We spend a year aboard Haibike's heavy-hitting e-bike equipped with Yamaha's PW-X2 motor in the ultimate test of reliability.
Haibike, unlike other bike companies, only makes e-bikes and has done so for the best part of 15 years. Obviously, some of those early models were trekking and commuter bikes for the German domestic market, but over the years Haibike has developed a range of performance eMTBs, sponsoring riders such as Sam Pilgrim to promote them. So how does the chunky AllMtn 6 stack up against the best electric mountain bikes over a year’s worth of riding in all weathers? Let’s find out.
Need to know
- All mountain e-bike with a 160mm Fox 38 fork and 150mm rear travel
- Full carbon frame with angular design and air intake ports on the head tube for cooling
- Powered by the latest 80Nm Yamaha PW-X2 motor and 600Wh InTube battery.
- Mullet design – 29in front wheel and 2.5in tyre paired to a 27.5in rear wheel and 2.8in tyre
- Acros BlockLock anti-rotation headset with custom stem and oversized spacers
According to Google Translate Hai means shark in German – so in plain English my 2021 longtermer is the Sharkbike AllMtn 6, a carbon e-bike from Haibike with 150mm travel and a Yamaha motor and battery. It forms part of Haibike’s new All Mountain range and the primary reason I wanted to get it on test was to try the new Yamaha PW-X2 drive unit. I’d heard it was super powerful and could potentially give the latest Bosch Performance CX motor a real run for its money. Not that money is an issue here, the AllMtn 6 is pretty good value. True, £5K is still not to be sniffed at but you do get a lot of bike for that – full carbon frame, a Fox 38 Performance series fork and matching Fox DPS Performance EVOL rear shock, a SRAM Eagle groupset and excellent Magura MT5 four-pot brakes.
But let’s get back to the power house. The PW-X2 is the latest electric motor from Yamaha with a claimed 80Nm torque. Like most bikes, the AllMtn 6 is limited to 25km/h, but the thing I noticed straight away is how the Yamaha unit really delivers some extra grunt at the top end. Most motors, the Bosch included, can get a bit sluggish when you’re approaching the limiter, but the PW-X2 really gets a shift on and never lets up. And combined with the light touch to the shock damping, the bike feels much more positive and dynamic as a result.
Yes, there is some rattle/play in the drivetrain, probably from the freewheel inside the motor just before it engages, but the power delivery is incredibly smooth and it feels really effortless getting up to cruising speed. To stop you getting into too much trouble once you’re ripping, the AllMtn 6 has sorted geometry, which is actually longer and slacker than claimed. You also get a 780mm handlebar and proper Maxxis Minion tyres with the tacky 3C MaxxTerra rubber. There are also no shortcomings in the suspension performance either, the Fox Performance products can be ridden pretty hard without coming unstuck.
Best of all, I don’t have to bring this bike into my kitchen for charging, because the Yamaha 600Wh battery is fully removable from the down tube. It locks in place, so I will need to be mindful where I put the key, and it also features a clip-in plastic battery cover to keep out the dirt, so hopefully I won’t lose that either.
So far I’ve only done three solo rides on the AllMtn 6 but the spec is dialed, it handles well and I even like the colour scheme and angular frame design – first impressions count for a lot and this isn’t one I’m going to be throwing back anytime soon.
I never take what bike manufacturers write in the geometry chart as gospel, and you shouldn’t either. Not because brands are trying to hoodwink you, it’s simply because claimed geometry is the engineering ideal and doesn’t account for variations in manufacturing, different components fitted or something as simple as a typo.
This is why it’s a good idea to measure everything yourself. When I put the tape on the Haibike AllMtn 6 I was pleased to discover that it has a 0.75º slacker head angle and gets 15mm extra length in the wheelbase than claimed.
The extra length suggests it’s longer in reach too, which matches how the bike fits, but when I measured the reach it was 455mm on the size L, which is exactly as claimed. That kinda threw me at first, as the reach on the Haibike feels much longer than my previous longtermer, the Radon Render 10.0 which had a 460mm reach. So what’s going on?
Looking at the other measurements it’s clear that the Haibike AllMtn 6 has a higher stack than the Radon, which means when I lower the stem to match the riding position and bar height on the Radon, the handlebar on the Haibike also moves forward and makes the bike feel roomier. So even though the frame reach hasn’t changed, the bike feels bigger.
