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Hot on the heels of the popular C20 model, the Xiaomi Himo brand has released the Z20 fully folding electric bike. One of the biggest criticisms of the C20 was that it only partially folded. Well, now there is a bike that shares an almost identical specification but can be fully folded for ease of transport. In this review, I will take a closer look at the Himo Z20 to see if there have been any major compromises.
Folding electric bikes are continuing to be incredibly popular and at the moment there is more choice than ever. There are so many choices it can be difficult to know exactly which bike to choose.
I’m a big fan of the Xiaomi Himo brand as their range of compact and folding e-bikes always comes across as being well-built and generally reliable. Himo electric bikes are also incredibly good value for money.
Another big plus point is availability – in 2020 the whole COVID situation has caused a massive spike in e-bike popularity and as a consequence a lot of the big online bike retailers have run out of stock quickly. E-commerce platforms like Geekbuying have always had plenty of stock in their European warehouses.
My first impression of the Himo Z20 is it’s identical in size to the C20 with the only obvious difference being the ability to fully fold the bike for ease of transportation. All of the components are the same including the motor and battery.
Himo Z20 vs Himo C20
So where does this leave the Himo C20? Well, if you don’t need a fully folding e-bike then it’s just fine. When you compare the Z20 vs C20 side by side there isn’t anything in it. The bike components, motor, and battery are all identical. I would say if you don’t have a lot of space to store a bike where you live, and you frequent public transport then the Himo Z20 would be the obvious choice. Also if you want to be able to take your bike into your place of work, it will be a lot easier with the folding version. Below I will quickly run through the specifications of the Z20.
As I’ve mentioned above, there doesn’t appear to be any major in the electric components used between the Z20 and C20. Both bikes use the same 250w rear hub motor and the same capacity battery. The battery design on the Z20 is different as it fits inside the frame and can be removed when the bike is folded. The battery on the C20 is externally integrated into the main beam of the frame.
The 250w brushless geared rear hub motor will provide solid assistance on all but the steepest of hills. There are 3 different levels of assistance to choose from – ‘0’ means no assist whatsoever, ‘1’ is pedal assist and will provide 30-70% of the total power available, and ‘3’ is full power mode and will only work using the throttle control. In this mode, the pedal assist ceases to function but the throttle will provide 100% of the available power on demand. This means you can cruise on the flat without having to pedal at all, or you can choose to pedal and use the throttle to add assist as and when you need it.
The pedal assist is provided via a cadence sensor, which measures pedal rotation, meaning that if you are in level ‘1’ then as soon as you start pedalling the e-assist will kick in and stop when you stop pedalling – it should be noted that there is always a short ‘overrun’ when pedalling stops.
The 36v 10Ah (360Wh) battery is neatly concealed inside the frame and can be easily removed for charging when the bike is folded. The claimed range of 50 miles is in my opinion a little optimistic, although if a combination of level ‘1’ and ‘0’ assist are used it would be possible to achieve this. When used in full-power mode (level ‘3’) battery range would be reduced to under 30 miles, especially if there is no pedalling input from the rider.
The clear LCD has the same functionality as the C20 and displays battery range, assist mode and has a trip function.
Best place to buy the Himo Z20
The Himo Z20 is widely available and can be purchased from Himo direct or at numerous eBay locales around the globe. The Z20 is also available from popular Chinese e-commerce companies like Geekbuying and Banggood – both of these companies ship direct from the EU, UK and USA.
Again, the Himo Z20 shares its components with the C20, from the wheels and tyres through to the Shimano gearing and mechanical disc brakes.
The Shimano 6-speed derailleur gear system is typical on a folding e-bike at this price range and gives the rider a reasonable gear range for moderately hilly terrain. Unfortunately due to the large front chainring and the 14-28t freewheel the gear range is not going to be suitable for climbing very steep hills, unless you are willing to put in a fair amount of effort to help the motor out.
