NIU vs. Heybike vs. Suburbia

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

What occurs is we get on some bikes and put them to the check!

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 coloration motif that’s extremely harking back to the “cocaine over cherries” theme present in numerous 80s-era Gemballa Porsches. As a result of it’s from NIU, {the electrical} controls, throttle response, and related app are all first-rate. The construct high quality, too, is first-rate, and the entire thing is put along with a stage 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 coloration scheme and a wallet-friendly beginning worth … however, past that?

Regardless of each bikes ostensibly being designed for on a regular basis using and practicality, the Heybike zigs the place the NIU zags, provides options the place the NIU provides construct high quality, and errs on the facet of consolation the place the NIU errs on the facet of efficiency — and ultimately, it was nearly unattainable to select a winner.


Zigs & Zags

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

For those who contemplate a very 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 may 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 informal, longhorn-style bend that places extra weight in your butt and lets you “cling” your arms from the handlebars in a method you simply can’t on the NIU.

In the meantime, the NIU’s flat handlebar sits at nearly waist top, for me, giving it a sportier, extra related feeling at  the e-bike’s (comparatively) excessive speeds. A part of that street really feel is the handlebar positioning and body geometry, in fact, however there’s one other issue at play, as nicely. Particularly, the NIU’s entrance suspension … as a result of it doesn’t have one.

The Heybike’s hydraulic entrance suspension makes the bike journey extra easily and extra comfortably than the NIU, but it surely’s fairly a bit extra responsive than one other favourite cruiser, the Trek-built Electra Townie, whereas not being any much less snug. 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 tender 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 adjustments and strong, sporty really feel. The NIU, in the meantime?

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

Out again, there’s extra of the identical form of “zig and zag” taking place, 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 equipment, 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 back lights, there’s one characteristic on the Heybike that actually units it other than a lot of the e-bikes I’ve ridden and reviewed through the years: it has flip alerts.

Actual, Street-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 street 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 vehicles, and provide a stage of communication with the car I share the street with that’s merely a step above what NIU, Himiway, and even Specialised provide at considerably extra money than the Heybike.

In brief, in case your primary precedence is security, and also you’re the kind of one that believes (fairly rightly, I believe) 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 biggest Borras offspring explains why he likes NIU’s e-bike greatest.

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 strains 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, glorious NIU mobility app we talked about once we reviewed the electrical scooter a couple of months in the past, it’s merely no contest. The NIU is a greater e-bike than the Heybike.

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

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