HAIBIKE SDURO HARDNINE 2.5 STREET
German company Haibike regualarly earn top plaudits for their off-road e-bike models. My test bike, the Sduro Hardnine 2.5 Street, aims to blend town and trail bike elements with mountain bike ones.
I found it a useful combination; practical features like powerful lights, mudguards and kickstand are complemented by performance features, most notably the very powerful and sporty Yamaha crank motor and Continental Doublefighter semi-slick tyres.
Pros: Wonderfully performing motor, great value, versatile e-bike.
Cons: No pannier rack mounts is an odd omission and it could be difficult to fit the trailer of your choice, due to the frame design.
I will cut to the chase here; this e-bike has a great motor on it, the Yamaha PW-SE. Although it is not the most powerful of Yamaha's mid-drives I still found it gave more than enough assistance for my home riding ground of the challenging Pennine foothills south-east of Huddersfield.
For 2019 Yamaha's PW 'base' model was upgraded to the PW-SE to give more support at higher cadences, so now you get power across the whole range of pedalling speeds and it's a big improvement.
In addition to that there is an extra power level added at the bottom end of the range, so the PW-SE offers 4 support levels: – Eco+, Eco, Standard and High. This means electric assistance starts at 50% and goes up to 280% of your pedal input. Torque is offered up to a nominal 70Nm.
There is a single, very simple display by the left hand bar grip where you can switch power levels with your left thumb. It shows only four functions; odometer, battery capacity, current speed and power level chosen. The three buttons at the base are on/off, walk assist and lights on/off. This is about as simple as a combined LDC display / power control gets (of course there are simpler controls out there but they lack a display screen totally).
The Sduro range of Haibikes are ‘leisure’ orientated as compared to the slightly lower, longer geometry of the Xduro range which is designed more for sports riding. So this particular Sduro model featured a slightly raised handlebar stem and a reasonably upright riding position.
Common to both the Sduro and Xduro range is Haibike’s ‘dipped’ top tube, a nice practical feature making it easier to step over and mount the bike. I’m less sure about the v-shaped seat tube, as this seems only to serve in preventing the seatpost dropping lower into the frame to accommodate extra-small riders.
The alloy frame itself looks very strong and very well-made and comes in four sizes, the medium size (second size up) being about right for my 5’ 8” frame. My only real gripe was that the fancy hydroforming on the frame around the rear dropouts which could make it difficult to accommodate a rear trailer mount (depending what type of trailer you might use) and the ability to pull heavy trailer loads is one of the things that makes e-bikes so useful for me.
The battery sits on the downtube and is very easily removed via a key lock, and I found recharging via the 4amp charger took about 3.5 hours to charge.
The 28” rims are fitted with the well-regarded Continental DoubleFighter 2.0 tyres aimed at giving speed on tarmac and grip on off-road paths, whilst the Suntour sprung front suspension is standard on all kinds of bikes at relatively lower price points as not featuring air suspension helps keep the cost down. This means it’s aimed at trail riding, not doing drop-offs on rocks or anything even more extreme. Still, they are a perfectly acceptable ‘it does what it says on the tin’ kind of product and really help smooth out the humps and bumps on more moderate off road paths.
Hydraulic disc brakes, once a real high end option on any kind of bike, are becoming commoner and commoner and are extremely wise on an e-bike weighing over 24kg and the Tektro M275s again are a very apt choice for this level of bike.
Keeping to a theme of a very adequately performing, budgetish choice of components, the ten Shimano M6000 Deore gears are spot on, especially as the rear sprocket has a 42 tooth ‘granny gear’ to make steep hills extra easy.
LED lights front and rear are powered by the main 400Wh battery. Though the front Trelock LED is rated at a relatively modest (by today’s standards) 20 lumens I found it more than adequate for riding off-road on unlit tracks, providing a nice concentrated, clear beam of white light. The rear LED is integrated into the mudguard. Again it’s a powerful and pretty compact light but my only concern would be it’s rather exposed to getting knocked and damaged. The SKS mudguards so their job as well as ever as does a sturdy kickstand.
The range of power levels you can select makes for a particularly efficient e-bike if you choose to ride it in the lower two levels (adding 50% and 100% assistance to your pedal strokes respectivey). I did this when feeling particularly energetic and estimated the 400Wh battery could give around 50-60 miles of hilly road and track riding (based on my 68kg weight and mild, not that windy weather). However if you want to want to really put your foot down up the hills then the higher power settings will be more than enough to speed along without too much lungbusting effort over all but the most challenging of roads and tracks.
The triple sensors – measuring crank torque, wheel speed and pedalling cadence – all combine seamlessly via the bikes control electronics to produce a lovely smooth and not too noisy ride. Add the smooth-changing Deore gears and powerful disc brakes and you have a really impressive package for idyllic countryside cruising, fast city cruising and sporty trail riding.
The only electric assist element that is poor is the rather weedy walk-assist; walk-assist means you can dismount and press a button so the motor powers the bike along whilst you push it (at a speed limited to about 4mph) – very useful for negotiating steep ramps up the sides of steps and the like, especially if the bike is carrying a heavy load. Certainly more power in this department would have helped.
The tyres and front suspension combo cope admirably with any kind of off-road surface that is dryish, from grassy paths to forest roads and gravelly canal towpaths. However, if you want to venture onto these surfaces in wetter weather you might want to upgrade the tyres to something with a more aggressive tread, especially if you want to go at any speed. Of course, that would mean a slower ride on tarmac and the DoubleFighter 2.0 tyres felt nice and speedy on ashphalt, despite the crosshatch tread pattern over the main body of the tyre.
In other words this is a bike that does exactly what it sets out to do in giving a powerful, fast ride whether on-road or on moderate trails.
Superb value for the sporty performance it gives and the many accessories. Plenty of motor power on an easy to ride city and trail bike.
Verdict 3.5/5 Add a pannier rack and reduce the weight a little and at this price you have a fantastically functional e-bike.
PUBLISHED MARCH 2019