Haibike's lightweight, mid-power Lyke reduces the assistance with the aim of pumping up the agility.
The Lyke is a bold departure for e-bike specialists Haibike, with toned down styling, reduced power, and less weight. So, is it a case of less is more? And how does it stack up against the other lightweight models in our pick of the best electric mountain bikes?
Need to know
- Haibike’s lightest e-bike yet
- Full carbon frame gets 140mm travel
- Fazua Ride 60 motor with removable 430Wh battery
- Optional 210Wh range extender
- Four frame sizes and three models starting at £5,899
Haibikes have always had a unique look. Multi-faceted tube profiles, muscular proportions, and that striking hunchback top tube coalesce to create an instantly recognisable, if somewhat challenging aesthetic on its longer travel bikes like the All-Mtn CF 12. It’s a tactic that’s certainly effective for brand recognition, but its divisiveness has probably lost the company a few sales along the way. This new Lyke however, well, that’s an entirely different prospect. One in which Haibike has been able to cleverly tone down its signature look without losing its DNA. Most obviously, extensive chiropractor sessions have straightened out its topline, so it’s still obviously a Haibike, but it’s also contemporary, aggressive, and genuinely good looking. Even if the colour scheme on this CF 11 model is the least cohesive combo in the three-bike range.
Smart integration for the Fazua motor and battery
The freedom to take the styling in a new direction has come from the fact that this is Haibike’s new lightweight, mid-power, diet e-bike model, where the slimmed down battery and motor offer greater flexibility in terms of packaging. In choosing the Fazua Ride 60 system, the engineers were able to decouple the battery and motor, and with an innovative bit of lateral thinking, really optimise their locations. As such, the motor actually sits in the base of the flared seat tube, which frees up space in front of the bottom bracket to allow the battery to slide in and out of the fully enclosed down tube. So the Lyke benefits from excellent weight distribution, a fully enclosed down tube that saves weight and doesn’t compromise structural integrity, and yet you still get the convenience of a removable battery. It’s a really clever design.
While Haibike is best known for its rocker link suspension design, the Lyke nestles its shock into a slight recess under the top tube, operated by a swinglink attached to the shock yoke. At the back is a Horst link on the chainstay, and the configuration leaves ample space within the front triangle to run a bottle cage, tool mount, or the Fazua range extender when it finally becomes available.
With 140mm travel front and rear, the Lyke is very much designed as a trail bike. I can see why Haibike has done this – bumping up the travel would require beefing up the frame and components, and that would add to the weight. Considering the mid-spec Lyke CF 11 tested here registered 19.17kg on our scales, there’s not much headroom to keep under the magic 20kg mark and go burlier. For reference, that’s half a kilo lighter than the Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 that we tested earlier in the year, which itself is the heaviest mid-power option that’s swung from our scales. To be fair to Haibike though, that Trek is more than double the price of the Lyke CF 11, and there are no sneaky compromises in spec to achieve a more impressive headline weight, as we’ve seen from some other brands.
Fox fork and shock
That spec starts at the front of the bike with a Fox 36 Float Performance fork (140mm travel). It uses the new chassis design with the lubricating channels up the back of the lower legs, which means you can add bleed ports at a later date – to release pressure build up on long descents – as well as upgrading the damper to a Grip2. This makes it a good long term foundation for investment. At the rear is a Fox Float Performance DPS shock with three-position compression damping adjustment. It doesn’t have a remote reservoir, and I was surprised how hot it got, even on relatively short two-minute descents. Fortunately, the damping performance wasn’t noticeably affected.
Haibike has turned to Mavic for its Crossmax XL wheels. These use fully sealed rims, which means no leaky tape and foolproof tubeless set-up, and they’re shod with Maxxis Dissector tyres in lighter EXO casing up front and reinforced EXO+ at the back. The Dissector is Maxxis’s fast-rolling gravity tyre, and has a definite bias towards speed rather than outright grip. But considering the Lyke’s intended use as a trail bike, and the need to balance aggressive all-weather grip with maximum range, I think they are a decent choice.
Shimano supplies both the brakes and the drivetrain on the Lyke CF 11, with XT four-piston brakes, an XT derailleur and shifter and SLX cassette and chain. Providing the connection between the Fazua motor and the Shimano drivetrain is a Rotor E-Kapic crank. This demo bike had been tested elsewhere before arriving with me, and the cranks constantly creaked and repeatedly came loose. If you’re buying one of these bikes, it’s an area I would keep an eye on.
Two things that would go straight in the bin for me are the grips and the saddle. Haibike’s own grips are rock hard with no padding, and the stubby Selle Italia Model X saddle is equally inhospitable.
