Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL 2015 Yamaha (7 Month 1600 Miles)

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Bike bought 20th March 2015

Haibike sDuro HardSeven SL 2015 Yamaha,

7 Month Review, Commuter Special

I have now covered around 1600 miles on my sDuro HardSeven.

Part of my route to workSduro Yamaha November 15 005.JPG

What I wanted to achieve

When I bought the bike I wanted primarily a bike to ride to work on as often as possible, leaving my car at home as much as possible on a bike that could cope with a mainly off road route of between 12 and 14 miles to work and then get me home as quickly as possible on a hilly 10 mile B Road route.

To complicate matters I need to carry quite a bit of stuff to work and prefer to use a rear rack and panniers to do so. The tracks I use are too rough for the trekking style bikes so my choice was quickly reducing. I looked at a lot of bikes but in the end decided I needed a hard tail electric mountain bike that I could fit a rack to.

After a lot of research I found myself returning to the e-bikeshop site and focusing on the Haibike sDuro and xDuro HardSeven. I rang Martin the owner who was very helpful, and reassured me that they could fit racks to either bike and said I should come to the shop and try them out. In the end I attended the demo day and was able to ride both the yamaha and bosch systems on great tracks and meet some really friendly like-minded people.

After that I arranged to meet Martin at his shop in Farnham where I could see the whole range of bikes and make up my mind in a relaxed way. Martin also suggested a set of Moon lights that have proved to be excellent and fitted some Schwalbe Smart Sam plus puncture resistant tyres and slime filled tubes to avoid as many punctures as possible as a puncture when you have to be at work is no fun.

The Yamaha Motor

As other people have noted The Yamaha motor is a gem. The zero cadence works brilliantly off road and means it responds immediately to your input on the pedals and the torque of the motor will pull you up and over anything you aim it at. It will try and engage with any weight on the pedal and if you are at a road junction or set of lights I sometimes switch the assist off while I am waiting and back on again when it is time to set off. Either that or just take your feet off the pedals or un-weight the pedals.

Riding The Bike

I have now been riding the bike to and from work for seven months throughout the summer and hardly had to use the car at all. The off road route to work is a sheer pleasure and I have added more demanding tracks knowing that the bike can cope. I actually want the exercise and now predominantly only use the eco mode on the 13 mile off road route to work but know the bike can pick up the pace and fly at the push of a button. However even in eco mode the bike can still hit 20+ miles an hour for plenty of off road fun as the gentle power just keeps pushing without cutting out.

Getting home fast is also a pleasure. I use the second standard level of assistance and never use the highest assistance level even on the steep hills and turn the motor off on descents. The Moon lights mean that I can see where I am going now! The 9 speed gearing has a sweet spot for cruising around 20/22 miles an hour. Obviously the speed drops on the steeper hills and you just drop down through the gears until you find the best one for the effort you want to add to the pedals and the gradient you are climbing. However I still find myself climbing some long more gentle hills at an indicated 20mph. Even a fairly steep long hill is dispatched at 12/14 miles an hour. On the steepest hill my speed drops down to around 10 mph. Momentum is quickly regained when you crest the hill. With a crank motored bike you have to pedal and whatever the setting you end up exercising, which for me is a benefit not a curse.

Using eco on my 12/13 mile mostly off road ride to work I have about 62% battery left when I arrive at work. Blasting the 10 miles home on my hilly B Road at 20+ miles an hour in standard I have about 52% battery left when I get home. I top my battery up at work and am a 17 stone + guy with two loaded panniers.

I did manage 30 miles on a fun mostly off road leisure ride including lots of very challenging hill climbs and by managing the way I rode the bike found the controller telling me I was about to deplete the battery 200 yards from home.

After 7 months I have so far seen no noticeable degradation in the battery. I look after my battery by bringing it into the house after every ride and charging it if I am going to use the bike the next day. If I am not going to use the bike for a number of days it will have over 50% remaining after my ride home from work and I store it without topping it back up in a warm dry cupboard and then charge it up again on the day I next ride.

I was worried about spokes breaking in the back wheel being a heavy guy and carrying panniers but actually wrote off my rear wheel and rear mech after only a few weeks riding when a tree branch jammed in the rear spokes, so I cannot say whether the original rear wheel would have coped with the weight it was carrying as the miles increased. Martin made me up a strong back wheel based on a mavic rim that has so far taken everything that I have thrown at it. The beauty of a crank drive is that if you need a stronger rear wheel you can just build one up and slot it in.

