- One of the first Gravel Grinder style electric bikes to make it to America! Made with premium components, high performance lights and a purpose built frame in three sizes
- Capable of high speed 28 mph performance, the Bosch centerdrive motor measures bike speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque 1,000 per second, super responsive for any terrain
- Larger 500 watt battery gets you further, hydraulic disc brakes stay clean off-road and the levers trigger rear light bright-mode activation on pull, 11 speed drivetrain with electronic shifting
- You pay more for all the goodies and this bike is not very light considering the suspension fork, fenders and minimalist pannier rack, only comes in high-step, buttons on the control pad require you to change hand position on the left away from braking access
Before I begin this review I have just one question… shouldn’t this ebike really be called the “daily grinder” and why in the heck won’t it grind my coffee (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ I need that stuff before I can even think about getting onto my ebike and riding nearly 30 miles per hour… Bulls why! Okay, admittedly, I had no idea what a Gravel Grinder bicycle was before and during this video review which is embarrassing but I’ve studied a bit since then and come away very excited and impressed. The bike looks like a road bike but can handle gravel and light trails… to keep it stable in soft terrain you’ll want to “grind” and pedal fast in a higher gear vs. dropping way down as you might otherwise. Pedal hard and keep from stopping or you’ll lose traction with the slick but wide tires. This concept speaks to my sporty road bike side but delivers the strength, traction and comfort required for some off-road conditions. Big thanks to People For Bikes and the others who have done little articles like this helping people like me get up to speed.
The rest of this review is mostly my take on the electronics and design of the bike rather than an expert gravel grinder perspective. Unfortunately, I didn’t even test in on gravelish environments, just a yuppy neighborhood in SoCal, but it did have some really steep hills. With this electric bike, we’re dealing with a veteran European brand, Bulls, and on of the leading most electric drive systems producers, Bosch. The bike performs at higher than average speeds up to 28 mph and goes further than most models thanks to a high watt-hour battery pack and a wide 11 gear range (that’s a lot for mid-drive ebikes). You get excellent frame balance because the motor and battery are mounted low, added utility with plastic fenders, a minimalist pannier rack and some amazing super bright and super tuff lights. The suspension fork and wider tires (at least by road bike standards) are what separate this from a pure road-style electric bike… But notice the drop bars which allow for multiple aggressive body positions. Then compare the frame length, height, strength and weight with bikes like the Haibike XDURO Race. The Dail-E Grinder is truly unique and awesome, at least for now! It’s the first of its kind that I have seen in the United States and it’s available in three sizes with a spectacular two year comprehensive warranty… So as long as you can stomach or justify the $5,800 price tag, you’ll be getting an awesome ride. And perhaps you can justify it, the idea being that with this bike there are not compromises, it can sort of do it all :)
Driving this bike is a 350 watt nominally rated centerdrive from Bosch. It’s mounted at an angle in order to maximize ground clearance and meld with the frame. Same thing goes for the battery pack which is partially surrounded by the downtube towards the base. Both systems are black, matching the frame and accessories, and as mentioned prior, they keep weight low and centered for optimal handling, easier mounting and extra space near the top tube for lifting and carrying the bike. Weighing in at just under 50 lbs, this is not the lightest bike I’ve reviewed, not even close, but it’s designed to be tough and the larger tires, suspension fork and all-Aluminum frame allow it to handle more rigorous terrain. For its part, the motor performs spectacularly peaking out around 60 Newton meters and detecting your gear shifting behavior to ease off and spare the chain and sprockets. It’s one of the smartest, most trusted motors around and the speed is unlocked to go a bit faster making the bike a Class 3 speed pedelec. Unlike many of the Bosch driven bikes I test, this one has a larger sprocket with 22 teeth. That’s designed for riding faster whereas most of the Bosch mountain bikes I test have something like 15 teeth. The sprocket spins about 2x your pedal cadence so keep that in mind. The Bosch motor is geared and does produce some audible whining noises when operating at high power and high RPM but it’s super responsive and extremely durable. Just what you’d want for lots of daily riding around the city and the occasional grind across trails.
