Himiway Cobra Electric Bike Review 2023
After being teased for the latter half of 2021, we finally have a full review of the Himiway Cobra — the all-new full suspension electric fat bike from a company that built its reputation on long range, affordable and uber-powerful e-bikes.
It’s an e-bike I was admittedly skeptical of, for reasons I’ll get into more below, but despite my reservations, the Cobra has so far lived up to its hype.
In this Himiway Cobra review, we dive into the details of this full suspension electric fat bike and put it through the ringer in a gauntlet of tests and hard off-road riding to see how it stands up in the real world.
As you’d expect from an e-bike company known for power and range, the Cobra is built around a redesigned 750W rear hub motor and a 48V, 20Ah (960Wh) battery that’s fully integrated into the frame. But Himiway’s suspension design and a host of other upgrades, including hydraulic disk brakes and a torque sensor, are what really make this bike stand out.
- You’d be hard pressed to find a better off-road e-bike for less than $2,500.
- The four-bar suspension design is surprisingly functional, even in rough terrain and in hard g-outs.
- The new hydraulic disk brakes are a big upgrade over the mechanical brakes on the old Himiway Cruiser.
- I’m shocked with the bike’s performance off-road. It thrives on doubletrack and fire roads and feels remarkably planted in variable terrain.
- The torque sensor totally changes the nature of Himiway’s 750W hub motor, making it more precise, quicker engaging and more useful off-road.
- The huge CST tires are grippy, aggressive and confidence inspiring on bad terrain (we spent a lot of time in sand and mud).
- It’s a LOT of e-bike for not a lot of money.
- The faux leather grips spin on the bar and can be slippery.
- The twist throttle is part of the right-hand grip and isn’t in the best spot for off-road riding. It’s easy to accidentally hit it when you don’t want to.
- At 88 lbs and with a notably long wheelbase and tall standover height, it’s a very large e-bike.
- Battery: 48V, 20Ah (960Wh)
- Display: LCD display
- Motor: 750W rear hub motor, 86Nm of torque
- Headlight: Included
- Taillights: Included
- Peal Assist: Five pedal assist settings, torque sensor
- Range: 60-80 miles (claimed)
- Throttle: Twist throttle, right side
- Claimed weight: 88 lbs
- Maximum rider weight: 400lb payload capacity
- Maximum load on rear rack: N/A
- Brakes: Hydraulic disk brakes, 180mm rotors front and rear (our review bike had Tektro brakes)
- Fenders: N/A
- Fork: Suspension fork, unspecified travel
- Frame: 6061 Aluminum
- Drivetrain: Mixed Shimano 7-speed with a Tourney shifter and an Altus derailleur
- Grips: Faux leather ergonomic
- Saddle: Comfort saddle
- Handlebar: Aluminum MTB-style riser bar
- Kickstand: Included
- Pedals: Alloy
- Tires: CST Rolypoly 26” x 4.8”
Himiway Cobra Review: Bike Overview
As is usually the case with electric fat bikes like this one, the 750W rear hub motor is really the core of this bike.
As this is a new bike, the motor has fittingly gotten a redesign. This new iteration makes 86Nm of torque and is better at dissipating heat than the old motor. It’s fast, torquey and climbs exceedingly well.
Powering that motor is a 48V, 20Ah battery that’s removable and fully integrated into the frame. It’s large, and, in typical Himiway fashion, gives the bike a really solid range despite its inefficient fat tires and energy hungry motor.
The drivetrain on our review bike is Shimano Altus 7-speed with a Tourney shifter, the same setup that came on the old Cruiser.
Braking is handled by a set of Tektro hydraulic disk brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear, though Himiway’s website is more ambiguous about the type of brakes on the bike, indicating this part may get swapped out.
Suspension wise, the Himiway is a full suspension e-bike with a four bar linkage. I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with how well this bike rides, which I have to be honest I did not expect to say in this review. My skepticism is rooted in the fact that this is Himiway’s first full suspension e-bike, they likely do not have much experience designing suspension systems and, to be totally frank, a full suspension e-bike at this price point is very hard to pull off.
