- A versatile urban electric bike well suited to commuting, touring and trekking because of its efficient mid-drive motor and larger than average battery capacity, durable internal gearing and belt drive
- Available in five frame sizes and three frame styles including wave, mid-step and high-step diamond for improved fit and optimized mounting and control or stiffness and performance
- Completely outfitted with high-end accessories and hardware including fenders, rack with mini pump, hydraulic disc brakes, Kevlar-lined tires, a lightweight air suspension fork and integrated lights
- Solid warranty and growing dealer base in the US with European backing, room for improvement with battery lock design and charging port cover, no quick release on rear wheel
The Lacuba Evo E8 is like an “everything electric bike” because it comes in five sizes, three different frame styles, has fenders, a rack, suspension fork, integrated lights, a large battery and an efficient mid-drive motor. I guess it’s not well suited to trails and mountain biking… but the motor used here, from Brose, is the same one that Bulls uses on their very capable full suspension mountain models! With 90 Newton meters of torque and a 250 watt nominal output, the bike is no slouch. What really sets it apart from some competing models is the internally geared hub running on a Carbon reinforced belt drive. You don’t have to worry as much about a derailleur getting bumped or a chain falling off. There’s no grease and oil to deal with and you can shift gears anytime (even at standstill). One trade-off with this setup is that the rear wheel uses bolts instead of a quick release skewer but the tires are higher quality Kevlar-lined models that shouldn’t be as susceptible to punctures from thorns or glass. Also, the front wheel does have quick release so maybe half the time it will still be easier to change the flat. Also worth noting is the compact mini-pump that clips into the rear cargo rack. Low tire pressure is a leading cause of pinch flats and can contribute to lower efficiency so having that pump with you at all times should further reduce instances of flat tires… just make sure you don’t leave it on the frame to get stolen at the bike rack :/
In my opinion, Bulls has done an excellent job outfitting the Lacuba EVO E8 with name brand hardware that will last longer and reduce weight while still hitting an impressive value price point. No, it’s not super cheap at just over $4k but the reflective sidewall stripes on the upgraded tires could save your life along with the integrated LED lights front and rear. The Selle Royal saddle significantly improves comfort when combined with the air suspension fork and adjustable angle stem… not to mention ergonomic grips (again name brand) from Ergon. You can spend a lot of money swapping saddles and changing touch points and end up with a bike that doesn’t look as good as this. The fenders are tight and have sturdy struts and attachment points on the rear rack so they don’t rattle. You get a chainguard that keeps your pants from rubbing on the belt, but even if this wasn’t here you’d stay a lot cleaner than if it was running a chain. Designing frames that have a cut-away for actually using a belt (since the belt can’t be unlinked like chains can) is expensive and I’m just amazed that they did it for five frame sizes and all of the different frame types. I especially like the step-thru and low-step wave because it’s a lot easier to mount the bike than swinging your leg up and over the rear rack (especially if you’ve got a trunk bag mounted there). This is an electric bike that should fit most riders and be more fun and secure for shorter petite riders like women. My girlfriend has hit her leg and crotch many a time riding other bicycles and it creates insecurity and she doesn’t want to ride as much. Yes, the wave model that I test rode and photographed for this review isn’t going to be as stiff as the mid-step or high-step diamond or as easy to mount on some car racks but at least she will want to go riding and this isn’t a bike that needs to be so stiff.
I love the battery and motor integration, both are tight so you don’t hear rattling and they blend right in with the frame. It only comes in one color scheme but it’s professional and helps the black battery and motor casing blend in… along with the black cables (many of which are routed through the frame to reduce snags). Even though this has a downtube battery, because it mounts up from the bottom, there are screws for mounting a bottle cage on all of the different frame styles. This is great because we all need hydration! Surprisingly, many electric bikes forego bottle cage bosses and while you can compromise with a bag or seat mount they just aren’t as easy to reach and sometimes don’t feel as secure to me. Another usability feature that this Bulls model offers that some of their others do not is the larger CI backlit display panel. Being larger, it’s much easier to read from afar and I absolutely LOVE that it’s removable. This will reduce instances of scratching and wear from sun and other weather when parked at the rack. The display even has a little Micro USB port at the bottom for charging your phone or other electronic devices. I sometimes use my phone for GPS directions so that’s really cool.
In terms of performance, the Brose motor is quiet, responsive and very efficient if you simply switch gears naturally as you ride (lower gears for climbing, higher gears for going fast). Inside the motor are gears to transform high RPM into powerful torque and you can hear some whirring as it spins but this is still one of the quieter motors out there to choose from (comparing to Bosch, Yamaha or Impulse). It doesn’t offer shift-sensing but that’s not as important since it uses a combination torque and cadence sensor and the drivetrain here is a geared hub vs. traditional derailleur with cassette. I like that both the motor and battery are low and center on all models of the Lacuba EVO E8 because some similar designs from competing brands opt for the rear rack battery which reduces your carrying capacity there and stands out more in my opinion while also shifting balance and raising the center of gravity. Accomplishing the preferred design here costs more but again, the price for this bike isn’t outlandish. Some minor improvements I would like to see however are the rubber flap that covers the charging port… It doesn’t stick down as easily as I’d like and could let water and dust in. The bike doesn’t automatically lock the battery in when you mount it and it would be a bummer if someone stole this because they are very expensive to replace. The key for locking the battery in is right there at the bottom bracket where the crank arms pass by and could easily get broken if you forget to remove it. I also feel like the Shimano Inter8 geared hub can be a bit wonky and take some getting used to, it doesn’t always shift immediately if you’re pushing down and this can cause confusion and over-shifting.
