Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0 review: electric bike hybrid workhorse for the intrepid commuter | T3

Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0 review: electric bike hybrid workhorse for the intrepid commuter

Mountain bike sturdiness meets inner-city practicality in this rough and ready machine

T3 Verdict

A nice blend of off-road elements and practical touches make the Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0 the sort of bike you'd happily own for many years. That's a good thing too, because the sticker price is pretty high but irritatingly, a few components feel cheap…

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Yamaha PW assistance motor is ace

  • +

    Built like a tank

  • +

    Great range

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Poor front forks

  • -

    Weak tyres

There is often a little bit of compromise when it comes to picking our your perfect electric bike. Yeah, you could go all extreme and gnarly and plump for a totally radical e-mountain bike like the awesome Specialized Turbo Levo, but it's probably not the best compadre for your morning commute.

The bars are fat, the tyres are even fatter and the pro-spec suspension means power transfer through the pedals is wasted. At the same time, your typical battery-powered daily hack can lack the toughness required for a little weekend foray into the forest.

Haibike, a company the specialises in making some pretty rowdy off-road machines, think it has hit a pretty sweet, erm, sweet spot with its SDuro Trekking range - a series of mountain bike-influenced frames that pack a few everyday essentials to increase their usability.

The sDuro Trekking 4.0 is at the midpoint of the specification bracket and offers a tempting blend of cool features and reasonable price tag, not to mention a hardy, adventurous frame and some pretty snazzy styling. 

Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0: the looks

Grey and luminous yellow tick all the right boxes

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but we happen to think Haibike has nailed it with this machine. Essentially, it shares a similar frame with a number of hard tail mountain bikes in the group, which means a beefier head tube, reinforced seat stay and a bash plate on the underside of the electrical components.

But these adventurous elements have also been softened by curvaceous top tube (available in a step-through model, which sees said tube dropped even lower), pannier carry rack at the rear, super squishy saddle and some city-friendly upswept handlebars.

Some may argue that there's a lot going here, because there is, but all of it works as a package and elements, such as the internal cable routing, give it that premium feel. 

Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0: the tech

Rear rack for carrying everyday essentials 

The motor technology found on this predominantly road-going machine is lifted straight from the big book of off-road bicycles. A Yamaha PW Motor Unit is situated at the cranks and takes its feed from a semi-integral 400Wh Lithium-Ion battery pack mounted to the downtube.

It's a slightly questionable system for an urban commuter (more on that later) but it delivers a powerful punch when needed and offers the sort of reliability and performance that only comes when you dig a little deeper.

On top of this there is a large LCD screen that gives read-outs on battery charge, speed, distance and assistance levels, while powerful AXA lights are hardwired into the system, meaning you don't have to worry about a set of triple As conking out on the way home.

Transmission-wise, it's a 10-speed Shimano Deore derailleur setup, which pulls in plenty of mountain bike components, including a really wide ratio 11-42T cassette that should flatten out even the steepest of climbs.

A SR Suntour NEX fork offers 63mm of suspension travel, which softens the blow of our scarred UK road surfaces but is only really built to withstand the occasional bobbly B-road rather than any real punishment.

Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0: the ride

Easy to cruise and easy to maintain

Those expecting to merely sit back and let the bike do all of the work will be a little disappointed, as this e-motor system rewards those who put in the effort. Simply spin the cranks and it will only offer a small nudge from the motor, the assistance getting greater as it senses more torque.

For that reason, it feels more like riding a standard bicycle, albeit one that cruises at a hell of a rate, despite the undulations in the path ahead, rather than a scooter with a set of pedals bolted on.

Perhaps those with little or no cycling experience might find the Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0 doesn't give up the potential of its powerful motor easily enough, but we quite enjoyed the linear power curve and smooth delivery of the electrical assistance.

Better still, the stingy assistance means the battery lasts for absolutely ages. Most will easily see a week's worth of commutes dispatched on a single charge. 

The riding position is spot-on too, with the high-rise bars offering plenty of control and stability, but never feeling too much like a "sit-up-and-beg" town bike.

We didn't bother taking the bike to any local trails or downhill routes, because it's not really designed for that, but the powerful disc brakes and smooth shifting Shimano gears felt like they could withstand the occasional beating if the mood takes. Just don't expect the front forks to last too long.

Haibike sDuro Trekking 4.0: the verdict

Hardy frame meets urban commuter finishing kit

We can see this bike appealing to those with a passion for cycling but simply want something that requires less effort on the daily ride and is also good for those longer weekend hacks to a country pub.

It's probably not the most approachable thing if you want batteries and motors to dispatch of the daily commute, but the upside is an impressive range, with little or no need to plug it in every night.

Racks, lights, decent disc brakes and a long list of strong components also make it practical and reliable, with only really the front forks and tyres letting the side down slightly.