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Haibike is one of the original e-bike brands. It has been doing e-bikes pretty much longer than anyone else (Google: ‘Haibike eQ Xduro’). It took a pretty bold attitude – not to mention a pretty thick skin – to do full-on e-bikes back in… 2010(!) And it shows.
- Brand: Haibike
- Product: Nduro 7
- Info: haibike.com
- Buy: Leisure Lakes
- Price: £5,599
- Tested: by Benji for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 150
Haibike quite clearly doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks of its bikes. It is shameless. As it should be. Time has proved it right. Haibike hasn’t been held back by looking back. Or by kowtowing to tradition. Or classic bicycle aesthetics.
I don’t think I’m being rude or incorrect by pointing out that Haibike was often mocked for its uncompromising designs. Its bikes have never looked ‘normal’. But look where we are now. A lot of other brands’ e-bikes are beginning to look more and more like Haibikes. It appears as though e-bike aesthetics are finally getting confident enough to be what they need to be, as opposed to trying to hide what they are.
The Haibike Nduro 7 is a big travel, full-power e-bike with 180mm of suspension front and rear and 85Nm of torque from a Yamaha PW-X3 motor that gets its power from a 720Wh battery in the downtube. Those aren’t the only numbers that exude bigly. The reach is decent. The head angle is slack. The seat angle is steep. The seat tube is long and fat. The chainstays are long.
And the weight is… what it is. Which is to say, not light.
There is nothing that isn’t sturdy on this bike. From the Mavic E-Deemax wheels touching the dirt to the aluminium handlebar above the Fox 38 fork, it is all burly. There is nothing carbon on the Nduro 7. This is all aluminium all of the time. And quite stout aluminium at that (going off the super scientific ‘flicking it with fingernail’ test). This is heavy metal baby.
As regards the e-specific stuff on the Nduro 7, the system is operated by a discreet remote control near the left-hand grip and there’s also a rather modest little unit that sits to the left of the stem. The latter unit has the (five) power setting LEDs, the battery level LEDs, the on/off button and a button for dimming the aforementioned LEDs. The battery level indicator is a bit crude in that it only has four LEDs so it’s hard to know exactly how your battery life is progressing during a ride.
One feature well worth not glossing over is Haibike’s MRS (Modular Rail System). This is a slot in the top of the downtube. This is how/where you can attach a water bottle or a piggyback range extender battery, etc. The MRS slot comes with a rubber strip filling it when you get the bike. The idea is, once you’ve fitted your bottle/battery/accessory, you can trim the rubber strip and reinsert it. MRS may look like a gimmick but I actually think it’s brilliant. And is a perfect example of Haibike being Haibike. Function first.
The parts on the Nduro 7 were mostly excellent. A particular shout out to the Mavic wheelset and the perfect Schwalbe tyre spec. The Fox 38 and Float X2 rear shock proved to be excellent. It wasn’t quite all excellent, however. The Haibike dropper post only offers 150mm of drop. The Haibike grips were truly dreadful: hard and slippery. The 50mm stem was a bit on the long side for a bike this capable. And the usually dependable (on non e-bikes) Magura MT7 brakes weren’t powerful enough for this beast. A 220mm rotor upgrade would be good.
The Haibike Nduro 7 is a very e-bike (not a typo). It is the most e-bike, e-bike I’ve ridden. Cutting straight to the chase because I like to, I really loved this bike. It was by far my favourite bike in this test. Which surprised me perhaps more than anyone.
It just did everything I wanted it to and did it really well. I had more than a few niggles with it but its essential character and handling just totally won me over.
Niggles: uninformative battery level indicator, meagre dropper post, harsh grips, lengthy stem, slightly underpowered brakes. I also think that the Yamaha motor isn’t up there with the best (AKA Bosch). It doesn’t quite have the power. It also doesn’t seem to have the fuel economy either. But I’d have this bike over A.N.Other motor-ed bike any day of the week because of how it performs on the trail.
You’ll have noticed that I didn’t list its weight as one of my niggles. A couple of kilos is neither here nor there when almost all big-battery full-power e-bikes are 25kg+. The Nduro 7 is an excellent example of the fact that while the motor is hugely significant in the experience of riding an e-bike, it is not the be-all and end-all.