Powering the Dail-E Grinder is the new 500 watt Bosch Powerpack. It’s the exact same size as the older Powerpack 400 (and even backwards compatible with it) but weighs just slightly more at ~5.73 lbs vs. ~5.5 lbs. It mounts to the frame securely with a metal locking core and metal clip hardware but is easy to remove for separate storage or charging. I tend to leave my batteries on my ebikes so I don’t accidentally drop them and that’s fine here as the pack can be charged while attached. The Charger is pretty speedy putting out 4 Amps and only weighs ~1.7 lbs so you could toss it into a pannier or backpack. I like that the battery has a little LED indicator on the side so you can always approximate how full it is. Note that it only has five dots, just like the display panel, so you’ve got 20% increments to go by. In short, the battery does everything it should but leans towards accessible and convenient verses stealthy and hidden. As you might have noticed, Bulls makes some electric bikes with the Brose motor system and those bikes have completely integrated batteries. If you’re not into the questions and attention that a “different” looking bike can provoke, this is still a decent setup but not perfect. I love that the wires are all integrated and internally routed through the frame and again, that it all matches in black but it does stand out a bit.
Operating the bike is very simple once the battery is charged and mounted properly. Just press the power button on the Bosch Intuvia display panel. In just a few seconds you’ll see the battery level, speed, level of assist and some other ride stats below. This thing is large, bright (being backlit) and easy to use. Because the bars here are drop style vs. flat the button pad is mounted a bit differently than most. It’s just to the left of the display and can only really be used when your hands are not in the hoods or drops and that means you won’t have them near the brakes. Unlike some road bikes, there are only hood brakes here so be careful when interacting. I usually select one of the lower levels of assist and leave it there, opting for a decent workout and extended range vs. power but if you’re approaching a hill or dynamic off-road conditions plan to click up into Sport or Turbo mode a bit early. Thankfully, with tactile clicking sounds and feeling along with the large display you’ll be doing it almost thoughtlessly with some practice. There’s also an “i” button that’s duplicated on the control pad and display which cycles through trip stats and range. I like range because it’s much more useful than the five bar battery info graphic. It calculates an estimate based on your last five miles, level of assist and remaining battery capacity. This could be very useful for longer rides where getting all 50 lbs of bike back home on time means pedaling and all of your friends have lighter non-electric bikes. Just one scenario but it’s something I’ve encountered on distance rides before. I almost always go electric being a weekend warrior sort and having some knee sensitivity. It’s a blast but I find that especially with the older smaller batteries I’d have to be thoughtful or pay later ;)
There’s still a lot to say about this bike… I like that they upgraded the light to an enormous, 900 Lumen Supernova M99 Pure+. This bike has been available in Europe for over a year but had the smaller circular light. Considering you could be in the city where being seen is important then jumping to trails where seeing terrain is important (especially at 28 mph!) this light makes sense. I’ve only ever seen one similar to it on the $10k Stromer ST2 S before and it’s a head turner. You also get a smaller 5 LED Supernova tail light that goes bright when the brakes are activated. The tires have reflective sidewalls for safety and the plastic fenders keep you dry and focused on what’s to come. For me, the suspension fork is a huge deal because my back and neck get stiff on longer rides when bent forward and especially at speed. For those who want to swap it out for something lighter, maybe a carbon Lauf fork? go ahead… but it does lock out and provides the kind of strength you’d want for actual off-road terrain. I like the rear mounted kickstand, it’s a Pletscher with adjustable length, and the hydraulic disc brakes are perfect. They stay much cleaner in the dirt and are easy to actuate… and powerful. The drivetrain is really state of the art with electronic shifting, you don’t have to worry about going out of tune as wires break in and it’s super fast. I think the only area I’d consider altering this bike is with the carbon fiber seat post, consider swapping for a 31.6 mm suspension post if you plan on riding off-road a lot. The carbon fiber already dampens vibration and is light but just isn’t going to save you the way that some of these other options would. A suspension seat post would pair nicely with the suspension fork and larger tires to take the edge off, especially if you lower the PSI a touch (though it will effect range). If you want to stay super light but crave comfort then check out BodyFloat which has a light weight carbon fiber model. Big thanks to Bulls for partnering with me for this review.
