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Himiway C5 e-bike review: looks and rides like a motorcycle

Himiway C5 Motorbike with flashing lights on battery and cup in the cupholder.
Himiway C5
MSRP $2,299.00
“The Himiway C5 is so much fun to ride that I made multiple trips daily to 'check the mail' during testing.”
Pros
  • Great riding experience
  • Excellent value for performance
  • Adjustable front and rear suspension
  • Goes fast, stops quickly
  • Cool extras like USB C ports and a cupholder
Cons
  • Needs mirrors and turn signals
  • No provision for a front fender
Himiway C5 e-bike left side front angled view parked on wet grass.
Bruce Brown / Digital Trends

At first glance, you might think we got it wrong and that this is a motorcycle review, but it’s not. The Himiway C5, also known as the C5 Ultra, looks and rides more like a small motorcycle than a regular e-bike. The peppy C5 has plenty of torque and handles nicely. It’s a fun ride as a Class 2 or Class 3 e-bike, so you don’t need to register or insure it. The C5 is a good value for the money and comes with everything you need to ride on and off the pavement,  although it’s not intended for serious off-road use.

Himiway C5: motorcycle-style design and handling

The Himiway C5’s profile resembles a cross between a BMX bike and a motocross motorcycle. After assembling the C5, my first impression was that it resembled the Yamaha TW200, a fat tire dual-sport 200cc motorcycle that Yamaha has produced since 1987.  Looking at the 2024 Yamaha models, I realized this Himiway e-bike shares design lines and cues with Yamaha’s XT250 and YZ125, still-popular motorcycles that debuted in 1980 and 1974, respectively.

While it looks like a small motorcycle, the C5 also has the ride and handling chops to match its appearance. The e-bike’s full suspension starts with a dual-crown coil spring fork with 140mm of travel and adjustable compression and rebound. A rear air shock under the seat is adjustable to match your weight, though you’ll need an air shock pump or a precise, high-capacity tire pump to get the pressure right.

Front and rear Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with large, 180mm disc rotors provide plenty of stopping power. Riding down our steep, wet driveway after a brief rain shower, I locked up the brakes when I pulled the levers too aggressively, but the bike quickly straightened itself out when I released them. Overall, the C5 has confidence-inspiring components.

Himiway C5: power and charging

Himiway C5 e-bike right rear view of the hub motor, derailleur and gear cassette, Himiway by Kendra rear tire with half fender, and the air shock below the seat.
Bruce Brown / Digital Trends

The C5’s go power comes from Himiway’s 750-watt brushless geared hub motor on the rear wheel. It ships as a Class 2 e-bike with a 20 mph top speed and battery-powered pedal assistance or thumb throttle control. You can reconfigure it to 28 mph Class 3 with the C5’s display and 4-button control pad after obtaining a passcode from the company. Himiway encourages riders to respect state e-bike laws so the company doesn’t distribute the passcode openly.

There are five levels of pedal power assistance. Himiway equips the C5 with a torque sensor, which is generally considered an upgrade from a cadence sensor. Cadence sensors provide power boosts relative to your pedaling speed.  Torque sensors respond to pedaling force, which is a more natural feeling if you pedal the bike. The type of sensor doesn’t matter much if you primarily power the C5 using the throttle.

The motor provides up to 86 Newton-metres of torque, sufficient for up to 15-degree grades or high headwinds, Himiway claims. From a standing start, I rode up our approximately 30-degree driveway using the throttle only, and it didn’t stall or hesitate.

Turning the C5 doesn’t require leaning. I could just look to turn, the same way I did with my original small Suzuki motorcycle.

LG lithium-ion cells in the C5’s 48-volt, 20Ah battery provide a substantial 960 watt-hours of power, which Hemingway says is good for up to 80 miles of range. To hit that distance, you’ll likely need to use low-power pedal assistance in modes 1 or 2. If you’re heavy on the throttle, as I suspect most C5 riders will be, you’ll probably have a much lower range per charge—possibly half the 80-mile maximum or even less.

Himiway supplies a 3A output charger with the C5, which means fully charging an empty battery should take almost seven hours. Batteries last longest when the charge rate stays at 20% or higher, and you only charge above 80% for longer trips. Charging within those guidelines typically takes three to five hours.