Three model range starts at £5,899
As the mid-priced bike in the Lyke range, it’s also worth checking out the cheaper Lyke CF 10 for £5,899 with the same frame, RockSkox Lyrik fork, SRAM NX and SX drivetrain, and Shimano Deore brakes. And for high rollers, Haibike offers the CF SE at £9,999 fitted with Fox Factory suspension and SRAM X0/XX T-Type wireless transmission.
How it rides
Measuring the Lyke revealed the geometry closely matches Haibike’s claimed figures – always good to see. Even the travel was only 3mm shy of the advertised 140mm. Those figures include a generous 478mm reach, longish 450mm chainstays, a steep 77.4º effective seat angle and relatively tall 346mm BB height. My size large frame also had a longer than average seat tube at 470mm, which slightly restricts dropper post choice, but I was still able to get my correct saddle height, and I have fairly short legs for my height (5ft 10in).
I was glad of that liberal reach because the Lyke’s tall BB pushes you to run the bars higher than normal, which chips away at the effective reach. But even with the stem all the way up the steerer I never felt cramped either seated or standing. Considering this bike has to work for pedally singletrack and gradual gradients, that’s a good thing.
However, on steeper climbs, the upright seat angle was a real blessing, particularly as the low torque of the Fazua motor means you have to run the seat at full extension to keep the cranks turning, and that tilts your weight back and makes the front wheel light. Given those factors, along with the reduced pedal strikes from the tall BB, the Lyke proved an accomplished climber.
Great balance of power and range
Once updated with the latest software, Fazua’s Ride 60 motor excelled on moderate gradients, particularly at higher cadences. Of the three power modes (Breeze, River, Rocket), I ignored the lowest option and mostly toggled between mid and high, occasionally using the 12 second overboost function. This unlocks the full 450W peak power for a brief period, and to access it you have to push and hold the Ring Control dial forward, but it’s not as effective as you might imagine as the gradient steepens because you’re limited by the 60Nm peak torque output.
From previous range tests, we know the Fazua 430Wh battery will give 1,100m of climbing in Rocket mode, which gave me the confidence to take on longer rides with more generous use of power, even without having access to a range extender. That’s an important aspect for anyone considering a mid-power e-bike, and so far the Fazua system seems to be leading the way in this respect. Where it could improve compared to its competitors is the response. While not exactly lethargic, it does suffer from a split second lag when you start pedalling, or back off the cranks to avoid a pedal strike. The rotary controller also feels fragile and plasticky, even if there isn’t really anything mechanical to break inside it. I’d still prefer to see something more robust in its place, ideally wireless. As for the noise, or lack of it, there is a very slight high pitch whine from the motor, so it’s not as silent as the TQ, but it’s still impressively quiet.
Haibike has given the Lyke a very firm, progressive rear suspension response that, in my opinion, is a good fit for the bike’s intended use. It’s supple off the top, but quickly begins to ramp up, offering good mid-stroke support and a really sporty nature that encouraged me to get out of the saddle and sprint up little rises and accelerate into mellow singletrack. Equally, it’s an easy bike to pump for speed, and there’s plenty to push against when you preload it into a jump or dip. Plush is not a word I’d use to describe the Lyke, so take it onto rougher terrain and you will get a bit of a battering, but the geometry and balance – thanks to those longish chainstays – mean there’s enough stability. You just need to hold on tight.
With so much support, I never felt the need to use the compression lever on the Float DPS shock. And to match the response at the rear, I also ended up running higher than recommended pressure in the fork. At 105psi, this is inline with what a 90kg rider should be running, not my 78kg. However, volume spacers in the fork and shock do mean that you could reduce the front and rear progression if you prefer a softer ride.
Haibike has done a great job of making the Lyke handle like a regular analogue bike. Perhaps even better, due to improved weight distribution. Putting the motor in the seat tube centralises the mass, which makes direction changes easier, and because the battery doesn’t sit so high in the frame, manualling the Lyke is really easy, despite the longish chainstays.
Haibike’s decision to fit Mavic wheels also has a strong influence on the ride. Although fast rolling, their bladed spokes lack support, so if you load up the Lyke in a corner they tend to flex laterally with a sudden twang, which produces a slightly vague, unpredictable edge to the cornering response. They’re fine when flowing down a trail, but get more aggressive, especially in a berm, and they upset the handling. Having said that, the shallow tread of the Maxxis Dissector tyres quickly extinguish the flames of any overexuberance. Again, I think they fit the remit of the bike perfectly, but hard charging riders will want to switch to a more aggressive front tread and a more robust rear casing.
I came away really enjoying every ride on the Lyke. It has a really well judged blend of power, range, speed, handling, and value. A few ingredients could be improved, but the main course is tasty and filling. As a versatile, assisted trail bike that captures the purity of an analogue model, there’s a lot to like.