2018 Haibike Urban Plus Review


Technical Specs & Ratings



Urban Plus


Class 3




Hydraulic Disc



489.6 Wh

489.6 Wh

59.2 lbs / 26.88 kgs



Frame Details

6061 Aluminum Alloy, Hydroformed


Rigid Alloy, 100 mm Hub Spacing, 15 mm Thru-Axle with Quick Release

Weinmann XM 25, Alloy, Double Wall Hollow, Reinforcement Eyelets, 32 Hole, Black (584x20.5) | Spokes: Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Black with Adjustable Nipples

Schwalbe Super Moto-X, 27.5" x 2.4" (62-584), 30 to 55 PSI, 2.0 to 4.0 BAR, Performance GreenGuard, Reflective Sidewall Stripe


VP J305AC, Integrated, Threadless Internal Cups, Sealed Bearing, Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-/2"

Alloy, 7° Rise, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter, One 30 mm Spacer, Three 10 mm Spacers

Alloy, Low Rise, 690 mm Length, Black

XLC Ergo Sport, Ergonomic, Rubber, Locking

JD Brand, Aluminum Alloy


Haibike Components TheSaddle MTB +++ by Velo

VP Alloy Platform, Black

Hydraulic Disc

Tektro Dorado HD-E715 Hydraulic Disc, 203 mm Front Rotor and 180 mm Back Rotor, Dual Piston Calipers, Four-Finger Tektro Dorado HD-E715 Levers with Brake Light Activation

More Details

Forward, Forward Aggressive

2 Year Motor and Battery, 5 Year Frame

United States, Canada, Germany, Europe


16.92, 18.89, 20.86

Medium 48 cm: 19" Seat Tube, 22" Reach, 30" Stand Over Height, 27.5" Width, 73" Length

Matte Titan Anthracite Grey, Metallic White with Silver Accents

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Tektro Dorado HD-E715 Hydraulic Disc, 203 mm Front Rotor and 180 mm Back Rotor, Dual Piston Calipers, Four-Finger Tektro Dorado HD-E715 Levers with Brake Light Activation

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

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The Haibike Urban Plus has been on my radar since it was introduced in late 2016, because it is completely unique in the product line. It uses a custom designed TranzX battery and compact circular TranzX mid-motor while almost all of the other Haibike models to date (that I’m aware of) utilize either Bosch or Yamaha drive systems. TranzX is a less expensive, less responsive alternative that is commonly found on Raleigh and IZIP e-bike models (two brands owned by the Accell Group, parent company of Haibike since 2002). That said, the M25 is one of the most premium TranzX offerings and performed surprisingly well during my test rides, even offering some shift detection to protect the 10-speed Shimano Deore XT drivetrain. Nice! This is an ebike that did not look comfortable to me, but actually rode pretty well because of the nearly plus-sized 2.4″ wide Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires (official plus sizes are 2.6″, 2.8″, and 3.0″ width). By lowering the tire pressure just a touch (anywhere between 30 and 55 PSI), sticking to smooth paved roads, and possibly adding a 31.6 mm suspension seat post, you can have a blast going up to 28 mph while staying clean and relatively safe thanks to plastic fenders and nice integrated lights. Weighing in at just under 60 lbs, the Urban Plus is not an especially lightweight electric bicycle, but it is well balanced, and comfortably solid. The additional weight pairs well with the bigger tires to absorb vibration and bumps. Thes 27.5″ wheel diameter offers a lower attack angle than 26″ found on many Stromer models (a strong competitor) which helps it span cracks and small imperfections in the tarmac. It’s not as quiet or simple as a Stromer, but the middrive offers efficiency as you shift gears. And so, the bigger tires, upgraded rims, and strong thru-axles (front and rear), add to the rear rack, full alloy chain guide, and higher capacity battery pack to make this a heavier bicycle, but it also makes it durable and performant. I came into this review thinking the bike was a bit off and possibly cheap because it’s different from the rest of the Haibike pack. I think a lot of people in the industry have felt this way and been uncertain about the complex COBI system (now owned by Bosch) and have portrayed these uncertain feelings to their customers. As a result, we have seen it go on sale and become a very compelling offering. What I discovered during the ride test and deep dive, while gathering stats and preparing for the written portion here, is that the motor is actually pretty impressive but still quiet and the COBI phone-app display system can either be amazing and fun or annoying and distracting, especially in bright light because of glare or complete darkness because of how large and bright a phone display can be. It all depends on your willingness to learn about the software and deal with something a bit new. The great thing is, you can operate the bike without using the phone app if you want. In any case, you get to interface with a vast network of Haibike dealers who can offer test rides on one of the three frame sizes and two colors on offer, and who will be able to support the two-year comprehensive warranty. There’s a lot more to say about this ebike, and I’ve done my best to be efficient with the writeup that follows, I also tried to be efficient with the 30+ minute video review above, but there was just a lot to cover ;)

