- The Nireeka Homie is an affordably priced full suspension eMTB with an eye-catching custom frame design, carbon fiber frame and components keep weight remarkably low for an ebike, available in three sizes to fit a wide range of riders, available online-only with shipping to most countries around the globe
- An impressive selection of upgrade and accessory options for virtually all components, high-quality Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and drivetrain, Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires are satisfyingly grippy and nimble
- Can be outfitted for mountain bike trails or with more commuting-friendly options such as a comfort saddle and adjustable stem, low Q Factor improves cornering performance and ergonomics, lifetime frame warranty coverage
- Motor power and throttle upgrades can be nice around town but limit access to MTB trails, no mounting points for fenders or racks limit commuting viability, some assembly required after delivery which can be daunting without proper tools and expertise
This in-depth review was sponsored by Nireeka, they provided me with this bike to keep in exchange for producing this in-depth review. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Nireeka products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the Nireeka electric bike forums.
- Nireeka has launched and shipped multiple crowd-funded products. Committing to crowd-funding campaigns before production can be a risky affair, so I appreciate that Nireeka has proven success in this area.
- Nireeka offers three other electric bikes: the NYX and Sierra are more premium full-suspension eMTBs, and the Prime is a monster fat tire ebike, with all models sharing the same unique carbon fiber frame design as found on the Homie. The Homie is billed as a “Mountain Commuter e-Bike”, with some configuration options (such as a comfort saddle and adjustable stem) that make it a bit more comfortable for running errands around town. I think it is a good fit for a rider who likes to do some trail riding and also some getting around town, or perhaps for a mountain biker who lives some distance away from the trails and lacks a car to get to them.
- The review bike I received had a more powerful 500-watt motor and a throttle, but the Homie is available in a 250-watt Class 1 version, which is legal in most of Europe and allowed on most mountain bike trails.
- The base price of the Homie is $1,999 USD. The model used for this review had a handful of upgrades added, as shown this would cost $2,843 USD. I think the base model of the Homie offers a lot of value, so you probably wouldn’t need to upgrade anything except to suit specific use cases, check out the video review for more discussion on this topic!
- Nireeka offers an astounding amount of customizations for the Homie, everything from lights and colors to upgraded drivetrain groupsets. They have done a great job presenting these options on their website, the ordering process is intuitive and visually pleasing, and their customer support dashboard is also polished and easy to use. You can even pay for your purchases using Bitcoin!
- The Homie is covered by a one year comprehensive warranty plus a lifetime warranty for the frame, which is fairly rare on direct-to-consumer ebikes, especially ones with such unique custom frame designs
- Speaking of the frame… I really like the look of Nireeka bike frames, they’re sleek and stylish with tasteful branding accents, the Pearlized Black color of my review bike is eye-catching and garnered plenty of compliments while riding it around town.
- This frame doesn’t just look nice, it’s made from carbon fiber and much lighter than steel or even aluminum alloy. My review bike includes carbon fiber stem, seatpost, and stem, these upgrades cost extra but help drive the weight down even further. I weighed the Homie at 47.1 pounds – keep in mind this is a large size frame with all the accessories mounted, including the lights and kickstand.
- The 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain is one of my favorite parts of this bike, this is an upgrade from the base Acera groupset available when ordering. The cassette has a wide gearing range of 11-38 capable of efficient climbing and high speed, the long-cage derailleur (with clutch) shifts flawlessly, and the Deckas chainring has narrow-wide teeth which helps it to better grip the chain and prevent derailling. Riding the Homie without motor assistance is a breeze, great for single track trails or just for getting home if you run out of battery.
- Shimano hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power, my review bike was upgraded with 203mm rotors which performed beautifully. Hydraulic brakes offer easier actuation, more stopping power, and require less maintenance compared to mechanical brakes, definitely a win on an eMTB that will see some downhill action.
- Rocket Ron tires from Schwalbe are grippy and ride well on virtually any surface, with included puncture protection and TLE Snakeskin (the TLE stands for “Tubeless Easy”). These are standard sized mountain bike tires at 27.5″ x 2.1″ – no boost hub spacing here – which helps the bike to feel nimble and easy to maneuver.
- The Bafang DP C01 display is greyscale and incredibly easy to read in any lighting condition, from direct sunlight to complete darkness thanks to the bright backlight
- The 500-watt Bafang rear hub motor provides decent power and is especially useful for getting around town, hub motors are known for being durable and generally worry free, a nice advantage over mid-drive motors which put a lot of stress on the drivetrain
- The battery is smoothly integrated into the bottom of the downtube, this helps the Homie to look a bit more “stealth” (read: not like an ebike) and blend in better on trails where eMTBs are allowed but perhaps not fully appreciated. I also like that Nireeka is using high quality LG 31650 cells on all of their bikes!
- The upgraded fast charger is still quite lightweight at 1.3 pounds, rated for 4amps which charges quite a bit faster than the standard 2amp charger, it also includes a built-in fan to prevent overheating when charging.
- The Q Factor is one of the lowest on ebikes that I have ridden, this improves cornering clearance and provides more comfortable ergonomics.
- Bottle cage bosses are included on the top of the “top tube” part of the frame, a bottle cage is included but you could swap that out to mount other accessories if you wish. Just keep in mind that the frame has a unique non-circular shape, so this could limit what accessories will fit!
- Nireeka offers lights as an optional upgrade, and I really like these particular lights. Both are easily removable and USB-rechargable so you don’t have to deal with swapping out batteries, and both are quite bright! The taillight is a “smart taillight” which is supposed to detect changes in momentum and flash brighter when slowing down, a pretty nifty feature… but since I couldn’t see it while riding I can’t say just how well it works.
