HONBIKE, Look Mom No Chain

This is a unique entry into the folding e-bike category. While some manufacturers work on folding minimalism and others on being the lightest folding bike, HONBIKE has decided to focus its folding efforts on an e-bike with no chain and an interesting-looking bike seat.

You would be familiar with the “no-chain” concept if you’re riding a JackRabbit, but this e-bike has crank arms and pedals. So if there is no chain then what powers the rear wheel when pedaling, how about, a maintenance-free shaft drive system.

While a shaft drive is not a new invention, in fact, shaft-driven bikes go as far back as the 1899 Columbia Model 59 bicycle. Shaft drives are also used on some motorcycles as well. What is new is a shaft drive being used in a folding e-bike.

If you really want to learn more about shaft drives and bicycles there is a great YouTube video titled “Are Chainless Shaft Drive Bicycles a GENIUS or TERRIBLE Idea?“. If you desire a deeper explanation of the pros and cons it is well worth watching at the least the first 7 minutes.

Developing the Honbike did have its challenges during the design phase. Honbike touts over 3,000 experiments and improvements, 20 engineers, 3 years of research and development, and over 24,855 miles of maintenance-free testing.

What Powers the HONBIKE

HONBIKE Chainfree One is a single-speed e-bike with 5 levels of pedal assist. It is powered by a 250W front hub motor that is activated by a smart sensor system. The smart sensor system is a triple sensor pedal assist (gyro, torque and cadence). Honbike incorporates HSA (or hill-start assist) technology which detects inclines and provides torque sensor detection to provide enough torque when riding uphill.

A safety alert sensor is part of the tri-sensor smart system which detects bike tilt. If the sensor notices the bike tilting while turning by greater than 30 degrees and taking into account the speed the sensor will automatically cut off the motor power.

Lastly, the gyroscope sensor helps maintain riding stability.

It is worth pointing out that the Honbike is set to European standards of a max speed of 15.5 m.p.h. While this may provide enough speed to cruise around town it does seem like a 20 m.p.h. version should have been created for the U.S. market. We are sure that increased speed would also limit overall miles per battery charge.

The 36V 6Ah detachable battery is small and locks into a compartment by the cranks. The compartment is also the location of the kickstand that manually flips down to support the e-bike when in the folded position.

This battery should supply enough power for the day. The rating is for 25 miles per charge but that is assuming riding on PAS level 1.

HONBIKE Handlebars, Brakes, and that Seat

The Honbike is made up of 57 parts versus 250 plus parts for your average folding e-bike. While interesting it also makes each part proprietary. We hope Honbike produces extra parts because as we all know anything can happen when riding.

The drop handlebars are not adjustable in height but can fold down, and house the built-in LCD display. The LCD display contains all the necessary elements for riding.

A simple power button and up/down pedal-assist buttons are located on the right side while the left side is equipped with a bell, but unfortunately, neither side has a thumb throttle. This is a pedal-assist only folding e-bike.

If you have noticed by now the hand brakes that operate the mechanical disc brakes seem backward. This reverse lever may feel odd in the beginning but riders have stated that after a day of riding they are not even noticeable. It does keep the bike with that futuristic design.

Now for the golf seat. We are sorry but we cannot get over the look. We are not certain why they chose this style or which engineer was tasked with this spec but if we are being honest we hope it is addressed in their 2.0 model.

The patented butterfly lock (tightening knob) doesn’t seem very secure but this is a folding e-bike so you would be carrying this bike with you as opposed to locking it up.

HONBIKE ChainFree One Conclusion

HONBIKE has spent considerable time engineering a minimalistic almost futuristic-looking folding e-bike. Each aspect of this folding electric bike has been well thought out (except that seat) for style, function, and low maintenance.

While issues could arise with proprietary parts over time this could become a lesser priced competitor to the Gocycle should HONBIKE decide to produce a 20 m.ph. folding e-bike (with a throttle) which is more suitable for U.S. riding.

HONBIKE ChainFree One Folding Electric Bike: Pricing and Specs

The HONBIKE ChainFree One is currently priced at just $1,999 USD and includes free shipping.

The HONBIKE ChainFree One folding e-bike comes mostly assembled as shown in the video below. Tools are provided to install the rear tire, fender, and pedals. HONBIKE offers for all their e-bikes a 2-year all-inclusive warranty from manufacturing defects from the date of purchase on accessories and hardware components. Please review all warranties before purchasing.

The main features are as follows:

MOTOR 250W front hub motor
BATTERY Honbike Battery 36 volts 6 Amp
RANGE Appx 25 miles
MAX SPEED 15.5 mph
PAS 5 levels
DISPLAY Flush LCD display
FORK Single Sided Arm Rigid
BRAKES Front/Rear Mechanical Disc brakes
GEARS Single speed
HANDLEBARS Curved back bar with built-in LCD display
RIMS Unibody Magnesium Rims
TIRES 20″ × 2″
PEDALS Foldable Pedals
SADDLE Golf Seat
LIGHTS LED front light, 15 Lux. Rear reflector light
FENDERS Included
WEIGHT 46 lbs

Photos Courtesy HONBIKE