Like most new longtermers, I’ve made a couple of tweaks to the Haibike AllMtn 6. I swapped the handlebar with one with less backsweep – the original had a bit of a goofy shape – and I ditched the hard Haibike grips for some sticky Renthal rubber. I also replaced the brake pads because they were running on the metal. Magura pads really take a lot of bedding in – like 30 hard stops – and if you don’t do that the pads can easily wear out in a single ride. I also fixed the Acros Block Lock headset – it wasn’t adjusted correctly, and as a result caused an ugly groove in the top tube that was there when the bike came to me, probably from the shifter rubbing the frame in the box – honest!. I’m also going to have to replace the dropper cable because it’s already gunked up and causing the post to stall as it extends to full height.
After several rides I’m still getting used to the Yamaha Side Switch display. Walk mode is great – it’s just a single button on the front rather than the double reach round on the Bosch. And I like that the display is slightly sleeker than the Bosch Purion but the battery readout has 10 chunks and they’re pretty hard to see on the trail for an old bloke without his glasses. I’m really digging the removable battery because I can just bring that into the house after a ride to charge it. It’s locked into the frame for security and there’s plastic cover over the top to stop dirt getting in. This is also pretty secure – the cover is not held on by an elastic band like the Radon. The only issue I have with the 600Wh battery is the run time – it just doesn’t seem to deliver the expected range. Granted, it has been bloody cold and muddy of late, so this does work the battery harder, but I’m going to do a bit of measuring before my next update to see how long those last few bars last, that is if I can see them.
This month I spent a bit of time on the Thok TK-01 and I feel that it’s worth comparing the Italian Stallion to the Haibike, as both are very similar in price. The difference is, my longtermer gets a full carbon frame instead of aluminium, a Fox 38 Performance suspension fork rather than a RockShox Yari and disc brakes that don’t pull to the bar. Yes, the Thok TK-01 has more travel but I’m quicker on the AllMtn 6 due to it being a lot lower to the ground. It helps too that it’s 5kg lighter. On rough, fast trails my hands also hurt less because the Fox fork has more sophisticated damping and generally feels calmer than the basic Yari.
Monitoring the battery life I’ve noticed the AllMtn 6 is pretty thirsty, especially if I ride at the higher power levels. I can smash through the first chunk on the display in less than 15mins, and I did one freezing cold ride recently where I blew the whole battery in an 1hr hour and 45min. As the temperature rises so should the fuel gauge, but to eek more miles out of the 600Wh battery I’m not going to smash it on the climbs. Riding this way also allows me to work on my fitness, which is one of the great things about an e-bike – if you want to suffer, or work hard, just turn the power down.
With all the rain we’ve had recently and the resulting mud, cleaning the AllMtn 6 has been a bit of a chore, that extra surface area does tend to collect a lot of gunk. I was a bit worried about getting water in the electrics, especially since water ingress killed my first two e-longtermers. I’ve been going easy with the hose and also covering the bar mounted display with a little plastic bag. This unit might actually be fully waterproof, but I’d rather not put that to the test because with Covid and Brexit getting spare parts right now is pretty tricky.
I’ve also just downloaded the HaiBike eConnect app which, like the Bosch and Shimano equivalents, has a ton of features. I can tweak power my settings, record data, run times and even routes or I could if the QR code on my bike’s down tube wasn’t missing. You need to scan that to add the bike to the app. Hopefully, I’ll get a copy by next month and you’ll get a full spreadsheet of my e-bike data, I may even do a few pie charts.
OK, so I said I wouldn’t pimp the Haibike with fancy parts, but still I succumbed to a fork swap last month. However, the RockShox Domain I fitted is “only” £530, which is much cheaper than the Fox Float 38 Performance it replaced, so technically it’s a downgrade, right? You can read my initial thoughts about this entry-level e-bike fork here, but in a nutshell the Domain has a similar chassis to the Zeb Ultimate but runs a budget Motion Control damper. It had 10mm more travel than the Fox 38 I took off and it’s a bit more sensitive, which I like because it has better balance with the Haibike’s supple rear suspension. Ok, so that’s an upgrade, at least in terms of outright performance.
I’ve also upgraded another key component to the best possible quality – the dropper post cable. The stock dropper is from Haibike’s in-house range, which means it’s one of those Taiwanese made posts that a lot of manufacturers put their label on. It works okay, but it comes with a really cheap inner cable and after a couple of months of riding it started to bind. So I replaced it with a Clarkes PTFE inner wire, which cost me £3.99 and it transformed the post’s action. Now I don’t have to physically yank it up anymore after a big descent and the remote has a lighter action too, which is good for my arthritic thumb.
