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Amsterdam is known to be a progressive, trendsetting city and open to firsts. This includes things that roll in the bike lane. Check out my review of the HONBIKE Uni4.

In partnership with HONBIKE

HONBIKE in Amsterdam

If you’ve never heard of HONBIKE, don’t fret. The Asian based startup were crowd crowdfunded on Indiegogo and went on to win a Red Dot Design Award in 2021 for their HF01 foldable shaft drive E-bike.
HONBIKE launched a new addition to their lineup in 2022 with the Uni4.

Honbike Uni4 in Amsterdam

Honbike on ice | icycle

This is a long range commuter with a unique minimalist design. The Uni4 retails for €1.799,00 in Europe. How does the bike hold up in a burgeoning E-bike market on the streets of Amsterdam? Let’s start at the unboxing.

The unboxing of the Uni4

The Uni4 arrived at my home in a large box. It’s always best to refer to any online documents when it comes to unboxing a bike. Lifting the Uni4 improperly out of a box could damage cables and parts. The bike was well packaged and protected.

Honbike Uni4 in a box

Unboxing the Honbike

Accessories and tools included were four hex keys, socket spanner, M5 screws, dropout covers and pedals. The printed instructions were clear. The bike requires some assembly. It was pretty straight forward though I had to adjust the front caliper after putting an axle through the fork and wheel. It took me around 40 minutes to setup.

A unique design

My first impressions of the Uni4 is that it’s a minimalist bike that encourages curiosity. It’s essentially composed of three tubes. The top tube is on an angle and extends next to the seat tube, all the way down to where it veers into the rear hub. When sitting on the bike, you may think that something is misaligned or out of the whack.

But it grew on me, especially when riding and I would think it to be a nice compliment in the bike lane. Even though it has a consistent tubular look, Uni4 did a good job keeping a modern, streamlined feel to it, without looking bulbous.

Honbike Uni4 frame view from above

The wheel is likely the next thing that draws your intention. This one-piece design is made from die-cast magnesium and eliminates the need for spoke tension. The good size tires (27.5″ x 2.0) have a reflective sidewall with a fine, uniform pattern.

The overall clean look continues with a neatly integrated kickstand and tucked away cables along the handlebar. You get a comfort unisex saddle with a sleek urban look. I found it comfortable enough, though I would consider swapping it if I had long commutes.

The handlebar and LCD display

The handlebar is flat with a slight concave shape with a width of 67cm. It comes equipped with rubber ergo grips that offer a good palm position. The buttons to activate the mode functions are easily accessible while riding.
There is an integrated bell that requires the use of your index finger. This took a little getting used as every bell I’ve ever used is a thumb action. Otherwise, it’s well placed and found it to be sufficiently loud in traffic.
The LCD display is nicely integrated in the center of the handlebar. It’s super clear and shows the battery power, current mode and speed, as well as blue-tooth connection to the App and if the front light is activated. On the right, the Uni4 is equipped with a throttle. You simply engage it by pressing down.

Components and Specs

The Uni4 uses a Gates Carbon Belt drive coupled with a 36 volt 250 W rear motor hub with a built in gear reduction transmission. It has an integrated battery that delivers a maximum range of 100 km on single charge. It’s highly water resistant as it has a rating of IPX6.
The Uni4 is equipped with mechanical brakes. I would have highly preferred to have hydraulics. I get the occasional squeak from the back brake which required some adjustment. The rear brake pads are also different from the pads used in the front.
Replacing the the tires, brake cable, brake discs, brake pads, Gates belt, saddle, seat post, and pedals can be done by components commercially available in the market. All other parts on the Uni4 are specifically designed by HONBIKE. So if they fail, you would need to contact HONBIKE for support.

