Honbike U4 offers a unique belt drive electric bike that looks chic

E-bikes are suitable for many things. They’ll get you there faster than a traditional bike, cut through traffic faster than a car, and be more fun than either. But the downside is that they can often look pretty clunky. Some are even downright chonks. But not the Honbike U4, because this is a new e-bike that looks so sleek and sleek you’d never guess it had an electric motor or battery on board.

Honbike U4 e-bike is coming soon

On the way to Eurobike 2022 (Europe’s largest bicycle fair, the electr will be covered on site) the Honbike U4 celebrates its worldwide premiere on July 13th.

The design speaks for itself with a strikingly reduced use of round tubes in a modified X-frame.

As the company explained:

The Honbike U4 has a simple yet contemporary edge-free unisex design, making it ideal for city use and perfect for any user. Honbike’s new U4 is an e-bike that looks just like a traditional bike but gives users all the benefits of the features inherent in simple, easy-to-use e-bikes.

This sleek frame is ultra-light yet stiff thanks to the use of 7000 series aircraft-grade aluminum instead of the more common 6000-series aluminum we see in most bikes.

This isn’t Honbike’s first attempt at a new e-bike. We tested the company’s previous model and were very impressed. Below you can watch our video review of Honbike’s first e-bike model.

The design was created without any sharp curves or steep angles, resulting in the round and polished looking frame with cantilever wheels. Unlike the cantilevered wheels we saw on Honbike’s last model, this time Honbike used more standard fasteners while still innovating with one-piece magnesium rims.

We rarely see cantilever wheels in e-bikes and scooters due to the technical challenge, but when companies manage to do it, it results in a very distinctive appearance. Even with more traditional wheels bearing bearings on both sides, the magnesium rim here looks pretty impressive and also helps eliminate the hassle of spoke maintenance or wheel alignment concerns.

The bike is powered by a built-in 432 Wh battery. It’s frame-integrated, which has its pros and cons. On the other hand, it’s so well hidden that you’ll basically never know it’s there. The downside, however, is that it’s not easily detachable from the bike for charging, so you’ll need to get the bike close enough to an outlet to charge. If the battery ever needs servicing, it’s accessible with tools, but it’s not designed for daily removal.

Honbike says that the U4 can achieve an honest range of 62 miles or 100 km with this battery. At around 7 wh/mile, this would require a lot of pedaling on your part, but would probably be doable with the lowest assist setting. For those who want more power and can sacrifice a little range, the Honbike U4 has two other power settings that are likely to give you a little more boost. The bike is also apparently intelligent enough to automatically select the appropriate power level based on the rider’s own pedaling input. There’s no word yet on whether or not that means a true torque sensor-based pedal assist system, but it’s something we plan to take a closer look at next week’s show in Frankfurt.

Honbike U4

While the exact mechanism for activating the pedal assistance is still a bit hazy, the drivetrain itself is much clearer. We know the bike is fitted with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system, which allows it to offer a smooth and quiet pedaling platform free from the oil and maintenance hassles of bike chains.

Honbike CEO Quinton Pullinger put it best, stating:

Our e-bikes are designed to advertise chain-free and fuss-free, and our Honbike U4 is no exception. It’s a model of true craftsmanship, thanks to technology and design that offer buyers affordable value, so it’s the smart choice for anyone who’s considered an e-bike but hasn’t made the switch yet. Ideal for travelers on a budget, the Honbike U4 does not compromise on the features that e-bike enthusiasts demand and expect compared to its competitors.

The belt drive also means it’s a single speed, which is either great or a downer depending on your own views on cycling. As someone who mostly rides flat terrain, I’m a big fan of single speeds. But even on gentle hills, the electric assist often does the work of a lower gear by shifting in more pep for drivers when climbing inclines.

The rear motor has no power rating, but will likely carry a 250W label for legal reasons as the bike debuts in Europe. Thanks to more restrictive e-bike laws in Europe, higher powered motors are not common on the continent.

The first Honbike U4 models will be available in the UK next week, priced at £1,599 including tax (about €1,880 or US$1,920). The EU sale should follow soon after.

Early deliveries begin in August, but don’t expect the bike to be available in the US until this fall at the earliest.

Hopefully I’ll be able to test the bike at Eurobike where we’ll give you our take on the ride quality.

Until then, let’s hear your thoughts on the design. Could you see yourself on such an e-bike?

Honbike U4

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