While working on the bike I broke the clamp on the Yamaha remote unit. I was running it loose anyway, because that way I can tilt it down if I have to flip the bike upside down and it won’t scuff or scratch the screen. Having to get a replacement is going to be a chore and it got me thinking that these bar mounted control units are pretty vulnerable. They’re also the size of an old Gameboy Advance, so you could probably play Mario Kart on one of them. Also I recently rode the new Specialized Turbo Levo Pro and it has a simple switch at the grip with the display buried in the top tube. Obviously, Specialized uses an integrated system, but Yamaha – and Bosch for that matter – needs something that either decouples the control button from the display or makes it all much smaller and more durable.
I broke another part on the Haibike this month – the Magura MT5 brake lever. It wasn’t due to regular wear and tear, though. E-bikes are heavy, plain and simple, and this one fell over in the back of my van when I was transporting it. The knock must have partially damaged the bar clamp on the rear brake, because when I got to the trail head and pulled the lever, it broke clean off in my hand.
The thing is, the Magura MT5 brakes use this carbon reinforced plastic construction for the clamp and lever body and it’s super lightweight but also a bit fragile. Which is why I always run the Magura levers looser on the handlebar, hoping they’ll rotate out of the way in a crash rather than break. Obviously, that little trick didn’t work this time round.
And it’s a bummer, as I really like the power and progressive feel of the MT5. I just wish there was an aluminium lever body option, which is why I’m planning to do a little mod and fit a different lever to the four-piston caliper. I’ve seen a few videos on YouTube where users have created a ‘Shigura’ brake by combining a Magura lever with a Shimano caliper, but being a contrarian old fart I’m going to do the exact opposite. The current plan is to try and source a set of non-series Shimano levers, simply because they have a different master cylinder and shouldn’t have any of those inconsistency issues that seem to plague XT and SLX, which is the exact reason some riders have switched to the custom Shigura combo. I’ll let you know how it goes next month, but for now I want to mention some of my other mods.
I’m still running a big carry strap around the down tube to hold the plastic battery cover in place and that’s because I’ve been struggling to get hold of a spare SnapLoc coupling that is used to secure the cover in place. These are made by Böllhoff in Germany and they have a sort of ball-and socket arrangement that clips in and out easily, and also reduces vibration and noise. They’re used quite extensively in the automotive industry but the rubber part of the system does eventually wear if you unclip it a lot – I found that out for the first time when the cover flew off down the trail in front of me. I don’t mind replacing this little component but I’d trade the quick-release convenience for something a bit more secure, like an Allen bolt, especially since SnapLoc couplings are hard to find in the UK.
I’m also still waiting to hear back from Haibike about the accessories for the AllMtn 6, like the range extender and bottle mounts for the bike’s Modular Rail System. In fact, I’m seriously considering buying the bottle cage mounts online to speed up the process, and yes, I will be spending my own money.
I made a mistake last month. I said the ‘Shigura’ modification I watched online combined a Magura brake lever with a Shimano caliper, but it’s actually the other way round, so I wasn’t actually breaking new ground.
Still, I wanted to do this mash-up brake combination to the AllMtn 6 because I broke the carbon Magura MT5 lever and happened to have a Shimano SLX lever sitting around which would allow me to get the bike back on the road pretty quickly. I also wanted to see if this mod would suggest a fix for the inconsistency you can experience with Shimano brakes – where the bite-point has a tendency to change. My thought was, if the SLX lever doesn’t do it with the Magura caliper then the lever ain’t the problem.
The reason you can combine the two brake systems is because both brands use mineral oil and similar size fittings, so all I had to do was amputate the damaged Magura part, fit a new olive and barb, do a quick bleed and I was good to go. I’m late to the party with the Shigura concept, and initially had the wrong address, but the brake feels just as powerful as the full Magura. It’s also more positive because the SLX lever doesn’t flex as much as the composite body on the MT5 assembly. It’s also cheaper to fit an SLX lever (£43) than replace the MT5 (£60). And if you want to save even more money you could easily splice in a budget Shimano BL-M4100 brake lever, which is £19.99 an end. And did Shigura eliminate the inconsistent feeling? Too right it did, the lever pulls to the same bite point every single time.
The other issue I’ve had this month is with the wheels on the AllMtn 6. Sadly they are starting to fall apart, especially the rear. The thing about wheels is you can see all of the component parts and assess them individually, but the build quality is a total unknown. Obviously when I test a DT Swiss wheelset, for example, I know from experience they are built to a high-standard and are going to last, but they’re more expensive. I suspect the stock wheels on the AllMtn 6 were machine built with maybe a bit of hand finishing, but the rear has taken a beating and lost a ton of tension and I’ve had it in the truing stand three or four times already. The problem is, you can’t foresee this when you get a new bike – the wheels should be true but if the spoke tension is slightly uneven or the build was rushed, they won’t last, which is the case here.