A disadvantage of a powerful crank drive system is that it puts quite a strain on your cassette, chain and front sprocket. I would advise changing gear as gently as you can. I read Anthony Flemings excellent review and did find that I also damaged the original rear cassette by unsympathetically changing gear on a steep hill under full load. The system does interrupt power as you change gear but I would still recommend taking a gentle approach to changing gear. I followed Anthony’s advise and fitted a cheap £10 rear cassette from chain reaction Shimano Alivio HG400 9 Speed MTB CassetteSilver, 11-34t - sku431310 that has for me proved more durable than the original although I made sure my gears were perfectly indexed after it was fitted. The rack Martin fitted is working well in combination with my Ortlieb Panniers although for my own peace of mind I replaced the standard fitting bolts with much stronger ones that I sourced from the excellent Margnor Fasteners Ltd near Guildford.

Like any new bike you will probably want to put a more comfortable seat on and I have found the Velo Inclined Men's Plush Men's Saddle – Black sourced from Amazon the most comfortable saddle I have ever used and have now put this saddle on my other bikes.

The Smart Sam Plus Tyres with slime filled tubes have not punctured. Over half my mileage is off road with all the hazards you meet there so I strongly recommend them. I have found enough grip off road and due to their strong construction they are a very fast running road tyre for commuting and very hard wearing.

For me the standard brakes have been very good with plenty of power and a nice feel and modulation. I know this contradicts Anthony’s review but they have been fine for me. I also have not had a problem with the seat post and after fitting my new saddle it has stayed in the position I put it in.

The quality of the Haibike frame is fantastic, obviously high quality and very well engineered, producing a taught and well controlled ride. I have a Rock Shox Recon Silver 100mm Tapered shock that is fitted to the xduro hard tail on another bike I own and prefer the Rock Shock to the Suntour fork on the Sduro but the Suntour is air adjustable and works just fine.

Conclusion

So I have to say that after 7 months and 1600 miles I am still very impressed with this bike. I think that the combination of the Haibike frame and Japanese motor are a great combination and hard to beat. I have ended up with a highly capable mountain bike and fast road bike that can also lug me and two full panniers around with consummate ease. More importantly than all this is that riding this bike is amazing fun and it has enabled me to commute to work by bicycle and leave the car at home which I could not have done on an ordinary bike. You obviously also get a lot of exercise in a way that you hardly notice.

I have also found that Martin and the e-bikeshop provide exemplary advice and very good service,
 
Last edited:

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Just a quick update. As of today my mileage has increased to 2350 and with a maximum of 6 more trips to work and back I look like completing just shy of 2500 miles for my first year of ownership.

Apart from replacing things that have every right to wear out when you ride half your miles off road, like brake pads, chains and rear cassettes, there have been no issues.

I have learnt that with a powerful crank drive bike it is best to keep the transmission, ie chain/cassette & chain ring as clean and well lubricated as possible.

As soon as the wet winter weather arrived I suffered some chain suck that I cured very simply by carefully filing the hooked teeth on the front chain ring and if you are interested look for my "Chain suck cured by filing" thread, good as a cure for insomnia if nothing else!

The battery is holding up really well with only a fractional if any loss of performance so far. I bought a neoprene battery cover for winter and am lucky enough to be able to leave my bike in a heated room at work. When I am not using the bike for more than a few days I store the battery indoors in a warm cupboard at half to no more than three quarter charge. I always bring the battery indoors after my ride home from work. The battery is easy to remove from the bike and of a manageable size with a carrying handle.

My other electric bike, an Oxygen emate city was used for the same commute and on paper had a larger capacity battery, however to remove the battery you had to remove the seat post and as a consequence I hardly ever did. That battery was beginning to struggle under load after a year and needed to be replaced after two years. The Yamaha battery seems to be in much better condition after a year of use and time will tell whether it will last longer. It is however a very expensive battery to replace when I need to do so.
 
Last edited:
Mar 9, 2016
833
402
Just a quick update. As of today my mileage has increased to 2350 and with a maximum of 6 more trips to work and back I look like completing just shy of 2500 miles for my first year of ownership.

Apart from replacing things that have every right to wear out when you ride half your miles off road, like brake pads, chains and rear cassettes, there have been no issues.

I have learnt that with a powerful crank drive bike it is best to keep the transmission, ie chain/cassette & chain ring as clean and well lubricated as possible.

As soon as the wet winter weather arrived I suffered some chain suck that I cured very simply by carefully filing the hooked teeth on the front chain ring and if you are interested look for my "Chain suck cured by filing" thread, good as a cure for insomnia if nothing else!

The battery is holding up really well with only a fractional if any loss of performance so far. I bought a neoprene battery cover for winter and am lucky enough to be able to leave my bike in a heated room at work. When I am not using the bike for more than a few days I store the battery indoors in a warm cupboard at half to no more than three quarter charge. I always bring the battery indoors after my ride home from work. The battery is easy to remove from the bike and of a manageable size with a carrying handle.