Driving this bike is a very compact, circular, mid-drive motor from TranzX. The M25GTS is a high-sped motor, capable of assisting riders up to ~28 mph, making the Urban Plus a Class 3 speed pedelect. You get 500 to 550 watts of output, and up to 70 Newton meters of torque, positioning this near the Yamaha PWseries SE and Bosch Performance Line Speed products. Weighing in at ~8.6 lbs, it’s not as light as it is small, but it is quiet. I was really impressed by how little noise it produced during my test rides. I could hardly hear it at all when my friend Virginia took it out and I ran next to her for a short bit. My experience was that the motor did not switch on as hard and fast as Bosch and Yamaha, and had a bit of wind-down time when I stopped, but it was a lot more dynamic than some of the basic TranzX products that only measure pedal cadence. This thing measures pedal cadence, pedal torque, and rear wheel speed… and, it measures shifting. Not perfectly, but it’s still a welcome and somewhat rare feature. If you’re pushing hard and the motor is assisting you with high power, there’s a potential for “mashing” which is where the chain grinds across the sprockets and pulls hard on the derailleur. It makes a chunking sound and will damage the drivetrain over time. It’s one of the drawbacks to having a mid-motor (because you need to shift in order to empower the motor, but this in turn can damage the hardware). I found that the system worked best when I would ease back on my pedal force just a touch and then shift. If I was pushing hard, I could still induce mashing and would hear the shift detection kick in slightly after the gear had already been changed. In short, I like how small and quiet the TranzX M25 is. I love how small the casing is, and how nicely it blends into the frame here (staying completely hidden the 48 tooth chainring). I think the shift detection, while imperfect, is much better than nothing, and really beneficial on a wider range 10-sprocket drivetrain like this. I feel like I’ve been won over a little bit, and don’t feel so uncomfortable with the brand at this point… especially with the lowered price point and warranty.

Powering the motor, the COBI Hub (plastic smartphone mount), both lights, and the electronic bell and siren alarm system, is a 48 volt 10.2 amp hour Lithium-ion battery pack. It offers nearly 500 watt hours of capacity, which is a bit above average, but definitely what you’d want for a speed pedelec. The faster you ride over ~20 mph, the more air resistance you’ll encounter and the harder the motor will have to work, thus draining the battery more quickly. I really like how cleanly the pack seats into the downtube, it’s almost smooth and really blends in nicely. I appreciate how simple and bright the LED power indicator is, on top of the pack, and how the charging port on the left side is clear of the left crank arm and pedal. The included two amp charger does an average job of filling the pack and isn’t especially large or heavy, but I like the metal end piece they used because it won’t crack as easily as the small plastic ones that many other brands use. There’s a key slot on the top right side of the downtube, used to unlock the battery. This cylinder did not appear to be spring loaded, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve turned the key back before pulling out. It’s a minor gripe… I do like the inset key design and just the fact that you can charge this battery on or off the bike frame. For people who live upstairs and do not want to carry the 59 lb frame, just take the battery pack, your phone, and the COBI hub off for the night and leave the bike outside. For people who may encounter extreme heat and cold, it’s best to store the pack in a cool, dry location to maximize life. I’ve heard that the sweet spot for making Lithium-ion cells last is 20% to 80% full, so check in on it every month or two if you haven’t been out for a ride. Just be careful not to drop the battery, because it doesn’t have a handle or loop built in. Weighing just ~5.6 lbs, it’s not especially heavy, just a bit less secure to hold than the standard Bosch and Yamaha external packs on many other Haibike models. Dropping this thing would be an $800 mistake ;)

