Need a little more help to enjoy the trails? This Bosch-equipped eMTB hardtail might be the answer.
Words: Zoe Binder | Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
HaiBike is a German brand that has been doing it’s thing in Europe for 20 years now, establishing itself as a pioneer for crafting eMTBs, with a lot of experience under their belt. I’ve tested the HaiBike SDURO HARDSEVEN 7.0, which is their 2018 hard tail eMTB release, sitting at a price point of $6499.00. This is at the pricey end of the market for hard tail eMTBs, but is still significantly cheaper than the dual suspension HaiBike Xduro All MTN 7.0 tested last issue, that comes in at $8999. The Bosch Performance CX motor harnesses some new features, including the eMTB mode, just below turbo.
While this is a big and bulky bike, especially with the plus size tires, HaiBike have taken design elements into consideration. The integration of the battery into the down tube makes it more streamlined. It definitely is a point of difference colour wise. The branding is pretty loud, and the colours are channelling a retro vibe, that I am totally on board with!
The geometry of this bike is definitely not a race specific set up, but does allow you to get the most out of your ride comfortably. A 67 degree head tube angle makes this bike feel more relaxed and upright, while still being responsive. It’s comfortable to ride for a range of ability levels, and won’t lead to as much neck strain. The 27.5 inch wheels run plus size tires, which on a heavier bike like this makes a lot of sense. It’s going to mean more traction in the corners, and in turn, way more fun where it counts.
ON THE TRAIL
The HaiBike Hard 7 is great for riding on a range of trails, from your local cross-country tracks to gravel riding or even just a little assist on the daily commute. I tested the bike in the Southern Highlands of NSW on the cross country tracks at Welby and Wingello. The bike was fast and exciting to ride on the sweeping berms and smooth flatter sections, but my real take away was how fun it made sharp technical climbs. There are a few sections that really require some power to be put down that have rock garden sections, and the assistance from eMTB mode, combined with the hardtail design made sections that I usually dislike, become really enjoyable. You barely think about the bumps and have great traction with the extra weight of the bike so you don’t need to worry so much about where your body weight is. This changes your relationship with the trail, making it super comfortable and allowing you to focus on taking great lines.
The user interface to control the Bosch Performance Line XC motor is intuitive and easy to use, which will suit beginner riders. The monitor can be repositioned to suit anyone, and for my smaller hands making this adjustment made shifting through the modes on single track much easier. The best thing about the Bosch Performance CX motor with its new eMTB mode is that you shouldn’t need to change mode much at all. You can literally “set it and forget it”. The eMTB mode is a more efficient and responsive version of turbo mode, which interacts better with the power being put to the pedals, while retaining most of the power of turbo mode and draining the battery less.
One aspect to think about is the low position of the motor which can make it difficult to get over some obstacles that a standard hardtail would clear easily. This was something that I had to take more time getting used to, and pick different lines to account for. When looking at other models on the market however, this has been more carefully designed at HaiBike. A specialty SkidPlate developed by HaiBike protects the Bosch motor and is easily replaceable if you tear it up. It’s crafted from specific shock resistant plastic, and is a colour that hides scratches pretty well, keeping that all-important motor safe and tucked away.
The wide bars, so common across the board on mountain bikes now, were a great feature and make it easier to corner lower and really get the most out of the plus size tyres, although manoeuvring in tight corners feels hard. The geometry is great, and even though it’s not a women’s specific bike, I found it fit me really well. One suggestion I would make is that putting a favourite saddle onto this bike, to make it a more comfortable ride.
A lock out function on the SR Suntour Raidon 32 air forks means you can make the most out of the Bosch motor when you’re climbing, or unlock it and enjoy the 120mm of travel. The adjustable nature of the air spring shocks more accurately accommodates for a range of riders, with different weights, ability levels and preferences catered for.
Taking the front wheel off was difficult due to the type of thru axle used. EMTBs are heavy, so if you don’t live super close to a trail head, lifting this bike onto your roof or into your car could also be a problem. We are seeing more tow bar mounted eMTB specific racks on the market, such as the Yakima FoldClick 2, which can accommodate up to two 30kg bikes. Similar racks are also being brought out from Saris, Thule and Hollywood Racks. Some benefits of the extra weight of the bike, allows you to maintain more speed into the corners which lets the plus size tires really bite in. The weight also makes it hard to bunny hop, but after some getting used to, the fast, stable, grounded feeling of this bike, leaves you hungry for more.
The bike has a 500Wh battery, which is the largest available from Bosch (at time of writing), with the option to swap and change this should you want to, or even put a second battery in for maximum ride time. The Modular Rail System incorporated into the frame lets you customise elements such as a magnetically stuck water bottle, extra battery or even a lock for those of you who would perhaps use this bike to commute as well as shred.
Charging this beast is pretty easy, as the charging port is fairly centrally located on the frame. Turbo mode does tend to chew through the battery life, but typically your battery will have no trouble lasting through a long ride, especially if you’re using the Eco or eMTB modes. I typically ride for about 1.5-2 hours and on eMTB, the battery comfortably lasts but needed to be charged once I got home. I often take my bike on camping trips with no access to power, so this is something I think could limit the usability of the bike.
I think the HaiBike HardSeven rode really well and has a lot of potential to be a great go-to bike for a lot of people. This bike would allow a wider audience to enjoy the perks of motor assisted riding, and mountain biking in general. Because the Bosch functions are so easy to use, this bike could offer a great way to get people with lower levels of fitness into mountain biking or to support riders who may have had to limit the range of their mountain biking after injury. I myself have had some knee and back issues, and riding this bike definitely put less strain on them.
The Haibike Hard 7 is so much fun to ride, and can open your mind to the value of eBikes. There’s a whole range of reasons this bike could be just the one for you!
From: Haibike Australia