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e-Bikes

Haibike xDuro DWNHLL

The world's burliest ebike?


Words and photos: Steve Jones


Shape and Purpose

One of the few, if only, downhill e bikes on the market, the intentions of this machine are clear, the opportunities insane. Considerably lower, slacker and longer than its NDuro stable mate our size large Haibike X Duro DWNHLL bike is on par in terms of geometry with most standard non-motor downhill bikes although in XL comes up larger than a Specialized Demo, Trek Session or Santa Cruz V10.

It’s clear this bike is for sessioning downhill tracks with rapid transit back to the start hut but it’s a bike that can easily be used to transfer with quite large distances involved. Obviously the geometry will make it slightly more rearwards biased than many other e-mtb’s which hinted that it might not be so adept at climbing than some but we were keen to see what the full range of possibilities were with the Haibike X Duro DWNHLL.

Suspension/Chassis/Detail

The bike features Haibike’s “Sprocket equalizing system” which is a chain idler located above the motor. It acts not just to improve suspension performance/pedalling but an option to keep the chain away from the stays which are longer than the NDuro version of this bike.

Suspension is taken care of from Rockshox on the rear and Fox up front. The Vivid air is there partly for weight reduction but it has been a star performer on some of the other e-mtb’s so we have no issues other than we’d maybe like to see a lock out option that could be used with the dropper post for climbs. The Fox 40 is a class unit.

Like the NDuro the bike’s motor is housed very neatly in a custom made cradle, this ‘gravity casting’ is well positioned and protects the motor from strikes, something that will be happening frequently on such a bike as this. Again, we’d like to see the sensor wires leading onto chainstay be fitted internally to avoid any tangling with the tyre which seems quite likely in its current form.

Feeling

It’s a question of compromise. Or not. If you’re aim is simply to ride the toughest, steepest tracks then the Dwnhll will not hold you back. It’s a bike that will enable you to access all the good stuff irrespective of if there’s an uplift running or not, and assuming you have permission to ride downhill venues on an e-mtb, could be a great alternative to a smelly van. Get yourself a work out on the way up as well as down.

With geometry numbers that put many current production downhill bikes to shame the Hai has great poise to it, and the grip that it produces is impressive, a result of weight and tacky tyres. When used to transfer on fire road climbs to the top of the downhill the bike is faultless.

However there is a limit. The bike climbs moderate banks easily and although the riding position isn’t perfect allows you to ascend pretty rapidly. The real issue is when the banks get steep and it’s here that the Hai bike falters. Get a 90kg rider on steep stuff and the Hai really doesn’t want to accept the power being pushed through the cranks, on occasion it actually felt as the bike would run out of power only for the bank to slacken and the motor kick back in.

This could be the combined effect of weight of bike plus rider and the gearing, on a short sharp sub two minute climb the Hai took closer to three minutes to conquer. There’s also a slight lag even on short sharp steep banks and it feels as the CX motor doesn’t kick in like on other CX motor powered bikes, it was also something the Bosch engineer accepted.

Limitations

Saint brakes continue to howl on our test bikes which is a shame and sure we’ll be certain to get another email following this comment yet again. The grips slip off the bars, a direct mount stem would seem a better option and the external cabling on the seat dropper got in the way on occasion. But minor detail compared to the struggling motor on steep slopes.

Verdict

As an alternative to the uplift van the Hai is excellent. The geometry and suspension action of the bike means the bike is on par with current non electric bikes, in fact Hai have used the design to make such a bike which we’ll be chasing them up.

In a way however we prefer the options that the NDuro allow and at 180mm travel isn’t really that far off in performance on the downhill but opens up more horizons and which the geometry allows. Climbing on the Haibike X Duro DWNHLL isn’t the easiest position and as mentioned there’s a limit to the slopes. But have no fear this is one of the hardest charging e-mtb’s currently available and if downhill is what you want to be engaged in then look no further.

Motor – Bosch Performance CX 75Nm 250W
Battery – Bosch Power Pack 500
Travel – 200mm
Weight – 55lb + the scales errored
Price – £6900


SIZE                            42S                 43M                44L                 45XL
Wheelbase                 1226               1252               1277                1305
Reach                          394                 417                 441                 465
Head Angle                63.5
Seat Angle                  73
Chain Stay                  470
BB Height                   347


http://www.haibike.com/en-US/US/home

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