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Himiway Big Dog E-Bike Review, 2023
Aug 01, 2023
Every Himiway bike like the Big Dog we’ve reviewed has a theme; many of the direct-to-consumer e-bike brands produce a stable of models that run the gamut from cruisers to commuters to all-terrain models and more. In some cases, the approach has seemed a bit like spaghetti-at-the-wall. And in this environment, it’s not that hard to find something that will stick. Himiway Electric Bikes has gone in a different direction. They have a definite design philosophy.
Looking across Himiway’s line, three recurring themes emerge: Big tires, big motors, and big batteries. Every bike in their lineup, including the Big Dog, shares these priorities, and yet each model is noticeably different from the others. In our Himiway Big Dog review we will look at what separates it from the other Himiway models and how this cargo e-bike stacks up among the other e-bikes we review.
The Himiway Big Dog earns its stripes as a cargo bike thanks to its payload capacity of 400 lbs. To handle all this weight, the Big Dog is built with oversized aluminum tubing, a heavy-duty rack and ultra-strong, cast aluminum wheels.
With a 750W brushless hub motor and a 960Wh Samsung/LG battery, this is one e-bike with the power necessary to haul a full load. It’s built with a 7-speed drivetrain, disc brakes, front and rear lights, as well as fenders, this is a full-featured e-bike that can handle a trip to Home Depot.
Let’s dig into what makes the Himiway Big Dog a cargo e-bike worth considering.
*Himiway is sharing some savings with the EBR audience! When you click the button above and use the discount code ELECTRICBIKEREPORT you will save $50 at checkout!.
Bike Category: Cargo
Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle assist, up to 20 mph
Himiway Big Dog Video Review
750W brushless hub motor producing 85Nm of torque meant fast rides and good climbing abilities
With a 400-lb. payload, it can carry more than most cargo e-bikes
A 960Wh battery gives it more range than a bike of this sort would be expected to offer
80mm suspension fork smooths rougher roads
Motorcycle-style kickstand holds the Big Dog upright, making it easy to load without tipping over
Half-twist throttle allows riders to save tired legs and easily adjust speed for conditions
Cast alloy wheels have the strength to support a 400-lb. load, and if we’re being honest, they just look really good
The brake test performance was pretty good, but we would prefer to see hydraulic disc brakes on any bike this heavy, especially as it is intended to carry as much as 400 lbs.
Himiway’s sizing recommendations are a tad optimistic; we suggest tall and small riders be mindful of the fit
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 960Wh Samsung/LG lithium-ion battery
Display: LCD with USB charger
Motor: 750W brushless hub motor producing 85Nm of torque
Headlight: 48V LED
Peal Assist: 5 PAS levels
Range: 60-80 mi. claimed
Throttle: Half-twist throttle
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 79 lbs.
Maximum rider weight: 400 lbs.
Maximum load on rear rack: 400 lbs.-rider weight
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors
Fenders: Front and rear included
Fork: Suspension fork with 80mm travel, lockout and preload adjustment
Frame: 6061 Aluminum
Drivetrain: 7-speed Shimano
Saddle: Selle Royal
Pedals: Alloy, with reflectors
Tires: 20 x 4-in. Kenda
Himiway Big Dog Review: Bike Overview
So we know other Himiway electrric bikes we’ve revewied that the brand favors big tires and front suspension to give riders a comfortable ride. The Big Dog takes those two features and applies them to a cargo e-bike design to create a bike that is both comfortable and can carry heavy loads, a combination that isn’t always easy to pull off.
The Himiway Big Dog is a powerful e-bike as cargo e-bikes need to be. It features a 750W brushless hub motor that produces a stout 85Nm of torque; that torque is an important ingredient in getting a load moving. And because heavier loads ask more from the motor, Himiway equipped the Big Dog with a 960Wh battery so that it would have plenty of range.
The parts pick reflects what we often see at the $2000 price point: a 7-speed drivetrain, disc brakes, front and rear lights, front and rear fenders and a rear rack that isn’t just for show. The Big Dog has a somewhat unusual look due to its wheels; they are made from cast aluminum, and are an important part of why the Himiway Big Dog can carry a 400-lb. payload.
Let’s dig into our testing to see how it fared.
The Himiway Big Dog has large 4.0” tires and a powerful motor which allow for offroad versatility
The Big Dog utilizes a cadence sensor for delivering power to the hub driven motor, but this bottom bracket makes us wonder if a mid-drive option is on the horizon
The faux-leather covering for the grips feels nice and the wing-type design better supports the rider’s hands
Himiway Big Dog Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
As we mentioned at the opening of our review, the styling and function on the Himiway Big Dog recalls a moped. That was especially apparent in our circuit test. Our loop is a one-mile, four-corner route that climbs 40 ft. per lap. And just like the mopeds of old, the Himiway Big Dog is a bit of a dog to pedal without a motor assisting the rider.
