Friday, September 8, 2017

HAIBIKE TREKKING REVIEW



The XDURO Trekking RX is Haibike at its best. Originally known for producing powerful and sturdy off-road electric bikes like the AMT PRO, this bike is a pioneer in the touring and commuting category. You get nearly every accessory needed to deal with cargo transport, nighttime riding and damp weather conditions. There’s even a little hand-pump attached to the rear rack and dealing with flats is a breez on this and other centerdrive ebikes because the wheels are just like a normal bicycle. At $4K this bike is priced in line with other high end touring systems and the four frame sizes offered make for a better fit (something that has traditionally been harder to come by in the electric bicycle world). With incredible range, climbing ability and support provided by Currie Technologies in the US this is an impressive product.

Powering the HAIBIKE TREKKING RX is the Gen2 Bosch centerdrive motor now offering 350 watts of power. It keeps motor weight low and center on the bike frame (right where you want it for balance) and leverages 29 speeds for the most efficient electric drive of all ebikes in the Haibike range at this time. The rear hub is a Sram Dual Drive with three internal gears and there’s a nine speed cassette next to it that uses a regular bicycle chain. One of the neat things about this and other mid-drive ebikes is that maintenance and service on the wheels is handle just like a regular bike. The motor is smart enough to sense when you’re switching gears and that means you won’t experience as much wear or mashing on the chain and cassette. While the motor is a bit louder than some gearless hub designs (producing a soft high pitched whine shown in the video review) it’s not as loud as some and depending on the surroundings and riding terrain it’s not something that bothered me.

The battery pack used with this system is a 36 volt 11 amp hour Lithium-ion configuration that’s light weight and long lasting. It’s removable for easy charging or multiple pack use on those long distance rides. Even though the official specs say 25 to 35 miles my experience is that it can go much further. By leveraging the gears on this bike and always using pedal assist (there’s no throttle mode) you get excellent range. The battery has a nice LED indicator on the side that displays battery level even without turning the bike on which is nice. The pack is low and center, just like the motor, but does take up the space where a bottle cage might have otherwise mounted. I feel like they could have added bosses to the seat tube for a cage mount but it’s not the end of the world. There are some cool handlebar bottle bags, pannier bags and CamelBak solutions that can work here.

I like the Bosch display unit and extended button panel used on the Trekking. You get a large, backlit screen that shows speed, distance and assist level but don’t have to take your hand off the grip to interact with it. On the left bar there’s a small plastic button pad with up, down and info selectors. The other neat thing about the display is that you can either lock it to the mount with a set screw or remove the screw and take the panel with you (to prevent tampering and vandalism). I’m a fan of taking it with me during work commute trips where the bike will be left in a garage or public place. It’s nice that they give you the choice here though I’ve heard that removing screens too often can allow for dirt and debris to build up and weaken the electronic connection… just clean it every once in a while ;)

The Trekking RX is an electric bike capable of going the distance, hauling gear and staying comfortable with fenders, lights and suspension. The front fork offers lockout and 63mm of travel but doesn’t add much weight to the overall system. This bike weighs in at ~51 pounds which is average for ebikes but impressive here considering all of the options and accessories. It’s like an electric bike for non-ebikers who love riding but might be struggling with hills or longer distances. As with the eMountain Bike niche that Haibike first introduced and now dominates, this is another space that I feel is on the verge of adoption. The Trekking wold make an excellent touring bike, commuter or light trail bike. It has efficient tires, a unique frame with sloping top-tube for easier standing and hydraulic disc brakes that keep your hands from getting tired but provide plenty of stopping power even with a full load.
Pros:
Light weight frame and components, well balanced drive system (motor and battery low and center)
Includes integrated front and rear LED lights with custom matching design that look awesome
Rear rack is sturdy and functional with standard gauge tubing and included tire pump for easy flat repairs
Bosch drive system is efficient, smooth and powerful with removable battery for convenient charging
Stiff cranks, decent pedals, rigid frame for good power transfer when riding
Impressive 9 speed cassette with three speed internal hub for 29 pedaling speeds! Excellent for touring or commuting
Great customer support and warranty from Currie Technologies in the US (part of Accell Group which owns Haibike)
Four frame sizes so the bike will fit and feel great over long distances (48cm, 52cm, 56cm, 60cm)
Centerdrive design makes wheel repairs much easier than hub motors which have extra cables and add weight to the wheel
Cons:
The battery pack takes up the space where a water bottle cage might otherwise mount
Externalized battery and larger bottom bracket make it obvious that this is an electric bike “less stealth”
No throttle mode, this bike only uses pedal assist (like all Bosch powered systems)

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