The Hebb electric bike is a classic example of an American ebike manufacturer (Hebb Electric Bikes) taking an entirely made-in-China product (Ezee electric bike), and slapping their label on it and selling it in the USA. As easy as this sounds, Hebb seems to be doing a great job of this. Hebb picked a great product, probably one of the better bikes that are entirely designed and built in China, built an impressive and informative website, and have done a great job of providing service and support for their ebike.
They call their bike the “ElectroGlide 1000″
Hebb electric bikes is the work of one man, Bill Hebb. And if you call the number posted on this website or printed on his bike you will get to talk to Bill directly. This arrangement really works out well for the consumer. Because if you bought an Ezee bike straight from China, it would cost you more than the price of the bike to air ship it here, and good luck getting any support from the Ezee factory. If you are thinking about bypassing Bill and buying from Ezee direct we wish you the best of luck…you will need it.
Now lets take a look at the bike that Bill Sells:
Before getting passionate about electric bikes, Bill Hebb made a fortune selling quality treadmills (made in China) to the USA market. While visiting China, he noticed the streets flooded with electric bikes, and became curious. Bill found the Ezee factory in China which is among the best turn-key China-made bikes in the industry. He likes this ebike, rides one every day with his wife, has seen how ebikes can transform your life (read our article) and has decided to bring these bikes to the USA.
I am familiar with the Ezee brand of electric bike, because I bought one for my wife 4 years ago (an Ezee Quando) and it is the only ebike in my stable that has never broken, and is still running strong on the same battery pack. Its always impressed me with how reliable and solid Ezee bikes are and have always wanted to write something about them…well here is my chance. The Hebb Ezee Bikes would make great bikes for a wife or for seniors, or for anyone who does not mind the styling and wants an ultra reliable commuter. Lets face it the Hebb bike does have that straight-off-the-boat from China look going. I do really like its accessories such as fenders and rear rack. it is a fully functional bike for the right person.
The latest carnation of the Hebb comes with a powerful 500 watt hub motor amped up to a maximum of 1000 watts. This bike is surprisingly zippy and fast, and at the same time is silent and smooth. This bike performs much better than it looks. The ride is solid without any jankiness or clattering. The bike is not an attention getter, and is perfect for a low key get around town device.
Mid frame battery mount
The Hebb does not have a purpose built frame , but is still a much better frame than for example a Pedego which simply welds the battery rack to the rear rack. The Hebb uses a standard Chinese design where the rectangular battery is mounted mid frame behind the seat tube. When you lift up the Hebb with its battery in the middle, and lightweight geared hub motor up front, it feels balanced and not so heavy. The battery is removable and swappable, so you can carry a second battery and double your range when you need to.
The size of this battery is larger than on most ebikes at 37 volts, 14-Ah, and 518-watt hours (read our article on watt hours). With this size of battery we estimate the average user will get 26 miles per charge. The battery is made up of the common 18650 cells, and is considered high quality.
The Hebb is using an Ezee geared 500 watt motors which is one of the nicer choices of geared motors available. This motor has been proven to be reliable, quiet, powerful, light weight and waterproof. It is the only brushless motor sold by industry expert ebikes.ca, which speaks volumes. As you can see in the picture the motor is relatively small size fitting behind the front disc rotor.
Notice this bike uses Schwalbe Marathon tires which is the same tires the $12,000 Optibike uses. Schwalbe Marathons are a great choice for an electric bike because they have low rolling resistance (for increased range) and are extremely puncture resistant.
With its front wheel drive motor and rectangular center mounted battery pack, the Hebb obviously looks like an electric bike. So you are not going to fool anyone riding around on this bike. Rear wheel hub motors are less conspicuous than front wheel motors.
Internal Gear Hub
The Hebb bike uses a Nexus 7 speed internal gear hub, with a planetary gear set built right into the rear hub. This gives the bike a completely straight chainline, gets rid of unsightly and untidy derailleurs, eliminates most gear train maintenance, and makes shifting a breeze.
On the Hebb, the right hand does the throttle and the click shifting. I prefer a twist grip shifter on the left hand side, but the Hebb shift system works adequately with 7 speeds.
Front wheel drive….shady forks
If you are being a safety nit, its a bad combination to mix of a powerful front hub motor cranking out 1000 watts with a cheap Chinese made suspension fork…especially when these forks are made of aluminum. Although it looks like Zoom did a good job of beefing up the front drop outs for the hub motor (pictured) there are may other places an aluminum fork could fail.
The thing about aluminum forks is they fatigue and then suddenly snap. Although this is a rare occurrence, it can happen, and a front fork snapping is one of the few things on an electric bike that can quickly kill you. I think that this zoom suspension fork is a horrible choice for this bike, and i would like to see some solid rigid steel forks in their place. No suspension is better than cheap suspension. I rode off a few bumps with this fork and it does not even work very good for smoothing out the road. I would prefer a quality suspension seat like the Brookes, or a quality suspension seat post over this horrible front suspension….especially considering the safety factor and the hub motor.
If you do buy this bike I would advise you to not go off any curves or any kind of jump, make sure your axle bolts are always tight, and do not loan your bike to a teenage son.
