Honbike U4: An In-Depth Review

Introducing the Honbike U4: an electric bike that boasts a standout design. Equipped with a Gates carbon belt drive, it promises at least 10,000 kilometers of maintenance-free riding. One of its most remarkable features is its ability to travel up to 100 kilometers on a single charge. Furthermore, with an IPX6 water resistance rating and precise uphill assistance provided by a gyroscope, this bike is designed to handle various conditions.

It’s a serious contender to rivals like the Vanmoof S5. Its design boasts beautiful curved lines on the tubing system, making it feel like a singular piece – a playful departure from the straight lines on models like the Vanmoof.

In comparison, the U4 falls in the same category as the Cowboy and the Vanmoof, yet it’s over a thousand Euros cheaper. Having ridden it for a few weeks since its arrival, I’ve become addicted. I’ve had the privilege of using the U4 for an extended period, and here’s my in-depth review:

Unboxing & First Impressions

Honbike U4: An In-Depth Review

The bike was delivered in a standard-looking box, safely packed without any transportation damage. Inside, you’ll find everything you need to start your journey: the charger, tools, paperwork, and a few components that require assembly – namely the pedals, front wheel, and fender.

Honbike U4: An In-Depth Review

Key Specifications

Honbike U4: An In-Depth Review
  • The bike is powered by a 250-watt rear hub motor, which operates on a 36-volt system.
  • Speed is limited to 25 kilometers per hour.
  • The built-in 432 watt-hour, 12-amp battery ensures up to 100 kilometers of range on a single charge.
  • Designed for European roads, the Unifor complies with all EU regulations. It comes with a throttle, but the official EU model’s throttle is limited to about 6 or 7 kilometers per hour. This feature is particularly useful for kickstarting or walking the bike, activated by pressing and holding a button on the left handlebar.
  • Thanks to the Gates carbon belt drive, riders can enjoy a maintenance-free experience, without needing to use oil or frequently service the bike like chain-driven counterparts.
  • The belt drive system comes with a single gear. To adjust the power, riders can choose from three battery assist modes: Eco, City, and Sport. For those who prefer a more traditional experience, you can turn off the power and pedal the U4 as you would a regular bike.

Design & Build Quality

Honbike U4: An In-Depth Review

The U4’s design is undoubtedly one of its strongest selling points. With a sleek three-tube structure made from robust 7000 series aluminum, this bike exudes a contemporary feel. Every detail has been thought of: cables are neatly hidden within the frame, the high-quality paint finish radiates premium craftsmanship, and the integrated battery enhances the bike’s aesthetics while minimizing theft risk. The one-piece magnesium alloy wheel design is not only visually appealing but also practical, eliminating the need for spoke tension adjustments. The bike uses versatile 27.5-inch tires suitable for both asphalt and off-road trails. However, a notable drawback is the integrated battery; while stylish, it’s not removable. The seat, while comfortable, lacks a quick-release adjustment system, meaning you’ll need an Allen key for height tweaks – a minor inconvenience if you’re the sole rider. Designed for riders between 160 to 190 centimeters (5.3 to 6.2 feet) in height, it can support a total weight of up to 120 kilograms.

Additional Features

Honbike U4: An In-Depth Review
  • A neatly integrated LCD displays essential information like power assist level, speed, and remaining battery. It also indicates when the front light is on.
  • Connect the U4 with your smartphone using the Honbike app. This feature enables riders to lock/unlock the bike remotely, monitor battery power, track distance traveled, and even navigate using maps.
  • Weighing in at approximately 20 kilograms, the U4 is lightweight and manageable for most riders.
  • A robust metal-made kickstand, impressive IPX6 water resistance rating, and a powerful front LED light round out the bike’s features. However, the rear light needs manual activation, and it lacks an integrated brake light.
  • And for those moments when you need to alert pedestrians, there’s a mechanical bell that’s loud and clear.

Riding Experience

The U4 provides an excellent riding experience. It feels stable and smooth on various terrains. The built-in gyroscope ensures responsive and accurate torque assistance, making uphill rides more manageable. Though the 250-watt motor might seem modest on paper, it offers considerable power in practice, especially with 45 newton meters of torque at your disposal. The handlebar grips are comfortable, and while hydraulic disc brakes would have been a nice addition, the current mechanical ones are sufficiently effective.

In terms of battery performance, while the official range is 100 kilometers, expect around 80-85 kilometers with mixed riding conditions, including uphill segments. Charging takes roughly four and a half hours.

Final Thoughts

Priced at about 1800 Euros, the Honbike U4 offers an impressive array of features and quality.

It rivals the likes of the Cowboy S5, Tenways Seago series, and even my personal favorite, the Australia E28. I’m so impressed with its performance and value that I’m considering purchasing one myself. For those drawn by the allure of brands like Vanmoof, the Honbike U4 offers a similar experience for a fraction of the price.

Its standout design, exceptional build quality, maintenance-free belt drive system, and adherence to EU regulations make it a compelling choice. The long-range battery and overall comfort make it ideal for extended rides. While it has minor areas for improvement, such as the saddle adjustment mechanism and brake lights, it provides excellent value for its price point.

In conclusion, despite a few shortcomings, the U4 is a feature-packed e-bike that I wholeheartedly recommend.

Would you consider purchasing this e-bike, or do you have another option in mind?

Shop here: Honbike U4

Michael

a 35-year-old web developer and cycling coach based in Boulder, Colorado. Over the past ten years, my passion for cycling has transformed from a casual hobby into a way of life. As a lover of all things cycling, I am thrilled to share my journey with others who share the same enthusiasm for this incredible sport.