If someone tells me they’re afraid of electric bikes but have ridden bikes before, I believe they’ve ridden a bike that looks like the Heybike sola from Heybike. Every direct-to-consumer electric bike manufacturer offers a model with comparable parts, a similar frame design, and a similar price point that is marketed as an entry-level, budget-friendly bike.
That this is regarded as an entry-level electric bike always surprises me. In theory, it seems logical to have a relaxed beach cruiser with a comfortable seat and large, fat wheels, but in reality, it weighs 48 pounds and has an electric engine attached to it! Your once-comfortable, light vehicle is now bulky and cumbersome. It is challenging to adjust the appropriate level of assistance using a less sophisticated computer. There is no way to adequately brace yourself. It’s a little unsettling to jolt around on what is essentially an e-motorcycle.
Still, considering the genre, Heybike’s rendition isn’t awful. It boasts a robust 500W rear hub motor that will propel you up challenging hills, built-in lights, a kickstand, a rear rack with a 150-pound capacity, and an incredibly long-lasting battery. However and this is difficult to say especially in light of Molly Steinsapir passing on a bike like the RadRunner 2, this is not the bike I would suggest for a beginner or a smaller rider.
|Frame Material||Aluminum Alloy|
|Motor||500W Brushless Motor|
|Top Speed||21 mph|
|Bike Mode||Pedal Assist Mode (PAS 1-5), Throttle Mode (PAS 0), Bike Mode|
|Suggested Use||Neighborhood, Commute, Travel|
|Bike Weight||48 LBS|
|Tire||27.5" x 2.1“|
|Recommended Heightd Use||5'4" - 6'5"|
|Battery||48V 12AH Removable Battery|
|Estimated Max Range||65miles (Throttle) / 75miles (PAS)|
Heybike Sola: Design and Build Quality
The internal electronics are hidden by the inside metal frame of the big-looking Heybike Sola bike. I’m on the step-through style, which is still just a little bit too tall for me at 5’2″ (Heybike says that the minimum height for a rider is 5′, although I do have short legs). It comes in two different forms, a step-through and a step-over. Both models have curved cruiser handlebars that let you sit upright with your elbows relaxed and your butt securely planted on a big, soft seat. They both weigh 65 pounds.
The Heybike Sola has eight gears and a straightforward chain-driven Shimano shifting system. Instead of using a torque sensor to activate the motor, the computer activates assistance when it detects that you have started pedaling. The amount of help decreases as you pedal more quickly. Instead of a torque sensor, which produces more power the harder you pedal, it functions more like an on-and-off switch.
It does include features that are necessary for commuting, which I once thought were luxuries, but now find offensive if they’re not included in the package: Standard features include fenders, a kickstand, a rear rack with add-ons, and integrated lighting. I hardly even noticed when the front headlight was on because, at 50 lumens, the lights are more for other people to see you than for you to see anything in particular. You probably want a light that has between 100 and 200 lumens for an everyday city commuter.
Speed, level of help, and power output are all shown on the large, vivid LCD display, and the buttons are simple to press even when wearing gloves. The extras, such as the passenger kit, are cozy and safe.
Heybike Sola: Motor and Battery
It has a lot of power for a bike that is so reasonably priced. It has a rear hub motor that is 500W and offers five levels of assistance. It can go up to 25 miles per hour because it is a Class 3 bike. It has a left-side thumb throttle that can provide an additional 21 mph of assistance, but I was able to quickly get over 21 mph by pedaling.
Comfort is crucial for a bike that will be used largely for commuting. A comfortable carriage makes each ride just a little bit more enjoyable, whether you’re traveling on choppy roads or waiting for a light to change.
The Heybike Sola is a bike that is typically pleasant but perhaps not quite ideal for every circumstance, keeping these use cases in mind. With luxurious padding and a faux-leather finish, the Selle Royal saddle really looks the part and feels appropriately pricey as a result.
But, this sensation doesn’t fully equate to total comfort while driving. Because the bike lacks suspension, you will feel every pebble and uneven surface, which could put some people who live in older cities off. The seat makes an effort to dampen rumbles and vibrations, but it falls short of completely eliminating them. The consequence is a ride that is generally comfortable but incapable of adapting should the circumstance alter. Unfortunately, it’s expensive.
In order to combat this, the Heybike Sola also incorporates hydraulic disc brakes with an electric cut-off sensor, which turns off the motor when you depress the brake pedal. Depending on the rider’s weight and the terrain, the battery’s advertised range of 75 miles is a 48V 12Ah battery with Samsung cells. I rode it about my area for two weeks, covering distances of 1 to 2 miles, and I hardly noticed the battery level dropping at all. I weigh around 115 pounds.
Years ago, when I test-drove the Aventon Level, I questioned the need for front wheel suspension and huge, fat tires on a casual cruiser. But that was before I tried to exceed the speed limits on a cruiser that has a top speed of almost 25 mph.
It’s absurd! Imagine having LeBron James’ strength and speed combined with a kindergartener’s coordination. You would sprint, begin to sway, and collide with something. Without large tires and suspension, you’re toast if you hit a pothole at 25 mph while using these curved handlebars. The handlebars on Vespas are also straight.
Everyone who has ridden a geared bike in the last 15 years is intimately familiar with the Shimano shifting mechanism. It moves back and forth quite nicely. On the other hand, I can gear fairly precisely on my daily bike because it has a Bosch motor with an integrated Enviolo hub. The Heybike Sola’s Bafang motor is louder, thus it was much harder to tune the right gearing with the appropriate amount of motor assistance. In the end, I mostly just used the throttle.
That’s okay. Doing errands in my neighborhood, where pretty much everything I need is within a mile of my house, requires a speed of at least 20 miles per hour. My power output when using the throttle is greater than it would be if I were pedaling, according to the readout. If I had much further to go, it would be a much less effective mode of transportation. But as I already mentioned, I rode for more than a week without the battery showing any signs of wear, and that included climbing some really challenging 15 percent grade hills near my house. Even when the speed decreased to 7 mph on the ascent, the Heybike Sola always reached the summit.
It’s important to note that this bike will feel very different if you’re a much bigger person. Here, physics and a little bit of taste are at play. When you weigh 165 pounds instead of 115 pounds or if you have some expertise with dirt motorcycles instead of just riding a $150 Craigslist Marin to the coffee shop, it feels very different to sit down and gun a strong 48-pound bike with a throttle. Among others, my own 5’11” 165-pound husband favors large bikes with a throttle like this one.
I can therefore appreciate the Heybike Sola’s numerous practical features. I would not suggest this type of bike to someone smaller or lighter, and I would not let my child ride it, especially if they were under 5’5″ or 120 pounds, considering the abundance of lighter, more comfortable, and similarly priced bikes.
Heybike Sola: Conclusions
There isn’t a perfect electric bike for everyone, so trying to find it is a bit of a fool’s errand. But for particular riders, a select few will do better than the majority. The Heybike Sola aims to appeal to commuters and leisure riders by combining a design and characteristics that are suitable for both. It does this by straddling two distinct classifications.
While it features a fair range and an unthreatening design that will particularly appeal to those searching for their first e-bike, it offers a lockable battery and adjustability for commuters and a reasonable range and reasonable design for leisure riders.
Yet for $1099, it doesn’t seem like a great deal given the limited warranty, weight, simple control panel, and dearth of truly unique features. Yes, the cost of electric bikes has recently increased, but there are many less expensive options with identical specifications, such as the Crossfire E from Carrera.