To stand out from the crowd of electric bikes, brands must think outside of the box and do something different. The Cooper UTY 8 certainly looks different, at least for now. This compact ebike is a wild looking contraption, and is said to be as playful as a BMX. Is it all fun and games or is there a downside to this approach?

COOPER UTY 8 | Shimano Steps E6100/504 Wh
23 kg | € 2,999 | Manufacturer’s website

Who doesn’t know the Mini Cooper? It’s an iconic little car simultaneously conjuring images of motorsport and Mr. Bean.. It’s no coincidence that the Cooper UTY 8 bears some resemblance to the Mini Cooper. Charles Cooper founded a motor vehicle workshop way back in 1947. He later built racing cars and launched the first Mini Cooper together with Alec Issigonis in 1961. Charles’ son Mike Cooper, and his son Charlie, founded the Cooper Bikes Company in 2009, with the aim of realising inspiring new ideas and bringing exciting bikes to the market. With the UTY 8, Cooper now offer a striking city ebike in a compact, 20” wheeled format for € 2,999. Equipped with a 60 Nm Shimano E6100 motor and a 504 Wh battery, it certainly delivers on this promise, at least in theory. Can Cooper Bikes build on the success story of the Mini Cooper?

A robust and compact ebike that’s fun to ride? What sets the Cooper UTY 8 apart?

There’s an abundance of compact bikes with 20 inch wheels on the market, but there’s no question that the Cooper UTY 8 stands out from the crowd. The classic tube shapes, coupled with the X-shaped top tubes contribute to a distinctive look, reminiscent of those home-made tall bikes that you sometimes see at bicycle demonstrations. Cooper refer to the colour as Emerald Green, but they’re not fooling anyone that this isn’t actually British Racing Green – another reference to the iconic car brand. Choosing steel as the frame material is unique too. This results in a sturdy and robust compact ebike, but it also means it weighs a lot for such a small bike, tipping the scales at a hefty 23 kg. While it looks like a blast to ride, up close, the integration of the battery, motor and electronics looks rather rudimentary. The Cooper UTY 8 doesn’t hide anything, though it isn’t as functional as it looks either. The cables rub against the head tube, the spoke magnet is prone to misalignment and it’s inconveniently mounted to the rear wheel. However, it’s a crucial component of the motor system, determining the rear wheel speed.

Vulnerable: If this small magnet slips, the motor system gets confused and the tailwind no longer works as it should.
There’s a lot coming together. Still, the cable clutter could have been solved a little more neatly.

The 60 Nm Shimano STEPS E6100 motor is modern and powerful, offering a good compromise between range and performance, and it suits the bike to a tee. There are three small buttons on the Shimano SC-E5000 control/display unit, allowing you to select the level of assistance and toggle the light. It does what it’s supposed to, but no more – you won’t find any modern connectivity features here. The large battery has a capacity of 504 Wh and is easy to remove. The 8-speed NEXUS hub is also supplied by Shimano. Many of the remaining components, such as the hydraulic disc brakes, are generic no-name products (apart from the Shimano rotors). Your only source of damping and comfort are the fat 58 mm tires. For some everyday practicality, Cooper equipped the bike with a wheel lock and mudguards, and the frame has mount points for a bottle cage and front rack. The total package is priced at € 2,999, though Cooper also offer a 25% discount from time to time, bringing the price to around € 2,250.

Big performance: The 60 Nm Shimano STEPS E6100 electric motor delivers a lot of power.

A heavy hitter that stands out and delivers – What is the Cooper UTY 8 capable of?

