What I wanted to achieve?
When I bought the bike I wanted primarily a bike to ride to work on as often as possible, leaving my car at home as much as possible on a bike that could cope with a mainly off road route of between 12 and 14 miles to work and then get me home as quickly as possible on a hilly 10 mile B Road route. To complicate matters I need to carry quite a bit of stuff to work and prefer to use a rear rack and panniers to do so. The tracks I use are too rough for the trekking style bikes so my choice was quickly reducing. I looked at a lot of bikes but in the end decided I needed a hardtail electric mountain bike that I could fit a rack to. After a lot of research I found myself returning to the e-bikeshop site and focusing on the Haibike sDuro and xDuro HardSeven. I rang Martin who was very helpful, and reassured me that they could fit racks to either bike and said I should come to the shop and try them out. In the end I attended the demo day and was able to ride both the Yamaha and Bosch systems on great tracks and meet some really friendly like-minded people.
After that I arranged to meet Martin at his shop in Farnham where I could see the whole range of bikes and make up my mind in a relaxed way. Martin also suggested a set of Moon lights that have proved to be excellent and fitted some Schwalbe Smart Sam plus puncture resistant tyres and slime filled tubes to avoid as many punctures as possible as a puncture when you have to be at work is no fun.
The Yamaha motorAs other people have noted The Yamaha motor is a gem. The zero cadence works brilliantly off road and means it responds immediately to your input on the pedals and the torque of the motor will pull you up and over anything you aim it at. It will try and engage with any weight on the pedal and if you are at a road junction or set of lights I sometimes switch the assist off while I am waiting and back on again when it is time to set off. Either that or just take your feet off the pedals or un-weight the pedals.
Riding the eBike
I have now been riding the bike to and from work for seven months throughout the summer and hardly had to use the car at all. The off road route to work is a sheer pleasure and I have added more demanding tracks knowing that the bike can cope. I actually want the exercise and now predominantly only use the eco mode on the 13 mile off road route to work but know the bike can pick up the pace and fly at the push of a button. Getting home fast is also a pleasure I use the second standard level of assistance and never use the highest assistance level even on the steep hills and turn the motor off on descents. The Moon lights mean that I can see where I am going now! The 9 speed gearing has a sweet spot for cruising around 20/22 miles an hour. Obviously the speed drops on the steeper hills and you just drop down through the gears until you find the best one for the effort you want to add to the pedals and the gradient you are climbing. However I still find myself climbing some long more gentle hills at an indicated 20mph. Even a fairly steep long hill is dispatched at 12/14 miles an hour. On the steepest hill my speed drops down to around 10 mph. Momentum is quickly regained when you crest the hill. With a crank motored bike you have to pedal and whatever the setting you end up exercising, which for me is a benefit not a curse. Using eco on my 12/13 mile mostly off road ride to work I have about 62% battery left when I arrive at work. Blasting the 10 miles home on my hilly B Road in standard I have about 52% battery left when I get home. I top my battery up at work and am a 17 stone + guy with two loaded panniers.
I did manage 30 miles on a fun mostly off road leisure ride including lots of very challenging hill climbs and by managing the way I rode the bike found the controller telling me I was about to deplete the battery 200 yards from home.