All things considered, this is a fantastic electric bike platform that’s at home as a very fancy comfortable neighborhood rider, a tuff urban commuter or even a touring or trekking ebike. There are solid electric bikes that offer similar performance for basic riding that cost half as much but this one will surely last longer and perform at a much higher level than those. Bulls offers an excellent two year comprehensive warranty along with five year frame coverage. They’re opening up more dealers in the US but have a solid global reputation from years of operation in Europe and Asia. From 2016 to 2017 they’ve introduced many more models and I can tell they are committed to delivering an excellent experience. That’s part of what you’re paying for here and why I’d strongly consider this model for my own commute in town. Just grab a nice pannier backpack or duffle style trunk bag and you’re set for 40+ miles of riding each day and impressively fast charging thanks to the 5 amp charger (most are just 2 or 4). It’s an electric bike that’s easy to get excited about and one that fits into the most widely accepted Class 1 category with 20 mph top speed in the US. Big thanks to Bulls for partnering with me for this review.
- The bike is extremely well equipped, the design is polished and it comes in three frame styles (stiff high-step, easier to mount mid-step and approachable wave deep step-thru) and five frame sizes!
- In addition to a range of frame styles and sizes that improve fit, there’s also an adjustable angle stem and relaxed curved bar with name-brand ergonomic grips on this bike
- At over $4k this isn’t what most people would call affordable but considering the internally geared hub, brand name belt drive, integrated lights, reflective tires and high quality rack with a mini-pump I think it’s a good value for what it is
- Most of the super commuters and touring electric bikes I test out that have fenders, racks etc. all weigh a bit more but at ~56 lbs this one isn’t bad and part of that is the air suspension fork… internally geared hubs also weigh more but are durable so it’s a good trade-off here, the battery is easily removable for reduced weight when transporting
- Belt drives tend to stay cleaner than chains because they don’t require lubrication, they also run quiet and don’t drop (in part because this is the upgraded Gates CDX with center-tracking design)
- In addition to the cleaner belt drive, you get tightly integrated plastic fenders and a nice chain guard to keep your shoes and pants clean even in wet conditions
- I love the rack on this thing, it has pannier mounting tubes along the sides, a spring latch on top, an integrated mini-pump and it connects to the fender for added support and reduced rattling
- It’s great that they designed the downtube in such a way that you can still mount a bottle cage for easy-to-reach hydration while riding, consider a trunk bag like this for carrying extra bottles
- I was really impressed with the battery capacity offered on this and other Bulls electric bikes, you really could use this for long commutes or touring, the efficient mid-drive motor is a battery sipper compared to hub motors
- It’s nice having a display panel to show your speed, assist level and power output but I’m super happy with the one they chose because it’s removable… that means less wear and damage at racks outside if you commute (just don’t misplace it), I also like that it has a Micro USB charging port in the bottom for charging your phone or other portable electronics!
- Solid hydraulic disc brakes provide smooth powerful stopping power and the levers offer adjustable reach so you can use them easily even if your hands or fingers are smaller and shorter
- The bike is already really comfortable but you could swap out the rigid seat post with a 30.9 mm suspension like this, just keep in mind it will raise the minimum seat height, I like the Selle Royal saddle that comes stock (it’s a bit larger and less firm than others)
- I like that the tires have a kevlar puncture-resistant lining because it’s not much fun fixing flats and only the front wheel has quick release here (because the rear uses an internally geared hub, you’ll need tools to remove the bolts)
- The charger outputs 5 amps so it fills the pack quicker than some others (which are just 2 or 4 amp) and I like that they went with the fancier magnetic EnergyBus port because it just pops out if you trip over it vs. tipping the bike or bending the pins
- Activating the bike requires two steps if you haven’t ridden for a while, press the power button on the downtube then up at the button pad, could be confusing at first if you haven’t charged the battery in a bit and can’t figure out why it’s not powering up ;)
- I love that the battery pack locks to the frame for security but feel that the key is positioned in a vulnerable spot where the crank arm can hit it if you’re not careful
- It’s nice that you can charge the battery while it’s on the bike but the rubber flap designed to cover the charging port at the base of the downtube doesn’t stay down very well, I feel its design could be improved
- The battery pack slides up into the downtube so getting it out can be a little tricky and definitely requires two hands, you have to unlock it then sort of pull down (but not so hard that it hits the fender or ground if you aren’t careful)
- I like that you can shift gears while at standstill on this bike because it has an internally geared eight speed hub but for the gear to actually change I’ve found you can’t be pushing very hard… so when riding I back off a bit when shifting (especially when climbing)
- The Brose motor system uses cadence and torque measurements to activate and is fairly responsive but does not have shift sensing, that’s less of an issue on an internally geared hub drivetrain like the Shimano Nexus Inter8 here