With the LYKE CF SE, German eMTB pioneer Haibike introduced their first Light-eMTB and at the same time ushered in an entirely new chapter in the company’s history. The LYKE reinvents Haibike’s classic design language, with a sportier look and innovative integration concept. But is the LYKE as fast as it looks?
That’s a Haibike? At first glance it’s hard to believe, because the € 10,999 LYKE CF boasts a sporty new look and new rear suspension system, which positions the shock horizontally in the frame. The latter controls 140 mm travel and is paired with a 140 mm fork. The FAZUA Ride 60 motor sits upright above the bottom bracket and is integrated into the wide seat tube rather than the down tube. This innovative integration concept gives engineers more freedom with frame designs while at the same time getting rid of the typical “golf driver” shape bottom end of the down tube which is typical of many FAZUA bikes. In size L, the LYKE tips the scales at 18.6 kg.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best Light-E-MTB 2023 – 8 bikes in review
The Light-eMTB Haibike LYKE CF SE 2023 in detail
The clever positioning of the motor also clears the way for the 430 Wh battery, which can be removed from the bottom of the downtube and charged both on and off the bike. The latter option requires an adapter, but this comes standard with the LYKE. The LED HUB display integrated into the top tube shows the charge status in 20% increments via LEDs, which change in colour depending on the current support mode. However, distinguishing between the colours of the different support modes can be difficult in direct sunlight. The cables are routed through the headset but not through the stem, which makes it easier to fine-tune the cockpit.
The down tube features a bottle cage mount and two additional bosses for a tool mount, which can be used to carry all your trail essentials directly on the bike. This is also new for Haibike and replaces their proprietary Modular Rail System, which wouldn’t suit the sporty look of the LYKE.
The Light-eMTB spec of the Haibike LYKE CF SE 2023
For the flagship LYKE model, Haibike use many components from popular third-party brands instead of their in-house parts, which really suits the new, sporty look. The suspension consists of a 36 GRIP2 fork and matching FLOAT X shock. The superior GRIP2 damper of the fork allows for countless adjustment options and delivers a tremendous performance on the trail, while the shock has externally adjustable low-speed compression and rebound settings. FOX also supply the 150 mm Transfer Factory dropper post, which has substantially less travel than the average in this test (168 mm), restricting freedom of movement. Shimano XTR brakes with 200 mm rotors front and rear ensure powerful and reliable deceleration, and shifting is taken care of by a Shimano XTR drivetrain. However, this is paired with a cheaper XT cassette, which is 100 g heavier than its top-tier counterpart, but nevertheless ensures the same excellent shifting performance. The LYKE rolls on a Mavic E-Crossmax XL R carbon wheelset with MAXXIS DISSECTOR tires in the hard MaxxTerra compound, both front and rear. While the shallow tire profile ensures minimal rolling resistance, on most forest trails it doesn’t generate sufficient traction. A tire with a more aggressive profile, like a Minion DHF – preferably in the softer MaxxGrip rubber compound – would suit the character of the LYKE better. Moreover, we would replace the standard, puncture prone EXO casing at the front and EXO+ at the rear with a more robust variant, like MAXXIS’ Doubledown.
Haibike LYKE CF SE
Motor FAZUA Ride 60 60 Nm
Battery FAZUA Energy 430 Wh
Display FAZUA LED HUB
Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 140 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X Factory 140 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 150 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR/XT 1x12
Stem Race Face Turbine SL 40 mm
Handlebar Race Face Next Carbon 760 mm
Wheelset Mavic E-Crossmax XL R Carbon 29"
Tires MAXXIS DISSECTOR 3C MaxxTerra EXO/MAXXIS DISSECTOR 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ 2.4/2.4
Size S M L XL
Weight 18.6 kg
Perm. total weight 120 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 101 kg
Trailer approval nein
Kickstand mount nein
Tuning tips: Tires with more aggressive profile, and softer rubber compound at the front
The geometry of the Light-eMTB Haibike LYKE CF SE 2023
The Haibike LYKE is available in four sizes, S to XL. Our test bike in size L combines 479 mm reach with a very long 470 mm seat tube. This is inevitable, because the vertically-mounted motor takes up a good portion of the lower seat tube, requiring a longer seat tube to ensure sufficient insertion depth for the dropper post. Unfortunately this is the one big downer of Haibike’s innovative integration concept, because the long seat tube paired with the short-travel dropper post restricts freedom of movement on the bike. Chainstays are 450 mm across the board, which makes them the longest in the entire test field together with the Scott.
The Light-eMTB Haibike Lyke CF SE 2023 on the trail
The Haibike puts you into a compact, upright pedalling position, placing you on top of the bike rather than integrating you between its wheels. This makes for somewhat undefined handling, especially when negotiating slow trail sections. The firm rear suspension works efficiently, allowing you to make your way to the trailhead in relaxed fashion, even without reaching for the climb switch. Only on very steep climbs will the rear suspension struggle to generate traction. The FAZUA motor pushes willingly, particularly when using Boost mode. That being said, controlling the 12-second turbo blast isn’t easy, especially on technical climbs.
The LYKE doesn’t integrate you between its wheels and the weight is unevenly distributed between front and rear, resulting in unbalanced handling.
When gravity takes over, the Haibike doesn’t integrate you between its wheels either, making you feel as if you were sitting on top of the bike. However, the LYKE is nimble and responds to steering input willingly and precisely, especially in narrow trail sections. The long chainstays make for uneven weight distribution which, in turn, forces you far over the front of the bike. With their shallow profile and hard rubber compound, the MAXXIS DISSECTOR tires quickly reach their limits, causing the front wheel to feel twitchy. Compared to the Focus, the Haibike might be a tad nimbler but lacks nearly all of its composure and predictability. Overall, the LYKE is a handful to ride and rather unforgiving of mistakes. The suspension offers good support and allows you to generate speed on flat, flowing trails. On demanding trails, however, the LYKE feels rather nervous and the suspension’s lack of final progression quickly turns botched landings into sore ankles.
Thanks to Haibike’s innovative integration concept, the motor of the Lyke is integrated into the seat tube. This gives engineers more freedom with frame designs and allows you to remove the battery from the bottom of the downtube.
With the LYKE CF SE, Haibike have done a lot of things right, taking a huge step towards creating sportier bikes. The LYKE is good fun on less demanding trails, but is quickly overwhelmed and rather difficult to control when the going gets rough. As a result, it struggles to keep up with a competition that has been building sporty trail bikes for many years already. With a price tag just shy of €11,000, it’s rather expensive for what it actually is.
- Most discreet FAZUA motor integration so far
- Battery can be charged on and off the bike
- Long seat tube paired with short-travel dropper post
- Tires don’t do justice to the character and potential of the bike
- Demanding handling
You can find out more about at haibike.com
The test field
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best Light-E-MTB 2023 – 8 models in review
All bikes in test: Focus Jam² SL 9.9 2023 (Click for review) | Forestal Siryon Diode (Click for review) | Haibike LYKE CF SE | Orbea Rise M-LTD (Click for review) | Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01(Click for review) | SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS (Click for review)
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker, Mike Hunger