Himiway C5: rider comfort and convenience

The C5 has a surprisingly cushy extended seat that allows riders to find a comfortable upright riding position, especially with the BMX handlebars. The seat has a relatively low 31.8-inch stand-over height.

Like most e-bikes, the C5’s double-thick frame is made of sturdy aircraft-quality 6061 aluminum. The bike is rated for up to 330 pounds of cargo, including the rider and anything worn and carried. Himiway puts the C5’s weight at 88 pounds, but it weighed 82.2 pounds on my digital scale.

You can take your coffee with you because the C5 has a cup holder.

According to Himiway, the C5 fits riders from 5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 3 inches tall. I’m 5 feet 8 inches tall with a 30-inch inseam, and I found it comfortable to ride and easy to get on and off.

The specially designed Himiway by Kendra 20-inch by 4-inch fat tires have a mildly aggressive tread better suited for streets than off-road riding. The tires gripped and responded well to riding on grass and forest paths. The tires’ tall sidewalls add to riding comfort when you inflate them from five to 10 psi below the maximum inflation level.

Himiway C5: riding impressions

Himiway C5 e-bike right side three-quarter view of the bike parked on arise next to a parking lot.
Bruce Brown / Digital Trends

A quick story: My first motorcycle was a 250cc Suzuki Hustler. That bike was so easy to ride, corner, and stop that there was almost no learning curve. When I later bought a 500cc Suzuki, I was surprised that you had to lean to turn corners and allow more space to stop. The smaller bike turned where I looked and stopped immediately when I touched the brakes.

The Himiway C5 reminds me of my 250cc Hustler. E-bikes are pretty easy to ride in general, but some are sized and set up in such a way that it can take a minute to get used to the controls and the feel of the suspension and brakes. The C5 probably isn’t as fast as it seems, and I didn’t go faster than 25 to 26 miles per hour very often during my testing, but it gets up to speed so quickly that it just feels fast. Turning the C5 doesn’t require leaning. I could just look to turn, the same way I did with my original small Suzuki motorcycle.

I don’t pedal e-bikes by choice very often, but I do check out pedaling without battery power during testing. E-bikes are usually too heavy and the rider geometry is too awkward for comfortable pedaling, but I found it easy to pedal the C5 without battery power while using the Shimano 7-speed gearset to balance effort and speed. I don’t intend to try this on purpose, but I wouldn’t mind pedaling the C5 home for a mile or two if I ran out of battery power.

Himiway C5: extra features and upgrades to make it your own

The C5 ships with some unexpected cool features. The shocks, brakes, and seat are all excellent, and the LED headlight and combination taillight and brake light also work very well. A small rear fender is standard, but there is no provision for a front fender, which rules the C5 out as a commuter bike for many people.

But you can take your coffee with you because the C5 has a cupholder on the top of the body in front of the seat. Himiway even includes a logo travel cup. There are also two USB-C charging ports, one on the battery and the other on the bottom edge of the display screen.

What Himiways terms breathing lights are a standard feature that is easy to miss unless you know it’s there. A series of arrow-shaped LEDs on either side of the battery light flash in various colors. According to Himiway, the lights are just right for stylish urban riding. The lights also add side visibility in addition to the reflective stripes on the Himiway by Kendra tires, and side visibility is always a good thing with two-wheelers.

The C5 does not have provisions for racks, baskets, bags, or extra seating, so it’s primarily a single-rider fun and lifestyle e-bike, but it serves that purpose extremely well.

Our take

Himiway C5 Motorbike with flashing lights on battery and cup in the cupholder.
Bruce Brown / Digital Trends

The Himiway C5 was a lot of fun to ride around town. Even though the mailman delivers just once daily, I made multiple trips to “check the mail” during testing. Given the C5’s performance, ride, fit and finish, and components quality, it’s an excellent value at $2,299, especially when you would pay at least double that amount for a small ICE motorcycle for casual riding.

At $1,199 with two batteries, the Engwe M20 is another fun, full-suspension cruiser-style e-bike, though the M20’s ride quality and acceleration don’t match those of the C5. The comparably priced $2,295 Ride1Up REVV1, another motorcycle-like e-bike, is a bit faster, but the REVV1’s extra 11-pound weight requires more effort to maneuver than the C5. If you want an e-bike for carefree, enjoyable scooting around, the C5 is an outstanding choice.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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