The Cooper UTY 8 doesn’t just look fun – it’s a ton of fun to ride. You must lift your leg relatively high over the crossed top tubes, but since this ebike is aimed at a younger crowd, that shouldn’t be a problem. However, this has the advantage that you can grab the rear part of the top tube that joins the seat post to use it like a handle. The riding position feels rather compact for taller riders. People who measure over 175 cm tall could also run into some ergonomics issues, since you can only adjust the saddle height. As a result, you’re forced to hunch over to reach the handlebar, thereby craning your neck to look ahead, and placing more weight on the palms of your hands. Fortunately, the ergonomic grips help compensate for this, to an extent. The narrow handlebars make the Cooper UTY 8 very manoeuvrable, especially at slow speeds, but it doesn’t seem to come at the expense of higher speeds – the Cooper handles intuitively on fast descents.

No-name: It is unclear what the “X-Spark” on the hydraulic disc brake stands for.
Low and small: The UTY’s tail light is so low that it is easily overlooked in traffic.

The motor is incredibly powerful and pushed us up almost any incline without batting an eyelid. Nevertheless, the support feels natural, without kicking in harshly when pulling away or cutting out abruptly at the cut-off speed. As such, it’s easy to control and ideal for novices. The noise emitted by the motor is perfectly acceptable and there is little rattling to be heard. Shifting with the Shimano Nexus internally geared hub takes some getting used to. You must stop pedalling briefly for it to shift gears, which can get annoying on the climbs or when pulling away at a traffic light. The upshot of this is that you can shift while stationary, and the gear range is wide enough for everything from flat to mountainous terrain.
Unfortunately, the bike doesn’t cater to large feet. From shoe size 44, you almost can’t avoid hitting the wheel lock with your shoes, mounted to the seat stay bridge. However, the ABUS wheel lock is very convenient to have on your daily jaunts.
You’ll have to be careful when riding on loose ground and especially gravel, like you might encounter in a city park, as the tire tread is designed more for asphalt. There are other safety-relevant aspects to keep in mind: the tail-light is too low to be seen by many SUV drivers. And while the braking performance suffices in most cases, there is a lack of bite, especially on descents.

Moreover, the tires have a tendency to squirm if they’re not inflated hard enough. Overall, however, the ride is comfortable enough for short and moderate distances. It’s just on really long distances and cobblestones that you might run into some difficulties. With the Cooper UTY 8, it’s about the destination.

Tuning-Tipp: quick release on seat post for easy saddle height adjustment
-UTY front rack for € 69
-titanium bottle cage
-suspended seat post for more comfort


€ 2,999


Motor Shimano Steps E6100 60 Nm
Battery Shimano 504 Wh
Display Shimano SC-E5000
Fork Cooper UTY-Steelfork
Seatpost alloy
Brakes hydraulic disc brakes 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Nexus 1x8
Stem alloy 80 mm
Handlebar alloy 620 mm
Wheelset Mach1 20"
Tires Innova IA-2128 2.3"

Technical Data

Size One Size
Weight 23 kg
Perm. total weight 130 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 107 kg
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

Steel frame and fork
extraordinary style
Lezyne front and rear lights

Who is the Cooper UTY 8 for?

Young and extroverted city dwellers with short distance commutes, who want a particularly striking ebike are sure to find a match in the Cooper UTY 8. It’s a stylish and fashionable bike, with a twist. Creative individualists will feel right at home aboard this bike, enjoying the playful handling. If you find style more important than utility, this compact ebike might just be the one. Steel and vintage lovers will also get their money’s worth. Distance commuters and enthusiast riders should definitely look elsewhere.

Conclusion on the Cooper UTY 8

The Cooper UTY 8 is a charming ebike that fares well as an everyday urban runabout, featuring a cool look that stands out in the hustle bustle of the city. For the currently reduced price of around € 2,250, it’s worth the money. However, you must keep in mind that this compact ebike prioritises quirkiness over comfort, utility, and performance. It offers a lot of style, but few practical features, so ultimately, it only makes sense if you’re buying it purely to have fun.


  • striking frame design
  • lots of fun over short distances
  • relatively manoeuvrable and therefore good for cramped inner cities


  • little in the way of comfort
  • heavy
  • low-end and no-name components

For more info, visit

Words & Photos: Martin Staffa