My other electric bike, an Oxygen emate city was used for the same commute and on paper had a larger capacity battery, however to remove the battery you had to remove the seat post and as a consequence I hardly ever did. That battery was beginning to struggle under load after a year and needed to be replaced after two years. The Yamaha battery seems to be in much better condition after a year of use and time will tell whether it will last longer. It is however a very expensive battery to replace when I need to do so.
Fantastic review. Bought same bike .
 
  • Like
Reactions: LeighPing

Croxden

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2013
2,014
1,298
North Staffs
Just to note I did over 5000 miles the first year, it's now at 8000 and nothing mechanical replaced, still going well.
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Another update as the bike passed the 3000 mile mark eleven days ago. No mechanical issues.

My Schwalbe Smart Sam plus puncture resistant tyres and slime filled tubes are unchanged from new and doing a great job with no punctures so far. The back is wearing down but far from worn out and the front still looks re markedly good. About half my miles are off road.

Their strong construction makes them a really good road tyre. I run them at a pressure that works well on the road and keep them that way off road and although they would probably grip better at a lower pressure I find they work well enough and are the best compromise I could find for puncture resistance high miles commuting including off road in a variety of conditions in all weathers winter and summer. I am impressed and will replace like with like when the time comes.

I have changed my gearing to give me as wide a spread as possible using a 40 tooth chain ring (Two bigger than standard) with a 12 – 36 rear cassette. The aim of this was to allow me to use my bike in as flexible way as possible with a sensible cruising speed on the road and as low gearing as possible for off road.

On this gearing on the road coming home I cruise around the 20 /22 mph mark using eco on flatter gradients and standard on hills or where my speed drops below my 20mph ish target range to bring it back up. I turn it off on steeper down hills. In my more energetic moments (Nearly 55 now) I have been surprised that I can maintain 20/22mph for large parts of my 10 mile road journey (including quite a few of the up hill bits) in the lowest eco setting pushing hard, but my legs are pretty tired when I get home and I can feel it the next day. In standard pushing hard I can maintain 15mph up a steep long hill carrying all my stuff, brilliant.

I only use eco off road and have recently started turning the assist off for some sections. That low bottom gear helps to get my heavy loaded bike going with the assist switched off and allows me to pedal some of the off road sections that I used to do in eco. I always turn it off for the fun faster single track downhill sections, with the odd leap off a rocky step! Fun with panniers! And I do these sections every time I go to work by bike. Fantastic.

One benefit of using more eco and power off is that I use about 10% less battery in both directions.

Although the battery must be wearing and I am sure the wear will become apparent at some stage it has not done so far which is impressive. I bought a neoprene battery cover for winter and am lucky enough to be able to leave my bike in a heated room at work. When I am not using the bike for more than a few days I continue to store the battery indoors in a warm cupboard at half to no more than three quarter charge. I always bring the battery indoors after my ride home from work.

I had noticed in another review by Flud that he had mentioned being a little irritated by the noise of the movement of the battery on the connection base that is designed to move a little to absorb shock off road. I don't remember my bike being noisy in that first summer of commuting. However my neoprene battery cover may have made the battery fit tighter in the holder and in so doing have caused the battery to be a slightly looser fit when I removed the neoprene cover on a hot day heading into work. I was immediately struck by the increase in noise to the point that I put the cover back on.

If you want to minimise the noise of the movement of the battery get a neoprene battery cover and it will stop the noise. The squidgy nature of a neoprene cover seems to have a really good dampening effect on any movement of the battery when it is locked in place. I have no issues with my battery overheating and don't expect to but if you were worried about this and wanted the peace and quiet I enjoy you could have two neoprene covers and cut some cooling vents in the summer one though I really don't think you need to.

My Moon Meteor front light is still working well. The red flashing warning that the battery is about to fail started coming on not long after I got it but I have learnt to ignore it as the light keeps working strongly all the way home and still is a year and two months after I bought it and provides a great light that is easily attached and detached and very small and light for slipping in a pocket. I always use my light on the highest setting. I have a second as a back up just in case.

My Moon Comet rear light failed inside my first year of ownership and Martin at the e-bikeshop where I bought my bike replaced it with the updated Moon Comet MKII free of charge. Once again great customer service. The updated Comet MKII is very bright and gets you noticed which is what you want. I double it up with a tiny but bright battery light so that if either one failed there would be a back up as there would be nothing to let you know while you were cycling.

I continue to wear out rear cassettes quicker than on a non powered bike and replace them with cheap shimano £10/£15 9 speed replacement ones that I source from chain reaction. I am however doing many more miles on this bike which puts more power through the transmission and is heavier than a non assisted bike.

I think that the transmission is an area that would benefit from stronger parts designed to cope with the extra power of the modern crank drive motors and a stronger transmission would need much less maintenance as a consequence.

