What you feel, you attractIt came from my fellow autoevolution writer, Cristian Curmei. And my eyes lit up once I read his text: "How would you like to test ride an electric motorcycle for the next few days?" I had been thinking about starting to perform these kinds of tests for some time, and it felt almost funny that this one fell right into my lap. The bike Cristian was talking about was the CR6 Pro from Horwin, a brand I had never interacted with before. I had no idea what to expect from it, but I knew the electric setup would be fun to experience either way.
The very next day, I was headed towards Smart Balance, which is my local Horwin Motorcycles dealer and the company that would entrust me with their product for a total of three days. Lid in hand, I arrived at their location and the CR6 Pro was already waiting for me outside. And it looked even better in real life. It had only 49.7 miles (80 km) on its odometer, and thankfully the State of Charge indicator was at 100%. Somehow I didn't realize that I would need to bring a backpack that day, so I decided to leave the bike's charger at the dealership.
Carrying it around may be a nuisance if you plan on going for a longer trip, but it shouldn't be a problem if you're going to stick to in-city commuting. Now, before going into my review of this motorcycle, I would like to clarify a few things about me. I'm just over six feet (1.83 meters) tall, and I currently weigh about 198 lbs (90 kg). I've had my motorcycle rider's license since 2018, and I've probably racked up about 3,100 miles (4,988 km) on public roads on various motorcycles including my SV650S, an SV650, a '90s Honda Transalp, a Yamaha FZ6, a CFMOTO 700CL-X Heritage, and a Honda Hornet S.
Two wheels move the soulThe moment I first laid eyes on the Horwin CR6 Pro, it sort of reminded me of the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401. Now, I've been quite obsessed with sports bikes my entire life, but recently I've been looking at sport-touring models seeing that I'm also looking for a bit of comfort in life. If I could only have a three-bike garage, I wouldn't go out and buy a cafe racer. But I will give you a thumbs up if I see you riding one in traffic. The CR6 Pro may be built in China, but it was designed in Europe by an Austrian company. So that may explain why it reminded me of the Svartpilen.
It looks rather small from a distance, and that feeling was amplified the moment I got on it. But that's only natural because the CR6 Pro is a 125cc-equivalent electric bike. It only weighs about 304 lbs (138 kg), and that's about 68 lbs (30 kg) lighter than my old SV. Right off the bat, I could tell that this bike is meant to be user-friendly, especially for people with no prior riding experience. And that idea would be reinforced by what I learned next. The CR6 Pro comes with a five-speed manual gearbox, as opposed to its lesser sibling, the entry-level CR6.
While you need to use the clutch to change gears, it's not needed when waiting at a stop light for instance. You can't stall the engine here, as would be the case with an ICE setup. Once you see the "Ready" message on the screen you're good to go. It doesn't take long to realize how swift and fun the Horwin CR6 Pro is. Hardcore bikers will complain about the lack of an exhaust sound, but you've still got a cool buzz coming from the 10.1 kW (13.5 hp) engine. Even a gentle twist of the wrist will provide an instant response, which is quite fun to experience.
There is nothing permanent except changeNormally, I'd use rev-matching between shifts to avoid locking up the rear wheel, but for a moment there I forgot what I was riding. Once the second gear was engaged, my rear tire immediately locked up but the whole thing felt amusing rather than dangerous in any way. So once again this was a sign that anyone could ride the CR6 Pro with relative ease. I was surprised to notice multiple drivers and pedestrians checking out the bike. While some were admiring its design, others were confused as to why it was completely silent. And over the next few days, I had quite a few people stopping by to ask more questions about it all.
On the first day, I also decided to put some air into its tires, as they seem slightly deflated. I opted for 22 PSI (1.5 bar) up front and 28 PSI (1.9 bar) on the rear. Now, I've split my test with the CR6 Pro into four parts. On the first one, I rode it from the dealership to my house and then to the park where he had a photo shoot with it. After a total of 10.2 miles (16.4 km), I used up 25% of the battery. Also, the bike's range had dropped from 87 miles (140 km) to just 34.8 miles (56 km). I guess that's what happens when you plan of being the first one off the line at every stoplight, and also when you just don't care about the range at all.
It was in this first session that I came to appreciate the CBS braking system, which feels like it could handle even more power than the little Horwin currently provides. On the other hand, I did not expect to have such a rough ride with it, as it didn't handle bumps or potholes in the road quite well. I started thinking if this had to do with the tire pressure I had gone for, or if the lack of an exhaust note had sharpened all my other senses. I somehow expected that it would be slightly more comfortable to ride than my 20-year-old Suzuki. And for the most part, it was.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyesBy the time the CR6 Pro was parked, I had added 11.12 miles (17.9 km) to it. The SOC was now indicating 53%, and a remaining range of just 21.74 miles (35 km). On my last day with the bike, I wanted to go visit a friend at work, as I wanted to see how we felt about it too. But I was starting to get serious range anxiety as I calculated my route. So for once, I decided to switch my brain into eco-mode and be as careful as possible with my throttle inputs. And it all worked out better than expected. Once I reached my destination, I traveled 7.95 miles (12.8 km).
Using 14% of the battery, the estimated range had increased by 2.48 miles (4 km) compared to the start of the day! My friend was impressed by the design as I greeted him in the parking lot of his office, but was slightly dismissive of the concept at first. While he has a license, he hasn't bought a motorcycle yet. I gave him the keys, and after several minutes he just wouldn't stop going around the block. He looked like a young child that had just discovered a new toy, and that goes to show that you don't need 100 horsepower to have fun.
I waved goodbye as I would embark on the last leg of the journey, back to the dealership. With about 6.2 miles (10 km) to go, I forgot all about the range anxiety and continued to explore the joys of instant throttle response. I realized that if I was still 18 and slightly smaller in size, this would have probably felt like the best bike in the world to me. And it was also clear to me that it's just right for a different crowd of aspiring motorcycle riders, ones that aren't stubborn enough to think that EVs are just a fad.
The gearbox can feel slightly clunky at times, but it's not a deal breaker in any way. The only deterrent I would point out is the price: just under $8,000. That's just what you'd expect to pay for a brand new Suzuki SV650 with ABS, which the Horwin does not have. And the 125cc bikes are going to be even more affordable. But depending on where you live, there might be a government incentive to use to bring that price down. And with the CR6 Pro, you'll never have to worry about waking up your neighbors when going out for a ride ever again. In conclusion, we wouldn't mind having the little electric bike in our garage for a long-term test ride!