Our opening lap saw our tester only manage an average speed of 11.6 mph. Once we upped the assistance level to PAS 1, though, we saw a notable improvement and we recorded an average speed of 13.1 mph. From there, each increase in PAS level saw an improvement in speed—15.5, then 18.4 followed by 20.3 mph—except when we went to PAS 5. We recorded the same average speed—20.3 mph—as we did in PAS 4.
The lack of difference between PAS 4 and PAS 5 is the inverse of what we often see with e-bikes, which is little to no difference between PAS 1 and PAS 2. Either way, having a PAS level that is identical to another is frustrating. It effectively renders the e-bike to having just four PAS levels.
Frustrating though that is, in a world full of imperfections, we would rather deal with that and have well-defined jumps at the other PAS levels than deal with inconsistent jumps that make selecting a PAS confusing.
Our tester noted that the high gear of 46 x 14 required very speedy pedaling in order to reach 20 mph. As this is a Class 2 e-bike with a throttle and a max assist speed of 20 mph, that works out well enough. Reaching Class 3 speeds would be very difficult with this high gear.
You would be forgiven if you thought the Himiway Big Dog was a moped – it definitely has those vibes.
The rear rack is pretty beefy to be able to support heavy loads.
The frame on the Big Dog uses oversized tubing to give it the strength necessary to be a cargo e-bike.
Himiway Big Dog Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
Sure, the graph above doesn’t look great at first glance, but the visual aside, there is decent range on the Big Dog.
In our range test we were impressed with the Himiway Big Dog’s performance, despite a couple of challenges with our testing. In our PAS 1 test, our rider had to stop multiple times due to a loss in tire pressure; having to stop and pump the tires up meant that we didn’t have consistent pressure for the test. Also, there were some significant hills in this test and that resulted in a total elevation gain of more than 2000 vertical feet.
We mention that because the final result for our PAS 1 test was only 47 mi., a not especially impressive distance until we factor in the hills and the fact that our tester rode until the tires were noticeably soft and then stopped to pump them back up. Soft tires asks more of the motor and battery; we are confident that without the hills and the leaky tires we would have covered more than 50 mi. on a single charge, which would be a respectable performance.
On our test in PAS 5 our tester covered 37 mi., which does suggest that the Himiway Big Dog could cover more distance than it did in PAS 1. Covering 37 mi. in PAS 5 is a very good result and suggests riders could commute for several days in PAS 5 before needing to plug the battery in for a recharge.
The bike fell short of the 60-80 mile claim, but that stated range feels theoretical vs real-world anyway. It’s a massive battery at 960-watt hours, but given that moped-styled e-bikes are heavy and not always the most pedal-efficient the battery will have to work a lot to compensate. It’s a lesson we learned when we tested the Himiway Escape too. The battery’s capacity will still vary in terms of real road miles depending.
We also had to remind ourselves that this is meant to be a cargo bike and as such, it has a 400-lb. carrying capacity. When we review those distances, we judge its performance as being pretty good.
Himiway Big Dog Review: Hill Test
Readers to this point in the review can’t be blamed for thinking that the Himiway Big Dog might be caught napping on the front porch for our hill test up Hell Hole. Our infamous ¼-mi., 12 percent climb has humbled e-bikes that didn’t weigh 79 lbs.
However, we do this test on every bike we review because even with extensive specs on paper, we can never project which bikes will impress on Hell Hole.
The Himiway Big Dog did impress, though. In PAS 5, it knocked out the climb in 67 seconds for an average speed of 16.2 mph, a pace quick enough to make most riders giggle with surprise. On our throttle-only ascent, not pedaling only resulted in an additional 10 seconds added to the climb, for a 14.2 mph average speed.
One of the nicer differences between the Big Dog over it’s similar brother in the lineup, the Escape, is the ability to adjust the seat height making it more comfortable.
The head tube has mounts to bolt on a rack or basket.
The saddle has shock absorbers to make the ride as cushy as possible.
The Himiway Big Dog’s 750W, 85Nm brushless hub motor can be credited with most of this terrific performance, but we also need to acknowledge that some credit goes to the controller that Himiway spec’d on the Big Dog.
Should we be surprised by this performance? No. The Himiway Big Dog is pitched as a cargo bike. In order to roll over the top of a hill with a rider and a 200-lb. load, the Big Dog needs a big motor.
Himiway Big Dog Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
The Himiway Big Dog is spec’d with mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors. Honestly, we were a bit disappointed to see a bike that weighs 79 lbs. equipped with mechanical disc brakes. We will discuss that more in a bit later.
