EVO Toba HB1 Review

Evo Toba Hb1 Electric Bike Review
Evo Toba Hb1
Evo Toba Hb1 Bionx 350 Watt Motor
Evo Toba Hb1 Electric Bike Battery Pack
Evo Toba Hb1 Ergonomic Grips Lcd Console Handle Bar
Evo Toba Hb1 Removable Bionx Display Panel
Evo Toba Hb1 Schwalbe Marathon 700c Tires
Evo Toba Hb1 Rigid Fork Linear Pull Brakes
Evo Toba Hb1 48 Volt 6 6 Amp Lithium Ion Battery
Evo Toba Hb1 Ebike 3 Amp Charger
Evo Toba Hb1 Electric Bike Review
Evo Toba Hb1
Evo Toba Hb1 Bionx 350 Watt Motor
Evo Toba Hb1 Electric Bike Battery Pack
Evo Toba Hb1 Ergonomic Grips Lcd Console Handle Bar
Evo Toba Hb1 Removable Bionx Display Panel
Evo Toba Hb1 Schwalbe Marathon 700c Tires
Evo Toba Hb1 Rigid Fork Linear Pull Brakes
Evo Toba Hb1 48 Volt 6 6 Amp Lithium Ion Battery
Evo Toba Hb1 Ebike 3 Amp Charger

Summary

  • A fairly traditional bicycle platform (rigid fork, Aluminum frame, 27 gears) with the standard 350 watt BionX drive system
  • High-end drive systems including near-silent motor operation, torque sensing pedal assist and multiple levels of recoup plus regenerative braking and variable speed trigger throttle
  • Removable battery pack, display and quick release front wheel and seat tube, soft saddle but otherwise the ride is firm due to lack of suspension and narrower 1.4" tires
  • Have to pedal or push the bike up to two mph before the throttle will activate, power cuts in and out kind of abruptly once you reach the top speed, slight delay in assist to reduce the feeling of surge

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

EVO

Model:

Toba HB1

Price:

$1,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Covering Manufacturer Defects (1,000 Charge Cycles), Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

2016

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

44 lbs (19.95 kg)

Battery Weight:

6.1 lbs (2.76 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

16.5 in (41.91 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)19.5 in (49.53 cm)22 in (55.88 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Anthracite

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Alloy, Bladed, Disc Brake Ready, 10 mm Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

27 Speed 3x9 Shimano Alivio, 11-32T

Shifter Details:

Shimano Acera 390 RapidFire on Left and Right

Cranks:

FSA CK310TTT, 48/38/28T Chainrings

Pedals:

Alloy Body with Steel Frame, Platform

Headset:

Steel integrated Aheadset

Stem:

Alloy, 15°

Handlebar:

Alloy, 30 mm Rise

Brake Details:

Tektro 855AL Linear Pull V-Brakes, Tektro Alloy Levers with Motor Inhibitors and Regen Activation

Grips:

Rubber Ergonomic

Saddle:

Megasoft Recreational Gel

Seat Post:

Alloy

Seat Post Length:

300 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Alexrims DH19, Alloy Double Wall

Spokes:

Stainless

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Marathon, 700 x 35c (28" x 1.4")

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

GreenGuard Puncture Protection, Reflective Sidewall Stripe

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Sturdy Kickstand on Left at Rear

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, 3.45 Amp 0.8 lb Charger, Motor Locks for Security when Display is Removed, Deep Sleep Protects Battery from Discharge Damage After Two Months (Or Two Weeks at < 10%) of Inactivity

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

BionX

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

6.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

316.8 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Manganese Cobalt

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Removable, Backlit LCD (Symmetrical Integrated Buttons for Right or Left Handed Users)

Readouts:

4 Proportional Assist and Generate Modes, Lighting Controls, Battery Voltage (10 Bars), Trip Distance, Odometer, Chronometer, Average Speed, Clock

