The Himo C26 is an electric bike built for performance on and off road – promising to do it all for a budget price. First, we run it through its paces as a commuter bike to see if it can deliver from A to B in daily use.
Himo C26 At a Glance
Priced at AU $1799, the Himo C26 is comfortably in the budget e-bike range – usually reserved for lightweight, atypically shaped bikes designed for zipping around city streets, often by the riders of your favourite food delivery service. The C26 provides a striking contrast to these peers, with a classy white (or grey) colour-scheme and a clean unibody construction that hides its ample 48V/10AH battery seamlessly in the frame – at first glance, you’d be forgiven for not realising it was electric.
Once you’ve hopped on the seat, though, all that really matters is that it gets you to your destination quickly, safely, and comfortably. So let’s have a quick look at the specs, and then see if it can deliver.
Specs: Battery, Brakes and Body
|Shimano 7 Speed
|4/6m – wet/dry
Used around city streets, the Himo C26 cruises at a comfortable 25 km/h, with the electric motor kicking in to help you pedal up to that speed and maintain it as you inevitably stop and start on your trip. This is the top speed at which the motor will keep helping you, not the maximum speed of the bike itself, of course. Pedalling down a moderate hill, I reached and maintained 40 km/h fairly comfortably with the momentum of the weighty bike.
On flatter and more challenging slopes, you have three modes available to you: ECO, MID and HIGH – trading off between ease and battery life as you cycle up the modes. On ECO, the electrical assistance, which only comes into play as you pedal, helps you forget the extra heft you’ve brought with you – having had the arrogance to bring a fully-fledged mountain bike to the city – with each higher setting taking a little more of the effort out of the experience.
On long flat stretches, it’s relatively comfortable to reach close to the bike’s cruising speed even without the motor’s help. Rather than its electric capacity making the C26 faster then, it’s better to think of it as a helping push – with the three settings offering you an extra little kick, or a larger shove, to make it a more comfortable experience peddling up to speed as you move around town. At lower speeds – and particularly at higher power – this can be a little jarring at first, and the power can feel a little uneven at times, but becomes a smooth part of the ride as the bike gets up to speed.
Safety and Comfort
Inevitably, there’s always going to be a tradeoff between weight and, therefore, maneuverability for the features – a thicker, sturdier frame, suspension fork, larger wheels – that allow a bike to be taken off-road. Add on the large battery, and at 25kg the bike is certainly weighty. Fortunately, the large battery also provides ample range to help you forget that extra heft over daily travel distances from home to work, or out on errands to the shops. Used this way, the Himo C26 doesn’t suffer from its multiple personalities, making it a breeze to get up to and maintain speed while zipping around.
As with any heavier bike, it of course doesn’t handle as smoothly or as nimbly as a thinner road bike that could be half its weight. On short to medium journeys on the ample bike lanes of central Sydney, I didn’t find myself wishing for a lighter ride and was more than happy to accept the trade off in comfort and less sweatiness at my destination that the battery provided. Instead, I felt the weight the most, not on the road, but on the occasion I had to lug the bike up a flight of stairs, including up to my apartment to charge. Luckily however, the 10AH battery provided plenty of juice to make this an infrequent chore.
Safety wise, the Himo C26 does the best thing a bike can do to keep you in one piece – make you visible to the people in massive 1-tonne metal boxes speeding past you. Above the back wheel, the C26 features a brake light. Above the front, a headlight – powered by the battery and activatable via the control panel – for night riding or when visibility is low. Combined, I felt as secure as one could hope – even in rain or traffic in the evenings.
The Himo C26 provides a remarkable array of features for the price. Most impressively, it doesn’t feel like a compromise on the road – with its inbuilt battery design providing ample range and power, it neither looks nor rides like a bike as sturdy as it is. For those looking for comfort, safety and speed from A to B in a bike you can take anywhere, you can’t go wrong with the Himo C26.