It took FOREVER for me to flip the switch and decide on my first e-mtb: Over a year – of more or less frustrating research and testing had passed (more here) – until I finally found what I was looking for.
I decided for the Haibike “Dwnhll 9.0”.
Haibike is a brand that had never interested me much during my research (Specialized, Husqvarna, Merida, KTM, Focus, Moonraker, Cube, Trek… appeared more desirable). And then… – a downhill bike! – something that I had considered completely unsuited for my use-case. I had been looking for something like an “all-mountain” – good to do everything from tours, to trails and even moderate downhills. No bike-parks. I thought (not comfortable with “air”).
But sometimes things are different than they appear. REALLY.
Let’s start with the “limitations” of e-mtbs. There is the range. The battery-health. The weight. The under-dimensioned parts (chain, brakes, wheels…). The legal limitation (25km/h). The noise. The resale value.
In reality, none of these really play a role once I am “out there” – riding. The bike is heavy as ass, weighting above 25kg and it is as agile as super-tanker. And I love it !! Because the bike feels much closer to a motorbike than everything else I had tested! The weight (in combination with the high-end suspension (Fox Factory 40, Fox Float 200/200) make even the roughest trails plush. And the long shape and lack of agility make it a tank on any terrain: point the direction, let it fly – and it bulldozes everything in it’s path (roots, rocks, grannies…).
I call it the “BOMBER”. And it is a perfect motorbike-replacement for me.
And yes, due to the fact, that I mostly go “Turbo” and that the bike is heavy, I don’t get much more than 50km out of my Bosch CX power plant (with 500Wh accu/ flat terrain). Reading that other people get 80-100km out of their bikes, together with a ton of altitude meters, I was starting to feel some “buyers remorse” and ended up wondering if I went for the wrong bike. Until I ride it again – every time grinning stupidly and having more fun than I ever had riding motorbikes the last few years. And the range is just enough to spend a perfect day in the mountains.
If I need more, I’ll just get another in-tube accu for about 600 EUR. So: no issue at all.
I would not trade any detail of that bike for more range. Period.
But a downhill bike, really? This is the first thing many of my friends asked me after they stopped drooling over the high-end components. And this is indeed a question that kept bothering me before and after the purchase. Would I ever need all that suspension travel? Would it limit me on flat single trails, can I still do tours on the road? Yes – of course. The bike loves it – and even on the road, I still have a broad grin on my face. Sometimes I just park the van half way to the destination and do the last 20km on the BOMBER. And back. and love it.
Andi, the dealer whom I bought it from (more here) also mentioned this. He actually implicated that it is a major mistake of Haibike to call this bike a “Dwnhll” – because it would fend of thousands of potential customers, who are looking for a fun “all-purpose”weapon, but have little motivation to spend their life in bike parks! And he couldn’t be more right! I completely agree: the BOMBER is as much fun uphill as it is on flat terrain – and of course in the bike park … ;-).
The biggest mistake however, that Haibike is making now, is that they discontinued this kind of bike. They no longer have a similar package for 2020.
And I love it. Makes the bike retain it’s value. Check.
The Noise: I forgot to worry about it. Until a friend on a bio bike, who was riding uphill next to me, said: “oh, and it’s so quiet” – pointing down at my engine. And I smiled again.
However, there are a few compromises and downsides to e-mtbs, like with everything else.
The legal speed limit (on public roads). The Bomber could go fifty (km/h) if unleashed – but this is only allowed on private property.
The cost of parts an service. The tiny little bike components are really service-hungry and some stuff, including the tires! is as expensive (if not more…) as in the motorbike world.
The battery health. The batteries will lose capacity over time and will have to be replaced, buying used ones is difficult, because it is hard to evaluate the “health”. New they cost ca. EUR 600 a piece.
Human nature and stupid discussions about “e-mtbs vs bio bikes”. Some traditional cyclists complain about e-mtb riders “cheating” and try to ban them from their (mtb-) trails. Clearly this is territorial behaviour (like we know from dogs…) and that we have also seen when snowboarding came up and the skiers tried to deny as access to “their” slopes. They seem to forget, that everyone “out there” is just trying to have a good time, enjoy nature and get a good workout. Why is it cheating that I need 50km for my workout while the bio biker is done after 20km… 😉 Yes. I know it is frustrating, if you have convinced yourself that you are the leader of the pack – and now “old people” are flying circles around you, because they have “different” bikes… But don’t forget, there are some people who are not “cyclists” – they are motorbike riders looking for new ways of mobility and to enjoy nature: what’s not to like ???
Details: Haibike Dwnhll 9.0
MOTOR – Bosch CX, 250W, 75Nm
Battery: Bosch PowerTube 500Wh
Fork – FOX 40 Float Factory, 200mm
Rear suspension – FOX Float X2 Factory, 200mm
Brakes – Shimano Zee M640, 203mm
Derailleur – Shimano XTR M9000
Shifter – Deore XT M8000, Rapidfire
Wheels – DT Swiss FR1950
Tires – Schwalbe Magic Mary, 65-584, Hans Dampf
Seat post – Kind Shock LEV-DX, 31.6
Weight – 25,6
Custom SQLab Grips, SMP TRK seat, Answer Rove handlebar stem
Shimano XT 11-fach Cassette CS-M8000 11-46 (front 14er)
KMC e11 e bike chain
I have done about 1000km so far. Switched to tubeless after a series of flats in rocky terrain and will probably have to change the chain soon… 😉
Next tires: 280’er maxis minion downhill front / rear or maxxis high roller 280