Unfortunately I think the cheesey front suspension is the biggest negative on this bike.
The hazards of front wheel drive
Besides for front fork failure front wheel drive has other hazards. The tire can spin out on you at low speeds and when riding on sandy or gravelly surfaces especially when climbing. It takes a little bit of time to get use to it, but be careful until you are.
That being said, I prefer front wheel drives on all my electric bikes. Also, people who live where its wet or snowy seem to like having 2WD by using a front hub motor.
Cheap suspension forks
Did I say this thing has some cheesey looking suspension forks? It actually looks higher quality in the picture than it does in person. This bike would look so much better without this cheap suspension, and just some rigid steel forks.
The Hebb uses mechanical disc brakes up front, and a coaster brake in the back. The brakes seem to work adequately. I was able to lock both front and rear tires on my test ride at top speed and they did not squeak.
The Hebb has adjustable height and angle handlebars, that need to be set with an allen key. Some of the newer models of ebikes by Currie and Pedego have quick releases that can be adjusted without tools, but I prefer the simpleness and look of the Hebb tool-adjusted handlebar. Also the handlebars are anodized black and they feel and look like they are good quality.
This is a no-frills dashboard that does its intended job adequately. Although its LCD screen readout is archaic, it is not trying to be anything fancy, which is refreshing. It gives an easy-to-read (even in direct sunlight) display of how much battery you have left, and what power mode you are in. Regarding power modes, you have 5 different modes you can be in, the higher the mode the higher level of assist.
No matter what mode you are in you always have a hand-throttle override available. Mode #1 is pure throttle. Most users will opt for this simple mode of operation. Just throttle and go. The Hebb bike uses a cadence system (measures how fast you are peddling) and not a torque sensing system (read our article on torque sensors).
The Hebb comes with a bicycle speedometer and odometer.
In comparison, the Pedego City commuter (read review) has the speedometer and odometer built into its fancy digital dashboard, and instead of having a magnetic sensor on the spokes, the hub motor has a speed sensor built in, which is a much cleaner integrated solution.
The Hebb uses integrated lights, which means the front and rear light are hard wired into the battery pack, which is the way to go on an ebike. Light systems like this are harder to steal, are brighter than traditional bike lights, and are highly convenient. They are also safer because you will never forget your bike light when you get stuck riding home at night, or need to frequently swap in D-cell batteries.
Center Kick Stand
The Hebb uses a convenient center kickstand. Its hard to do a kickstand right on an electric bike, because they weigh considerably more than a regular bike, and therefore regular kickstands don’t work well. The center kickstand of the Hebb works perfectly.
Convenient rear rack (without battery in it)
The rear rack is a very convenient accessory, and even comes with a convenient bungee chord.
Two different models
This bike comes in 2 different versions, a diamond frame and a step-thru. Most of the pics so far have been the step through, so lets take a look at the diamond frame. On this particular bike I would recommend the Step through. Step through’s in general are more convenient on electric bikes (which are heavy) because you don’t have to lean them over to get onto them.
Because of this bike design with iffy suspension forks, it is not an off road bike, and does not need the extra frame support a diamond frame provides. Buy the diamond frame only because you like the aesthetics of it.
The diamond frame bike has a different set of handlebars which are very cruiser bike. In fact, that is what we think the Chinese were trying to accomplish with this bike…a California cruiser. It looks more like a cruiser from the riders perspective than it does from any other viewpoint. Check out these handlebars:
Hebb Ebike vs City Commuter
If you are considering the Hebb you should also look at the Pedego City Commuter (read review) which just released this month. Both bikes have pluses and minuses, and it might come down to which bike is selling at a dealer near you.
Bill Hebb, the Man
When you buy a Hebb bike you are buying from Bill Hebb the man. He puts his name on every bike and his phone number. If something goes wrong with a bike, he claims he will personally take care of you. He offers a 2-year full warranty on the bike which is impressive for the industry. Currie and Pedego only offer one year.
Hebb does have a solid reputation for standing behind his bikes and makes this video in which he seems to be sincere. In case Hebb does go out of business, you will always be able to get replacment parts direct from China. Ezee has been around for 15 years and is a major manufacturer in China and is not going anywhere. Check out the Ezee website here:
Further Reading about this bike
Bill Hebb has done a remarkable job of providing documentation for his bike:
I was mildly impressed with this bike which says a lot because it is not the type of ebike I typically like. It rides and performs much better than expected. It was based on test riding this bike while reviewing other bikes that I decided to write this review. It rides better than it looks. I really like the internal-gear-hub in back and front-wheel-drive electric bikes. I think they make awesome commuters.
The Hebb’s styling and choice of cheap front suspension is not so good, but if you can get past that, it is a solid bike that should give you years of trouble free service. I like the quality lithium battery, 500W Ezee geared motor cranked up to 1000 watts. I like that it is using top name components like Schwalbe Marathon tires for many of its critical parts.
If you do have a dealer nearby who sells Hebb electric bikes, I think it is hard to go wrong with this purchase. I always recommend buying from a local dealer as opposed to buying on the internet so you can get warranty support when you need it.