- Custom geometry with shorter reach to accommodate women (who tend to have shorter arms and torso but longer legs), shorter saddle with wider back, adjustable position brake levers for smaller hands
- plush 120 mm front and rear Fox air suspension with 15 mm thru-axle front and 12 mm thru-axle rear, oversized SLX Shimano hydraulic brakes
- Bosch Performance CX Centerdrive motor (75 Nm high torque configuration), 38% smaller than 2015 now with shift assist, delivers torque sensing for improved drivetrain performance
- Many of the Haibike models are getting sold out so this model can be difficult to find, excellent two year warranty, available in three frame sizes 40, 45 and 50 cm for improved fit
The FullLife is an amazing full suspension electric mountain bike… that has been slightly modified to better suit women. As a guy, I had a blast riding this thing and didn’t notice much of a difference in the frame (shorter top tube) or saddle (shorter with a wider rear pelvic support area) but definitely appreciated the adjustable reach setting on the brake levers. I don’t have especially large hands or fingers and can only imagine the challenge that some riders with even shorter fingers must face. Braking is a big deal when you’re truly mountain biking and descending steep slopes with unstable terrain. The brakes chosen for the FullLife are awesome all-around while the levers aren’t exactly women-specific (the same model can be found on the gender neutral FullSeven RX) it’s still a neat feature. You get a large 203 mm front rotor and oversized but more standard 180 mm rotor at the rear. They never locked up, squeaked or struggled during my long and fast descent. I noticed a big difference switching down to lower rated equipment the day after this video review was filmed and missed the Shimano SLX M675 kit.
I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to premium mountain bike products but even visually, it was easy to appreciate the attention to detail that went into the frame. Both the battery pack and motor are more integrated into the frame than I’ve seen on competing products. This bike uses a third generation Bosch Performance Line CX motor that’s angled up slightly allowing it to follow the slope of the downtube. The battery mount is integrated more closely into the tubing and cupped by flares at the top and bottom which add protection and continue the paint scheme from the frame. The frame itself is made from hydroformed 6061 Aluminum alloy with gravity cast interfaces where the motor and battery mount. The rear portion of the bike uses a four-bar linkage system for efficient suspension operation (less bob) and both the front and rear shocks are light weight air with three stiffness settings and 120 millimeter travel.
Riding this bike unpowered feels great, you get an eleven speed drivetrain with enthusiast level Shimano Deore XT components. The range of the cassette is 11-42T which comes in handy for climbing really steep stuff. I felt like I was pushing the bike to its limit during my ride test and relied the lowest gear while barely keeping the front wheel down (and I was seated the whole time). The system offers four levels of assist ranging from Eco to Turbo putting out 40 Nm and 75 Nm of torque respectively. I used level four to get up the last bit of trail and noticed the chain rubbing on the Sprocket Equalizing System a bit but otherwise everything worked great. Shift sensing reduced the loud crunches I’ve heard on less refined mid-drive motor systems. One thing to be careful of with this bike is fast unstable descents because the display panel is quiet large, plastic and only barely protected by the low-rise bars. Haibike chose these bars and a negative angle stem to achieve the appropriate geometry while offering a higher level of crash protection.
There’s so much more to say about this bike and I’ve done my best with the pro’s/con’s below as well as the video. In short, it uses my favorite drive system which seems respond the fastest and offer the highest RPM range of satisfying power (meaning you can choose the gear you like and still get support up to ~20 mph). The chainring is only 18 tooth which might surprise or confuse someone used to 38 teeth but don’t worry, it spins at a two to one ratio so your pedal cadence is roughly unchanged while allowing the motor can operate more efficiently. You can still pedal backwards and most of the other functions of the bike including quick release wheels with 15 mm and 12 mm thru axles, tubeless ready tires, shifters and brakes are all traditional bike stuff that’s familiar and easy to service.