See rear suspension is hard to pull off. It takes lots of engineering know-how, careful design and tactful use of materials to make a bike that feels laterally stiff and vertically plush. I’ve ridden plenty of affordable full suspension e-bikes that frankly weren’t worth the money, and another few that felt downright dangerous. But the Cobra is neither. I’m not sure if Himiway got lucky or really did put its money where its mouth is on this one, but the Cobra rides very nice.
Frame wise, the Cobra is a very large bike. Compared to other popular electric fat bikes such as the Aventon Aventure or Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus, the Cobra’s wheelbase is a full 4 inches to 6 inches longer. It’s also taller than either of those bikes, with a 32-inch standover height that’s 4 inches taller than the Aventure and 1.5 inches taller than the RadRover.
Himiway Cobra Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
There’s a lot to say about this motor, but I’m going to start with its pure power.
When the Electric Bike Report staff used to talk about Himiway models that we’ve tested, we used to talk a lot about unbridled power — about bikes that leapt off the line quickly and really didn’t hold back. Himiway bikes felt distinctly more powerful than other e-bikes we’ve reviewed. With the Cobra, nothing has changed.
This bike is quick and torquey. If you’re looking for something that rides a little more gently, especially at lower speeds, this one is likely not for you. But if you’re power hungry and want something that’s not going to hold back, keep reading.
It’s also remarkably sensitive. We used to complain a lot about how delayed a Himiway could be from the moment you began pedaling and the moment the motor kicked on. That appears to have been addressed with these new models with the addition of a remarkably sensitive torque sensor. As opposed to the old cadence sensors, the torque sensor detects how hard your pedaling and applies motor power accordingly. That means you can adjust how much power you’re getting simply by adjusting how hard you’re pedaling.
The Cobra has the standard five pedal assist settings and a throttle all set to Class 3 settings, meaning the motor will assist your pedaling to 28 mph and the throttle will power the bike to 20 mph. Right around now is when, in a typical review, I’d interject some complaint about PAS 1, the lowest pedal assist level, giving virtually no assistance and being pretty useless. Here’s where I’m going to give you whiplash: PAS 1, and really most of the low PAS levels, are too powerful.
In our circuit test, where we sample the performance of each PAS level, the bike’s speed lept from a 12 mph average in a lap with no help from the motor to a PAS 1 lap with an average speed over 18 mph. That is, by a long shot, the quickest PAS 1 lap we’ve ever recorded around our test circuit.
I’m all for having usable power at that low of an assist level, but boy is 18.4 mph too quick. It also leaves little room for adjustment in the PAS levels above that, which we saw evidence of in our testing. PAS 1 should be mellow but usable, but maybe we’re just seeing some early release glitches from Himiway.
Himiway Cobra Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
In our range tests, the Cobra’s large 48V, 20Ah (960Wh) battery performed expectedly well.
We tested the bike’s range in two power settings, PAS 2 and PAS 5, to get a sampling of low-power long range riding and high-power short range riding. In PAS 2, the Cobra went for 65.06 miles with a seriously impressive average speed of 15 mph. And in PAS 5, the bike lasted 36.37 miles at an average speed of 17.15 mph before dying.
While both those ranges are solid, I’m very impressed with the results from the PAS 2 range test — namely the average speed. A 15 mph average over 65 miles is seriously quick, with only the Surface604 Werk (equipped with an upgraded 960Wh battery) even coming close to matching it.
It’s doubly impressive considering the amount of energy the bike likely had to consume to go that fast over that distance. To put it short, battery range should not be a concern on the Cobra.
Himiway Cobra Review: Hill Test & Drivetrain Performance
On our test hill, the Cobra really flexed its muscles.
We did two tests on our test hill, Hell Hole, a third-of-a-mile long hill with an average gradient of 12 percent. The first test was using only the throttle and the second test in PAS 5, the bike’s max pedal assist setting. We recorded solid results in both.
