Customer Review of the Haibike xDuro AMT PRO 27.5 2014 Electric Bike
Whilst waiting for my AMT Pro to come in I have been riding my wife’s new xDuro RC 29 and thoroughly loving it. Mind you, I was always careful when returning with every square centimetre of blue paint covered in mud and clay to thoroughly Rhino Goo and hose down the bike before it was seen.
The AMT Pro is a thing of beauty, not just in terms of pure aesthetics, but in the way its components have been chosen and the care of putting it together. I am sure that Martin’s careful eye when setting the bike up would catch anything not quite right. One of the key advantages to me though was the Sram XX1 with its 11 speed cassette. More specifically I wanted one tooth less on the smallest cog (10 instead of the hard tail’s 11) and the 42 tooth biggest gear as opposed to the 36. This translates to about 2.5 mph more top speed on the flat and some extra torque for the extreme uphills in the mud. Don’t get me wrong, the RC 29 was stopped by nothing but when you need to conserve energy being in the lowest cog up steep hills reduces the demands on the battery.
The AMT Pro is the easiest bike to live with, even for someone of my modest MTB experience. This does not ride like a highly strung race horse or a temperamental Ferrari; this is docile, forgiving and very comfortable. The suspension soaks up all the big rocks, holes and roots. The only surface that is jarring is on protruding stones jutting out of the dried mud; this combination threatens to remove the fillings from my teeth. If I rode on that all day I would experiment with taking 5 or 10psi out of the tyres. The wonderful Crank Brothers rims don’t just look great, by placing the spoke mount points on the outside of the rim rather than drilled through the rim means it is really easy to go tubeless. Haibike knows this and thus chose the non-porous version of the Hans Dampf tyres. Going tubeless is a great idea as it allows you to run at lower pressures (no pinch punctures) but also way fewer punctures.
The Hans Dampf tyres have an aggressive tread pattern with widely spaced central blocking threatening lots of resistance on tarmac. Actually they roll just as well as the RC 29, but Martin delivered them pumped up rock hard. I really appreciate the rounded section of the tyres giving a seamless transition as one leans into the corners. The downside is that in some muddy conditions you will sink in more than with a more shouldered profile. Then again, with the mud in Buckinghamshire this is giving me a greater chance of hitting something hard under the mud so on balance a good choice.
Riding to maximise range is much less of a compromise than one might imagine. The display shows the amount of assistance being provided by the motor. If you get to your cruising speed and shift up to 11th but keep good pressure on the pedals you will see that you are being given maximum assistance but with that gearing you will not be accelerating. You will just be converting your precious watt hours into heat. Changing down from Sport or Turbo into Tour or even Eco will cut the assistance way down and your speed will not really be changed. I went out 13 miles this morning in Sport mode (second only to Turbo) and came home in Eco. My split times were almost identical and the power usage was 70% lower. You can go a long way between charges if you keep an eye on your usage. 40 miles at high speed is easily possible and this represents about half the accepted standard consumption of 20 watt hours per mile. You can get 40 miles whilst other bikes with the same battery would get 20.
In the US the power limits are 750W for e-bikes and I have a 750W mid-drive fat bike (Lectric Cycles) with no suspension but 4” tyres inflated to 5psi over the rough stuff. Firstly the torque sensing of the Bosch system is vastly superior to anything available in North America. The sense that your legs have been replaced with Lance Armstrong’s is so palpable, the smoothness of the feeding in of the power as your input increases. The rest of the world is using cadence detection that waits for you to move the pedals then it just throws all its torque at you. No subtlety, just a bunch of torque being sent down the chain. There is no doubt the AMT Pro is a vastly superior machine, and also more capable. With 42 teeth on the lowest gear, set power to turbo and start peddling your only thought will be how to keep enough weight on the front wheel as you climb to stop it going over the top. On the way down the dropper seat is such a revelation. This is not about fine tuning the seat height as you ride, it is about lowering it so that you can keep your weight on the back wheel on steep descents and not feel that you are about to face plant over the bars. With the feet on the pedals you can move right back over the rear wheel on the steepest off-road sections.
The brakes are the wonderful Avid X0 Trails. This has four pistons on each calliper allowing just an index finger to provide all the stopping force that you could ever need. Moreover, it has the most extraordinary sensitivity or modulation. I have never had a wheel lock up on me due to the ability to control so precisely the clamping pressure. Mind you, I have clocked up just over 300 miles in two and a half weeks and I noticed today that all the brake pads need replacing.
One of the biggest surprises that I have found is that after say 15 miles of thick rocky clay single track every part of the gears and brakes are crammed, literally crammed, with mud. The gears and changers are packed with slimy heavy gunk yet the bike changes up and down instantly and without skipping a gear. I have not had a chain drop and nothing changes the feel or performance of the brakes.
Going through the woods I use OS Mapfinder on my iPhone 5 mounted on the handlebars. Like most mapping apps it sucks up the power but I power the phone from the USB output from the Bosch Intuvia display. Having the highest resolution 1:25000 OS maps in full brightness really adds to the joy of riding this fine machine.
I do feel that Haibike need to sort out the bike manuals. They seem to have one manual for all the e and non-e bikes. They do not provide you with the service manual for the Avid brakes for example.
I do not know if I am the target demographic for this bike but I do know that I have had more fun in the last three weeks on Haibikes than I have ever done cycling. People get on this bike for the first time and I can hear them still laughing uncontrollably a block away. Its just that kind of a bike.
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