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If you’re looking for a ‘no frills’ single speed electric bike to use in an urban environment, then the new Xiaomi Himo Z16 takes some beating when it come to value for money. As I have stated in previous reviews of Himo e-bikes they do the job, and they do it well! The Z16 is great for zipping about city streets and canal towpaths. It doesn’t represent the pinnacle of e-bike technology but delivers an affordable solution for those wishing to ditch their cars and / or public transport. Read on for my full review of this great little folding electric bike.
Folding e-bikes now account for a big slice of the global electric bike market… Why? Simply because consumers are looking for a cheap an affordable way to replace their car (automobile) or stop using public transport.
The Xiamo Himo Z16 offers an affordable way for short commutes to work without having to worry about buses, trains, taxi’s etc.
I’ve ridden a few Himo-branded e-bikes now and each one has impressed me with its overall build quality and rideability – is the Z16 any different? Read my overview below for more information.
As far as I can ascertain the Himo Z16 uses the same 250w DC brusless geared hub motor as the Z20 and C20. The battery energy capacity is also the same at 36v 10Ah (360wh). These components are generally fairly reliable (in my experience), although gremlins do appear from time to time.
Not a lot to report here. The Himo Z16 uses a very generic 250w brushless, geared hub motor. It produces an adequate amount of torque and power to take the rider comfortably up to the 15.5mph (25 km/h) limit. It’s smooth and fairly quiet.
The good thing about these motors is if they do go wrong (which is rare) they can be easily repaired by a competent DIY enthusiast and parts are generally easy to come by.
Pedal assist on the Z16 is provided via a basic cadence sensor, meaning that pedal rotation is all that is needed to activate e-assist. Cadence pedal assist is especially useful if you need a boost when setting off, as unlike a torque-sensor, the rider does not have to exert any discernible force through the pedals to get assist.
My only issue is pedal assist is only available in one mode, after that you need to activate throttle control in order to receive 100% of the motor assistance – it should be noted that this is contrary to UK and EU e-bike law where it is stated that a throttle should only take the rider to 6km/m (walking pace) and an EPAC should not be able to be propelled without pedalling input.
I don’t agree with this and I believe this part of the law needs to be reviewed. I’ve converted countless bikes for people with serious medical conditions that make the initial act of pedalling very difficult. After they use a throttle to get started, they can then pedal as normal (with assist).
The battery on the Himo Z16 will give an assisted range of between 40-50 miles, depending on how much pedalling input you provide, your weight, and the kind of terrain you’re riding on.
The LCD display on the Himo Z16 provides all the basic information you will need – battery level, speed (km/h) and a trip function.
At this price point only the most basic and entry level components can be expected. All the components seem well-made, from the wheels through to the frame and finishing kit.
The Z16 uses a simple single-speed arrangement – this is perfect for negotiating city streets, cycle ways and gently undulating terrain, but the lack of gear range could be a problem if you need to negotiate steep hills on a regular basis. I have tested this on a 10% gradient and I still had to put in a fair bit of effort to assist the motor up the hill.
The mechanical brakes fitted to the Z16 are okay for general riding but I wouldn’t want to regularly descend very steep hills with these brakes. This observation is, of course not particularly relevant to the average urban rider. When riding on flat (or mildly undulating terrain) I found the brakes on then Himo Z16 to be more than adequate.
Wheels and tyres
Apart from being the smaller 16″ variety (hence the name) they seem quite tough and feel as though they will deal with most minor potholes and road imperfections, I would still keep a good eye on the road ahead though. The tough alloy construction means no more worrying about broken spokes, which are quite common on hub motor e-bikes.
Frame and finishing kit
The Himo Z16 frame is made of lightweight aluminium and even though it comes across as quite robust, I wouldn’t advise taking it on off-road trails that have lot of jumps, rocks and other obstacles – the Z16 is quite comfortable on canal towpaths and light forest trails, thanks to the small rear shock absorber.
Type: Electric bike
Colour: Gray White Blue Yellow
|Specification||Max Range (pedal assist mode): up to 80 km
Max Range (Pure Electric Mode): up to 55 km
Max Load: 100 kg
Battery: 10Ah 36V (360Wh)
Motor: 250W DC Motor
Motor Rated Speed: 326 rpm
Rated Voltage: 36V
Charging Time: About 5 hours
|Weight & Size||Product Weight: 22.5 kg
Package Weight: 27.5 kg
Product Size(L x W x H): 1400 x 550 x 1050mm(unfolded); 860 x 650 x 400mm(folded)
Package Size(L x W x H): 825 x 440 x 645mm
|Package Contents||1 x Himo Z16 E-Bike
1 x Wrench
1 x Foot pedal
1 x Power Charger with Adaptor
1 x User Manual
Who is the Himo Z16 aimed at?
If you’re after a cheap single speed electric bike, then the Xiaomi Himo Z16 is a hard act to follow for the price. It’s true, the are cheaper options available, but when I test an e-bike I look at the sum of its components. The Z16 isn’t groundbreaking technology, but its price puts it within the reach of a lot of potential e-bike buyers. If you’re looking for an electric bike to take of you from one end of the city to another – you could do a lot worse. It’s also a good leisure bike – as long as you’re riding mellow, undulating terrain it’s a good e-bike. But a word of warning – if you have steep hills to negotiate, I would opt for the Z20 which has six gears.
Where can I buy the Himo Z16?
The Himo Z16 is easy to get hold of if you live in the EU and UK. It may also be available from selected retailers in the US and Canada, although due to the more relaxed e-bike laws in those countries it’s unlikely to be that popular.
The Xiaomi Himo Z16 is a good addition to the many folding electric folding bikes currently available. Does it posses any qualities that place it head and shoulder above the rest? In my opinion, it does what it say on the tin! It’s not great, but it’s not all that bad either. The Z16 offers good value for money looking for those that are looking for a cheap and effective alternative commuting to work (without working up a sweat),
Its simplistic single-speed design and the fact it folds quickly and easily will mean the Himo Z16 will appeal to commuters. As with most cheap folding e-bikes, it is a little on the heavy side at around the 20kg mark.
Having ridden the Z16, it’s hard to find fault considering the price. The legality of the throttle control may put some potential buyers off – it could be disconnected, but then you would loose the benefit of 100% of the 250 watts of power. Maybe with upcoming e-scooter legislation (in the UK) the government will look again at throttles on e-bikes. At present you can only legally use a throttle on an electric bike purchased before 2016, or on an e-bike conversion kit fitted to a used bicycle.
It would be nice to see a pedal assist-only version where you can have 3 different levels of e-assist without the need to fit a throttle, but apart from that the Himo Z16 is a great value folding e-bike and it would certainly pay for itself with the money saved from fuel or public transport within a few months of use.
Thanks for reading, if you own a Himo Z16, please feel free to leave a review in the comments section below. If you have any questions regarding this bike I usually reply within 24hrs.