Electric bikes are quite divisive right now. Not because they don’t work or because they have no place in the market, we think it’s because the main manufacturers launched their product in the enthusiast cycling press, which is proliferated by people who say what they like and like what they say.
It’s cheating, it’s for lazy people and similar opinions are the most popular howls heard from the unknowing masses that simply take their opinion from the online echo chamber or simply refuse to acknowledge e-bikes exist, despite never having been near one. So when we decided to go all-in with e-bikes it raised a few eyebrows.
For a bit of fun, we thought we’d make a short video about how versatile one of these bikes can be, so after the recent morning blizzard in South Lanarkshire, we spotted that the 700m peak of Tinto Hill near Lanark was the only place the retained some snow in the afternoon, so off we went. We chose the Haibike Sduro Full Fat Six full suspension fatbike to give us the best chance of summiting. But not only did we want to summit the hill, we wanted to get to the top without leaving out any of the obstacles in our way. Quite a challenge!
The Sduro Full Fat Six uses the Yamaha PW drivetrain system which pushes out around 44Ib of torque (more than a Morris Minor!) and assists you to just over 15 mph through a few different modes: Eco, Tour & Turbo. It also has 4” tyres and 120mm of suspension travel meaning grip on the trickiest sections should be around the maximum we could expect from the bikes available to us. On the flat, it's just too tempting to whack it on Turbo and just smash along so this is just what we did, there's just too much fun to be had getting up to speed and the power delivery is spookily smooth, but speed won’t help you when it gets technical.
One of the first things that turned us from cheesy grin to determined face was the realisation that Turbo mode is not the only mode. When forcing the bike up the grass & granite steps on the walker's path, the torque was just too much for even the 4” tyres to soak up and resulted in spin-outs and dismounts. But determined not to walk any of the route, we walked it back and attempted the section again. Knocking down the power to the Eco mode actually slowed the torque delivery down to the point that we could mix actual riding technique with the benefits of the assistance from the 250w motor. Once we’d figured this out, we genuinely cleared every obstacle on the hill.
Gary is an excellent rider with a wealth of experience in wild riding, but even he was fooled a few times by the power delivery, using every bit of his skill to prevent wheelspin and oversteer when the grip was challenging the tenacity of the Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tyres. The conditions were actually quite bad. The trail was waterlogged at low altitude and icy at higher levels with the wind playing it’s part all the way up. Although we had to go back and attempt a few sections to get them cleaned, we both thought that on a day with better average conditions that the bike would ascend the whole hill without a stop with no problem.
The weight of the bike is substantial at around 25 kg, but in the right mode, it just pales into insignificance as the Yamaha PW motor carries the bike with such efficiency. The trick is that when you are climbing, you stay in the power-band. Just slow down, keep your cadence high and let the motor do the work. Once you have figured it out, this bike will take you almost anywhere. With real life battery ranges of around 90 miles (130 km) you can rely on the 400w battery to take you where you need to go and probably back again.
At Sprockets Cycles we have a huge range of electric bikes from Haibike, Ridgeback and Saracen. We have demo and hire models so you can try before you buy and see for yourself how versatile these machines really are. You can buy an e bike at Sprockets Cycles from as little as £1599 and we offer performance electric bikes with price tags up to £7000. Here’s a short video about our few hours on Tinto trying out the Haibike Sduro Full Fat Six. It was a genuine surprise that we managed to scale this tricky hill without missing a section.