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Right with Variable Speed Throttle

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)(Unless Otherwise Specified in Specific Jurisdictions)

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Written Review

The EVO Toba HB1 is very bike-like and almost normal… it uses tried and true drivetrain components from Shimano (Alivo and Acera) offering 27 speeds, which is significantly more than a lot of ebikes in America that opt for 6 to 10. The frame is Aluminum with a rigid fork and both wheels are city-sized at 700c (28 inches) so they’re efficient but not super comfortable when the going gets rough. The brakes are linear-pull (sometimes called V-Brakes) and the work very well but could grind mud into the rims if you navigate through deep puddles. Everything here works fine and there’s even a set of mounting points on the seat stays and down by the rear dropout to add a cargo rack for commuting. What stands out is the near-silent BionX drive system that offers just about every drive mode you could want (from four levels of torque sensing pedal assist to variable speed trigger throttle, regenerative braking and four levels of recoup mode!) the price you pay for this awesome systems is extra weight. The weight is distributed pretty well front to rear but there’s no getting around the hub motor design and one added trade-off here is that there’s no quick release at the rear… so try not to get a flat tire.

I saw the EVO Toba HB1 at Electric Cyclery in Laguna Beach, California where they use them as rentals. This is a good sign and testament to the quality and durability of BionX and the four frame sizes the Toba HB1 comes in. Being able to override assist with a trigger throttle is super handy and the quality cells used in the batteries (combined with deep-sleep shutoff) means the bikes should hold up well over time. The Toba does come in a disc brake configuration with an even more powerful 500 watt rear hub motor called the D-Series (which I reviewed separately here) but it ups the price by nearly 50% and in my experience as a ~140 lb guy, the 350 watt motor and v-brakes on the standard Toba HB1 worked fine.

This electric bike would work well for urban use, commuting or fun road-type riding. The geometry isn’t especially aggressive but the stem and bars are all standard and could be swapped out. The display panel can mount to the left or right side and even the external button pad (which makes adjusting assist or using the throttle easy) can be swapped. One note here is that the throttle will not activate unless the bike is moving 2+ miles per hour for safety reasons. I love that the display panel and battery can be removed but you don’t have to take the battery off to charge it (which saves time and reduces accidental drops). The pack feels solid on the frame thanks to an extra screw (three instead of two on most ebikes I test) and it clicks on solidly by pushing in the metal core (no key required to lock it onto the bike).

All things considered, the Toba works well but isn’t my top choice for bumpy riding… even bumpy streets with a lot of cracks could feel uncomfortable when riding for longer periods at higher speeds (which ebikes tend to encourage). The saddle is large and soft and the grips are a bit of an upgrade being ergonomic but the narrow tires and rims are just too efficient for my liking so I’d consider a 27.2 mm Thudbuster or Body Float seat post suspension to improve comfort and I might even consider swapping the bars out to bring them back and up. I say this in many of my reviews and I’m just an extra sensitive guy… your experience may vary. I do love the reflective tires used here and would also recommend adding some lights if you do a lot of night riding.

Pros:

  • The bike is extremely energy efficient thanks to narrow city tires mounted to wide 700c wheels and 27 gears let you climb or maintain high speeds easily
  • Because the motor is a gearless direct drive design, it operates very quietly and offers both regenerative braking and four levels of recoup
  • While the bike is somewhat rear heavy due to the metal-encased hub motor, the battery is mounted low on the downtube and the bike balances well, I appreciate the quick release front wheel and removable design of the battery (which can be charged on or off the frame)
  • While BionX does sell their systems separately from bicycles as kits, this bike is purpose built to be electric with a special channel along the downtube to hide extra wires, it looks clean and is probably easier to tune and fix than fully integrated solutions
  • The bike comes in four frame sizes to accommodate a wide range of rider types and for $899 more you can upgrade to the Toba HB1 Disc and get a larger motor and disc brakes on a relatively similar frame (the standard Toba HB1 reviewed here is still powerful and more stealthy looking than the disc model in my opinion)
  • The bike automatically shuts down if you forget to de-activate the display and there’s a deep sleep mode built into the battery to help it fully power off after extended periods of disuse to protect the cells
  • I love that the display is removable, backlit, slim and so easy to understand… it’s one of the better designs out there in my opinion and they offer a stand alone button pad that replicates the plus and minus buttons for switching through assist levels and a mini variable speed trigger throttle, it’s all very compact but mounts close to the grip for easy reach while riding
  • The battery mounting point is connected to the downtube with three screws verses just two on many other ebikes I’ve tested, it feels more solid and secure this way

