The Haibike XDURO Urban is a light weight, efficient road bike with a premium mid-drive motor system and battery from Bosch that together are capable of impressive range and climbing performance. It offers a 20 mph top speed, which is a bit lower than the other road-style Haibkes (the Race and Superrace), but can easily be pedaled beyond as demonstrated in the video. While part of me would appreciate the higher 28 mph speed pedelec design featured on those other two ebikes, this one may benefit from increased range thanks to decreased drag at lower speeds. It’s one of the more affordable Haibikes at ~$4,500 and has a tough urban appearance that blend in more. This is an ebike I could see myself parking at a bike rack and therefore riding more frequently… it feels more utilitarian but still sports some great extras including premium front and rear omnidirectional LED lights, a Shimano Deore XT drivetrain, locking grips and hydraulic disc brakes. While it only comes in a high-step frame design, there are four sizes to choose from and the diamond frame style should be easier to mount on car and bus racks while providing improved rigidity and strength. The all-aluminum frame can feel abrasive over long distances when the tarmac isn’t smooth and a carbon fork might have improved ride quality a bit. The Urban also lacks a water bottle cage which isn’t ideal for road cycling but aftermarket adapters can solve this.
The centerdrive system on the Urban consists of a 350 watt geared centerdrive motor developed by Bosch. It can only be activated through pedaling but is super smart, measuring your rear wheel speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque at ~1,000 times per second! Instead of turning one of the bicycle wheels directly, as a hub motor would, this one spins a small sprocket that pulls the chain and leverages gears in the rear cassette for improved climbing ability or top speed. Note that the smaller front sprocket does not require the rider to pedal faster, it’s actually geared to rotate ~2 times for every pedal stroke. It doesn’t introduce significant drag to the system and can be used even in non electric mode, pedaling as you would with a traditional unpowered bicycle. The true benefit to the smaller ring is that it allows the motor to operate at more efficient RPM’s and deliver more effective torque. One possible downside to mid-drive motors like this is that they can increase the strain and wear on your chain and cassette but the Bosch system minimizes this because it has shift detection built in. It automatically lets up when it senses that you’re shifting gears and this reduces mashing. I’ve ridden this same second generation Bosch Centerdrive on probably 15+ other ebikes (including full suspension off-road models) and it performs phenomenally. For riders at or below the 170 lb weight range it will squash nearly any road based hill you throw at it. Don’t be fooled by the 350 watt motor vs. the 500 watt hubs on bikes like the Specialized Turbo or Stromer ST2 (which are also road style). Each of these electric bikes offers a different advantage but the Bosch system used on the Haibike Urban here delivers as much or more torque at 60 Newton meters, and more efficiency for distance riding. One other downside here however is increased whirring noise that you can hear in the video above.
Following from the motor placement, the battery pack is also centrally mounted on the frame. It’s a beautiful looking design that’s easy to charge on or off the bike and the locking core (made by ABUS) is sturdy with each key being securely unique (it’s a routed in-cut key like many cars now use). The battery pack itself has a set of five LEDs built in so you can quickly determine the charge level whether the pack is on or off the ebike. I recommend charging the pack after at least one bar has been used or before storing it for long periods. It’s wise to top it off ever three months if you haven’t used it and storing it in an environment that doesn’t get too hot or cold will also help it last longer. The batteries inside the pack are 18650 size and contain a Lithium Manganese chemistry that’s valued for being light weight and durable. It’s the same cells used in electric cars like the Tesla Roadster or Model S and of similar high quality. The one complaint I do have with regard to the battery is that it’s not completely integrated into the downtube like the Turbo and ST2… This puts weight higher up, doesn’t look as clean and takes up valuable space on the downtube that might otherwise be used for a bottle cage mounting point. As mentioned earlier… there are not bosses for mounting a water bottle cage on this electric bike, and it’s a road bike! It should have at least one in my opinion. One upside here however is that the pack is less expensive to replace, being interchangeable with any other Bosch Gen 2 powered ebike. It should last for 1,000+ charge cycles if cared for and even comes with a two year warranty which is one of the longest I’m aware of in the ebike space. If you do need a replacement (or decide to get a second pack) Currie Technologies offers one for ~$600.