Operating the Urban Plus can be quick and easy, or somewhat complex and awesome! Once the battery pack has been charged and clicked into place (seriously, push down and listen for the click before riding), you press a little black button on the right side of the COBI mount to turn it on. From here, you can click the up and down keys on the remote button pad, which is positioned near the left grip. Arrow up through the four levels of assist and listen for a double chime when you reach the top. That’s it… no other LCD console or readouts to show your speed or range, just the basic LED readout on the battery pack itself to approximate battery charge level. That’s the simple version without the phone app… For people who have an iOS or Android smartphone, look for the COBI.bike application which matches the branding and may be linked from the official COBI.bike website here. The people that made this system come from the automotive industry and wanted to bring the music, phone, navigation, and security features you’d expect from a premium automobile. You can see this in the headlight design, which has three running modes (daytime, bright, and auto) and curved LED outlines. Once you’ve got the app installed, you can connect it to the bike using Bluetooth and then seat it in the spring loaded mount and plug it in with Micro-USB or Lightening (or use an official COBI phone case to reduce wire clutter). With the app launched and connected, the bike will take you through a setup flow and get some information about what color scheme you like and what you’d like to name the bike. It eventually shows your current speed, chosen level of assist, battery capacity, and a bunch of optional sub-applications like music, telephone, and GPS. The navigation setup is pretty cool, using vectorized images to save on data downloads and improve load times. You can select from the fastest, shortest, or quietest route to your planned destination and even get feedback on how the weather is set to change over the course of your ride. Pretty sweet… and most of this can be controlled via touch screen on your phone or more safely with the rubberized arrow button pad thing near the left grip. It did take some time to update the firmware in the COBI hub and in the smartphone app before we could ride, so plan for an additional hour of setup time here. The good news is, the app will get smarter and more feature rich with time as new software versions are introduced. To disconnect your phone from the bike (if you’re selling it or maybe just demoing the bike), go into the COBI app, press the gear icon for settings, scroll down to My Bike, then choose Reset and Release Hub.

Depending on your access to a shop, the price being charged, and your willingness to try something a little different, the Haibike Urban Plus could be an excellent choice. I spent time covering this bike at the Electric Bicycle Shop of Santa Barbara and was accompanied by the owner of Amego Bikes in Toronto who both had good things to say about the product. Virginia in particular, was excited about how city dwellers had been using it to zip around town for work or to make food deliveries. The hardware is definitely a step up with sealed cartridge bearings, nicer pedals, the fancy lighting system (I love how the backlight goes bright when you pull the brakes). You can go fast, use power efficiently, and stop on a dime with the hydraulic disc brakes – especially with the larger 203 mm front rotor. Some of the hardware is even specced for European standards (the larger brake levers for example), and I love that they put the kickstand way back so it stays clear of the left crank arm if you are backing the bike up or maneuvering it in a tight space. The handlebars aren’t super wide, so it fits between cars and through doors easily. Apparently, the dongle adapter thing that comes with the charger and setup guide will let you adjust the controller amperage to raise or lower the current by 3% to optimize for quick starts or slower more efficient starts… and that’s pretty rare and unique. The one thing that seems to be missing is set of bottle cage bosses. Alas! perhaps they didn’t want to compromise the frame integrity or just thought the rear rack was enough. Consider the SKS Anywhere adapter if you want to fit a folding lock or other tool onto the seat tube (which seems especially wide here). Big thanks to the shops for partnering with me on this review and to Haibike for making beautiful bikes. I welcome your feedback in the comments below or the Haibike Forums and I’ll do my best to help answer questions.


  • This is the only Haibike that I have seen to date which uses the TranzX M25 mid-motor, this motor tends to cost less and be physically smaller than Bosch and Yamaha, it basically disappears on the frame behind the 48 tooth chainring
  • The battery pack also blends into the frame nicely and only weighs ~5.6 lbs, which is great for a ~500 watt hour ebike battery (most weigh 5.8 lbs to 7 lbs)
  • The frame feels stiff (no frame flex), the fenders are attached securely and aren’t as prone to damage as aluminum or steel because they are made from flexible plastic, it’s just nice to have most of the weight low and center vs. on a rack battery or in a big hub motor in the rear wheel
  • As a Class 3 speed pedelec (capable of reaching ~28 mph with pedal assist) the bike is sporty, fast, and great for commuting or delivery applications, but less efficient because of wind resistance above 20 mph, the good news is that the mid-drive motor is more efficient than most hub motors because it leverages the nice 10-speed drivetrain… so to me, this is one of the more efficient Class 3 products
  • Mid-motors are efficient, but can increase the strain and wear of your chain, cassette, and derailleur, so it’s very impressive to see shift detection in use here! This makes the motor ease off whenever you shift gears, reducing wear on the drivetrain
  • You shouldn’t experience many chain drops with this e-bike because the chainring has a sturdy guide; two alloy plates sandwiching the chainring to keep things on track, these plates double as a bash guard to protect the chainring teeth, motor casing, and your pant legs when pedaling
  • Haibike did an excellent job with safety here, you get premium Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires with puncture resistance and reflective stripes, you get bright front and rear lights (with three modes for the headlight), and you can choose the white frame if you really want to stand out and increase your visual footprint (though the grey frame helps hide the battery and wires a bit better and might hide dirt and scratches too)
  • Both lights are active whenever the bike is turned on but the headlight has a sensor that goes brighter vs. the basic running light stripes along the sides (which look awesome), I love how the tail light goes bright when you pull the brake levers, it really keeps you visible and safe when riding in traffic
  • Great utility on offer, the wide fenders should keep you dry, the rear rack is capable of supporting up to 55 lbs and provides secure attachment points for the rear fender, and the rack is positioned far back enough to stay clear if you drop the saddle all the way down
  • Fantastic hydraulic disc brakes here, the larger 203 mm front rotor allows for faster cooling and more power when braking with these taller wheels and heavier tires, the rear 180 mm rotor is great too vs. a 160 mm on some other products
  • The price is amazing for such high quality hardware and such a cool looking frame in two colors and three frame sizes! most competing products are at least $2,500 and can range beyond $5k for Stromer in particular
  • I really appreciate that you don’t have to use your phone with the COBI interface to ride this bike, sometimes it’s faster and simpler just to turn it on and use the button pad to adjust assist and go…
  • It’s neat to see how much information the COBI system can give you through their smartphone app, you can take phone calls, get GPS directions, even choose routes that are fast vs. quiet and get an idea of weather along your planned route, I love that there’s a Micro-USB port for charging your phone as you use the app and ride
  • In addition to bluetooth, the COBI system supports ANT+ which could be used with a heart rate monitor, the display also shows your pedal stroke power and RPM to get deeper insights on what kind of exercise is happening and sync with Apple Health
  • The battery is really small, perhaps you could get a spare to stick in a bag, the charger is also pretty lightweight and has a tough metal end so it should hold up better over time if jostled around or dropped
  • Great hardware upgrades, the rims use reinforcement eyelets and both wheels have thru-axles, the kickstand is positioned clear of the left crank arm and is adjustable, the sturdy alloy pedals from VP


