The transition has been made and Electric Motors are the future. Call it motor assist or a helper motor, either way, the Haibike Xduro is the next big thing. No longer is an electric mountain bike an unusual, awkward, and often failed, combination of motor and bicycle.
The bike is absolutely a pure mountain bike, which happens to have a motor. It is complete with all current features, such as hydraulic brakes, air fork and shock, tubeless ready and 650b wheels.
Though, I was skeptical on my first ride out, I rode from the trailhead to the first waypoint, without any motor assist. I thought the bike would be heavy, unbalanced and a challenge to ride, especially without the motor assist. Wrong. The bike pedaled up and down hills, handled even aggressive terrain, just like my regular mountain bike.
The suspension was plush, predictable and compliant. The weight balance, perfect. The biggest surprise was that, once acclimated, it did not feel heavy or sluggish. The gearing was more than adequate. True, not as fast and flick-able as my trusty, full-suspension, carbon racer, but darn close.
Now it was time to turn on the motor. One word: wow! I started out at the lowest assist setting. The power delivery, due mainly to the Bosch mid-mounted geared motor, with torque, cadence and speed sensing, came on subtly and was simply a gentle companion. It smoothed out the inclines, making any weight gained from the motor and battery, unnoticeable.
Next up, the big climb. My first attempt at a steep incline was astonishing. In Eco mode, the lowest assist setting, I still had to work and crested the hill winded, but it was no more or less strenuous than my regular bike, In fact, all the terrain was very normal feeling with the motor set on the Eco mode. You do have to pedal, even in Turbo mode. But then, if I didn’t want to pedal, I would ride a motorcycle.
Descending the hill, the bike felt planted, predictable and stable. I hit several jumps and found the balance very centralized around the bottom bracket. The 27.5 wheel size was a perfect match for the bike, tracking corners precisely at speed, while maintaining good control in the slower technical sections. Being a motorcycle dirt bike rider as well, I pushed the limits of traction, just to see how well the suspension handled the chop and how it came out of the corners.
The wheels were not flexy and the frame was stiff when I pushed the bike over, deep into the turn. The bike digs in, does not push the corners or under steer and, with the sag set at 30% (front and rear), exists the turns comfortably.
With 203 front and 180 rear rotors, there is ample braking power. I was concerned about the extra weight. Being cautious, after a particularly long decent, I stopped to check the hydraulic brake calipers. They were only warm. I never felt any softness or fade as they tackled the downhill. I expected some packing of the front fork during braking, given the extra weight and big front rotor. But the Rock Shox are sweet, with excellent small bump compliance and superb adjustability on the rebound. Equally, the Fox Float rear was never nervous or spongy and never faded from the demand.
Interestingly, after 25 miles of riding, in all modes, over the course of three hours, the battery was still at 50%. With the motor at 36v/350w, and an 11ah battery, I expected either a lack of power or diminished range. Performance tells it all. Bosch has come up with the perfect balance of weight and power. Don’t get caught up in the battery or watts spec game.
This is a very strong motor and power combo. Mid-mounted motors, especially the Bosch, are far superior to wheel mounted configurations. The Bosch design uses the power efficiently and effectively, feeling smooth and natural, even in the Turbo mode.
In summary, no doubt, this is the next big thing.
Electric is the future and technology is at the point that it can be mainstream. The Xduro is definitely not a motorcycle or even and electric bicycle. It is a competent and environmentally compatible addition to the mountain biking sport. Ride one for yourself. I’m confident you’ll agree.