Heybike Mars 2.0 e-Bike Review: The Perfect Option for RVers
If You're in the Market for a Folding e-Bike, This Model Should Be at the Top of Your List
Over the past year, we’ve been lucky enough to test and review several e-bikes from Heybike. Over that time, we’ve been continually impressed with the company’s ability to design high-quality models that offer a lot of features and performance while maintaining very affordable price points. Each model also has the added benefit of falling into the category of folding electric bikes, making them easy to store in a garage, apartment, or RV.
Recently, we’ve had the chance to ride the new Mars 2.0 e-bike and found it to be the best Heybike model yet. Not only is it smaller, more maneuverable, and more responsive than the other models we’ve tested, it also happens to be a lot of fun to ride. And true to form, you can buy this model without putting a significant dent in your bank account.
If you’ve read any of our other Heybike reviews, you probably already know that the bike ships directly to customers partially assembled. New owners have to install the front tire, handlebars, pedals, fenders, and other accessories prior to their first ride. Usually, it takes about an hour and a half to complete that process using the tools supplied in the box. But the Mars 2.0 was the quickest and easiest to put together of any of the models we’ve tested so far. Everything snapped into place relatively easily, making the process go much faster. Having gone through this procedure a time or two before certainly helps, but all told, it took us less than an hour to get the bike roadworthy.
As we assembled the bike, several things immediately caught our attention. For instance, the Mars 2.0’s 600Wh battery slides into place just below the seat, putting the weight under and slightly behind the rider. That changes the bike’s center of gravity somewhat and has a direct impact on how it performs on the road. The bike is also smaller than the Ranger S, and Tyson models we’ve already tested, both of which support riders up to 6’3″ in height. In contrast, the Mars 2.0 is recommended for cyclists 6’1″ or shorter. I’m actually a little taller than that, but I still found the bike easy and fun to ride. That said, even with the seat and handlebars adjusted, it did feel a little small at times.
The other thing new owners need to do before taking their first ride is to charge the battery fully. The large power cell comes from the factory with a partial charge but should be topped off before hitting the road. The included 48V AC adapter can replenish the battery pack in about four hours, which is fairly standard for this type and size of power cell.
A Smooth Ride
Once the battery was fully assembled and charged, we were eager to hit the streets. True to form, the Mars 2.0 rides very well, effortlessly rolling along on the flats and descents while making short work of steep hills and inclines. We also found the bike to be more maneuverable than the other Heybike models we’ve ridden, holding corners better and generally feeling a bit more agile. This made it easier to avoid obstacles and stay on course while maintaining a better sense of control.
Because the Mars 2.0 weighs about 75 pounds, it is somewhat ponderous to pedal without the electric drive engaged. But even using the first of five pedal assist levels, gliding along at a steady pace becomes very easy. Increasing the level of pedal assist adds speed—up to 28 mph—at the expense of range. And if you don’t feel like pedaling at all, the bike’s built-in throttle can do all of the work for you. Generally speaking, we found ourselves most often using the second level of electric assist, which allowed us to confidently cruise along at about 15 or 16 mph with minimal effort.
The Mars 2.0 is equipped with a 750W motor (max 1200W) that is more responsive than those found on the other Heybike models we’ve tested. In our previous reviews, we noted a one- or two-second lag from when the rider started pedaling to when the electric drive would actually kick in. The same was true when you stopped pedaling, as the motor would always take a few seconds to disengage. With this model, those momentary lapses are still there, but they are shorter and less noticeable, making the bike easier to ride under all conditions. This is especially true when starting from a complete stop and getting the heavy bike going can be difficult.
The more responsive motor isn’t the only component that makes riding the Mars 2.0 so much fun. It also comes with rugged 20″ x 4″ tires that—when some assistance from the front suspension fork—roll over bumps in the road with ease. A thickly padded seat further enhances rider comfort even on extended outings, making this the perfect option for cruising the campground, running errands, or exploring an urban destination. It can handle light trail duty, too, but this isn’t a bike built for serious mountain biking.
