"I would like to offer my experience with Crank cycles Alton branch (e-bikeshop.co.uk) and the Haibike FX RX pro, I will separate the review for ease of reading, I would also like to make it clear that I am not linked to either Crank cycles or Haibike, just a customer, this review reflects my opinion and relates to the first few days of ownership.
A little about me
I am middle aged if I manage to live until I am 108, weight is about 13th, I have owned an A2B Metro electric bike and my current mountain bike is a Cube Stereo, I wanted a full suspension Ebike to keep up with friends and do longer cycle rides.
About the dealer
I came across Crank cycles by accident while looking for a quality Mountain Ebike, I had never heard of Haibike or Crank cycles (I will refer to Crank Cycles of Alton as Crank from here on) but found Crank on an internet search, I contacted them and they arranged for Martin Brown (the Ebike expert) and a Director of Crank to contact me, which he did and gave me details of the Haibike range. He seemed to have a great deal of knowledge. He suggested we meet and he would take me through the range with a massive BUT, this being there may not be any available for some time (was this sales talk to make me buy, not at all, it seems everyone wants a Haibike and they don't make enough), being cautious I would not place an order (pay a deposit) until I had seen and touched the bike, the cost would be somewhere between £2700 and £4600 depending on the model, about a month passed and I decided it was time to Nag Martin, he has a list of people interested in the bikes and was working through it, my timing was spot on there were a few available (the £4600 FX RX pro) so I made an appointment to view.
Decided to visit and see what's what
I had decided that this was too much money but would go anyway, I was greeted by Martin, he then wheeled the bike out and OMG it looked amazing, I knew this was going to be a difficult decision, I really wanted it. I would also like to say that I took my son along to talk some sense (stop me buying the bike), Martin took me through the bike from top to bottom and I am pleased to say he really does know his stuff, after about 45 minutes I decided to get a coffee and discuss the bike with my son, this was going to be a hard decision as my son had already said the bike was awesome. For reasons that only I can justify, I decided to buy the bike, the Crank engineer (sorry I don't know your name) then spent 15 minutes with me setting the suspension, we discussed the servicing and off I went, I had a quick ride around the car park (this was going to be a great bike). I left Crank Cycles of Alton feeling very pleased with the way I had been looked after and I was given all the relevant information, I had all my questions answered, Thanks Martin.
The bike and first ride
Why do batteries take so long to charge when you are waiting to get out and play? The bike looks great, components are the highest quality, has a James Bond ejector saddle (more on that later), inverted Bosch Motor, clear display/dash, 3 manuals, a charger and 2 keys and did I say it looks bloody brilliant. The battery has 5 green LED’s each show approx. 20% of total charge, from empty to full charge is an estimated 3.5 hours, Crank had partially charged the battery and only one LED was unlit, it took about 1.5 hours to fully charge. The charger connector is a good solid fit and the battery has a handy soft handle for transporting to and from the bike, fitting the battery is an easy process (keys not needed), removing the battery was a little fiddly as it involves unlocking with the keys and pushing the battery away from the frame at the top, I’m sure this will get easier with practice. Attach the display/dash and the bike is ready to roll (this is also a security device as bike cannot be used as an Ebike without it attached), off I go for very short trip around the block, oops forgot to turn on the motor (as simple as touching the on/off button on the dash), first minor glitch, if moving when you turn it on the display will error and request that pedals are not rotating (or something like that), I stopped the bike, turned it off then on and set the mode to ECO (the are 4 modes ECO min assistance to Turbo max assist). I pedalled down the seafront 16 mph this seems too easy, turned inland to head back and it got harder, 25 mph of head wind would do that, this seems hard work I thought maybe its broken! I decide to set the assist mode to OFF (no assist) as a comparison and check that it was actually working, as soon as I select off I thought I had hit an invisible wall, best turn it on again, the drive systems work perfectly, you feel like your are doing all the work but the motor is an invisible buddy there just in case, or 10 invisible buddies if you feel lazy or tired. I have to mention the James Bond Ejector Saddle what a useless gimmick was my initial thought but then I used it, I would like to change that last comment to “what a fantastic addition”, with my regular bike I am always stopping and adjusting my ride height only by half a cm or so, not with this I just release the button on the handlebars and lift myself or put more weight on the saddle, it’s adjusted, it’s also really helpful if in traffic/traffic lights, a word of warning if the seat is fully down and you are standing a press of the little button may make your eyes water...