If you’ve been following my updates you may remember I said I’d be upgrading the AllMtn 6 as little as possible because I figured you’d want to read about what happens to this bike and not some sort of tricked out imposter. That still holds true but I have had to replace the wheels because, as I mentioned last month, the rear lost a load of tension and the bike just wasn’t riding in a straight line. I fitted some Spank Oozy 395+ wheels that I just received for test and they are actually designed for e-bike use. That means they have super strong 40mm wide rims and a Hex E-Plus freehub, which is steel rather than soft alloy and runs on heavy duty bearings.
First time out on the Spank wheels and it was like riding a new bike. Spoke tension has little to do with wheel stiffness but the AllMtn 6 did feel a lot tighter and more responsive. I paid a visit to BikePark Wales and they felt on the money there too, but unfortunately I’m now out of pocket for the cost of a new rear tyre because I got all cocky and slashed it hitting a drop on AC/DC. That said, after nearly 700 miles off-road, the Maxxis Minion DHR II was getting a bit threadbare.
There are a couple of other things that need attention too – the remote for the motor broke a month ago and is just hanging loose on the handlebar and I need a new chain, some fresh brake pads and headset bearings.
I’ve also stripped the bike down, removed the shock and dismantled the swingarm this month. I wanted to check and see how much Sussex clay was lodged in and around the motor and whether the bearings in the Yamaha drive unit and swingarm were still running smooth. Surprisingly, it was all pretty clean in there, the rear seals and the plastic motor cover seem to be doing a good job. Haibike fits Bolu bearings on all of the suspension pivots, which are Chinese made, but then what isn’t? And again, they were pretty smooth, despite being exposed to the elements.
I’ve contacted Haibike about the cost of a replacement set of bearings and whether they’re user serviceable but I’ve not had any info back yet, although I can’t see anything stopping you replacing them with an up-market brand because they’re a pretty standard size.
Also I’m still waiting to hear back from Haibike about the spare battery (that would have come in really handy at BPW) and the bottle cage mount that slots into the Modular Rail System on the down tube. The mount itself is only £4.99, so I’m up for spending my own money on one, but no one has stock in the UK, although there is a place in Italy that seems to have them, so I may give them a try. Ciao for now.
After a blackout lasting several months, I finally heard back from Haibike UK about the accessories for the Modular Rail System. This is a two-part system consisting of a female component – a recess built in the down tube – and a male component, basically some aluminium anchors that slot inside the recess. This allows you to bolt on an array of official accessories like a bottle cage, extra battery pack or a cable lock. Haibike UK is getting some of these components in stock pretty soon and it’s planning to send me the bottle cage part, which is great news because I can have a drink mid ride rather than chugging down a belly full of water at the start.
While I had the communication channel open with Haibike, I asked about replacement bearings and the warranty on the Yamaha motor (two issues I talked about in the last update) and Haibike said the bearings are all standard and are easily available from a third-party bearing supplier, which may sound like a bit of a cop out, but it does allow you to get alternatives if Haibike runs out of stock. Warranty for the Yamaha motor and battery is done in-house by HaiBike UK and it currently has a regular supply of those parts.
And I may need to avail myself of its warranty services because the Yamaha control unit, in addition to having a broken clamp, sometimes just drops into eco mode and stays there. Turning the bike off, then on again seems to reboot the system and unfreezes the unit, but if it stops altogether at least I now know who to call.
I’ve had the HaiBike for eight months now and there are a couple of other niggles – the key to unlock the battery is sticking. It was never smooth to begin with but the way it pushes out the battery seems to place a lot of stress on it and the last thing I want is for the key to break it off, so I’m trying not to force it but that does make it hard to open.
The charger also has a locking mechanism on the connector, which works like the pull/push fixing on a garden hose, but it has now twisted round to the opposite side, so the arrows don’t line up. Also if I can make a suggestion to e-bike manufacturers – any chance you could make the plug-in lead for the charger longer and also put some type of hook on the transformer, so I can hang it off the handlebar and not have to balance it on a tyre or the saddle? When I do this it often falls off, pulls the socket out and that battery I think should be fully charged only has about 30% in it. I actually made one from a coat hook – it cost 10p at most. Surely something similar should be included with the bike?
