Haibike XDURO Urban S RX

Haibike has always impressed me with their diverse range of high performance electric bike styles… They are a leader in the e-mountain bike space but also offer touring and road models now like the Urban S RX shown here. The first XDURO Urban model I saw and reviewed was a 2015 model that could only hit 20 mph vs. the 28 mph on this “speed” model and I felt like it was real missed opportunity. It’s hard to complain much because the frame still came in several sizes, the cool integrated lights were there and the Bosch mid-drive motor offered nearly all of the same benefits of balanced weight distribution, responsiveness and durability. But this is a road ebike with narrow efficient tires after all! It’s easy to hit and exceed 20 mph even on an unpowered road bike so why was this electric model “nerfed” I wondered? You could pay a bunch more for the 2015 XDURO Race, which was a Class 3 speed pedelec and featured cool drop bars, but for many people the price bump was likely difficult to justify… With the Haibike XDURO Urban S RX you pay ~£500 more than that first Urban model (£1,500 less than the Race) but you get speed pedelec performance, an 11 speed drivetrain and a nicer paint job (in my opinion) than that first bike. This is one of the coolest looking, lightest weight mid-drive electric bikes I’ve seen and with unique upgraded components like the vibration dampening seat post and shock absorbing stem it feels special and really purpose built.

Driving the bike is a 350 watt Bosch Centerdrive mounted at the bottom bracket. Haibike prints engineering specifications on many of their frames that talk about hydro-formed tubing and gravity casting interfaces. That’s the case with the motor plat here which securely attaches the Bosch motor and helps to blend it into the frame and support a custom geometry. The motor casing is plastic, painted black to blend in with some of the paint highlights and they’ve upgraded the sprocket to a narrow-wide 20 tooth design optimised for higher speed peddling. The crank arms are 175 mm vs. 170 mm so you get more power transfer and a little bash guard chain guide plate has been added to keep your pants clear and snag free… for those random moments when you’d elect to wear pants vs. spandex on a road bike 😉 The motor is very efficient but also powerful. As you switch gears it becomes more or less powerful trading torque for speed and is the same hardware offered with Haibike mountain models. You shouldn’t have any problem climbing with this thing as long as you switch gears appropriately. And that’s the other nice thing about the Bosch mid-drive, it offers software driven shift detection that reduces mashing and chain wear. For 2016 they also introduced a shift recommendation alert on the display that helps guide your shifting in order to maximise motor performance. The one downside to all of this is that the Bosch motor produces an electronic whine at higher RPM which can be seen in the video review above.

Operating the bike is very efficient and almost fun once you learn the controls. Charge and mount the battery pack then press the lower left power button on the Intuvia display panel. This brings the bike to lift and allows you to read battery, speed, pedal assist and other stats. The display unit also has a reset for clearing trip distance, an i for swapping through max speed, average speed, odometer and range stats (which are especially cool because range is dynamically calculated based on the assist level you choose) and a light button. By pressing the light button you activate the front and rear LED lights that are AWESOME in my opinion. The headlight especially, which shines enough to actually light your path and not just alert others to your presence, looks beautiful and is aerodynamic, adjustable angle and turning as you steer. The rear light is positioned below the seat post on the seat tube shining just above the rear wheel and out to both sides. If you decide to mount a bottle cage to your saddle rails or a beam rack to the seat post the light will still keep you visible. Same goes for if you’re wearing a long coat that droops down below the saddle. The lights are awesome and don’t use much power… so keep them on if it’s getting dark. Near the left grip is a little control pad that duplicates the i button mentioned earlier and allows you to arrow up and down through four levels of assist with a satisfying click so you can learn to use it without even glancing down. My final bit of praise here is that the display is removable! Just like the battery, you can protect and store it separately when parking at racks in public spaces.

Even though I probably wouldn’t ride this bike daily for commuting and I wouldn’t want it to be my only electric bike because I love mountain biking and trail riding… I can’t help but want to buy this thing. It looks so cool and is so nimble and responsive, it just rocks! I’ve owned several non-electric road bikes over the years including a Specialised Tarmac Expert and one of my favourite experiences is that light weight super fast acceleration. While it’s not exactly the same feeling on this or most electric road bikes due to their weight, it is definitely close and even more enjoyable in its own way. Sure, I wish this thing had bottle cage bosses and yes the battery stands out a bit blowing your cover that it’s electric, indeed the motor produces a different sound that’s more audible here than on some of the mountain bikes with knobby tires but for what it is, this thing is a blast. Maybe you’ve got friends who get out road biking more than you’re able to and you struggle to keep up or always have to draft instead of leading. Maybe you’ve got an injury or live in a place where it’s super windy or hilly. I guarantee you’ll still get an excellent cardio workout with this bike and you can go way faster than 35 km/h on descent so it comes back to empowering you to ride further or in ways that you enjoy. Not only is this a special build, the fact that it comes in so many sizes and from a reputable brand with a solid warranty and distribution in the US really helps to justify the price. It’s easy to spend way more than £5k on traditional road bikes so getting an industry leading drive system from Bosch here and the electronic extras makes it an exciting high value product to me.

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