The first thing you’ll notice about the fat-tired Himiway Zebra electric bike is that it’s big. You guys, it’s so big, and it has a vibe and presence and swagger that’s decidedly more Harley-Davidson than Tour de France – and if you think that’s a good thing, you’ll want to keep reading.
Let’s talk about the bike. My tester is a metallic gray 2022 Himiway Zebra with a conventional “step over” diamond frame, and it’s actually the second Zebra I’ve had a chance to try out in as many months (I’ll get to that in a minute). The company says that the frame is made of 6061 aluminum – a lightweight, hardened aluminum alloy that contains magnesium and silicon – but that knowledge is purely academic in the bike’s 79 lb. presence.
And that’s 79 lbs. before you count the accessories.
400 lb. Cargo Capacity
On the move, however, you never feel the weight. Even on the lowest, “level 1” pedal assist, the Himiway’s powerful, 750W geared hub motor – fed by a 48V, 20Ah Samsung/LG battery – does a fantastic job of pushing the Zebra along like a bike weighing half as much. In fact, you almost never feel the bike’s mass at all while you’re on the move. The bike’s 7, Shimano trigger-shift gears have just the right ratios, giving a trip through the gears a crisp, linear feel. The big hydraulic disc brakes, too, feel like they’d haul the massive Zebra down from just about any speed with confidence-inspiring stability.
In fact, if there’s one criticism to be made about the bike itself, it’s that the Himiway feels a lot more like a big moped or small motorcycle than it does a bicycle. And, while that could be a plus for many buyers (Yooo!), it might not deliver the fun, carefree feeling of – I dunno. Let’s say a Rad Power RadRunner or Himiway’s own (and aptly named) Escape Pro.
If there’s two criticisms, it’s that the 79 lb. Himiway Zebra – while not feeling a day an ounce over 40 on the move – feels a lot heavier than that when you’re trying to carry it up stairs.
Then again, when was the last time you tried to toss a Harley Fat Bob over your shoulder and carry it upstairs?
That’s Your Answer to Everything
If you’re starting to sense a pattern here, one where I respond to every criticism of the Himiway Zebra with a dismissive sort of, “think of it like a motorcycle” wave of the hand – that’s because I genuinely feel that way.
If you were to strip away all the electric bike pretense and just look at this vehicle in a group of its peers, you’ll find that the $1,999 Zebra is among the biggest, baddest, most powerful, and most capable the fat-tired, long range electric bike models out there.
Really, Really Long Range Electric Bike
When you start talking about big and bad in the context of the Himiway, you have to mention the range. Put simply, it’s huge.
The Himiway website says you can ride up to 80 miles on a single charge. That might be true, but the furthest I’ve ridden it so far is about 8 miles one-way – and I’ve never seen it show anything but a full battery on its informative LCD display.
The Zebra is fast, too. This Himiway a legit class 3 e-bike with a 28 mph top speed that it gets up to quickly, with enough zip to– uh, zip (sorry) past most of the cars going stop sign to stop sign around Oak Park and River Forest’s 25-35 mph speed zones.
Consider the back seat. Does the Zebra ship with a back seat? No, but it does come with a sturdy rear rack that’s more than up to the task of supporting one of the littler kids. A quick stop at Lord Bezos’ got me a seat pad and foot pegs on the cheap, and my daughter is ready to live out whatever passes for a “Sons of Anarchy” fantasy for a 9-year old.
Finally, consider the bike’s stance. The Zebra is an absolute bruiser of a bike. It’s the sort of bike Thor would ride, and when I first got my hands on one during a trip to California earlier this year, I had assumed I’d stumbled onto some errant XL frame that had wandered away from its Nordic master – but now I know. My tester arrived every bit as big as the other one, and I’ve since confirmed that this is a “one size” frame that’s supposedly good for riders 5’2” and up.
Look, I’m trying to write a positive review here because I genuinely, really, really like the Himiway Zebra. And, guys (gender-neutral), if your spouse (again, gender-neutral) won’t let you ride a motorcycle, just say, “Yes, dear.” and get you a Zebra. For real. It’s a more convincing motorcycle than a Honda Rebel 250 or Kawasaki Eliminator 125 and at least as much fun on a dirt trail as a Honda Trail.
All that said, there is no freakin’ way a 5’2” rider is going to be able to swing a leg over the step over frame. For reference, I’m 5’6”/5’7” and I can’t step over the top tube with anything like grace. My wife, a little taller and with longer legs, fares a bit better – but 5’2”? I can’t imagine, and I’ll recommend the Himiway Zebra step-thru to anyone under 5’8”.
Regardless of which of the Himiway Zebra frames you end up with, though, you’ll have a great bike on your hands.
Is this the perfect electric bike, then? No. The grips are a bit slick if you’re not wearing gloves (wear gloves), and it took a little bit of trial-and-error to get the front suspension to feel “right” at speed, but there is one category that I can point to and say that, yes, this is the best electric bike you can buy: the Himiway Zebra is great, big, awesome fun.
I may not recommend the Zebra to my “normie” friends, of course, but that’s part of what makes the bike so cool. It’s a 1%-er’s electric bike, if there is such a thing, and the very next thing I’m going to do to the Himiway that now lives in my garage is strip the rack and fenders, find some whitewall tires, and get someone to pinstripe the frame.
That’s love, guys. Get one.
This article is supported by Himiway.
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