BIKE TEST: HAIBIKE Xduro CROSS 3.0

A commuter that likes to get a little dirty

 

When it comes to electric mountain bikes, it’s hard to not think of Haibike. Pedal-assist bikes are what the German company have made themselves known for, and more than any other brand, they have relied on the off-road platform to be a big player in the burgeoning e-bike market. While many of their over 50 models are mountain bikes, they do have a few bikes in the commuter and trekking segment.

The four-model-strong Cross series of bikes could be defined as the mountain bike lite bikes. While we’ve ridden our fair share of their higher-end full-suspension bikes, we recently got our hands on the Bosch-powered Xduro Cross 3.0 to find out how the Haibike hardtails fared.

 

THE BIKE

The “Xduro” designation on Haibike bikes means it’s powered by a Bosch motor. In this case, it’s fitted with a Bosch Performance Line CX motor, the same powerful, torquey motor found on their upper-end mountain bikes. The motor has been rotated slightly up towards the battery/downtube, and the chainstays are angled to keep the chain line straight instead of using an extra pulley to route the chain around the small 18t front sprocket.

The Xduro Cross is also available with a low, step-through frame version. It’s not super low, but the top tube slopes appreciably lower down to the seat tube for easier step-through.

The 740mm-wide handlebars provide a stable platform for steering, and all the controls are mounted within fingers’ reach. A Bosch Intuvia display shows all pertinent information at a glance. We like that it’s removable for when you want to lock up your bike, and offers a micro USB port to let you power your phone for navigation.

The look of the bike is really clean, with internal cable routing through the hydroformed aluminum frame. Tektro hydraulic brakes provide stopping power via 180mm (front) and 160mm (rear) rotors. The Xduro rolls on 28-inch wheels with narrow Alex rims and Schwalbe Smart Sam 700C tires.

There are rack eyelets for optional racks, and there’s a set of mudguards available as an option as well. Bosch’s new compact 2A charger is included. It’s 30 percent smaller, lighter and more compact than the standard Bosch charger, though it does take a little longer to charge. The smaller size can come in handy, however, because it’s easier to carry with you.

 

 

THE RIDE

One of our test riders took it back and forth between the office and home, about 10 miles each way, with some steep hills and some unpaved parts (on purpose). He tried it in Turbo and made it to work without any sweat at all, but that meant he kept it under 20 mph the whole time. He felt he had to, which was a little limiting. When he rides a road bike, he arrives quicker but sweatier because he’s going faster.

With this bike being aimed at commuters and tourers, we’re a little surprised they didn’t use the speed-pedelec version of this motor to provide assist to 28 mph instead of only 20. It would be faster and safer getting to the office, though possibly not as safe off-road. That said, it did climb to 20 miles an hour almost effortlessly for everyone who rode it. The power and torque of the CX motor are enough to offer up to three times the output of the rider.

 

 

The Bosch Performance Line CX motor provides amazing power, but we’d like to see this swapped out for a Performance Line Speed motor instead for 28 mph speeds in traffic.

 

The Intuvia display is the de-facto standard of Bosch systems, and it shows speed, battery level, power output from the motor, mode and range. We liked that switching modes offers up expected range in that mode. It’s based on the amount of charge left in the battery and how you’ve ridden the bike for the last 1.5 miles. The power indicator shows how much input the battery is using at the rider’s given input in real time. This is the sort of thing you nerd out on at first, but after a while it disappears into the background and you just enjoy the ride.

The Xduro’s range was excellent. Our test rider figured he could cover the 20-mile round trip to and from home every day for a week on one full charge and riding in Eco mode only. That round trip isn’t completely flat; there are some big hills, but the rider is also in pretty good shape and a strong rider.

 

The ubiquitous Bosch Intuvia display sits atop the stem. Note the USB port on the side for phone charging and firmware updates.

 

We liked the new SRAM NX derailleur. The NX system has SRAM’s X-Horizon design to reduce chain slap and ensuring smooth and reliable shifts, which it absolutely did. The 1×11 SRAM cassette never left us wanting more gearing at either end. If we did get close to needing more range for climbing, Turbo mode came to the rescue!

The Schwalbe Smart Sam tires have some knobs, which are grippy on most surfaces and not noticeably bumpy on pavement. They’re sketchy only when cornering on wet pavement. They handled packed sand, gravel and dirt on trails with aplomb.

WHERE AND WHEN

The Cross is designed for more than unpaved-but-smooth paths. It’s a hardtail with a fork that’s designed to take out small bumps in the road, too, and does this quite well. If you ride poorly maintained roads, that little bit of suspension makes a big difference. We could see that putting a suspension seatpost on this bike would make the bike even more comfortable on less-than-perfect pavement and trails. The saddle was comfortable enough for long rides.

We were a little surprised that a bike aimed at commuters would have quick-release, thru-axle hubs and a seatpost clamp, because all those need to then be locked up when the bike is parked. The wheels do make sense, on one hand, for easy flat repairs.

 

As you would expect with Haibike, the plethora of cables are managed beautifully and are routed through the frame cleanly.

 

We found the kickstand to be handy, but the bolts loosened up a couple of times and could have used some thread-locker. Where it’s mounted behind the axle, it keeps it out of the way when riding, but when you’re standing it up on the back wheel to maneuver it around your garage, it sticks back far enough to go past the wheel so you’ll end up dragging it around.

THE VERDICT

With the narrow tires for low-rolling resistance, it’s a great commuter bike. It can also go on unpaved paths with some knobs on the tires and 77mm of suspension travel in the fork and the Bosch Performance Line CX motor. It will flatten just about any hill on your way to work or grabbing lunch on a sightseeing trip.

If you need a commuter bike, especially if you have hills to climb on the way and even some unpaved paths, the Cross 3.0 is an excellent choice. We think a pair of these would be great for travelers who want a way to branch out and get some fresh air and see the local sights. Good choice for touring almost anywhere with excellent range. If you are thinking about doing more serious off-roading, or you regularly ride in rainy climates with mud, you would be better off going with an e-mountain bike.

The only weak point we found with the bike was the fork, but, again, the bike isn’t made for serious off-roading. The Bosch motor and battery should be good for years of fun rides.

 

 

SPECS

Haibike Xduro Cross 3.0

MSRP: $3499

Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX

Battery: Bosch PowerPack, 500Wh

Charge time: 4.5 hours

Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)

Range: 40–100 miles (tested)

Drive: SRAM NX

Brakes: Tektro HD-M285 hydraulic disc, 180/160mm

Controls: Bosch Intuvia

Fork: RSR Suntour NRX D-LO Lockout, Steel Spring/Elastomer, 75mm travel

Frame: Hydroformed 6061 aluminum, Gravity Casting Interface

Weight: 47 lb.

Sizes: S, M, L, XL

Color: Titan/White/Red Matte

www.haibike.com