In the throttle only test, the Cobra cleared our hill in 1:28.00 with an average speed of 12.3 mph. In the PAS 5 test, it got to the top in 1:11.00 with an average speed of 15.3 mph. These are both awesome results, with the PAS 5 result approaching the top of our leaderboard.
This was another test I frankly expected the Cobra to perform well in. Himiways have traditionally held their own on hills, and the Cobra is continuing that legacy. Where this bike did depart from the performance of its predecessors was in how it felt while climbing in PAS 5. Thanks to that torque sensor, the bike was remarkably responsive and felt much more lively on the steeper sections. If I gave a little extra effort at the pedals, the bike’s motor responded accordingly.
Himiway Cobra Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
The Himiway Cobra comes stock with a set of hydraulic disk brakes, an upgrade over the mechanical disk brakes we saw on the old Himiway Cruiser.
While Himiway is ambiguous on their website as to which brakes the Cobra comes with — likely a function of ongoing parts shortages and the occasional need to sub brands for others — our review bike came with a set of Tektro HD-E350 e-bike specific disk brakes. These are hydraulic brakes with two piston calipers and 180mm rotors front and rear.
They performed well, certainly better than the old mechanical brakes, but the results of our braking test showed that this 88lb e-bike might benefit from more powerful quad-piston brakes.
In five full-power stops from 20 mph, the Cobra slowed in an average of 17-feet-9-inches, more than a foot further than our 16-foot-1-inch average braking distance of all the bikes we’ve tested so far.
By no means is this an unsafe result — at no point in my testing of the Cobra did I feel like the brakes weren’t up to the job — but it is evidence that the sheer weight and power of this bike may warrant a stouter braking system.
In the off-road e-bike market, where this bike arguably falls, quad-piston hydraulic brakes have become the norm for exactly this reason. Modern off-road e-bikes simply are powerful and heavy enough to warrant larger brakes.
Himiway Cobra Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
The Cobra’s cockpit is good, sporting riser bars, an LCD display and a comfortable ergonomic saddle. But I do have some notes on the grips and throttle that I think are worth pointing out, especially as Himiway has made a really good shot at gearing this bike towards a more off-road audience.
The faux leather grips are not up to snuff for off-road riding. They have become fairly standard issue in the affordable electric fat bike category and do have some aesthetic appeal, but they tend to spin on the bar and the faux leather material is not grippy. The Cobra would do well from a set of lock-on rubber mountain bike grips, which luckily are easily attainable and can be installed in your garage in about ten minutes.
My other gripe with the cockpit is the twist-style throttle. These things work fine for road-going e-bikes, but it’s not the best option for an off-road e-bike. The issue is that the throttle is effectively part of your right-hand grip, meaning that if you hit an unexpected bump and your wrist slips, you could give the bike a whole lot of power in a situation you may not want to. A thumb throttle that’s off the grip would suit the Cobra better, but again this is a change you can fairly easily make in your garage.
Now enough of my complaints and on to one of the bike’s strongest suits: Its handling.
I cannot overstate how much the Cobra outperformed my expectations in the handling department, especially off-road. Its full-suspension design is shockingly functional and the geometry stable at high speeds in unpredictable terrain. Though it stops short of qualifying as an eMTB, the Cobra is certainly inspired by modern eMTB geometry. The headtube is slack, the seat tube angle steep and the wheelbase long. At low speeds, this gives the bike a slightly slow steering and floppy ride characteristic that reminds me a lot of my long travel enduro bike, but open it up on double track and the bike feels right at home.
At 88 lbs and with a seriously long wheelbase and tall standover height, the Cobra is a very large bike. Compared to some other electric fat bikes in its class, the Cobra’s wheelbase is a full 4 inches to 6 inches longer than the Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus or Aventon Aventure. Its 32-inch standover height is also several inches taller than both of those bikes. It’s a large enough e-bike that I’d offer a word of caution to smaller or more inexperienced riders thinking of getting one; on more than one occasion I had a hard time keeping the bike upright at low speeds and in super tight u-turns. But if you’re taller and feel confident handling a bike like that, the Cobra absolutely will not disappoint.
