The Hanebrink is an all terrain electric bike with a unique design and some innovative features. Most E-bike companies are not offering anything innovative or fresh. Most of today’s E-bikes consist of hastily converted bicycles, made up of all Asian components, and almost always a hub motor in the rear, and shipped over in a cargo container from China. The Hanebrink is an American breath of fresh air, a mid-drive bike (although strangely, the motor is a converted hub motor) with a totally different design that is mostly made in the USA.
At first when I saw the Hanebrink I thought it was built for just snow and sand riding. The more I learned about the e-bike, and now that I have gotten a chance to ride one, I realize it is much more versatile then I originally thought, and would in fact make a wonderful guerrilla commuter. If Mad Max rode an E-bike it would be a hot-rodded Hanebrink at 96 volts…if I were to choose an electric bike I would run from the Police on, it would be the Hanebrink on 96 volts. It turns out on further questioning, company owner will build a customer an off road only 96 volt bike (or just a 48 volt bike) upon request (for a price).
The Hanebrink has the following unique and custom components, detailed below in pictures:
Custom Rims and Tires – Hanebrink builds their own wheels and rims himself with the idea of strength and light weight. Although the tire, wheel combo looks heavy, wheels weigh only one pound, and a tire can weigh as little as 3 pounds depending on which tire the customer opts for.
The mid mounted hub motor works incredibly well. The system is silent and smooth. The double freewheel works as it should. The bike rides like a regular bike when not applying electric power.
The Hanebrink bike is for the most part made in the USA and assembled at its Southern California factory. The Hanebrink made our list of the 10 most expensive electric bikes . Why so expensive? The Hanebrink has custom made frame and components that are fabricated in the US, not made in huge quantities. The Lithium-Cobalt battery pack is also provided by a USA pack manufacturer with a 2 year warranty. The Hanebrink bike uses All Cell as its pack producer, which is the same people who make the Optibike pack. Expect a long lasting problem free battery pack in this package. I would highly recommend converting to 48 volts and getting the power and extra range associated. Although this option is not listed on the website, if you talk to the people at Hanebrink they can accommodate such requests. I rode a 48 version of this ebike and it was nothing short of fantastic.
The Hanebrink has been proven to be ahead of its time in two ways. It is an electric bike which can be ridden on the beach or snow, which thanks to the advent of the Surly Pugsley, there has been some recent interest in that (read our story here), and also it has a mid-mounted hub motor inside the frame. The round disc you see in the Hanebrink frame is actually a hub motor which is usually mounted inside the rear wheel on most bikes. The Hanebrink has its hub motor spinning inside the frame, and powering the rear wheel through the pedal chain.
Basically, the mid-mounted hub motor makes the bikes rear derailleur double as a transmission for the hub motor. A hub motor, like all electric motors, is happier when it is spinning fast. This makes the bike both more reliable, more efficient, and run cooler. By adding a transmission, you can shift down when you need torque or if you want to climb a hill. This also allows you to keep the RPMs of the hub motor up high, thus keeping it in its ideal RPM range. What this equates to is a very efficient machine (despite its thick tires), especially for hill climbing and off road applications. The Hanebrink will beat most of its thin tired hub motor counterparts in efficiency tests except when ridden on flat and paved surfaces.
The Optibike 850 is also a mid-drive, but uses a much noisier motor built into the bottom bracket, and it is also an effective and efficient mountain climber. If you want an E-bike to climb steep hills off road you should be looking for a mid-drive bike like the Hanebrink or Optibike. There are very few mid-drive bikes commercially available which use the bicycle gears as a transmission, and they aren’t cheap.