- One of the most affordable Haibikes in the line, available in four frame sizes, relatively lightweight, large 29er tires provide float and momentum at speed for cross country riding
- Very capable mid-drive system (the same motor and battery as some higher-priced Haibike models), zero cadence assist feels responsive from starts and climbing
- Powerful 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes for handling the increased weight, capable 100 mm suspension fork with compression adjust lockout, Shimano Acera 9-Speed derailleur
- The charger is bulky and heavy but offers faster 4 Amp power flow, Fixed display offers fewer readouts but is actually very capable (battery percentage, range, etc.)
The HardNine 4.0 is one of a few entry level price point electric bikes from Haibike. With some scaled down mechanical components, and even a slightly scaled down electric system, this bike offer an excellent value in total. At $2,599 for a brand name production mid drive by Yamaha, warranty and all, it can be pretty tough to pass up for a budget minded cyclist looking to experiment with road or off-road pedelec riding. The HardNine 4.0 is a great bike anyway, offering a lot of bike (electronics aside) that doesn’t make any safety compromises. Brakes, shifters, frame, fork, tires; all up to par for most uses. While this is a lower-end Haibike, it shouldn’t be confused with a lower end bike from other companies. The HardNine 4.0 already has a much higher component grade than where other bike companies cap out.
Despite the lower entry price for the bike, the 4.0 still includes the same 250 watt Yamaha PW motor that all the other SDURO bikes use. Personally I really enjoy this motor on the road, as the 20 mph cut-off isn’t harsh. On the trails, it really hold its own against competing e-bike systems. The motor is cased with a protective plate that prevents impact from off-road obstacles, which is pretty nice for heavy use. Another great feature of the Yamaha motor is the ability to add multiple cogs to the front chainring. This particular bike only has one chain ring up front, but in other 5.0 models this feature is utilized. Although the motor is rated for 250 watts, the power output can easily keep up with, if not slightly out-do other 350 watt motors in the same category. The peak output of this motor can reach up to 500 watts and it offers 80 Newton meters of torque which is what I consider to be one of the most important considerations for climbing. I find it to be less noisy myself, but it’s hard to objectively measure how much motor noise the rider will experience. It’s going to increase as you raise the power level and pedaling RPM.
What is called the 400 watt hour pack technically holds 417 wh. The 36 volt 11.6 amp hour pack comes standard on this, and many other Yamaha powered bikes and offers above average range. On a personal road test we did from our shop, we encountered 31.4 miles of range on full blast pedal assist, until the battery died. Toning down the assist a little will increase the range, as pedaling the bike will reduce draw on the battery. Rather than clicking the battery pack down into a mount on the downtube like a lot of other e-bike modesl, the Yamaha pack slides in from the side and this allows for a lower top tube. The side swing battery may seem less robust, but the locking mechanism is strong enough to keep it on the frame without rattling. The battery has a loop on the top of the unit, which is nice for carrying around, but tough to stuff in certain bags or panniers on account of the length. Also, in my opinion, the charger for the Yamaha system isn’t the greatest. It charges just fine, but the cords are permanently connected to the rectifier, meaning that a fault in one of the cords would necessitate and entire replacement. Also, the battery terminal uses a clip feature to secure the charger to the battery, and requires the user to detach the terminal only 1/2 an inch from the battery itself. Pulling the charger cable may inadvertently yank the battery around or tip the bike.
The more basic Yamaha display mentioned earlier is an LED design, as opposed to their LCD display found on most other bikes. It’s mounted near the left grip, is backlit and has 5 buttons, 7 indicator lights and a 2 digit number readout. The read outs don’t provide as much information; it scrolls between 3 metrics: MPH, Battery Percentage, and estimated miles left. The left side assist up and down is pretty simple, though the display only indicates 3 levels of assist: ECO, STD, and HIGH. Haibike’s website claims a 4th level of ECO+, but this is likely a typo from the other LCD system. The display won’t show more typical things found on eBike LCD displays, such as an odometer, trip set, clock, timer, or power output. In my opinion, this display is a good way to save a few bucks on the overall price, but personally I enjoy the larger read out, and especially the odometer. Having this information on hand is very useful when relaying any electrical issues, personal range estimates, mapping progress and more. I also appreciate having the ability to remove the fancier display, especially when riding to a public rack or in a steep precarious downhill section where the bike could get dropped in a fall.
As a bicycle, the HardNine 4.0 is phenomenal for the price. It holds a brand name mid-drive system, that only compromises on the display. Also, the mechanical system is perfectly acceptable for an eBike in this price range. The hydraulic disc brakes work fast and bite hard, and the front shock is enough to handle obstacles on a moderate off-road ride. The 9-speed gear set doesn’t have the refinement, speed, durability or weight that a higher component level carries, but it’s enough to get going for a still-new bargain price. This bike excels in the hands of a casual rider, going off road in lighter trails. In less rocky cases like this, the 29 wheels can overcome obstacles fairly well, and the gearing has enough of a range to move through many inclines and a little bit of downhill. Steep uphill or hairy downhill will showcase the weaknesses of the bike, and will likely feel too big and stiff to handle. The bike will certainly operate just fine, but the rider will need a fair amount of balance and skill to overcome the higher frame (on account of the wheels) and the weight/rigidity of the frame. This is where 27.5″ wheels, full suspension, and seat post droppers begin to shine and when you’d be better off upgrading or switching platforms for all-mountain or trail use.
