‘Mucho macho’ e-bike delivers solid, easy & efficient ride

After a spur-of-the-moment offer to review an electric bike for Greenbang, I was beginning to dread the day the machine would be delivered. With visions of me on a sit-up-and-beg, granny-style, Amsterdam bike, I thought I had gifted my cycling buddies the perfect opportunity to take the Michael.

Imagine my delight, and relief, when James from justebikes.co.uk delivered the mucho macho Haibike eQ Xduro FS. My first thought was, “Wow, that’s a proper looking mountain bike, I can’t wait to ride it.” With Rock Shox suspension front and rear, Magura hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano XT gears, FSA and Fizik accessories and a glossy white paint job on the light-weight aluminum frame, this bike wouldn’t look out of place on any Alpine mountainside or Welsh cross-country trail.

My first ride was in a much less serene setting: through busy central London streets from the city to Paddington station. Jumping on an unknown, brand-new (and expensive) electric bike in central London may not be the best idea, but it does prove that the bike is easy to ride. There is no more to riding it than riding a “normal” bike.

The first thing you notice when riding is that you have to push the pedals before the electric motor kicks in to help. The very clever Bosch motor senses how hard you’re pedaling. The harder you peda,l the more power the motor delivers. If you stop pedalling, you’ll stop moving. This gives a nice sense of acceleration when pulling away from traffic lights (it’s actually quite hard not to make “grrrrrr” noises … ) as the motor kicks in, and the speed quickly builds up to the limited top speed of 27 kilometers per hour.

With the electric motor output averaging 200 watts and peaking at 500 watts, the top speed is quickly reached and can be maintained with minimal effort: it’s like having borrowed a new pair of legs from Fabian Cancellara. Riding across town at that clip would normally leave me puffed out, but on this machine it’s a sweat-free breeze.

The level of power assistance is controlled by the Bosch LCD handlebar-mounted cycle computer. Riding programs vary in power from slower but longer-lasting “economy”, through “tour and sport”, to the fastest but shorter-lasting “speed” setting. The claimed range of the battery is 25 to 55 miles, depending on the power setting, with a recharge time of just over two hours. When the battery runs out, you’re not stuck: you can just keep pedaling to get to your destination.

On the street, you could easily get more than 50 miles from the battery, as you don’t need full power assistance all the time. Out on the trail, I clocked up more than 30 miles of muddy, hilly riding on the Ridgeway from Wiltshire to The Thames Valley by adjusting the power while riding, using the speed setting to blast up muddy hills and conserving energy by using the economy setting on the flat and switching the motor off going downhill.

There is no doubt this is a high quality bike and motor. It feels solid and, with good components, is built to last. Justebikes’ delivery, setup and annual servicing package takes the worry out of buying an expensive electric bike. Anybody with a long daily commute –across town or country — would get great value from this bike, much more so than a scooter, which is comparable in purchase price but much more expensive to run, insure and maintain.

Why buy a high-end mountain bike if most of your riding is an urban commute? Well, it looks great, with the full suspension it’s a very comfy ride and it will easily handle the most challenging off-road riding at the weekend. Another great use would be long-distance touring holidays, letting the motor take some of the strain out of a long day pushing the pedals.

You could also ask, “Who would want to buy a high-spec, trail-bashing, mountain-munching bike with an electric motor?” The glossy Haibike brochure showed images of very healthy-looking older Germans on the top of pristine Alpine peaks. If you are a bit older, a bit heavier, need some electrical assistance to motivate you into a healthier lifestyle, or if you have a partner who is much fitter or more practiced in mountain biking, this machine would let you accompany them to those peaks comfortably while still giving a good workout (remember, you have to pedal, too).

Haibike eQ Xduro FS: RRP £2,759.00 ($4,397.02)
Tel: 01728 830 817

This was a guest post by Pete Devery.


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