German eMTB masters Haibike have been making their performance XDURO range since 2009, and are widely acknowledged as the market leaders. Haibike focus on combining sporty mountain bikes with the dynamics of an off-road compatible motor. This means you’ve got a machine that will help you ride trails for the whole day and you’ll still feel like you can get up the next day.
Haibike have always designed their xDuro range from the ground up, so this isn’t simply a MTB with a battery and motor stuck on. The Haibike FullSeven RC 2015 (in turquoise/ yellow/black matt combo) is made for the everyday trail biker, and is specifically targeted for Trail/Cross Country/General use.
The Haibike xDuro FullSeven RC is a gorgeous e-bike. The colouring combination feels spot-on, with just the right amount of turquoise or yellow in the right places - maybe 50% black, 35% turquoise, and 15% yellow? There’s a nice use of the Haibike logo slashed over the frame and battery.
Talking of movement, Haibike mount the motor with the swing arm pivot bolt in a raised position ensuring the rear end is much shorter than any other eMTB. This shorter wheelbase gives superb control and manoeuvrability off road. They fix the chain line with their new SES (Sprocket Equalizing System), raising the chain off the front sprocket up to the same level as the swing arm pivot point so the chain is not affected by the rear end moving up and down over bumps.
This 2015 model packs the beefy Bosch motor, giving you superior assistance (four levels, with the top offering 275% and Eco giving 50%), and of course you can turn it off completely if you wish to ride unassisted or you happen to be on some nice flat roads. The top setting of Turbo is incredibly powerful, and you really can enjoy your surroundings and company more, even on bumpy, steep hills, with barely a thought about putting much effort in. After three to four hours of trails, tree roots and unexpected drops, the Li-ion battery still indicated nearly three-quarters charge remaining on the left-handlebar mounted Bosch display, so I think you could expect the xDuro FullSeven to last the whole day.
The front forks are unaggressive 120mm air and oil dampened RockShox Recon Gold TK, which can be locked off while you’re riding via PushLoc, a small push-button near the centre of the handlebars. The rear shocks are Fox CTD LV 190 mm, and these feature three different settings - climb, descent and trail, which is the medium setting, and which will probably suit you for the majority of your ride. Nice to have the options though.
The hydraulic disc brakes on both wheels are Shimano (M615, 203mm front, 180mm rear), and they feature the ServoWave which boosts brake power and possesses quicker engagement. Touch-sensitive braking makes a lot of sense on unknown trail routes
Wider handlebars offer more control, balance, and easier on the breathing. Not only does having an eMTB allow you to ride longer and harder, even something as small as the handlebars improves the experience. If you want to change the grips, they detach easily by allen key.
Knocking Shimano's SLX 10-speed system up and down a bit (with it’s faultless rapid fire trigger shifters) gives you amazing control over pace and effort. 27.5” (650B) wheels seem like a good idea for a bike like the all-rounder FullSeven.
The FullSeven handles road-riding with ease as it was designed for much tougher terrain. Then again, considering how many potholes are on our UK roads, maybe an eMTB is a good idea for commuting - you definitely look uber-cool on one.