With little exception, it’s pretty easy to recommend this bike to someone who has looked it over and is still considering it. You get a lot of bike for the money. With most Haibikes, the sky is the limit and the rider may not utilize the higher component level. With the HardNine 4.0, the rider can easily see where the line is between performance and price. This is very nice for the budget conscience who don’t want to spend money on something they won’t use. My only gripes are the display, and the pedals. The plastic pedals will last for awhile, but may eventually break. Depending on use or behavior I’ve seen pedals like this brake from 300 to 5,000 miles. I didn’t mention this earlier, but the RPM limit on the Yamaha PW motor is 100 vs. 120 RPM on some of the newer motors or Bosch Performance Line. In practice, this means you will have to shift through gears more actively to achieve the full range of speed up to 20 mph. The display is impressive for being so basic, if you need the extra stats, that’s another area worth upgrading for. If you’re the kind of person who either doesn’t need to know those details, or you already have a cycling computer or app to track it, then the display functionally powers the system and you’ll likely love saving that money. Overall, I think that the Haibike HardNine 4.0 is a great bike for casual off-road, or even regular commuting. This review was performed by Mikey Geurts from Blue Monkey Bicycle in Utah in conjunction with Electric Bike Review and was paid for by EBR but was not sponsored or connected to Haibike in any way.
- Available in four frame sizes, this electric bike offers higher performance and fit, I love how the top tube is angled down for lower stand over height (the battery slides out sideways to help achieve this wide
- Excellent weight distribution with both the motor and battery mounted towards the center of the frame and kept low
- The motor is powerful and responsive offering smooth starts and stops (measuring pedal cadence and torque to activate as well as rear wheel speed), you get up to 80 Nm of torque which makes it an excellent climber if you shift gears appropriately
- Cost saving 100 mm travel spring style front suspension in tendem with 29er tires should scale moderate obstacles with ease but does weigh slightly more and isn’t as nimble
- Beautiful paint and graphics… Haibike has long been an EBR favorite because of their unique styling and matching parts
- The battery can be charged on or off the bike frame and is easy to remove (though it does not rattle or feel loose when mounted to the frame), it weighs about 6.5 lbs so taking it off could make mounting the bike to car racks safer and easier (more space in the triangle), both wheels feature quick release which is very handy for trailside fixes of flats
- The Yamaha LED display system doesn’t clog the cockpit with screens, pads or mounts, just one simple display has the really critical readouts and is easy enough to reach while still holding the left grip (I love that it shows battery percentage and range estimate)
- Large 180 mm Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes work well without braking the bank and you get adjustable-reach levers which are perfect for riders who opt for the smaller frame size and may have shorter fingers, or those who wear thicker gloves during the winter
- Quick release axles front and rear for easy repairs and quick compact transportability, one big advantage of a mid-drive is that the drivetrain itself is more traditional and easy to work with for regular bike shops, you can swap out the front chainring for different sizes and possibly even go for a double chainring if you add a second derailleur
- The Yamaha motor produces less noise than Bosch and Shimano E-6000 in my opinion, it’s a bit less noticeable (especially when riding on a dirt trail where the tires are already making noise just from rolling)
- The cockpit is very open and clean compared to other eBikes with mounts, grip buttons, throttles, displays and dual shifters, the handlebar is extra long which also creates a sense of space
- You can run 27.5 tires on this bike, maybe even with a wider tread if it can clear the rear triangle. Having the mid-drive motor really is a life-saver for folks using different wheel sets for different rides
- The fork includes a compression adjust with lock-out which is especially nice for flat terrain where 29er efficiency is at its best, or if you want to use this to commute around town on paved streets
- The display is more basic, smaller, and lacks some important features like odometer, trip distance, max speed etc., riding the bike regularly can either render that information less critical, as you may “mold” with the bike and understand it without prompting, or you may wish you had that information and remember every time you jump on the bike, the display is also non-removable and could take scratches and wear more readily
- Aside from most of the other components on the bike, the plastic pedals are a bit more basic and could break under trail riding conditions, pedals are inexpensive however and you may want to go clipless at some point so this is a minor consideration
- In our tests, the Yamaha system doesn’t get exceptional range from its system; 31.4 miles on full pedal assist on the road is perfectly fine, but it wasn’t close to the 48.5 miles we saw on the Bosch system under the same conditions
- Unlike the Bosch drive systems, the Yamaha mid-drive doesn’t offer shift sensing which could lead to chain and sprocket mashing, learn to shift as the motor cuts out… when you stop pedaling momentarily and ease off
- The battery charger seems unnecessarily large and bulky compared with some of the other options out there, I wish Yamaha would consider the magnetic EnergyBus port vs. their plug, which pushes in, and could get bent or knock the bike over if tripped on, the left crank arm passes it closely which makes it vulnerable… the charging unit itself is large and heavy and the cords don’t disconnect from the main unit
- Haibikes tend to be more expensive and are frequently out of stock in popular sizes, I feel like they spread the line thin with so many options which can be disappointing if you visit a dealer and fall in love with a specific model or feature set
- The drivetrain is alright, but not as durable, lightweight, or feature rich as the Deore XT with tension clutch for example, so you might get some chain bounce or drops easier
- I like how smooth the motor winds down as you stop pedaling but it isn’t as instantaneous as some other systems, the traditional sized sprocket spins at the same cadence as pedaling so there’s less drag and noise when riding this electric mountain bike unpowered
- Despite being a more athletic-oriented sporty electric bike, there are no bosses for adding a water bottle, you’ll probably need a hip pack or hydration backpack, there are a couple of threaded eyelets near the rear dropout which could possibly support a rack or fenders but no extra eyelets on the higher portion of the seat stays
- I couldn’t figure out how to turn off backlighting on the display panel, I think it’s an always-on design which could be a little distracting at night if you prefer all-dark and stealth riding
- Official Site: https://www.haibike.com/en-US/US/home/eperformance/sduro/sporty/hardnine
- More Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/0OZu7LYJYsRRcKZ13