Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a Himo H1!
If you live near a major city you’ll have noticed the increase in people travelling the roads on electric rideables. Not only is it a good reason to ditch the car, it’s also good fun. Once bitten by the rideables bug, there’s no going back.
With the growing interest in this mode of transport, we’re seeing more and more electric skateboards, skates, bikes and scooters hitting the streets and pavements of Australia, but the Himo H1 is a whole new kettle of fish.
Originating from the company behind the excellent Segway escooters, the H1 is like a shrunken hybrid of an electric scooter and bike with the aesthetic of a rocking horse and a solid nod to Optimus Prime. Why the Transformers reference? Well, incredibly, the H1 folds down completely: the handlebars, stem, wheels, seat and even the frame itself folds down to an unfathomably small A3 size.
At only 14.5kg, it’s possible to fit into a backpack (and then carry), pop under a bus or train seat, or lob into the back of a car.
With a bit of practice, it can be stripped down or set up in under 30 seconds.
Now, given its unique foldable design, you’re never going to look like Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy when gliding down the pavement on one of these, but that’s not really the point here. It’s all about practicality, and the H1 has it in spades. So what’s the lowdown?
First off, don’t let its diminutive dimensions fool you. At 6ft 3”, this rider had no issues using it – the handlebars and seat are fully adjustable to compensate for riders of any height. There is a weight restriction of 100kg, but that’s literally it. Once perched on the exceedingly comfortable seat, two pegs fold down just above the front wheel on which to place your feet. The right handle is the throttle while a digital brake is fitted on the left side. The wheels are small but surprisingly shock absorbent and will handle roads, uneven pavements and light gravel surfaces with ease.
Charging can be completed via the aluminium frame or, alternatively, the battery can be easily removed. Top speed will level out at 18kph (a tad faster rolling downhill with a little leg power) and you can expect to get close to 30km range on a full charge. You’ll have no issues tackling low grade hills, but don’t expect to be able to speed up steep inclines.
Does it ride well? Absolutely!
While it undoubtedly looks ungainly to the casual observer (and you’ll certainly attract plenty of attention cruising through populated areas), we put it through its paces over several different distances and it remained a comfortable ride throughout. While it doesn’t have the speed of an escooter, you can’t fold up an escooter and put it in your backpack, and if you’re engaging in electric rideables for the first time, you’ll likely be more at ease at 18kph.
So, who would it suit? This is a perfect ‘last kilometre’ rideable offering incomparable portability. For city commuters alighting from a train or bus station and still facing a trek to the office, pulling the H1 out of a backpack offers a good alternative to further transport options – or indeed a long walk. But its uses are tenfold; it’s perfect for slinging in the back of a caravan or car for that long weekend away, or substituting for the car if you need to pop down to the shops.
The Himo H1 is a commuter’s Swiss army knife. Its foldable technology is an engineering marvel, and while its design will not appeal to everyone, from a practical sense, it will take some beating.