- One of the only Gravel Grinder electric bikes I’ve seen in the United States, it’s a novel concept and Bulls has done a great job with the purpose built frame and top notch components and drive system from Bosch
- Extremely well balanced with the motor and battery pack low and center to the frame, electrical and brake wires are all internally routed
- The battery pack and display are both easy to remove for safe storage and independent charging, perfect for city riding if you use this for commuting and bring a pannier on the rack, the charger is light and compact enough to come along too
- All black color scheme works great with the black battery pack and I love how they angled the motor and sort of blended it with the frame, this raises ground clearance and just blends in
- Premium lights front and rear from Supernova, both are sturdy, bright and kept out of the way if you have panniers or are wearing gloves or a long jacket (they won’t be obstructed)
- I think it’s wonderful that in addition to integrated lights, the tires have reflective sidewall stripes to increase your visual footprint, the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme model is top of the line and is capable of lower PSI for improved traction and comfort off-road
- Ready for any conditions thanks to full length plastic fenders from SKS, I also appreciate the little chainring guard which will keep pants clean and snag-free while keeping the chain from bouncing off
- Hydraulic disc brakes perform as expected and are a great addition to an off-road capable bike like this, they will stay cleaner than rim brakes
- Both wheels offer quick release for fast and easy trail fixes, I also like how portable it makes the bike… if you remove them along with the battery the weight drops and could make it easier to carry with other bicycles on a car rack (where weight can sometimes be an issue)
- Love that the display panel is removable for protection, that it can angle to reduce glare while mounted and that it offers micro USB charging on the upper right corner to keep your phone or other electronics (Garmin perhaps?) maxed out
- Bulls managed to squeeze in bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! THANK YOU! consider a saddle rail adapter for more hydration or if you use the tube mount for a mini-pump and folding lock etc.
- If you want a sturdier rear rack, maybe to use a trunk bag in addition to panniers, the frame has seat tube bosses so you could add one!
- Awesome bell mount on the left side of the stem, easy to access if you’re left hand is already working with the control panel for the drive system
- Very nice Aluminum skid plate protecting the underside of the motor from any sort of contact you might make with trail obstacles or curbs
- During this ride test I hit 42 miles per hour (coasting down a large hill) and the bike felt stable and stopped pretty well, note most electric bikes allow riders to go beyond their maximum assisted speed, they just won’t help you do it
- They did the best they could with the remote button pad (where you select the level of assist and interact with the display) but it’s very near the stem and means you can’t brake with the left hand while pressing
- You pay more for the name brand components and custom build here but at least it comes in several sizes… I’m sure electronic shifting added to the price and for me I’m not sure that was necessary for the bike?
- Being all-Aluminum and having that suspension fork and larger tires means you end up with a heavier bike, much heavier than the other road-only models I’ve tried, taking the battery off helps and the frame is wide open and balanced so it’s easy enough to lift
- I like the quick release wheels but if you take the front off the fender will still be there so you can’t turn it sideways as much to lay flat in your trunk
- Minor grip here but I think the name is kind of lame and confusing, it’s a play on the whole E-Bike thing and I get it but still don’t love it! How about Daily Grinder Pro or something?
- This might be the case with all Gravel Grinder bikes but the pedals come closer to the ground (like a road bike) but you may be riding off road and have a tendency to scrape the pedals on the downstroke, the demo bike I tried had a really banged up pedal
- I was a little surprised that the brake rotors were just 160 mm while some of the other Bulls speed pedelecs, that cost less, had up to 203 mm rotors to help dissipate heat better
- Not really a con here but the left shifter mechanism is built in and non-functioning since this only has a rear derailleur, could be confusing to someone new with the bike or if you just forget after not riding for a while, also probably adds a bit to the cost vs. a standard brake lever
- It seems like the battery for the electronic shifter is mounted inside the downtube so I’m not sure how that would work when swapping out the seat post and also, it would be nice if it didn’t have to use a separate battery, why not run off the main Bosch pack and keep it simple if possible