The four power modes have distinct differences, helping the rider decide which mode is best for terrain or situation. Being crank driven also keeps the bike’s balance central and there’s no power delivery delay, but gear selection has to be matched to the situation to allow smooth power delivery. The motor assists up to 15mph which is easily passed on-road, or on flat terrain, but once you are off-road and on terrain that could usually prove difficult, the bike comes into its own and with a range of 40-90 miles.
I tested the new HAIBIKE SDURO HardSeven SL during a 40 mile off-road/on-road trail with challenging terrain and fast, fun downhill sections. The night before I charged the battery from half full to full, reduced tyre pressures and did the usual checks. The event started on various road surfaces and gradients; at this point we were in the same league as other cyclists on their non-electric mountain bikes.
Our advantage was not needing to reserve our energy knowing we’d have the upper hand on steep inclines and rough terrain. With this in mind, I played with the display screen features. The default set-up shows power input, battery left, time and speed. Through the menu you can toggle between, average speed, miles ridden, battery miles left, battery percentage, highest speed and an odometer.
The display also shows which power mode you’re in. I’d started with the bike in eco+, but Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL soon required more power to assist with farm tracks and deep ruts. I put the bike into high power mode to see what it could really do, considering an approaching steep incline. But I didn’t change gear and the bike made me pay as I had to put more effort into my strokes than anticipated. I quickly understood that changing down the gears allowed the motor to recognise I was climbing a hill, then the motor pushed me up in a breeze.
I eventually got used to how the gears affects how much power the bike assists with, alongside what power mode is selected. The terrain varied and I wasn’t expecting the comfiest of rides over rutted farm tracks. The Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL had a solid structure which sent vibrations through my body. With front suspension unlocked and some tyre air removed, it didn’t improve (something to do with the bike’s central weight) – the only time I was disappointed with ride comfort though. On all other terrain the bike performed great and made the ride bearable.
Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL’s power switches were perfectly placed, but I found the control button difficult to press with gloves on and awkward to find when not looking at the controls, which comprise four buttons. I feel this could be improved to allow easier, more straightforward motor control.
On the trail’s steepest climb, we saw how e-bikes compared to top-of-the-range mountain bikes. The appropriate gear and the high power mode were selected and a massive smile appeared on my face as I overtook an experienced rider muttering something under his breath. You still have to work for this rewarding feeling, but it’s nice to have a helping hand along the way.
I had 10% battery life with only nine miles left, so I reserved what I had left in case we came across another incline. With two miles left my team-mate ran out of battery and I was left with 6% (my team-mate had the higher spec bike, although weight, tyre width and overall effort affected this outcome). We crossed the finish line together with me having 5% left – a victory for the Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL!
I’d recommend Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL to someone wanting to take part in a similar event but doesn’t want to be worry about the steep inclines, or not being able to finish.