The control interface on the Haibike Xduro Urban electric bike is the same as all other Bosch systems for this generation. It shows speed, distance traveled, battery capacity remaining, timer and range estimation for each assist level. It’s really neat to see (on the fly) just how far the range estimator thinks you can go because it empowers you to plan accordingly and pop the battery off for a quick charge at the office or a friends house if needed. You can usually get the pack to ~80% capacity in just an hour and a half… In addition to the removable backlit LCD screen (which has four buttons surrounding it including power, reset, information and lights) there is also an independent button pad that lets you go up or down in assist modes. I like the tactile clicking feedback it produces as you navigate through four levels of assist (or zero which leaves the main display on to manage lights and function as a traditional cycle computer). The display is really one of my favorites on any electric bike because it can be swiveled forward and back to reduce glare and is completely removable for parking in public spaces or simply reducing wear and weight. This is one of the few electric bikes that could actually be lots of fun to ride without the battery or display! Sure, you’ve got an additional ~6 lbs of motor and mounting plate weight there, but it’s not really that bad.
In conclusion… the XDURO Urban is one of my favorite ebikes in the Haibike lineup for 2015. This isn’t because it’s actually the best road style electric bike they offer, it’s because I value the lower price point and less flashy aesthetic for use around town. This bike would perform amazingly on fun rides, helping you stay up with friends and conquer hills, but also commuting to work and hanging out at the bike rack. While $4,500 isn’t exactly cheap, it’s a lot less than the Race or Superrace and just $500 more than the least expensive Bosch powered ebikes available from anyone. I wouldn’t feel so bad if it got knocked over or scratched. The aluminum frame is solid and tough, the grips with lockers are a nice touch and the lights are some of the most beautiful and functional I’ve ever seen. If you can live with the more standard 20 mph top speed then this is an excellent choice. If you need the 28 mph upgrade or love the feeling of drop bars then I suggest checking out the XDURO Race (if you can afford it).
- Excellent range thanks to the narrow slick tires, firm aggressive frame (positioning the rider forward for improved aerodynamics) and efficient mid-drive motor that leverages the rear cassette
- Light overall weight at ~41 pounds (depending on the size you choose), the motor and battery are low and center for improved balance and handling
- Integrated front and rear LED lights powered by the main battery pack which can be activated conveniently through the main display buttons
- The lights themselves are beautiful and unique (the headlight turns as you turn the bike, the rear light is extra tall and visible from three sides vs. just the back)
- The Bosch Centerdrive system is efficient, smooth and powerful – it can climb very effectively with ~60 Nm of torque and can reach 65+ miles per charge in optimal conditions
- Battery pack locks to frame for security using a quality ABUS core, it can be charged on or off the frame for convenience or to reduce weight if you’d like to ride this as a normal bicycle or are transporting it on a car rack (easier to lift, less weight on your rack, this bike weighs ~32.5 lbs without battery)
- Stiff cranks, decent aluminum alloy platform pedals (that will likely be replaced with clipless), rigid frame for good power transfer when riding, tapered head tube for strength
- Solid 10 speed cassette with quality Shimano Deore XT components offering a comfortable cadence at many speeds
- Great customer support and warranty from Currie Technologies in the US (part of Accell Group which owns Haibike)
- Four frame sizes offer better fit for a wider range of riders (50cm, 53cm, 56cm, 59cm)
- Integrated aluminum alloy guide keeps the chain from dropping on the front sprocket at higher speeds if you hit rough terrain
- Medium-dish aerodynamic rims reduce the drag that this wheelset produces, they look cool and may increase the visual footprint of the bike helping to reduce the potential for being hit by a car from the side
- Shift detection helps reduce wear on the chain and sprockets, the bike experiences less mashing and is more intuitive to ride as a result
- Lower top speed than the other two road oriented Haibikes (the Race and Superrace) at just 20 mph vs. 28 mph speed-pedelec
- The battery pack takes up the space where a water bottle cage might otherwise mount and there isn’t one on the seat tube, consider and aftermarket accessory for the tube, post or saddle rails
- Narrow tires, stiff frame and performance saddle can feel jarring at higher speeds if terrain is not smooth, this is a true road bicycle
- 6061 aluminum alloy frame is sturdy and extremely well made but doesn’t dampen vibration the way a carbon frame might, would be nice if the XDURO Urban came with a carbon fiber fork
- No throttle mode, this bike only offers pedal assist (like all Bosch powered systems) but will get a better range than if it did