Heybike HERO review: The biggest, chunkiest carbon fiber fat tire e-bike you’ve ever seen

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One of the beautiful things about the state of the electric bicycle industry currently being in the equivalent of the 1920s car market is that you’ve got around a hundred different e-bike companies all trying new and crazy things with sometimes wildly divergent design concepts. The recently-announced Heybike HERO is the purest embodiment of that idea, showcasing what happens when a company says “Let’s build a super lightweight carbon fiber frame but also stuff it full of suspension and heavy, high-power components.”

Want to see this thicc boy in action? The bike, I mean. Then check out my riding and testing video below. Then keep reading for my full thoughts on the Heybike HERO!

Heybike HERO video review

Heybike HERO tech specs

  • Motor: 1,000W peak-rated rear hub motor (mid-drive version also available)
  • Top speed: 31 mph (50 km/h)
  • Range: Claimed up to 60 miles (up to 100 km)
  • Battery: 48V 18Ah (864 Wh)
  • Weight: 75 lb (34 kg)
  • Load capacity: Claimed 400 lb (181 kg)
  • Frame: Carbon fiber full-suspension frame
  • Tires: 26×4″ fat tires
  • Brakes: Dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes
  • Extras: Color display, front LED light, front and rear suspension, kickstand, internally routed cables, removable battery

So much to take in

There’s a lot to take in when you first lay eyes on the Heybike HERO.

At first glance, it looks like a lot of step-through fat tire adventure e-bikes we’ve seen. But a closer look reveals hidden rear suspension in the form of horst link suspension. You almost don’t notice it at first because the shock is nicely designed to be tucked up into the frame behind the seat tube.

Then of course there’s the fact that the frame has a number of strange angles, throwing off the visuals. Those are made possible by the construction of carbon fiber. Good luck trying to get a funky frame like this with just hydroformed aluminum.

There’s a somewhat out of place moto-style headlight up front, mounted to the same place on the fork where a front fender is conspicuously absent. There’s also no rear fender, though that’s quite common with full-suspension e-bikes.

It may look like there’s a mid-drive motor, but that’s just a ruse. The Heybike HERO does in fact come in a 750W mid-drive variant, but we’re testing the 1,000W hub driver version. That means the mid-drive-lookin’ box down by the pedals is just an empty cavity, or may hold the controller and rat’s nest of wires, at most.

A surprisingly high-digit 9-speed transmission in the form of a Shimano Altus derailleur is tucked up next to one side of that chunky rear hub motor, and a 180mm disc rotor sits on the other side of the motor. A pair of dual-piston hydraulic calipers provide the stopping power.

Ok, but how does it ride?

So those are the specs and the loadout, but what is it like to hop and twist the throttle?

In a word, peppy! That hub motor puts out 100 Nm of torque, which is more than just about any hub motor e-bike we’ve tested. By the time you reach 65 or 70 Nm, you’re into fairly powerful territory. 100 Nm is more than anyone really asks for, but Heybike has no qualms about giving it to us!

Not only does the bike get up to an impressive (and questionably legal) 50-ish km/h, or around 31 mph, but it does it on throttle only. You can of course toss in your own pedaling effort to take advantage of the pedal assist, but unlike most e-bikes that cut the throttle above 20 mph, the Heybike HERO let’s you keep roaring to max speed with your feet firmly planted in the stationary position.

The handling is also better than you’d expect, at least for a 75 lb fat tire e-bike. The suspension feels quite good, though again, I’m going into this with the mindset of a 75 lb fat tire e-bike, most of which handle like a truck.

That four-bar suspension in the rear works quite well, and certainly better than I was anticipating. It’s not going to give higher end e-bikes a run for their money, but it’s a lot better than the cheap stuff or the hardtails, that’s for sure.

heybike hero

That being said, the bike is still a beast. It’s lighter than it should be (the last full-suspension fat tire e-bike I tried weighed nearly 100 lb), but it isn’t a featherweight. I wouldn’t even call it nimble. You’ve still got to plan your turns in advance when you’re riding twisty terrain, and I’d argue that the bike is best kept to more relaxed trails that don’t have a lot of tight hairpins meant to be taken at speed. This is no downhill mountain bike, but rather a fun adventure bike.

The 9-speeds are nice to have, though few people will probably run all the way through them, especially with unlimited throttle on tap. There IS a torque sensor built into the bike, so if you can resist the urge to throttle most of the time, you’ll enjoy having the wider range of gears and the added torque sensor for natural feeling pedal assist performance. But that full-speed throttle sure is nice, especially on a bike with the power and suspension to feel like a light trail bike or motorbike similar to Sur Ron-class rides.

All in all, I’d say the Heybike HERO is a lot of fun. I’ve been having a blast riding this thing, though I’m not sure if the added expensive of the carbon fiber frame warrants the added price, to the tune of US $2,399. The bike is also on Indiegogo right now where it is taking pre-orders. While I normally give a healthy warning about crowdfunding campaigns, in this case, we at least know that Heybike is a tried-and-true company that has been around for years and has delivered tens of thousands of e-bikes to customers. This is NOT some overnight startup.

So the Heybike HERO has definitely been a fun, powerful, and responsive e-bike that I’ve enjoyed playing around on the trails and even for street riding. But you’ve got to be real into that carbon fiber frame and the fun orange visuals on this funky frame to want to pony up the cash for this one.

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