The Heybike Tyson e-bike is janky, fun, and sometimes dangerous

0
35
The Heybike Tyson e-bike is janky, fun, and sometimes dangerous


Enlarge / If green isn’t your thing, the Tyson comes in black and blue.

Eric Bangeman

This time, I’ll lead with the conclusion. The Heybike Tyson is loaded with all of the e-bike features I could ever want, is a blast to ride, and can become unsafe to operate at a moment’s notice. The unit I reviewed had more than one build-quality issue that cannot be overlooked, which is a shame, because this is also one of the most fun electric bikes I’ve ever ridden. If you just wanted to know if the Heybike Tyson is worth buying, you’ve got your answer and can close this tab. If you want the details, read on.

Priced at $1,699, the Class 3 Tyson is Heybike’s folding e-bike. Built with a magnesium frame and painted bright green, the Tyson’s scooter-like handlebars, mountain-bike-like suspension, and fat knobby tires result in a ride that looks equal parts goofy, charming, and rugged. Capable of carrying up to 400 lbs (163 kg) of rider and cargo, the Tyson sports a dual hydraulic suspension to smooth out the rough spots on the pavement. It has the same Shimano seven-speed groupset and hydraulic disc brakes you’ll see on most e-bikes.

The Heybike Tyson is indeed foldable, and the battery is removable. Getting it back in takes a little bit of effort due to the position of the power cables.
Enlarge / The Heybike Tyson is indeed foldable, and the battery is removable. Getting it back in takes a little bit of effort due to the position of the power cables.

Eric Bangeman/Ars Technica

The Tyson looks more like an electric moped than anything else. It has a headlight, taillight, turn signals, and even a horn that does a passable imitation of the Roadrunner right before he’s about to clown the coyote. It’s powered by a 750 W motor and a 48V 15 Ah battery that can charge fully in four to five hours. Unfortunately, you’ll never quite know how much battery life you actually have once you start riding—more on that, later.

Not quite 99 problems, but…

You'll appreciate some help putting this together, although you can do it on your own if needed.
Enlarge / You’ll appreciate some help putting this together, although you can do it on your own if needed.

Eric Bangeman/Ars Technica

At 77 lb (35 kg), the Tyson is a beefy bike. I put it together by myself, but some help would have been welcomed, especially when it came to seating the tires and adjusting the stem. As is customary, Heybike includes all of the tools needed for assembly, and I found the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Securing the wheels to the frame is done with a nut-and-bolt combo, and Heybike provides plastic covers to protect this combo from the elements, but they have an unfortunate habit of popping off the bike. But the biggest pain point during assembly was the brakes. It’s not at all unusual to have to align the disc brakes after building an e-bike. What is unusual is to have to do it several times—and reseat the wheel—only to realize that the disc itself is slightly warped. Over my time with the bike, I would occasionally be greeted by horrible screeching when applying the brakes at higher speeds.

I lost count of how many times I tightened this hex nut so the wheel and handlebar would play nicely together.
Enlarge / I lost count of how many times I tightened this hex nut so the wheel and handlebar would play nicely together.

Eric Bangeman/Ars Technica

Aligning the handlebar-stem combo and front wheel was also tough due to the foldable nature of the Tyson. In theory, it’s simple: line the stem and handlebars up with the front wheel, fold down the stem to expose a hex socket, and tighten it with a No. 10 hex key. Then tighten the hex nuts at the base of the stem. In reality, folding down the stem can throw the alignment off just enough to notice. And then you need to be careful not to touch the stem while using the hex key. It took me a few tries to get the handlebar and front wheel lined up.

This leads to the Tyson’s big red flag: The wheel-handlebar alignment can get out of whack very easily. After one trip, I noticed that the alignment was slightly off. So I braced the front wheel between my legs and adjusted the handlebar about an inch. The next time I rode it, the steering became looser and looser to the point where the handlebars could no longer steer the bike. Thankfully, I was only a couple of blocks from home when this happened, so the walk home wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The tighter the hex nut is, the less likely alignment issues are, but I haven’t been able to avoid handlebar/wheel misalignments no matter how much torque I apply.



Source link