- One of the only women’s specific, full suspension electric mountain bikes I’ve tested… and it definitely offers some of the highest quality, highest performing components
- The 120 mm air suspension (front and rear) is plush, it felt great traveling over large rocks the river bed while pedaling and soaked up the jitters blasting down the mountain at the end of the ride
- I like that both the front and rear suspension units have three settings (open, medium and firm) with firm almost feeling like lock out, I spent most of my time riding in open
- The frame uses a four-bar linkage “Horst Link” swing arm designed for improved kinematics… it reduces bob while pedaling but still responds over bumps, it’s custom engineered to work with the Bosch battery and motor mounts that are constructed through gravity casting to be strong and light
- The Shimano SLX M675 Hydraulic disc brakes are some of the quietest, most capable brakes I’ve used on any ebike and the oversizes 203/180 mm rotors performed excellently without locking up or squeaking at high speed
- Haibike’s proprietary Sprocket Equalizing System (SES) elevates the chain to avoid slapping the chain stay, reduces kickback and clears mud, it and the 18 tooth chainring use narrow wide (NW) teeth to further reduce chain slip
- The Bosch Performance CX motor offers 75 Newton meters of torque, peak output of 350 (but it feels way higher) and shift detection… in my experience it’s the fastest responding motor with the highest effective range of power output so you can choose the pedal cadence that feels right for you vs. adjusting how you ride to suit the motor
- Custom Step-In downtube brings the battery lower into the frame while aluminum flanges surround, cup and protect it… the charging port is still accessible for charging on bike but the pack is also removable
- The 2016 Gen 3 Bosch motors are have tighter plastic casings and appear ~38% smaller than Gen 2 in part because they can be mounted at an angle to follow the downtube, I definitely noticed that it appeared more compact and seemed to protrude less which is great on a full suspension ebike… when suspension is set to the softest “open” level and lowered you may encounter more pedal strikes but the motor itself stays high and clear, the plastic guard beneath felt sturdy
- I love that this and many other Haibikes are available in multiple sizes, you get three sizes with the FullLife including 40 cm, 45 cm and 50 cm to suit a wide range of body types
- The Shimano SLX M675 brake levers have adjustable reach settings to help improve ergonomics and function for riders with smaller hands, the saddle is women-specific with a shorter nose and wider pelvic support
- The display is backlit, easy to read and understand, works with a remote button pad positioned very near the left grips (both grips are locking for improved handling) and the button pad responds reliably and clicks when you press it
- The Intuvia display panel from Bosch has a six volt Micro USB port for charging portable electronics… you could mount your phone or use a music player on your ride and piggy-back off the main battery
- The battery pack is very light at ~5.3 lbs, has a nice plastic loop to make carrying easier, locks to the frame (press down firmly until you hear a click) and has a metal locking lip to make theft more difficult, I love that the downtube also has a layer of rubberized foam for a more snug fit and to reduce rattling given that this is an off-road ebike
- Excellent two year comprehensive warranty with lifetime on the frame, you get solid thru-axles for stiffer riding and easier quick release and the included tires are high performance tubeless-ready for those who ride with low PSI and don’t want pinch flats
- Only one color choice here but I think it looks rad and isn’t too girly, matte white with some pearlescent gloss stickers and fluorescent orange accents… call it orange dreamsicle :D
- No bottle cage braze-ons, rack braze-ons or fender braze-ons but there is a neat little plastic mud guard facing the rear tire to protect the rear suspension
- The display is large and easy to see but may take more damage on a hard-core enduro bike like the FullLife if you push the limits and lay it down or go over the handlebars… it’s designed to be removable and may pop off without breaking but I’ve been told by aggressive riders that they have broken them multiple times, the low-rise handlebar was paired with a negative angle stem which were chosen in part to help protect the display while maintaining appropriate geometry, in any case… this may be one area where more thought and design could go from Bosch for off-road specific models
- This and other Haibike models are coming out later in the season and many lines are sold out already… getting the bike you want in the appropriate size may be more difficult and that’s a bummer