It’s a destroyer of doubletrack and fire road that had no trouble flying through g-outs and over variable terrain at high speeds. Though the Himiway and other off-road e-bikes are a far departure from dirt bikes, the Cobra thrives in the same terrain; in sandy wash bottoms, rough 4×4 road and backcountry fire road. Frankly, it’s a whole ton of fun.
But while Himiway has done an impressive job building an off-road capable full suspension electric fat bike, do note that this variation of the Cobra is still technically an affordable model. The suspension on this bike is cheap, and still in line with the setups we see on more pavement-oriented electric fat bikes. The fork is unbranded and the rear shock is from EXA Form, a brand not known for building high-end suspension systems. I can attest that they work off-road, but you’re not going to see the performance (and lifespan) you’d expect from more expensive suspension systems like the one spec’d on this bike’s more expensive big brother, the Cobra Pro.
Himiway Cobra Review: Summary / Where to Buy
Though the Himiway Cobra meets the price, componentry and style criteria to fit neatly into the affordable electric fat bike category next to the RadRovers and Aventon Aventures of the world, but after riding it, I’m having a hard time placing it there.
The price is right, the motor size is right, the drivetrain choice is right and, obviously, it has the all-important fat tires. But despite those facts, the Cobra just doesn’t fit in with the bikes that have traditionally populated the affordable electric fat bike category.
Honestly, it’s just more of a purpose-built off-roader.
The Cobra flat-out shreds on fire road and double track. Its rear suspension is delightfully functional — a statement I’ve never before made about an e-bike that costs this little — and the geometry is absolutely geared towards off-road riding instead of pavement cruising. Obviously it’s still a budget e-bike, meaning that while the suspension design works the actual rear shock and front fork are limiting in just how aggressive you can ride. But Himiway has succeeded in building a bike with the guts of a full suspension, and I’m extremely curious of how the better spec’d Cobra Pro performs with its pricier and more complex suspension system.
That’s not even mentioning the other improvements Himiway made to the Cobra, such as the torque sensor and hydraulic disk brakes, that make it even more suited for the demands of off-road riding.
Few other affordable electric fat bikes will be able to hang with the Cobra when the pavement turns to dirt. And for that, I think the Cobra may just be in a category of its own.
This review was conducted over about 150 miles of testing on the Cobra, and time will tell how it continues to stand up. A full suspension design introduces a whole mess of wear parts and potential weak points that can become issues down the road, but thus far, the Cobra has stood up to what we’ve thrown at it. We’ll keep testing, and report back if anything changes.
If you like the Cobra, it (or its more expensive sibling, the mid-drive powered Cobra Pro) can be purchased on the Himiway website and shipped to your door for home assembly. Or, if you live in a service area, you can have the bike delivered fully built by a bike courier service.
‘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 Cobra.
robert becker says
It’s a joke to say this is an off road bike. How long will the suspension last hitting real bumps, how will you ever get it to the trails and how will it nimbly negotiate any terrain are extremely questionable, but good try finding something good about an almost 90 pound behemoth.
Jim Bo says
I looked at the Cobra Pro specs, and there appears to be no difference in the fork from the base Cobra. There’s no rear shock specified on either bikes’ pages. The only difference I see are the drivetrains – 10 speed vs 7 and mid-drive vs hub.
Ethan Pogue says
I have ordered the Cobra and the Zebra (for the wife) I did quite a bit of looking into it . While not a true mountain bike I think as fat tire bikes they both compare very well to others in this price range, I also think that later I can replace the hub motor with the mid drive on either bike. I can’t wait to get both bikes and try them out.
Rodney Dodson says
Just curious how the bikes are working out. I was thinking about the very same ‘bundle’ for my wife and I. Any comment appreciated – thank you
The Cobra almost sounds too good to be true at this price point. What worries me are the numerous complaints other sites have with their customer service. Especially after recommending this manufacturer to my ex. If she has a bad experience I’m sure she’ll think I recommended them out of revenge!