The Tourney rear derailleur and thumb shifter work well enough and gear changes are precise and easy to adjust once the cable stretches a little.
Unbranded mechanical disc brakes are okay, but not great. I’ve always felt it’s better to have good rim brakes over cheap cable disc brakes. They do the job, but feel vague and can be prone to squealing if not properly adjusted. I would be tempted to fit higher-quality brake callipers if you have to negotiate a lot of steep descents.
Wheels and tyres
Wheels are 20″ double-walled alloy rims are 32h (front) and 36h (rear) – the tyres used are CST 20″ x 2″ and provide a reasonable level of puncture protection, although I would personally swap them out for a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres – I’ve been using these on my bike and have not had a single puncture in 6000 miles!
Frame and finishing kit
The frame and general finish of the Himo Z20 are very good considering the budget price. It’s constructed from lightweight alloy and seems to be very sturdy. All of the finishing kits are of the same good standard.
As with the C20, the Z20 comes with an integrated tyre pump which is neatly concealed within the seatpost. The plastic clip-on mudguards which are provided are a bit of an afterthought and tend to flap around a bit. The front headlight will provide adequate lighting for urban rides, although I wouldn’t want to ride down a dark, unlit country lane with them.
Type: Electric bike
Colour: Grey / White / Rose Gold
|Specification||Max Rang(pedal assist mode): ≤80KM|
Max Rang(pure electric mode): ≤50KM
Max Load: 100KG
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: 21.6 kg|
Package Weight: 27.5 kg
Product Size(L x W x H): 1470 x 550 x 1090mm(unfolded); 860 x 740 x 400mm(folded)
Package Size(L x W x H): 900 x 440 x 700mm
|Package Contents||1 x HIMO Z20 E-Bike|
1 x Wrench
2 x Foot pedal
1 x Metal Front Fender
1 x Metal Rear Fender
1 x Plastic Front Fender
1 x Plastic Rear Fender
1 x EU Charger
1 x User Manual
Who is the Himo Z20 aimed at?
The Xiaomi Himo Z20 is aimed squarely at the commuter and urban rider, although I can see it being very popular with leisure riders – particularly those who have motor homes and are looking for a fun and easy way to explore the local area.
I have tried one of these out on multiple terrains including Moorland gravel tracks and it copes surprisingly well. It’s especially suitable for urban riding where quite often there are canal towpaths or potholed back roads to negotiate.
One thing potential buyers should be aware of is the weight – most folding electric bikes at this price are quite heavy and the Z20 is no exception. If you are going to be regularly carrying this up flights of stairs, it comes in at nearly 22kg.
I like the practicality of the Himo Z20, it has the same dimensions as the C20 with the benefit of being fully folding. Riding it is easy and it’s adaptable to riders of all sizes. I’m just over 6ft and I found it comfortable for short journeys of around 10-15 miles.
My only real complaints would be the lack of gear range, brakes and weight – I live in a hilly rural area, so the gear range won’t necessarily be a problem for the average urban rider. The brakes do work and they will stop you, they’re just not great and they did have a tendency to squeal – this may improve with bedding in of the pads. If the braking was an issue, I would be inclined to invest in some TRP mechanical brake callipers – these are about the best mechanical brake callipers you can buy, but they do come at a premium. Regarding the weight, If you’re going to carry this around a lot you’ll get a good workout!
As far as the motor and battery are concerned, it provides strong assist. It was disappointing that pedal assist was only available in level 1, it would have been nice to see 3 levels of pedal assist with the option of using the throttle. If you want to use the bike in maximum power you are limited to throttle only.
In my opinion, the Xiaomi Himo Z20 is one of the best folding electric bikes available for the price. It’s practical, versatile and well-built. The motor will provide more than enough assistance for the average rider and the range is respectable enough. This is now the fourth e-bike I’ve ridden from the Himo range and everyone has impressed me with its construction and general feel – I can highly recommend the Himo Z20.