As we’ve mentioned in other recent reviews, we have revised our protocol for the brake test. Instead of getting out of the saddle and pushing our weight back to execute the hardest-possible stop—a panic stop—we now brake more like most of us typically slow down for a quick stop. We stay seated and brake as hard as possible without causing a skid.
The Himiway Big Dog notched a result of 22 feet, 4 inches averaged over our three stops. That’s not a bad result, especially for a 230-lb. rider, but because this is pitched as a cargo bike with a 400-lb. capacity, it’s easy to see that 180 lbs. of rider plus 180 lbs. of payload would result in a much longer stopping distance.
Not including hydraulic discs on this e-bike seems like a mistake; claiming that the Big Dog is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes—as one of the photos on the web site does—seems a mistake as well. These are criticisms, but not deal-breakers.
Himiway Big Dog Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
With touches like a comfortable Selle Royal saddle and a high-rise bar that can be rolled backward or forward for rider comfort, the Himiway Big Dog included some nice details to maximize rider comfort. The 20 x 4-in. Kenda tires give a very cushy ride. The suspension fork also adds to rider comfort and control.
The Himiway Big Dog comes in just one size and while they claim that anyone from 5 feet up to 6 feet 2 inches can ride the Big Dog comfortably, our tester was at the tall end of their range (6 feet 1 inch) and felt somewhat cramped.
We would prefer to see hydraulic disc brakes on a cargo e-bike, but appreciate the way 180mm rotors improve stopping power.
The motorcycle-style kickstand holds the Big Dog upright to make loading easy and stable.
The Himiway LCD display has a somewhat dated look but is easy to read.
The Big Dog has a hi-rise bar that can be rolled back toward the rider or forward to adjust the reach.
The standover height for the Himiway Big Dog is just 16.5 in., which gives it immediate appeal for smaller riders and riders who may have issues with flexibility. They list the minimum seat height (the lowest the seat will go) as 27.6 in., which corresponds to the average inseam of a woman who is 5 feet 6 inches tall. We’re not going to say that someone who is 5 feet 2 inches tall can’t ride the Himiway Big Dog comfortably, but we do suggest that smaller folks take a look at the inseam length on their jeans before making a purchase.
In terms of handling, the Himiway Big Dog has a relaxed demeanor, more cruiser than commuter. The 20-in. wheels, even with 4-in.-wide tires, are easy to turn
We are big believers in the quality of Shimano components. Even their budget-oriented parts are reliable and function well. That said, the thumb shifter on the Altus shifter isn’t our favorite because it requires the rider to move their thumb above the bar to make shifts.. We can’t criticize Himiway for the design of the shifter, but we do look forward to a day when Shimano redesigns this shifter.
Himiway Big Dog Review: Summary / Where to Buy
The Himiway Big Dog is a full-featured cargo bike with the capacity to carry a serious load. One issue we sometimes see with cargo bikes is a lack of guidance on how to further kit-out the cargo bike so that it can actually carry that big load.
Himiway does a great job of giving buyers options for carrying groceries and more. On their accessories page there is a tab visitors can click on that will show the full complement of accessories that work with the Big Dog, eliminating any guesswork. In addition to accessories, they also carry a number of replacement parts like tires, wheels, lights and electronic components.
Making a spoked wheel that can support several hundred pounds isn’t easy and Himiway’s decision to go with cast aluminum wheels makes the Big Dog not just a great cargo bike, it’s an especially good option for anyone looking to return to exercise after too many sedentary years. The cast aluminum wheels will stand up to very hard use.
There are a number of terrific e-bikes in the $1500-$2000 price tier, and the closer an e-bike gets to that $2000 threshold, the more an e-bike needs to do to impress. That Himiway was able to create a solid cargo bike in this price range is good, but when they built it around a 750W brushless hub motor and powered it with a 960Wh Samsung/LG battery, they made the Big Dog a significant value.
Potential buyers of the Himiway Big Dog are encouraged to give some thought to where they fit within Himiway’s sizing guidelines; riders toward the edges of its recommended range may find it difficult to achieve lasting comfort on the Big Dog. Similarly, we suggest anyone planning to haul a heavier loads give thought to the mechanical disc brakes. These are good brakes, but a 200-lb. rider hauling a 60-lb. kid and 40 lbs. of groceries might find the Big Dog needs a long runway to stop when going downhill. Riders in flatter environments won’t face the same issues.
Any time an e-bike company makes an e-bike that’s meant to do more than take a rider for a fun ride, but can capably replace a car for at least some trips, we appreciate the added versatility.
With Himiway, the Big Dog is a stylish, stout and versatile cargo e-bike that won’t ever seem like more bike than a rider needs.
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the Himiway Big Dog.