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Heybike Ranger S e-bike review: stable, foldable fat tire fun

Heybike Ranger S

Heybike Ranger S

4.0 / 5

Heybike Ranger S is an excellent combination of stability and storability in an e-bike with fat tires and a folding frame.

Foldable e-bikes aren't a new concept, but they introduce an alternative decision point for customers. The foldable frame makes storing and transporting the bike easier despite the large tires and frame.

The Heybike Ranger S is a foldable e-bike that sits low with 20-inch tires that are 4 inches thick. It's a cross between a heavy-duty off-roading bike and a foldable city cruiser.

Despite its smaller size, it still weighs plenty at 72 pounds, that's only a few pounds less than the full-sized Aventon Aventure 2 we reviewed. The high weight can be attributed to its foldability, which is the tradeoff for storability.

Of all the e-bikes we've tested so far, this form factor works best for our general use case. It feels sturdy and stable when riding, but it can squeeze into the back of our Honda HR-V — without lowering the seats.

Heybike Ranger S e-bike review — design

The Ranger S has a squat but thick frame with a tall handlebar neck. It has a rear cargo rack and wide fenders, adding to its utilitarian design.

Physical controls for lights and signals
Physical controls for lights and signals

The controls on the handlebars all feel retro, like the physical knobs and buttons found in a 90's vehicle. There's a switch for the headlights, a physical slider for turn signals, and a button for the horn on the left side.

The right side of the bike is more standard. It has the Shimano 7-speed shifter, the throttle, and the light auto button on the right side.

A Shimano shifter, throttle, and automatic light control button
A Shimano shifter, throttle, and automatic light control button

The LCD in the middle shows standard information like current speed, distance traveled, and pedal assist level.

The bike frame and handlebars can be folded for storage. These are held in place by a simple lever that won't accidentally disengage while riding.

Heybike also sent its saddlebag accessory. This drapes over the rear rack for extra storage.

Assembly and maintenance

Like other e-bikes, the Heybike Ranger S arrived almost fully assembled. After cutting away the miles of zip ties and styrofoam, we only needed to attach a few components, like the front wheel and handlebars.

Cable disconnects are easily found around the bike for troubleshooting issues. We encountered a signal error once, which we fixed by adjusting the cables.

The headlight attaches to the front fender, and a cable connect is ready by the handlebar mount. Keep in mind that cable slack is important for a foldable bike since there are more movable parts.

Ranger S is mostly put together out of the box
Ranger S is mostly put together out of the box

Maintenance is what you'd expect for an e-bike. Users should check the frame and wheels for damage weekly, check brake pads and shifters monthly, and check cable integrity and drivetrain at least every six months.

Heybike recommends having a specialist check the bike every six months.

Heybike Ranger S e-bike review — features

Heybike Ranger S features a 750W motor with a 28 MPH max speed. Its max range is 55 miles, and the bike is rated for 400 pounds max load.

Heybike Ranger S has powered lights and signals on both sides
Heybike Ranger S has powered lights and signals on both sides

It takes about 4 hours to get the battery charged from 0% to 100%. Battery life is mostly dependent on the pedal assist setting in use.

The pedal assist on Heybike isn't a torque sensor, so each pedal assist setting is meant to push the rider to a certain speed with minimal effort. This can be set up using the Heybike app with zero to six levels available.

We defaulted to the 0 to 5 setting for the widest range of control. With this set to a low pedal assistance level, we'd ride between 3 and 4, which translated to about 14 MPH or 19 MPH, respectively.

The LCD shows data like current speed and pedal assist level
The LCD shows data like current speed and pedal assist level

Max speed can also be set in the app, meaning the pedal assist won't exceed that speed. Ours is set to 20 MPH since that's plenty for our needs.

Ranger S has hydraulic brakes instead of mechanical ones. This means more stopping power and control while riding.

The suspension is also hydraulic with adjustable settings. Riding over bumps is much less impactful with the springy front fork suspension.

The bike weighs 72 pounds and can fold up to about half its size for storage and transport. When folded, it's about a 20-inch by 40-inch square that's 20 inches tall.

The large headlight provides plenty of light at night
The large headlight provides plenty of light at night

A large headlight and rear taillight light up with a switch or automatically based on how dark it is outside. Turn signals show up on the headlight and taillight for visibility on all sides of the rider.

Heybike app

Heybike's app is simple and to the point. It is thankfully free of social networks or forums and contains obvious controls for the Ranger S.

