Haibike, the high-end German ebike maker known for its Bosch-powered mountain bikes and trekking/touring bikes, appears to be bringing its lower-cost SDURO line of Yamaha-powered mid-drive ebikes to the US, after having sold the Yamaha mid-drives alongside the premium Bosch system in Europe for quite some time.
On Haibike Germany’s US microsite, a teaser indicates that the SDURO models will be coming to the US in September 2015, however, due to the fact that the big bike tradeshows generally occur in the early fall, with resulting products generally arriving at dealers in the spring, it’s unclear if Haibike’s timeline will mean that you’ll be able to buy an SDURO in the US come September. Rather, it could be that Haibike is preparing for some big announcements during the tradeshow(s), and that we’ll have to wait months to actually try an SDURO.
The 2016 SDURO models’ Yamaha drive system features 70nm of torque, according to Haibike.
The SDURO AllMtn RX and Pro models are set to include e:i’s electronically-dampened full suspension.
Some SDURO models will include a dual front chainring, increasing the flexibility of the bike’s gearing for climbing steep grades.
Though Haibike’s SDURO line sells for approximately 30% less than comparable XDURO models at dealers in the UK, Haibike is not keen to simply highlight the SDURO models’ lower price. Instead, their new SDURO site indicates that they’re trying to use the SDURO models to appeal to a younger crowd that might be more likely to use the bike off-road. This marketing angle may actually just be in deference to Bosch, which has invested quite a bit of money in engineering and marketing and consequently doesn’t want to see its sales volume drop precipitously once a lower-cost system becomes available stateside.
There’s no word yet on the power output coming from the Yamaha system. Traditionally, Bosch has sold 36V/250W mid-drive systems in Europe and 36V/350W systems in the United States, with the difference chalked up to the different regulatory environments (Europe’s generally being more stringent). Yamaha will likely match the Bosch’s system’s 350W, however, if Yamaha were to offer a 500W mid-drive, they could effectively unseat Bosch as the top choice for riders who cherish speed and acceleration. Gaining a foothold in the performance ebike market might offer big sales opportunities for Yamaha, since a lack of oomph has been a common complaint from ebike riders who have test driven 350W mid-drive ebikes.
Will the SDURO make a big dent in Bosch sales? That’s yet to be decided. A big determinant of the battle between Bosch and Yamaha will depend on the reliability of their respective motor and battery systems, and the ebike community at large won’t really have a good idea of Yamaha’s reliability until a year or two after the system’s introduction. Bosch’s system is well-known here in the US, and big players in the US ebike world such as Motostrano have sworn by the Bosch system’s reliability. Another factor in the battle is battery life: Bosch’s system will offer up to 500Wh in 2016, whereas Yamaha seems to be sticking with their tried-and-true 400Wh battery.