Something like a really strong Alfine with 8 widely spaced gears from the equivalent of my 36 tooth bottom gear to a top gear equivalent of 11 or 12 on a cassette, or a semi crawler gear up to a top speed of around 25mph to allow for 20/22 mph cruising married to a carbon belt drive like the intergrale and as many teeth on the rear sprocket as possible to extend the wear life.

Although to be honest I have had no issues with chain rings and chains and only wear out the smallest 11/12 tooth sprocket on the cassette, but to my knowledge they don't sell these small cogs separately so you have to buy a new cassette when you get a problem with the top gear.

Other things like the rack and Topeak Defender front mudguard 650b/29” are working well and staying put although I replaced the fixing bolts on each straight away with much better stronger ones and re tighten as necessary, only once each so far.

The Velo Inclined Men's Plush Men's Saddle that I replaced the original with continues to be very comfortable and although saddles are tricky to recommend as each of us is different if you want a good value well made comfortable replacement I would consider this one.

So my bike continues to perform admirably and even though I only use this bike to get me to work and back as a mountain biker I continue to have some serious fun on it and continue to get a lot of exercise in the process and no other bike could do what this one does. It is so much better than travelling by car, my only alternative.
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Thanks for that link soundwave, I think you may have posted it before but I was'nt paying attention. Just what I was asking for, though I may need to wait for the price to come down a bit! 450 Euros would buy a lot of cheap 9 speed cassettes. But it is good to see some thought going into a specific ebike mountain bike drive train and makes me feel good that they have come up with what I thought might work best, more or less! I am sure cheaper ones will soon follow. For me on my bike it is the smallest sprockets that wear the fastest and a cassette that allowed you to replace these would be great.
 
  • Like
Reactions: soundwave

anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
7,602
5,691
The European Union
I have a cheap Shimano 7 speed cassette 11-28 and the 11 tooth cog is separate so I imagine there is a spare on the market. When I looked at the link above the 11 tooth cog being sold was the price of the whole cassette...
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Hi anotherkiwi, yes I know what you mean, I bought two cheap Shimano Alivio HG400 9 Speed cassettes from chain reaction in the sales at xmas for £10 each and outside the sales they are £15 and that is what I will continue to do as they wear out.

But they seem relatively fragile and It just strikes me that purpose built transmissions for these crank motors with less more widely spaced gears that are stronger would last a lot longer and be a better solution.

I am sure the big manufactures will cotton on to this issue soon.
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
9,005
3,745
you could get a more expensive 1 but i doubt it would last any longer than the 1s you have. and at 15 quid the single 11t would be near half that anyway.

just keep it lubed up :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Steve UKLSRA

anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
7,602
5,691
The European Union
Pinion have an e-bike friendly gear box. I found one company that makes assemble your own cassettes but the price... :eek: and Nvinci of course...

Shimano now make a motor etc so maybe they have a cheaper e-bike specific cassette in the design pipeline? We can only hope so.
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Hi anotherkiwi, Thanks for the link, Pinion looks very bespoke but on my quick look they are designed for hub motors. I can understand why as they take pressure off the transmission. My first electric bike that I still have was a hub powered bike and that had a basic shimano 7 speed that lasted ages. What I need for my crank powered bike is a strong wide range 8 speed or maybe even 7 speed set up that stands a chance of lasting under the duress of the power a crank puts out.
 

RobF

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 22, 2012
4,466
2,152
I wonder if you need to look at your use and chain maintenance regime for the cause of the accelerated wear.

You are using the bike a lot on eco, even no power, so the transmission is not being stressed at all by extra power, unless you are stronger than Froomey.

I have two Bosch bikes, both with a few thousand miles, both with all original chains and cogs.

It may be the dirt I ride through is not as gritty and harmful as yours - there are variations around the country.

I do wash the chain and lightly relube it after every ride, so it runs fairly clean most of the time.

Easy to do that for my once or twice a week rides, not so easy for daily commuting.
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
595
557
Surrey
Hi RobF, I ride in Surrey and there is a lot of sand. I thought the same and do try to keep the chain and transmission as clean as possible by regularly hosing it down and re lubricating the chain.

My off road route is on the way to work and that can get the bike covered in muc and I don't have the facility to wash it at work, although I now invert the bike at work and run the chain through dampened paper towels to clean as much as possible before re lubing for the journey home.

The problem always manifests itself on the journey home on the road. It occurs on an uphill gradient in standard power where I am also adding as much power as I can to maintain 20mph+. So the vulnerability is a combination of the smallest cog/least teeth combined with the highest power output of the motor and me combined.

I did wonder whether there could be a sensor issue but I don't know?
 

Related Articles

Advertisers