I’m not going to beat around the bush. The Heybike Sola is SHOCKINGLY cheap. This is an electric commuter bike that is currently on sale for less than the price of most regular, non-electric commuter bikes. In addition to its ridiculously low price, it has a torque sensor, meaning it’s a lot more fun and responsive to ride than your standard ultra-budget e-bike.
So, should you run out and buy one? We got our hands on one and put it through its paces to find the answer. I’ll talk about our hands-on riding experiences, the bike’s pros and cons, and what factors you should consider to decide if the Heybike Sola is right for you.
Before we get started, though, I’d like to ask a small favor: if you find this review helpful, we’d really appreciate it if you clicked on the link on this page to purchase the bike. The more people use our links, the more unbiased, honest reviews we can put out on the internet, allowing more people to find the right bikes for them.
Heybike Sola Review – Hands-On Experience
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It’s got a frame designed for relaxed, upright riding, with leather handlebar covers and a wide seat that provides plenty of butt support. The bike has an angled top tube that drops as it approaches the seat, meaning that the bike can fit shorter riders while allowing taller riders to straddle the frame with a bit of crotch clearance.
Without accessories, the Sola weighs less than 51 lbs. This is quite light for an e-bike. With its light weight, the Sola is quite pleasant to ride with minimal motor assistance. It feels like a bike, not a motorcycle.
The Heybike Sola uses a torque sensor to tell how hard you’re pedaling. This is a bit of kit that’s usually found on much more expensive e-bikes. The big advantage of a torque sensor is that the bike can instantly tell if you’re pedaling or not, as well as how much effort you’re putting into the pedals. E-bikes with cadence sensors often have a bit of lag time before their motors kick in. With the Sola, you’ll get a seamless experience that’s fantastically fun. It feels less like you’re being pushed by a motor and more like the bike is weightless, making it effortless to ride.
As far as the motor and battery go, the Sola seems quite powerful. Sam had no trouble pedaling up inclines of 25 degrees on the Sola. This is quite impressive for an e-bike that weighs about 50 pounds, let alone one at this price point. You’ll have no problem hitting 20 miles an hour on this bike.
Range-wise, we were getting about 25 miles per charge. This is much less than Heybike’s advertised range of 60 miles, but it’s also about what we expected from the bike’s specification sheet. 25 miles is more than enough for most commutes, especially since you can bring the battery inside and charge it while you’re at work.
Sam really enjoyed the 2.1” tires on this bike. They provide a lot of comfort, stability, and accessibility to your ride without adding a lot of weight or rolling resistance. The bike feels incredibly stable on pavement, with the extra width from the tires giving you more traction while also smoothing out road bumps just a little bit. Skinny road bike tires would be more efficient but far less comfortable, while fat tires would make the motor work extra hard to get the bike moving. The Sola’s tires are a great compromise for commuting in a city.
The Sola is a bike that’s designed for cost efficiency, not fanciness. This means that you get mechanical brakes, no front suspension, and very inexpensive shifters and brake levers. I’m personally a fan of all of these tradeoffs on the Sola. The bike is light enough and has wide enough tires for the mechanical brakes to work fine, even at 20 miles an hour or more. The shifters and brake levers aren’t fancy, they’re also ubiquitous, meaning that they’re trivial for your local bike shop to service or upgrade.
The front fork is a slightly more complex tradeoff. In Sam’s city, with well-paved roads and bike paths, eschewing a suspension fork for a solid metal fork is a no-brainer. The bike is lighter, cheaper, and less complex. It’s a decision I’d make in a heartbeat. In my city, with poorly maintained bike lanes and lots of dirt shortcuts I like to take, the decision is a lot muddier. The Sola’s tires are wide enough for me to commute with no issue, but I prefer the added comfort of a suspension fork if I have the option.
The Sola has a fairly advanced interface that you can unlock with an app on your phone. This does mean that you’ll need your phone, however, and you’ll need to download yet another app to talk to your bike’s controller. You don’t need the app to ride the bike, but if you want to tweak any settings you’ll need to keep your phone handy.
At the time of writing this, the Sola is on sale for under $1000. There are two big factors your should consider when comparing this number to other bikes.
First, the Sola does not come with racks, fenders, baskets, or other accessories. If you plan to commute on the Sola, figure out what you’ll need and then add in the cost. The package we went with costs less than $1000, but it’s a fair bit more than the sticker price of the bike alone.
Second, the Sola is a bike that’s shipped to you for you to assemble. It’s a pretty easy assembly as far as bikes go, with the front handlebar coming pre-attached, but it’s still a bit of work. We think it’s a very good idea to budget for a professional tune-up after the bike has been shipped and put together. Brakes get misaligned, derailleur hangars bend, and other issues can occur to a bike in a box, no matter how carefully it’s packed. Your bike will probably be fine, but it’s better to plan for a tune-up and not need one than the other way around.
At its current price, the Heybike Sola is one of the best starter e-bikes on the market. I cannot stress enough how fantastically fun and freeing it is to ride on a bike that can power itself. It’s like having a difficulty selector that lets you choose how hard you’d like biking to be. I find that it helps me exercise harder and put in more human effort than on a regular bike. I can ride as hard as I want without having to worry about the return trip. It also makes long rides to scenic trails a breeze.
If e-bikes sound like the sort of thing you’d like to try, whether for commuting, leisure, or exercise, the Sola is a fantastic way to get started. It’s cheaper than many totally normal bikes, but it comes with a robust motor and ample battery that will let you zoom around town with your desired level of effort – or no effort at all. It’s light, meaning it still feels like a bike, and it’s designed with practical city riding in mind.
If you’re a more experienced bike commuter or a serious e-bike enthusiast, the Sola is still probably a good choice. It’s incredibly cheap, the overall feature package is great, and it’s still the same fun, comfortable, and sensible city bike. The only concern here is whether or not you’d rather pay more money for more features. From my saddle, the Sola beats e-bikes well into the $1400+ range in terms of features. If you’re willing to spend more than that, however, you might want to look at a fancier bike instead of this budget-friendly option.
Overall, the Heybike Sola earns a solid stamp of approval from us. It’s fun, light, inexpensive, and practical. If you’re looking for your first e-bike, or you’d like a cheap bike to add to your stable, check it out!