The issue with the Yamaha control unit dropping down into eco mode I mentioned last month seems to have fixed itself. The clamp is still hanging by a thread, which is actually a good thing because if I crash it just swivels round, although it might have been a crash that broke it in the first place. I also had the covers off the bike this month to try and fit one of the dedicated e-bike lights I was testing. The covers are only thick plastic (I think the idea is they bend rather than break) and are held in place with four screws. Underneath the covers there’s a cable that accepts the connector for the light. Most other manufacturers use a port on the motor but I’ve found the routing to be a major pain and, on the Bosch and Shimano bikes I fitted lights to, I had to actually drop the motor out of the way to connect the lights. With the Haibike the cable is right at the bottom of the down tube and there’s a big hole, so you just thread it through. At the head tube the bike has these ‘radiator grill’ style cable guides, which I originally thought were just for show, but they have space for three cables. They also split apart for ease of fitting and even the Allen bolt is on the outside facing upwards, so is easy to access. The longer I live with the AllMtn 6, the more I appreciate these clever little designs.
I’d really like to know if any e-bike riders have had a battery stolen? Now, I don’t mean commuters, I’m taking mountain bikers. I ask because the 600Wh Yamaha battery in my Haibike AllMtn 6 is locked into the down tube with a key. Would someone really steal the battery and not just the complete bike? Maybe there is some sort of black market for stolen e-bike batteries, like a dark web where you can score a used Bosch 625Wh battery; one careful owner, no questions asked?
Having a lockable battery is okay but it means I have to keep track of the key which is annoying when I already have dozens of keys, they’re called Allen keys and they’re much more convenient to use. Although I will concede that any bike thief worth his salt is likely to have them too.
To be fair, unlocking the battery on the AllMtn 6 does help with removal because as you turn the key it pushes the battery downwards and you can then un-clip it easily from the down tube. Unfortunately, the Abus barrel lock has started to stiffen quite a bit recently and it’s getting to the stage where I’m forcing the key and I’m worried that it might break off in the lock.
I’d also like to find out how the battery has aged over the last 12 months, but I’m still no closer to getting this bike plugged into the official Yamaha software than I was ten months ago. Lithium-ion batteries do have a lifespan and they start to lose capacity after a certain number of charge cycles (usually around 500) and with Bosch and Shimano, you check their health using the diagnostic tool. That said, the Yamaha battery is covered by an excellent ‘700 charge-cycle warranty’, but how it’s policed I’ve no clue. I’ve asked. Hopefully I’ll hear back before next month’s final installment.
Month 11 – The final verdict
What attracted you to the Haibike?
It wasn’t the looks. Not that that bothered me. What I was really interested in was the Yamaha drive system. I’d heard the PW-X2 motor offered a lot of bang for your buck, so obviously I was interested in testing that after the Bosch equipped Radon and a Shimano-speeced Norco before that.
Did you change anything straightaway?
I like to ride my longtermers stock, but the AllMtn 6 came with a narrow handlebar with a goofy profile, so I swapped it for a 820mm Race Face Atlas aluminium bar. I also ditched the rock-hard grips and converted the tyres to tubeless.
Was the bike easy to set up?
Setting up the suspension on an e-bike is pretty easy because all you really need to worry about is running the correct amount of sag, just so you don’t bottom out the shock too often during a ride. And because of the motor you don’t really need to worry about making an e-bike pedal well. The size L AllMtn 6 also fitted me pretty well and has a good length and shape so I’ve never felt cramped on this bike and there’s nothing quirky about the geometry, which is a precursor for going fast.
How did it ride?
The AllMtn has more travel than my previous longtermers but it also has a better shape, so it always felt really well behaved. It’s comfortable hitting drops and jumps, and apart from the plastic battery cover falling out, it never did anything weird or unexpected. Yes, it’s a big bike, so it is less agile through tight, twisty turns but I could ride it as hard as possible everywhere else.
Did anything break or wear out?
I’m on my second set of wheels. I also got through three sets of Magura brake pads, a SRAM GX cassette, two 12-speed chains, a chainring, a rear tyre and an electronic remote. I also broke the rear Magura brake lever.
If you could change one thing about your longtermer what would it be?
I’d make the battery cover bolt on and have the rail inserts for a bottle cage fitted as standard.
The biggest issue I’ve had with this bike is the lack of information – like how lights work with the Yamaha electronics or what the 700Wh battery guarantee covers. Obviously if you bought this bike from a dealer they would hopefully fill in the blanks but the lack of information from Haibike and the UK distributor has been a constant cause for concern. Because if I spent £5k of my own money I wouldn’t want to be left in limbo. I want to know if I can get spare bearings or a replacement motor under warranty. When buying any bike you expect a certain level of customer service but that hasn’t been that forthcoming from Haibike, which is why I’m pegging it back a point in the rating. That said, out of the three e-bike longtermers I’ve had to date, the Haibike AllMtn 6 is by far my favourite.