Additional Specs

  • Frame: 7000 series aluminum alloy
  • Motor: 36V 250W Rear drive
  • Battery: Integrated 432Wh (12Ah, 36V)
  • Range: Up to 100 KM on full charge
  • Speed: 25 km/h (European model)
  • Booster torque: 45Nm
  • Riding modes: Eco, City, Sport
  • Lights: integrated front light, LED back light
  • Max Load: 120KG
  • Weight: Approximate weight 20.2KG
  • Recommended rider height: 160cm-190cm

Review of the Honbike Uni4

First Impresssions

My first impression is this is an engaged and compliant ride, thanks to the wide handlebars. They’re also pretty high, which made it easy on the hands with the ergo grips.
The motor was quiet, and there was no noise, creaks or vibrations coming from the fenders, even on cobbled roads.
The good sized tires almost act as a suspension, absorbing shock while offering consistent grip even when turning corners.

Experience riding the Uni4

Riding at full throttle

I was eager to try out the throttle, which serves as a lever that controls the amount of power being delivered to the motor.
The throttle reminds me of something you might find on a high end gaming console. All I need are some banana peels to toss behind me because I felt like I was playing a video game on a bike.
It was also smooth and responsive. It’s a fun way to hit higher speeds while using the pedal-assist system. I found it to be particularly useful when starting from a stop or if need to jostle for position during a busy commute in Amsterdam. I enjoy using it and may prefer it over a trigger or twist throttle.

The experience of riding the Uni4

There are three power modes with the Uni4. Eco mode offering a small level of power-assist. City Mode, medium power and medium range and sport mode for max power. The buttons to activate the modes are easily accessible with the thumb.

Riding Honbike in Amsterdam

The Uni4 has an integrated gyroscope in the rear motor and works with the torque and speed sensor to deliver power-assist. Amsterdam is not a hilly city but there are many small inclines. I rode up them effortlessly in any mode while using the throttle.
The front fender did a questionable job in protecting from splashes but the bike handled well and had solid traction in the rain.

Riding in manual mode

Now there is actually 4 modes on the Uni4. The first of which is the bicycle (manual) mode where the motor will not offer any power-assistance. The display remains on as do the front lights if activated.
I ride in bicycle mode most of the time.
Why in the world would I ride an E-bike and not use pedal-assist motor?

There are a few reasons why I ride in manual with the Uni4. As there are no gears, I was pedalling without much resistance when riding at 25 km/h. So I found myself coasting, spinning the pedals, coasting again and occasionally braking. Not that enjoyable if you’re riding alongside someone or when you have open road.

It never occurred to me that I could use the throttle in bicycle mode.
This is a game changer. I don’t feel like I’m working against the bike when maxed out with the power-assist. In bicycle mode mode, I can routinely hit 30 km/hr or more with little effort without feeling like I’m kicking air.
If you come to a stop or need to slow down, you will need to use the throttle. But the boost ensures there won’t be any disruption in your riding. I was back at top speed in no time.

Connecting to the HONBIKE app

HONBIKE recommends to register the bike via their app. Once complete, the bike can connect via a bluetooth connection.
Fortunately the experience of the Uni4 is not dependent on the app. Total distance will be displayed whenever connected, but the app doesn’t need to be running in order to track the number. In addition to distance, there is also a battery power indicator. You can record your ride with a GPS that tracks distance, duration and average speed.
There is also an option to lock the bike via the app. This will deactivate the modes and throttle, essentially just putting it in bicycle mode. Otherwise, there is no theft deterrent such as movement detection, alarm or GPS tracker.

Charging the Uni4

It takes about 4 hours to complete charging the battery. A full charge will take you about 100 km in eco mode, though that depends on several factors (wind, inflated tires, weight, etc.) Riding in bicycle mode while using the throttle could skew the numbers.

When the battery level dropped down to two bars, power-assist was reduced and the throttle felt like it was out of juice. It’s a forewarning that the battery needed to be charged soon. But this is a common save mode mechanism used on many E-bikes.

Final thoughts

After riding the Uni4 for over 300 km, in both casual urban cycling and blitzing the streets of Amsterdam, the bike has lot going for it.

It’s a fun and compliant ride. The power-assist works well with the throttle being a perfect compliment, especially in bicycle mode. This bike is built for the individual. It’s a low-Maintenance, nicely styled E-bike offered at a competitive price point and a worthy addition to any urban cycling community.

The Uni4 is for anyone looking for a stylish, minimalist, low-maintenance urban E-bike with a high fun factor at a decent price.

GusRolling Spoke

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