Cold, wind and snow: the recent winter onset did not exactly offer the best circumstances for a bike test. That there was still pleasure was solely due to the test candidate — the Platzhirsch from Urwahn Bikes!
Right from the first glance, it becomes clear that Urwahns Platzhirsch is not just any bike: the design of the frame causes a stir without the usual seat tube, and the paint finish in the matte, shimmering dark red shade of oxide further emphasizes this. But this design is by no means just a visual gimmick: rather, the unconventional rear triangle in combination with the slightly flexible steel frame material provides extra riding comfort — but more on that later. The seamless and flowing transitions of the frame, which are created in a 3D printing process and make such a design possible, are also worth highlighting. For an e-bike, the frame is also very elegant and almost filigree, and the electric drive is integrated almost invisibly.
Apart from the frame, there are other highlights to discover on the Platzhirsch: For example, the lighting system, which is inconspicuously integrated into the handlebar and seatpost. Equally discreet are the cables, which disappear below the stem in the frame — which not only looks nice, but also protects against damage from the outside.
All components are kept in a matte black look and even the tires fit perfectly into the scheme with their dark reflective stripes. Together with the purist singlespeed drive and the Gates belt drive, the choice of components thus also ensures that the unique frame of the bike is in focus.
With the X35 drive from Mahle, Urwahn also relies on the now quite popular all-in-one system of a rear-wheel hub motor with 40 Nm of torque and a fixed 250 Wh battery in the down tube. The system is operated via a button on the handlebars, without a display. Optionally, an app can also be used, for which a compatible smartphone mount from SP-Connect is already installed on the stem (we tested the system here). By the way, the optional Range Extender can also be used on the Platzhirsch for additional range: an additional battery that offers another 210 Wh capacity and can be stored in the bottle cage.
As mentioned at the beginning, the Platzhirsch was tested in the singlespeed version with the Gates belt drive. However, the bike can also be optionally configured with a derailleur. The same applies to the mudguards and the rack — both optional extras that can be ordered straight from the factory.
The lighting system comes from Lightskin, is StVZO-compliant and offers with 150 lumens at the front headlight surprisingly much light. As brakes, the hydraulic disc brakes MT200 from Shimano are used.
The ergonomic handlebar grips and the saddle are supplied by Ergon and are part of Urwahn’s efforts to source as many components and manufacturing steps as possible from local producers. The same applies to the tires from Continental, the headset from Acros, mudguards from Curana or the rack from Tubus — it is only logical that the production of the bicycle frame and the assembly of the bike also take place in Germany.
Typically, the operation of the electric X35 drive system from Mahle is done by a button on the top tube (iWoc One), which offers all the necessary functions – but is not quite intuitive to use. Urwahn Bikes takes a different approach to the Platzhirsch and does without this button. Instead, only a compact handlebar control (iWoc Trio) is used, which can be operated very easily with the thumb thanks to three buttons and even provides haptic feedback through vibration. There you can switch between the three support levels, as well as switch the lighting system on and off. Integrated LEDs display the remaining battery capacity in different colors in 20% increments, and the handlebar switch can also be used to activate a push assist. With this minimalist operating concept, the Platzhirsch almost feels like an “analog” bike — which is definitely meant in a positive way!
If you want to see more information about the electric drive system, you have to use the associated app. This displays basic data like speed and driven kilometers, but can also be used for navigation. However, it should be mentioned that the app is still no masterpiece in terms of design and function.
The battery is permanently installed in the frame (but can be replaced in case of service) and is charged via a charging socket on the bottom bracket. A robust rubber closure protects this from external weather influences, the charging plug, however, is quite delicate and can be inserted rather fiddly.
The fact that the frame of the Platzhirsch should not only look good, but also offer a somewhat flexible function, increased the expectations for the first ride. And indeed, the frame can be attested a quite comfortable ride! A similar bike (here an Orbea Gain) with conventional aluminum frame and the same tires rides felt harder. But these are rather subtle nuances that are noticeable in direct comparison — basically, of course, you have to do it despite everything with an unsprung and rather sporty designed bike.
However, the pleasant seating position and comfortable handlebar grips prove that the Platzhirsch is no stranger to comfort. The saddle with its centrally lowered “relief channel” is also comfortable — it’s just a shame that moisture from snow and rain can’t drain out of this indentation.
The 35 mm wide GP Urban tires offer good grip even on wet roads despite the low profile and are also quite light, which should also contribute to the bike’s low overall weight: Only 14.6 kg weighs the test model in size M, mind you with mudguards and rack.
It is therefore hardly surprising that the Platzhirsch can be moved very agilely and responds pleasantly directly to steering commands. The electric support of the motor then naturally promotes this feeling — depending on the selected support level — additionally: so the power in the lower two lower levels is rather discreet, but clearly helps when accelerating the singlespeed bike. Due to the lack of gears, a higher effort is required here, which is well compensated by the motor.
In the highest support level, the motor always pushes clearly noticeable, which means that even medium slopes can be mastered without any problems. However, it is precisely in this highest level — especially in combination with the singlespeed drive — that a peculiarity of the X35 system becomes obvious: If you roll along easily and move the pedals without effort, the motor still pushes along with full power. This is unusual behavior at first, but you can quickly come to terms with it. And those who don’t like it can reduce the assistance level with a simple push of a button.
Overall, the transmission ratio of the drive is well chosen: On the one hand, you can accelerate with a moderate to low effort. On the other hand, you can still get over the 25 km/h mark without having to apply an unpleasantly high cadence. By the way, both the motor and the belt drive are pleasantly quiet — you only hear a subtle noise from both, which is quickly drowned out by the airstream.
With the Platzhirsch Urwahn certainly offers one of the most extraordinary urban bikes that you can currently buy. The unique frame is not only an eye-catcher but also convinces functionally and is, like the whole bike, manufactured in high quality. The clean cockpit and the features of integrated lighting and the optional commuter equipment with mudguards and rack make the bike also fully suitable for everyday use. Predestined for urban use and meanwhile quite proven is the X35 drive from Mahle, which — also thanks to the well implemented controls per handlebar button — is integrated almost invisibly.
Certainly, the territory of the Platzhirsch is the top class bikes, if only because of its high price of 4,490 euros (without mudguards and rack). In addition to its actual qualities, it can also score points there with its local production in germany — an aspect that definitely has its value!