  • The bike felt pretty good to me because it uses higher volume 27.5″ x 2.4″ tires and ergonomic grips, but the fork is rigid aluminum (not as comfortable as steel, carbon fiber, or a suspension fork), at high speeds the bike can cause some back, neck, arm, and wrist fatigue on bumpy roads, consider a 31.6 mm seatpost suspension
  • Plastic fenders tend to rattle more, these ones seemed very secure (and are made by SKS, which is a leader in the space) but they may not be as silent as tubular alloy fenders and could get warped (the front fender was a little off to the side on our demo bike in the video and images above)
  • It’s great that the bike uses a sturdy 15 mm thru-axle for the front wheel because it adds strength and rigidity compared to a 9 mm skewer, but the quick release mechanism makes it vulnerable… so always lock the front wheel along with the frame, there are fewer options for 15 mm security hardware like Pinheads on the market right now
  • The COBI app takes a bit of time and patience to setup, we had to charge the bike and let the COBI mount fill up before it could download a software update and then sync with our phone before doing another software update, expect 1+ hours of time just screwing around before you can use the phone
  • No bottle cage bosses on the seat tube (or anywhere) which is too bad, you’ve got the rear rack to work with and could mount a trunk bag or panniers there, but it’s nice to use bosses for folding locks and other accessories when you don’t want to bring a bag and it really seems like there was room on the frame, you might be able to use an SKS Anywhere adapter set like this with the fatter seat tube but I’m not 100% sure
  • I was surprised that the Shimano Deore XT derailleur on this bike does not have the one-way clutch to tighten the derailleur spring and reduce chain bounce and slap, it’s a feature I see on this same component group level for a lot of other speed pedelec electric bicycles
  • Minor consideration here, just be careful with the battery pack (mounting and dismounting to store or charge off-bike) because there’s no handle or loop to give you a secure hold, at least the bike is stable with the kickstand so getting the pack off shouldn’t be too tricky like some mountain models, I noticed that the locking cylinder for the battery is not spring loaded so you do have to spend a bit more time and effort locking the pack back onto the bike
  • The COBI control pad has a white LED that can be a little bright and distracting, along with your smartphone shining up into your face… I rode in the dark and was trying to figure out how to dim the lights or go into night mode, please chime in with a comment below if you know how to do this or have feedback
  • Even though there’s a cool siren alarm (that must sense wheel movement, because it’s extremely sensitive) there isn’t any sort of phone notification to let the owner know about tampering, it’s just a simple audible alarm to alert passers by who might see the thief
  • The front plastic fender was a bit twisted and this could have been because of how the wires were routed… or just how it was shipped, I have found that positioning it correctly with some cardboard or styrofoam underneath and using a hair dryer or other gentle heat source (even just the sun) can help to straighten plastic back out, just be careful not to leave the battery outside in the hot sun because it’s hard on the cells

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