive: it comes from the industry leader Gates.
The standard equipment of the UBN bikes includes the slim Curana mudguards, rear with an elegant holder for panniers and an integrated rear light. A Supernova headlight is installed centrally on the handlebars for the necessary foresight at the front. For added comfort, the test bike also features the optional Suspension Kit with a Suntour GVX32 suspension fork and 60 mm travel, as well as a suspension seatpost. Also as an extra option, the frame lock from Abus was mounted on the rear wheel, and the tires from Schwalbe’s Marathon Supreme series have a width of 42 mm.
A very special feature of Riese & Müller’s UBN bikes is smartphone integration and connectivity: on the one hand, the bike’s electric drive system is integrated into the manufacturer’s free smartphone app and provides basic information such as speed, battery capacity and distances ridden. But it also provides interesting information such as the rider’s own power input in watts or statistics on the distances covered, including an evaluation of the riding modes used or the CO₂ saved. Even more exciting, however, is the integrated RX Connect module: it can be used to locate the bike via smartphone and also functions as an alarm system! Advanced functions that are well-known from start-ups and their smart bikes — but with which other traditional bike manufacturers, unlike Riese & Müller, often struggle. To attach the smartphone to the bike, a mount from SP Connect is installed centrally on the stem.
The electric drive system is controlled directly on the handlebars with the Ring Control, which allows the bike to be switched on directly, but this can also be done automatically via smartphone app when the alarm system is deactivated. You can easily switch to the next higher of the three riding modes by moving your thumb upwards, or downwards in the other direction. The colors of the LED hub in the top tube indicate which mode you are currently in: green lights up in the lowest support level Breeze, blue in the middle River and pink in the highest Rocket level. In addition, the Ring Control can also be moved horizontally, which allows the lighting system to be switched on and off. However, there is no visual feedback here — depending on the time of day, it is not immediately clear whether the headlight has actually been switched on. Contrary to some other reports, Fazua’s Ring Control made a solid impression on the test bike and could also be operated precisely.
The option to remove the battery is handy — it can be charged both directly in the bike and outside. Before removing the just 2.3 kg light battery, you have to open the lower frame cover, which is perfectly designed by Riese & Müller: it is magnetically fixed to the frame and folds down sideways when opened, but remains connected to the bike. This system is easy to handle and holds so stable that no rattling noises occur even on bumpy ground. Thanks to a magnetic connection, the charging plug can also be plugged in easily, even if you do not look directly.
The operation of the traditional bike components, on the other hand, is less spectacular, but is just as intuitive: the gear change of the hub gear is done via the Rapidfire shift lever on the handlebars, which allows you to shift from gear to gear precisely and quickly using two buttons.
The Bluetooth connection between the smartphone app and the bike is usually automatic; only if the two have not been connected for a long time is it necessary to select the UBN manually with a simple tap. The layout of the app itself is clearly divided into three sections: “My Bike” displays the bike’s location, and the alarm function can also be activated here. “My Ride”, on the other hand, serves as a display while riding the bike and shows current ride data. Under “All rides”, on the other hand, the records of past rides are listed.
If the alarm system is activated, the bike reacts to movements with an acoustic signal. After two short warnings, the third movement triggers a loud continuous signal. A push notification also appears on the app itself, indicating the event. Thanks to the tracking function, the bike can be displayed on a map — however, the location is quite inaccurate due to the GPS signal and only provides an approximation of the bike’s actual position, especially in densely populated urban areas. An additional near-field location via Bluetooth would certainly be helpful here. Good to know: the use of the app is always optional, the bike can also be used completely without a smartphone in its basic functions as an e-bike!
Silence! After the first few meters on the UBN Five, it becomes clear why Riese & Müller chose the name Silent for this model. Because the ride on this e-bike is indeed exceptionally quiet, you move along almost silently and perceive mainly only the ambient noise — at least when you move at a moderate pace on the flat.
The reason for this is on the one hand the fairly quiet Fazua drive, but especially the silent freewheel in Shimano’s Alfine hub. Normally, you always hear a clacking of the freewheel from the rear wheel, which is sometimes louder, sometimes quieter. Not so in this hub gear, however, which is simply inaudible in combination with the belt drive.
Only when the route and speed become a bit more demanding the drive becomes noticeable — at least a bit. Under full load, shifting into a gear is clearly audible and in extreme cases, for example with full engine support on a hill, a rather loud rattling can even be heard. Instead of forcefully hammering the gear in, the shifting process is delayed until the right moment is found. This protects the gearbox, but somewhat interrupts the flow when riding.
Those who are more sporty and aggressive on their bike should therefore rather opt for the derailleur variant. However, those who are more relaxed and forward-looking will appreciate the advantages of the hub gears. Because without pressure on the pedals, the gearbox shifts largely silently, and its encapsulated design ensures maximum freedom from maintenance. The same applies to the belt drive, which makes the perfect combination with the hub gears.
Another feature that contributes to the relaxed ride is the Fazua Ride 60 drive system. Three clearly differentiated riding modes ensure that the right support is always available. While the Breeze mode only pushes gently, the Rocket mode offers full power even with manageable personal effort. Between these two sits the River mode, which works most progressively and provides the power very directly based on the pedal force. The volume always remains within limits: in the lowest mode, the drive is barely audible, whereas under full load it is a rather quiet whirring in a low tone that is not annoying during the ride.
Weighing in ready to ride, the test bike as shown here is 21.8 kg. Although this is not an absolute lightweight, it is still a good value considering the extensive equipment, the hub gears and the suspension components.
The seating position on the UBN Five is rather sporty with the straight handlebars and the fairly flat stem, but the comfort during the ride is still high. This is mainly thanks to the Suspension Kit installed on the test bike with the suspended seatpost and an air suspension fork, which compensates for the unevenness of the ground with a direct response. And even then, by the way, nothing can be heard: the build quality and the installed components are first-class, it rattles even on bumpy ground nothing on this bike!
The UBN Five Silent is an extremely stylish companion with a great design, a full range of features and high-quality workmanship. The biggest surprise, however, is the silent drivetrain with hub gears, which perfectly matches the bike’s sophisticated appearance. The optionally installed Suspension Kit is also a winner: the sacrifices in weight and appearance are small, but the gain in comfort is all the greater! In addition, the bike is innovative in conjunction with the well-designed smartphone app, which enables practical functions such as an alarm system or tracking. The sum of these features makes the UBN Five Silent quite unrivaled, and the only downer is the price — which is 5,878 Euros for the variant tested here. Not cheap, but somehow also no surprise at the high level of this bike.
More information about the UBN series is available directly here on the Riese & Müller website. There, the bike can also be configured in other variants as a singlespeed or with derailleur gears, and there are also the comfort frame models UBN Seven with a trapezoid frame and UBN Six with a drop-frame.