Features and Range
Heybike says the range of the Mars 2.0 is 30-45 miles on a single charge. That’s a fairly broad estimate, but we routinely found ourselves getting closer to the high end of those numbers during our testing. As with any e-bike, the range will vary based on the size of the battery, the weight of the rider, the level of pedal assist, and the type of terrain. Longer and steeper hills will eat into battery life at a faster rate than pedaling on flat roads or coasting downhill. Cold weather can also severely impact the range.
During our testing, we were pleasantly surprised at how far the Mars 2.0 could go before we needed a recharge. It was not uncommon for us to ride 40-45 miles—or even more—before we had to plug in the battery. Your mileage will vary based on the factors listed above, but it is good to know you can ride a considerable distance without running out of power. Because as heavy as this bike is, you definitely don’t want to have to ride it very far without pedal assist.
As with Heybike’s other models, the Mars 2.0 has a number of other excellent features that riders will appreciate. For instance, it has a clear, easy-to-read digital screen displaying speed, distance ridden, battery life, and additional pertinent information. It also has a bright headlight and rear braking lights that aid in visibility while out on the road. A rear cargo rack can support a load of up to 120 pounds, and the bike folds up quickly and easily, making it easy to store in a closet, car trunk, or RV cargo bay. You can even pair the bike with your phone and adjust settings, track your rides, and activate additional features—like an anti-theft locking system—using the Heybike app for iOS and Android.
As much as we like the improved electric drive system, powerful battery pack, and digital display, some of the bike’s more traditional components were a bit lackluster. Most notably, the seven-speed Shimano derailleur that is used for switching gears. The system gets the job done but is about as basic as a cycling component can be. That isn’t altogether unexpected considering the Mars 2.0’s price point, but it is important to point out nonetheless.
On the other hand, the bike’s front and rear hydraulic brakes are very effective at slowing it down, even when traveling at high speeds. The brakes provide a controlled stop even when surface conditions are less than ideal. While we haven’t tested them on ice and snow, they respond very well, even when the roads are wet and muddy. This helps enhance safety and control while giving riders a nice boost in confidence.
Like most e-bikes, the buttons for turning the Mars 2.0 on and off or adjusting its settings are mounted on the handlebars. Unlike some of the other models we’ve tested, these controls are within easy reach, not requiring the rider to take their eyes off the road to adjust pedal assist or activate the headlight. Everything is set up in a logical, easy-to-understand fashion that becomes second nature after a ride or two. The built-in electric horn is appreciated, too, quickly drawing attention to the rider when needed.
Other components of note include the aforementioned tires and shock-absorbing front suspension fork. Neither is particularly noteworthy in terms of features or quality, but again, they are more than adequate considering the bike’s price. The suspension does minimize the bumps in the road, and the puncture-resistant tires provide ample grip. As a result, the rider feels safer, more secure, and more comfortable in the saddle. They’ll also feel less tired and sore after a long ride.
A few nitpicks over cycling components aside; the Mars 2.0 represents a substantial value in the e-bike space. Just a few years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a quality electric bike in the sub-$2000 market space, but now there are a number of great choices that fall below that threshold. Heybike’s models all come in under that mark, with the Mars 2.0 priced at $1,499, although as of presstime, it was selling for just $1,099. We’d expect similar savings as we head into the holiday season.
The Mars 2.0 offers a lot of bang for the buck, delivering excellent performance and range at a price that is hard to beat. The fact that it is also a folding model makes it especially attractive to apartment dwellers, RVers, or anyone short on storage space. It also happens to be an excellent option for casual riders or first-time e-bike buyers, providing a complete package that is easy to operate and simply fun to ride.
To learn more about the Mars 2.0—and the entire line of Heybike e-bikes—visit the company’s website.