There are toggles for the proximity unlock and auto lock functions on the main page. The big GO button will start a GPS-based tracking of the current ride, though the results aren't exactly useful.

Heybike on the left and Apple Fitness on the right
Heybike on the left and Apple Fitness on the right

It showed a calorie burn of 1,555 which is unrealistic, and a saved carbon footprint of 3.15 Co2, which isn't really a useful metric. Instead, as always, we turned to track the workout from our Apple Watch.

The speed and cadence sensor we paired with our Apple Watch, plus the heart rate data and other metrics, made for much more detailed and useful information. We've yet to see an e-bike integrate with Apple Health for improved metrics, but it would be interesting to see.

Ignoring the tracking option, everything else in the Heybike app is useful. Controlling certain features like pedal assist levels and top speed from the app is useful and more desirable than navigating some weird on-bike display.

Riding the Heybike Ranger S e-bike

Riding Heybike Ranger S is a comfortable experience. Its smaller size and lower seat make it feel like a moped more than other bikes we've tested.

Despite being more compact, it's still a hefty bike. This is likely due to the additional hardware needed to make the frame fold reliably while keeping it sturdy.

Gravel wasn't a problem for Ranger S
Gravel wasn't a problem for Ranger S

The 4-inch fat tires provide plenty of confidence for riding over any surface. We managed to take the Ranger S up a gravel hill without losing traction.

Front fork suspension is also a welcome sight. Not all e-bikes have a suspension of any kind, but Ranger S is meant for more than flat pavement, so suspension is a must.

Riding over cracked and broken pavement destroyed by tree roots growing underneath was still bumpy but not difficult or overly disruptive. Our iPhone sits in a MagSafe stand held in by rubber bands, and it wasn't in any danger of flying out from the force of the bumps.

Folding the bike can be awkward due to its size and weight. And once folded, there isn't a mechanism to keep it folded closed.

It can be quite the task moving this bulky object even a few yards, thanks to the size, weight, and tendency to try to open the hinge while moving. We've found that the wheels can roll when positioned right when folded, which can help.

We were surprised to discover the Ranger S fit in the back of our Honda HR-V without any issues. The back seats could stay upright, and nothing was pinched or forced into place.

Fold to fit Ranger S into tight spaces
Fold to fit Ranger S into tight spaces

A Honda HR-V is a mid-sized crossover smaller than the full-sized SUV Honda CR-V. So, unless you're in a sedan, there's likely space for the Ranger S.

The saddlebag connects via a series of buckles that can be tightened to fit. The problem is the bag can rub against the rear tire or even the chain if it isn't set just right — so we'd have preferred a more custom fit.

The 750W motor passed our usual hill test — it could pull me up with some minor effort pedaling. Also, having a throttle to get started from stops will never not be an excellent option for riders.

No need to sacrifice power for storability

The last e-bike we tested with fat tires and a heavy-duty frame was excellent but gigantic. Parking it in our living room required a lot of dedicated space.

Heybike Ranger S can handle rough roads and be stored in small spaces
Heybike Ranger S can handle rough roads and be stored in small spaces

The Heybike Ranger S has been a very different experience. When we're done riding, it can be folded and placed in a corner of our bedroom without much thought.

When it's unfolded, it becomes a robust bike that's comfortable to ride and looks good too. It checks all the boxes: foldable, storable, and capable of climbing these steep Tennessee hills.

Heybike Ranger S e-bike — Pros

  • 750W motor doesn't flinch at hills
  • Foldable frame opens up more opportunities for storage and travel
  • Easy to ride with confidence thanks to suspension and fat tires
  • Excellent hydraulic brakes mean fast stops and more control on descents
  • Bright lights and signals on all sides
  • Physical controls for the win

Heybike Ranger S e-bike — Cons

  • Heavy — trading wight for storability
  • Awkward to move when folded
  • More moving parts means more opportunity for failure or loosened cable connection

Rating: 4 out of 5

Foldable e-bikes have been popular for a while but come with some tradeoffs. While this form factor and feature set works for us, it isn't for everyone.

The Ranger S will be great for commutes that don't have perfectly paved routes and for those who need to carry some cargo. Others may opt for a lighter, smaller frame with smaller tires.

Where to buy the Heybike Ranger S

Get the Ranger S direct from Heybike for $1,499. The saddlebags are an optional add-on that normally costs $79 but are on sale for $39.

Ranger S is also available on Amazon for $1,499.