NIU vs. Heybike vs. Suburbia

With comparatively low velocity limits, bike lanes, and loads of locations to trip to, the close to Western suburbs of Chicago provide a virtually good driving surroundings for contemporary e-bike riders, however what occurs when two very totally different corporations provide two very totally different e-bikes that every declare to be “very best” for that one exact same surroundings?

What occurs is we get on some bikes and put them to the take a look at!

The Gamers

NIU BQi-C3, Heybike CityRun; picture by the creator.

On this nook, weighing in at 67.5 kilos and packing not one however two energy-dense li-ion battery packs, is the high-tech and ultra-polished NIU BQi-C3 Professional e-bike.

These two batteries add a little bit of weight to the NIU BQi-C3, positive, however they’re neatly built-in into the bike’s body in a extremely contrasting purple and white shade motif that’s extremely paying homage to the “cocaine over cherries” theme present in a variety of 80s-era Gemballa Porsches. As a result of it’s from NIU, {the electrical} controls, throttle response, and linked app are all first-rate. The construct high quality, too, is first-rate, and the entire thing is put along with a degree of match and end not generally discovered on the NIU’s surprisingly low $1999 beginning worth.

Within the different nook, although, there’s the $1299 Heybike Cityrun. Weighing in at 62 kilos and packing “simply” one li-ion battery, the Cityrun is a value-priced, feature-heavy e-bike that, just like the NIU, additionally gives a pointy, bicolore shade scheme and a wallet-friendly beginning worth … however, past that?

Regardless of each bikes ostensibly being designed for on a regular basis driving and practicality, the Heybike zigs the place the NIU zags, provides options the place the NIU provides construct high quality, and errs on the aspect of consolation the place the NIU errs on the aspect of efficiency — and ultimately, it was virtually unimaginable to choose a winner.


Zigs & Zags

As I’ve already talked about just a few instances, these two bikes are constructed round very related ideas. Each, for instance, function pretty upright, step-through body designs with comfy seats and handlebars. Within the particulars, although, they’re very totally different.

In case you think about a really impartial seating place a “5,” a completely recumbent, relaxed place a “1,” and hunchbacked, weight on the wrists, Olympic observe racer a “10,” then you can think about that the individuals at Heybike went for a 4.5 seating place whereas NIU went for a 5.5. Which is to say that neither of the 2 bikes is uncomfortable — removed from it, actually. Nonetheless, the Heybike has a extra elevated handlebar with an off-the-cuff, longhorn-style bend that places extra weight in your butt and lets you “cling” your arms from the handlebars in a means you simply can’t on the NIU.

In the meantime, the NIU’s flat handlebar sits at nearly waist peak, for me, giving it a sportier, extra linked feeling at  the e-bike’s (comparatively) excessive speeds. A part of that highway really feel is the handlebar positioning and body geometry, after all, however there’s one other issue at play, as effectively. Specifically, the NIU’s entrance suspension … as a result of it doesn’t have one.

The Heybike’s hydraulic entrance suspension makes the bike trip extra easily and extra comfortably than the NIU, however it’s fairly a bit extra responsive than one other favourite cruiser, the Trek-built Electra Townie, whereas not being any much less comfy. The seat on the Heybike can be a bit extra padded than the NIU’s, however you shouldn’t take that to imply that the Heybike is mushy the place the NIU is difficult. Oh no, pricey reader — the reality is way stranger.

See, this isn’t only a case of the Heybike being the extra relaxed selection, as a result of the Cityrun comes geared up with a correct Shimano 7-speed set off shifter and chain-driven derailleur for fast, decisive gear modifications and stable, sporty really feel. The NIU, in the meantime?

Regardless of its sportier driving place, the NIU makes do with a single gear ratio and a a lot smoother, quieter, carbon fiber bolstered drive belt from Gates. It’s a a lot much less concerned driving expertise, from an influence transmission perspective, and jogs my memory of that bizarre time in my life that I owned a handbook transmission pickup truck and a Mustang with an computerized on the identical time.

Out again, there’s extra of the identical form of “zig and zag” occurring, with the NIU’s built-in rear rack providing as much as 30 kg (about 65 lb.) of load capability. I couldn’t discover an official weight score on the Heybike, however the rack itself is a SOLID piece of package, and I’ve zero doubt that the Cityrun’s 350 lb. carrying capability is a conservative estimate.

Talking of out again, whereas each bikes provide hind lights, there’s one function on the Heybike that actually units it other than many of the e-bikes I’ve ridden and reviewed through the years: it has flip alerts.

Actual, Highway-Prepared Lighting Means Benefit: Heybike

Picture courtesy Heybike.

It’s not only a matter of flip alerts, both. The Heybike Cityrun options excessive and low-beam headlights that really mild the highway forward, which I can’t actually say concerning the NIU. What’s extra, the motorcycle-style controls on the Cityrun provide greater than only a purposeful brake mild — the intense, LED flip alerts are clearly seen from different automobiles, and provide a degree of communication with the automobile I share the highway with that’s merely a step above what NIU, Himiway, and even Specialised provide at considerably extra money than the Heybike.

Briefly, in case your primary precedence is security, and also you’re the kind of one that believes (fairly rightly, I feel) that the most secure e-bike is the one which’s not in a crash, cease studying now. Purchase the Heybike — you received’t remorse it.

The Winner

The most important Borras offspring explains why he likes NIU’s e-bike finest.

It’s simply the little issues, however — as the nice Hank Scorpio mentioned earlier than he efficiently seized East Coast — it’s the little issues that make up life.

For a match and end nerd like me, there’s no contest right here. The awkwardly named NIU BQi-C3 Professional is something however awkwardly constructed. The shut traces across the battery covers are good, the welds clear, the fenders just about invisible, the contact factors premium — and that TFT show …

NIU full-color, TFT show; courtesy NIU.

… it’s simply attractive, and simply seen any time, day or night time. Mix that baked-in high quality with the identical, wonderful NIU mobility app we talked about once we reviewed the electrical scooter just a few months in the past, it’s merely no contest. The NIU is a greater e-bike than the Heybike.

Then once more, for totally 50% extra money than the Heybike, It had higher be!

Unique content material from CleanTechnica.