The Nduro 7 has truly excellent geometry and suspension. This is key. I would make the caveat that lower spec Nduro models may not ride as well; the premium Fox dampers on this Nduro 7 play a big and crucial part in this bike’s performance. A bike with this much travel and, yes, this much weight needs the very best dampers it can get. Lower end forks and shocks just aren’t up to the job.
A bike with 180mm of travel at both ends is clearly going to be principally intended for descending, yes? Yes. And no. This bike is a truly exceptional descender, yes. But that’s not all that it is. It is also the best technical climbing bike I have ever ridden. It goes up… anything. Even though it doesn’t offer the top-end grunt of a Bosch bike, its long chainstays and genuinely steep seat angle more than make up for it. In fact, it goes to show that it is geometry that’s way more important for executing daft ascending challenges, more than mere motor wattage.
Despite it ostensibly being ‘just’ yer basic four-bar layout, the 180mm of travel is super well controlled. It is not supersoaker mattress. There is feedback and support there. Both the fork and the shock also offer a decent degree of low speed compression adjustment too, should you want to fine-tune things.
As briefly touched on, the descending skills of the Nduro 7 are legion. It is a long ol’ bike that fears no gradient, nor speed. Bring it on. But here’s the rub (actually, what’s the opposite of ‘rub’?), it isn’t glued to the ground. You can get daylight under its tyre contact patches. Looking at it on paper, you shouldn’t be able to. But we don’t ride on paper. We ride on trails. And there’s no denying that it was perfectly capable of changing channel across ruts and deliberately stepping out of rear wheel traction to make tight corners and so on.
The main thing that slightly held the bike back from its full potential were the brakes. If it was my bike (and I wish it was), I’d be browsing for some even bigger rotors right away. The stem swap and the upgrade to a longer travel dropper can wait for a bit.
The Haibike Nduro 7 was an excellent reminder that you can’t judge a book (or maybe in this case it should be a Kindle) by its cover. There’s no way a bike this… big cannot be a handful to ride, right? Wrong, as it turns out.
Through a combination of geometry and suspension kinematics from Haibike, working in tandem with some suitably high-end Fox shocks, the Nduro 7 proved itself to be an amazingly adept e-bike that could take on anything. The Nduro really does showcase just what riding horizons can be opened up on a well-executed e-bike.
Sure, the Yamaha system isn’t quite as good as other systems, but it can do the job. What you’ve never had, you’ll never miss and all that. I would say that if you were thinking of getting this bike, you should also budget for an external range extender piggyback battery. Partly because the MPG of the Yamaha system is pretty mediocre, but partly because you’ll just want to ride this bike all the freaking time. Everything, everywhere, all at once.
Haibike Nduro 7 specification
- Frame Aluminium, 180mm
- Fork Fox Float 38 Performance, 180mm
- Shock Fox Float X2 Performance
- Wheels Mavic E-Deemax
- Front tyre Schwalbe Magic Mary Addix SuperSoft 29×2.4in
- Rear tyre Schwalbe Big Betty Addix Soft 27.5×2.6in
- Chainset Haibike The Crank Aluminium, 165mm, 36T
- Drivetrain Shimano Deore SLX, 10-51T
- Brakes Magura MT7 203/203mm
- Stem Haibike The Stem, 40mm, 31.8mm
- Bars Haibike The Bar, 780 x 25mm, 31.8mm
- Grips Haibike MTB
- Seatpost Haibike Dropper Post, 34.9mm, 150mm
- Saddle Fizik Terra Aidon X5
- Bottom Bracket Yamaha
- Motor PW-X3, 85Nm
- Battery Intube, 720Wh
- Size tested L
- Sizes available S, M, L, XL
- Weight 27kg
- Head angle 63.5°
- Effective seat angle 77°
- Seat tube length 470mm
- Head tube length 130mm
- Effective top tube 631mm
- BB height 5mm BB drop
- Reach 480mm
- Chainstay 460mm
- Wheelbase 1,305mm
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|Tested:||by Benji for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 150|
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