To sum up
My initial 400m round the block ended in a 1.5 mile ride, I didn't want to get off, a proper ride planned for the next day. Day 2, a 14 mile ride from the seafront to Emsworth, comprising tarmac, compressed gravel, the beach (compressed stones, loose shingle and lots of sea weed) and tight woodland trails with nettles and brambles both sides at hand height a little bit wider than the handlebars. Bike set on ECO mode and an initial cruise speed of about 16 mph for tarmac and cycle trail, beach again no problem the bike seems to find grip from somewhere although the speed was reduced to about 10 mph (by choice). The woodland path is where I found a minor issue, the route we wanted to take has a horrible gate and the only way to get a bike through is to lift it over, that was not going to happen with a 20+kg bike so we chose the other path, here again I was pleasantly surprised, the motor really assisted me in the tight muddy path, it only caught me out once when I came to a tight turn and didn't realise I was going a little too fast to make it, not a problem I can try the brakes, yep they work. The next test came on the return leg of the cycle trail, the wind was now about 20-25 mph (again) against us, that's not a problem I will let the motor do a little more work and it did “this is easy”, my son was behind on my Cube and keeping up or so I thought, my average speed was about 15 mph he was working as hard as he could to keep up “he’s loads younger than me so I’ll let him struggle a bit”, when he did catch up he told me he could not maintain the pace, we discovered another bonus of the Haibike, I would lead and keep speed to about 12 mph, he would keep very close behind and also have an enjoyable ride as I had blocked the wind and he could use the dead zone right behind me. An excellent ride the Haibike did everything with ease, the remaining range when we got home still showed 90 miles, one LED was out on the battery, the ride was comfortable, the riding position was just right for me, I will have to re-arrange the brakes but I would do that with any bike. My next ride will have some serious hills....
Summary / Comparison
Am I pleased with the Haibike – absolutely ! Was it worth £4600 – probably not for my riding level but the bike and components excluding the Electrics are worth £3500+ and my Cube was £3300 and that was 2.5 years ago Should I have purchased a lower model – I have not seen the lower models, but if my budget was £3000 I don't think I would be disappointed, however me being me, I would have regretted not getting the best. How does it compare with my A2B Metro – the A2B was a moped or city bike it could not handle the cycle trail, it was a lazy way to ride as you never needed to pedal (just like a moped), it was very comfortable but felt it may break if you were unkind to it, the Haibike feels like you can throw anything at it and it will want more, they are designed for completely different uses and the Haibike is double the price but for me wins hands down. Surely an Ebike is cheating – Not at all, I had an enjoyable 14 mile ride my legs felt like jelly when I got home, I plan to use minimal assist when I ride but I know there is an option for more assist if required, a 50 mile ride is a possibility for me now and I know my fitness will improve. Crank Cycles of Alton – Crank have two shops but I have only visited the Alton branch so unable to comment on the Petersfield branch, I would recommend them to anyone (they also sell cycle trials bikes which is something my son used to do so I’m sure he will be returning). Weight – yes its heavy not as heavy as some and not noticeable when riding, if however you plan to carry or a bike rack with 2 or 3 other bikes check the rack can take the extra weight.
One very minor ones, wish it had more gears, but if it had more I would still wish it had more, it’s quite heavy when putting in the back of cars/on racks etc, very expensive to insure, don't leave it unattended." View the latest Haibike FS RX Pro Electric Bike