Cons:

  • The bike feels great on smooth paved surfaces but bumpy terrain can be jarring due to the slim tires and lack of suspension combined with an aluminum frame vs. steel, the saddle is soft and the ergonomic grips help
  • Gearless direct drive motors don’t coast as efficiently as most geared motors due to cogging (the permanent rare Earth magnets inside repel the electromagnetic staters when unpowered)
  • Despite being so minimal, this ebike still weighs 44 lbs and that’s due to the more powerful battery and larger gearless motor
  • Not a huge con here but the bike does have to be moving 2+ mph in order to “unlock” throttle mode… sometimes it’s nice to use the throttle to start from zero but that can also be a safety risk which is why BionX designed it this way
  • The battery confused me at first because I was trying to put the key in and turn it to lock on… you really just push the silver core in once the pack is slid along the rail… it’s simple once you know
  • When using throttle mode and hitting the top speed I noticed that power abruptly dropped off vs. feeling more smooth… after a moment of coasting it would kick in again which also felt pronounced
  • I love the rear rack bosses for adding a cargo deck or pannier mount but wish there was also room for a bottle cage mount on the seat tube, perhaps we will see smaller batteries eventually to create more space

Resources:

Comments (4) YouTube Comments

Ray T
3 years ago

this seems to be good deal because you are getting a bike with a $1799 USD Bionx kit on a $2000 bike, so the bike itself is only $200. The integration does seem a bit better because the cable routing and stuff is done for you more neatly. You’re paying for a tried and true Bionx system and getting a frame thrown in for nearly free (slightly more than cost of labour of adding a Bionx kit to your own bike)

The bike itself certainly doesn’t seem to be anything special, rigid steel fork, and the usual Tekro/FSA parts that you see on a $500 hybrid, and there’s nothing flashy about the bike itself, which might be a good thing if you’re commuting and need to lock it up somewhere.

That does make me wonder though, is there anybody who would lock up a $2000+ e-bike and not expect to have it stolen (we all know that even the best locking system won’t prevent a determined thief)

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Well said Ray, I agree with your conclusions about value and the generic base frame. From what I’ve gathered, if you remove the display from the bike the motor will lock so it won’t be especially useful or valuable to a thief… though they may still strip the components or try to resell the battery. I have never had a bicycle stolen and that may be due to not parking overnight and using a U-lock plus a cable for the wheels and mini-cable for the saddle. It may also be partially luck…

  Reply
joe cranston
1 year ago

i seem to be breaking to many spokes. is there something im doing wrong i weigh about 220 pounds so it should not be a problem

  Reply
Court
1 year ago

Hi Joe, I’ve heard of heavier riders breaking spokes (or having them come loose), perhaps it has to do with the spoke gauge… maybe they are just a little narrow for your riding style. I’m meeting with Ariel Rider today and they have some cruisers with 12 and 13 gauge spokes, they said that in years past they used 14 and 13 and did have some issues. I hope this helps, I haven’t seen the EVO Toba for a bit and cannot say for sure. Maybe a local shop could help fix or improve your setup? I do believe that 250 lbs is the max weight rating for a lot of ebikes, so you’re getting pretty close there. Be safe, good luck!

  Reply

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