It’s tough to go anywhere now-a-days without seeing an e-bike quietly flying down the street. With that booming popularity comes a whole lot of different brands making a wide variety of different e-bikes. We’ve covered a lot of them here on The Inertia, but there are always plenty more to look at. For me, distance, speed, and comfort are the three most important pieces of the e-bike puzzle, and I recently tested one that exceeded my expectations on all fronts: the Himiway Zebra.
Himiway may not be an e-bike brand you’re familiar with, but it’s a company that knows what their consumer base wants and creates products tailored to them. The Zebra is an updated version of an older model called the Cruiser. The best part about the bike — I’ll dive deeper into the specs later on — is the range. With pedal assist, the bike claims a staggering 80 miles per charge. With electric power only, the bike claims 60 miles. That’s as far as most class 3, fat-tire e-bikes claim to go with pedal assist. And while no ebike will truly attain the claimed “perfect conditions” range in the real world, the Zebra has a staggering range that exceeds any other fat-tire e-bike we’ve tested. So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
|Easy to assemble||Takes nearly 7 hours to charge fully|
|Carries up to 400 lbs||Tires wear out quickly|
|Top speed of 28 mph||Battery weight of 11 lbs|
|Relatively affordable at $1,799||Slow using pedal power only|
|Hydraulic disc brakes||Difficult to travel with due to weight and size|
|Range of 60-80 miles||No turn signals|
|Super bright front headlight|
|USB charging port for smaller devices|
E-bikes often look a little… off. The styling of some of the different models is still suspect, but for my money, an e-bike that looks as much like a regular bicycle will always look better than one that’s trying to look like it’s from the future. The Zebra is a fantastic looking e-bike, with muted colors and subtle yet rugged looks. But, as they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover. In the end, the looks are less important than the functionality, and the Zebra functions very, very well.
Able to haul up to 400 pounds, the Himiway Zebra has an upgraded aluminum frame that’s twice as thick as a conventional bike frame. The battery is hidden well within the frame, and features an easy-to-access flip down compartment, so you can simply pull it out to charge it. All together, it weighs 79 pounds, depending on the add-ons you’ve got on it. With a top speed of 20 mph on the throttle and pedal assist of 28 mph, it clocks in as a Class 3 e-bike. I maxed it out on flat ground at 25 mph, but I’m sure with a bit of a tail wind and a slight downhill, you’ll hit the speeds they claim it can hit.
The motor, like the frame, has been upgraded. With a 750 watt brushless geared up motor that uses an inner ring to dissipate the heat it generates far more efficiently than before, the life expectancy of the bike is supposed to be longer than other models, although I haven’t had it long enough to feel that out.
What I have been able to feel out, though, is how it works on rough terrain. Like most of the e-bikes we test, it’s got some seriously fat tires that measure in at 26″x4″. While that can be a little cumbersome on a perfectly paved road, those tires make riding over mud, sticks, roots, rocks, and sand a walk in the park. Those tires are stopped by a hydraulic disc brake system, as well. The Zebra uses a Shimano- 14-28T BROWN/BK 7-speed gearing system.
So how, exactly, does the Himiway Zebra manage to boast one of the longest ranges of any e-bike on the market? Well, it uses a new 48V 20Ah Samsung/LG lithium-ion battery with a 960Wh battery capacity. It has 52 5000mAh cells that take around 7 hours to charge fully, but with that kind of range it’s not likely something you’ll be stressing about. Also, a nice little added feature is the USB charging port, so if your phone dies before the bike does, you can plug the phone into the bike.
Most of the e-bikes I’ve tested have had a throttle that’s operated with your thumb. The Zebra, however, went a different route and decided to use a twist throttle on the grip, like a motorcycle. I find it much easier to control your speed with the twist throttle over the thumb throttle, but that’s just personal preference. It is, in my opinion, a far safer way to control speed, since it takes out the possibility of an errant thumb slipping and hitting the throttle by accident.
As I mentioned, the Himiway Zebra is an extraordinarily comfortable ride. The front fork is an alloy suspension fork with easy lockout and adjustment, and the seat is an Selle Royal Saddle seat that is comfortable and ergonomic without looking like something that belongs on the back of a horse. When you’re looking at riding for 80 miles, a comfortable seat goes a very long way.
Safety-wise, e-bikes can be a little dangerous. They’re fast and quiet, so making yourself known when you’re on one is important. The Himiway Zebra features a blindingly bright front headlight that’s touted as being 20 percent brighter than a regular LED light, and the automatic brake light comes on whenever you use the brake.
One of the more annoying things about e-bikes is the fact that, if you order one from off the internet, it’ll likely come in a few thousand pieces, all delicately wrapped and stuffed into a very large box. The instructions can be vague and the whole process of assembling your new toy can be frustrating, but the Himiway Zebra was by far the easiest to put together of all the e-bikes I’ve tested. From closed box to riding down the street took all of 20 minutes, and the way they package it is pretty intuitive. The instructions were barely necessary, which is nice if you’re stubborn like me.
All in all, the Himiway Zebra is a perfect bike for the person who rides on a variety of terrains and prefers to get way off the beaten path without worrying about the battery life. It’s comfortable, easy to assemble, and cruises along at a relatively quick pace. With a price tag of under $2000, it’s a little more affordable than some e-bikes with most of the bells and whistles of a pricier option.Learn More at Himiway