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 supply a virtually good using setting for contemporary e-bike riders, however what occurs when two very completely different firms supply two very completely different e-bikes that every declare to be “preferrred” for that one exact same setting?

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, certain, however they’re neatly built-in into the bike’s body in a extremely contrasting pink and white shade motif that’s extremely harking back to the “cocaine over cherries” theme present in plenty 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 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 in the long run, it was nearly unattainable to choose a winner.


Zigs & Zags

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

For those who take into account a very impartial seating place a “5,” a totally recumbent, relaxed place a “1,” and hunchbacked, weight on the wrists, Olympic observe racer a “10,” then you possibly 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, in actual fact. Nonetheless, the Heybike has a extra elevated handlebar with an informal, longhorn-style bend that places extra weight in your butt and permits you to “hold” 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 peak, for me, giving it a sportier, extra linked 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 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 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 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 smooth 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 stable, 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 standpoint, and jogs my memory of that bizarre time in my life that I owned a guide transmission pickup truck and a Mustang with an automated on the similar time.

Out again, there’s extra of the identical kind 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 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 supply taillights, 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 in regards to the NIU. What’s extra, the motorcycle-style controls on the Cityrun supply greater than only a practical brake mild — the intense, LED flip alerts are clearly seen from different automobiles, and supply a degree of communication with the automobile I share the street with that’s merely a step above what NIU, Himiway, and even Specialised supply at considerably more cash than the Heybike.

Briefly, in case your primary precedence is security, and also you’re the kind of one who 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 gained’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 stated 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 beautiful, and simply seen any time, day or evening. Mix that baked-in high quality with the identical, wonderful NIU mobility app we talked about after we reviewed the electrical scooter a number of 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% more cash than the Heybike, It had higher be!

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