- The cadence sensor is well-tuned and kicks in very quickly, taking less than a full revolution of the crank arms before it engages the motor. Cadence sensors are great if you have knee sensitivities and don’t want to put a lot of pressure on them, all you have to do here is cycle the cranks around lightly to get some motor assistance. The sensor is integrated into the bottom bracket and far less vulnerable than the unsealed sensors used on some other ebikes.
- As with any direct-to-consumer ebike: “some assembly required.” For the Homie this means mounting the handlebar, tightening down the headset, mounting the display and control pad, and mounting the front wheel. No toolkit was included, but all you really need is a phillips screwdriver and a few allen wrenches which many folks will already have. Derailleurs and brakes often need tuning but mine were perfectly lined up out of the box – a nice bonus! Thanks to the light weight of the Homie it is definitely easier to set up than most ebikes, but it can still be difficult and intimidating, especially if you don’t have the tools or the know-how to do it. You may want to check with a local ebike shop to see if they can set it up and fit it for you, this can be good for peace of mind to make sure all bolts are properly tightened.
- The seatpost is quick-release adjustable but that does require dismounting, due to the unique frame you may not be able to add a dropper seatpost as an upgrade. I appreciate the weight-saving carbon fiber seatpost but it does scratch extremely easily, it got all scuffed up after only a few adjustments on my review bike. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be any maximum height markings on the seatpost, so be careful not to raise it too high, and ask Nireeka support if you want a recommendation based on your riding weight.
- When turning fully to the side the top of the suspension fork collides with the frame, this limits turning radius and could damage either the fork or the frame if the collision is forceful enough. Nireeka has added a plastic and foam bump stop to the front of the frame to help dampen these impacts, it got the job done for all of my test riding… but I didn’t have any jarring impacts so I can’t say how well it will hold up to more intense wear and tear.
- The motor cable exits the frame at the bottom of the bottom bracket, this cable gets pulled on when the rear suspension compresses. As long as you have a little slack in this cable everything will be fine, but if the cable is a bit tight it can get pulled loose and cause errors on the display. This happened to me on my first ride, fortunately it is an easy fix to reconnect the cable and pull out a little extra slack. I also noticed that the edges of the frame (where the cable exits) are a bit sharp and will cut into the motor cable, I recommend adding some electrical tape for extra protection, or filing down the edges of the frame opening.
- The suspension is basic when it comes to adjustability, you can adjust the rebound and the pressure and that’s it, but this should still be sufficient for most riders to dial it in. Here is a great video that discusses the D2 Pro R rear suspension in detail.
- I had to mount the display and control pad, and connect the throttle cable, and these generic components have a large amount of cable length to fit a wide variety of bikes… which means that the cable situation ended up being a bit messy. The bracket where cables exit the front of the frame also came loose which adds to the mess, and I’m not sure of a good way to secure it without making maintenance difficult in the future. None of this impacts performance in any way, and if you care about the appearance you could spend some extra time (and perhaps incorporate some zipties) to clean up the cable management.
- As reviewed the Homie has a 500-watt motor and a thumb throttle and is capable of reaching 26 mph. This extra power can be useful and fun when getting around town, but it limits where you can ride. Many mountain biking areas impose limits of 250-watt Class 1 (no throttle) only. Nireeka does offer a Class 1 version for European customers, this would be the best option if you want to maximize your access to riding areas.
- I love the brakes here but I’m bummed that they don’t have motor inhibitors, for a couple reasons. One is safety, for example, if you need to stop suddenly you could find yourself fighting the motor if you’re unconsciously still holding on the throttle. Another issue here is just ease of use. When slowing down to stop you want to downshift to an easier gear, which requires you to cycle the pedals lightly as you shift… but cycling the pedals will activate the motor! That means you have to either squeeze down on the brakes and overpower the motor, or you have to turn off pedal assistance to downshift, and then turn it back on afterwards… which is a hassle and a lot of button pushing if you’re riding in assist level 5.
- Hub motors are durable and affordable, but they are generally not as good at climbing when compared to mid-drive motors, which operate the drivetrain and can take advantage of downshifting to easier gears. I tried climbing a moderate hill using just the throttle and the motor wasn’t quite up to the task… but when combined with pedaling the same hill was no problem.
- Another thing to consider for climbing hills is the cadence sensor. This sensor type gives you the same amount of power regardless of how hard you push on the pedals, which can be nice in some situations, but mountain bikers typically prefer a torque sensor that will respond more dynamically and give more power when pedaling hard on an uphill. Fortunately, you can get a torque sensor upgrade when purchasing a Homie, I recommend it if you’re a more active rider and trail riding will be your primary use.
- The low Q Factor led to an unexpected problem for me, I frequently found my left heel striking the kickstand where it is mounted on the left chainstay. The kickstand is already positioned all the way back so I don’t think this can be solved by adjusting it, so I’ve accustomed myself to moving my left foot out to the side a bit to prevent collisions. It’s a minor annoyance, and I would honestly just remove the kickstand – it reduces weight and won’t snag on things when trail riding :)
- The display here is pretty basic, lacking features such as USB ports and advanced ride metrics found on more premium setups, those extra bells and whistles certainly aren’t necessary but they can be nice to have! The display is also on the large side and non-removable, which can be an issue for mountain biking. Eventually you’re going to crash, collide with branches, or something similar, which could damage your display. If you don’t tighten it down too much you can rotate it a bit, so you could rotate it further back to reduce the likelihood of impacts.
- The battery is mounted in the underside of the downtube and does not have a two-step removal process, which means that once you turn the key, it’s unlocked and could potentially fall right out. It’s fitted quite snugly on the Homie and actually takes a decent amount of effort to tug it free… but components loosen over time so I worry that it might start falling out on its own after awhile. Just put a hand under the battery when you unlock it to prevent this :)