- A comfortable full suspension urban electric bike with adjustable upright body position, wider Boost hub spacing and sturdy thru-axles front and rear, high volume tires offer comfort and stability, they don't have reflective sidewalls but they do offer puncture protection
- Totally blacked out aesthetic, everything matches and looks very cool, wires and cables are internally routed, the frame comes in two sizes and the top tube is sloped for lower stand over, great kickstand hardware and positioning
- High quality integrated lights with brake activation so the rear light goes bright when you stop, sturdy alloy fenders and a sleek pannier rack provide utility for commuting, extra large 203mm hydraulic disc brakes provide great stopping power and fast cooling
- The tough accessories, high powered Bosch Speed motor, and PowerTube 500 battery make this a heavier ebike at roughly 60lbs, Bosch Purion display panel isn't removable and doesn't have an active USB port for charging accessories, reduction gearing system adds a touch of drag and the motor produces some noise at high RPM output
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by BULLS North America. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of BULLS products.
The BULLS ICONIC EVO TR 1 delivers a high speed Class 3 comfort oriented ride that speaks to my own preferences and style. It’s sporty but won’t leave you feeling stiff and worn down after a longer ride. Everything is black, it’s seamless and beautiful, but the headlight has side windows to help maximize your visual footprint. I started with aesthetics here because safety is important to me, and this ebike can go faster than most. It’s clearly intended for urban environments, where you could be riding in traffic, so I feel compelled to suggest that reflective gear and additional lights would be money well spent. I usually ride with an additional rechargeable light on my backpack and helmet, I also use ankle straps with reflective bands to enhance motion feedback for automobiles who might otherwise miss me. Many pannier bags offer reflective fabric or patches that further maximize your visibility. If you’re a commuter, this electric bicycle provides everything you need to stay dry and clean in varied conditions. It’s available in two sizes, and the sloped top tube makes it easier to mount and stand over. BULLS has chosen one of the best drive systems on the market, from Bosch, invested heavily in integration to maximize stability and aesthetics, and chosen grown their North America dealer network to make it easy to test ride and service. There’s a lot to say here and I’ve gone very deep in the pros and cons section below. Between the adjustable angle riser stem, comfortable Selle Royal eZone saddle, and powerful 203mm hydraulic disc brakes with brake light activating adjustable reach levers, it’s a product that makes riding enjoyable and sustainable. Almost every design decision resonates, starting with the stiff thru-axles with wider Boost hub spacing for improved handling and spoke bracing angle, on to the high volume puncture protected Schwalbe tires, finishing with the Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain with one-way clutch to reduce chain bounce. BULLS even squeezed in a set of bottle cage bosses right where you’d want them, on top of the downtube. Yes, the bike weighs a bit more than average at 60lbs, but much of that comes from the heavier Bosch Performance Line Speed motor (8.8lbs) and high capacity Bosch PowerTube battery (7.2lbs). When you add in sturdy aluminum alloy fenders, the bigger hubs and tires, and a four bar rear suspension setup, it starts to make sense. I appreciate that they specced two air shocks here, because they tend to weigh less than spring and offer a lot of adjustability. You can sag them for your body weight, adjust rebound, compression, and lock them out for flat sections of tarmac. Depending on how you set the suspension and adjustable angle stem, this ebike could feel like a race car or a luxury sedan. For those who crave a true road bike feel with drop bars, consider the BULLS GRINDER EVO. It’s a hardtail gravel grinder with the same motor and battery setup.
Driving this electric bike is a Class 3 Bosch Speed centerdrive motor. It offers up to 63 newton meters of torque and top speeds of roughly 28mph (45km/h). Even though it’s not quite as powerful as the CX, which only goes 20mph (32km/h or 25km/h in some markets) it’s still plenty powerful if you shift into lower gears when climbing. Note that the BULLS ICONIC is geared for speed more than climbing. The cassette offers 11-42 cogs and the chainring is 22 tooth (equivalent to a traditional 55 tooth). The motor utilizes a smaller proprietary chainring that spins 2.5x for each crank revolution, and that allows it to be fast, grip the chain well, and produce great power through a reduction gearing configuration inside the motor… but the design does introduce a touch of drag when pedaling unpowered or above the maximum supported motor speed. The motor relies on a controller that measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second! As it responds to pedal input, it also listens for pressure changes originating from the shifter cable. This is called shift detection, the motor actually backs off when it senses shifting, and the result is smoother gear switching and less wear on the chain and sprockets. All of the Bosch Performance Line motors weigh roughly 8.8lbs because they have more copper winding inside, this is at the heavy end of the mid-drive hardware I’ve covered in recent years. The motor is integrated through a custom bottom bracket design that maximizes ground clearance and looks great compared to the standard plastic bezel used by many competing brands… see the Riese & Müller Supercharger for comparison. I really like this mid-drive motor and trust the consistent performance and reliability of Bosch. I love that the Shimano derailleur has a one-way clutch to reduce chain bounce, and love the two-way high gear trigger shifter and three-step low gear trigger shifter because it fast and fun.
Powering the ICONIC EVO TR 1 is a Bosch PowerTube 500 battery with bottom loading design. It comes with a color matched alloy cover that protects it from impacts, and blends into the frame beautifully. I mentioned that the frame black, tying in with the suspension fork, fenders, rear rack, spokes, hubs, seat post, handlebar etc. but the black goes from satin to gloss, creating a cool minimalist design. Splashes of red are mixed in for fun, and I just feel like BULLS did a great job all around with design. Back to the battery itself, removal can be a little bit tricky because of the limited space between the downtube and font fender, but the mounting system offers a two-step release to keep the pack from dropping out completely when unlocked, which could cause damage to the fender and the battery pack. I love that putting it back into the downtube does not require the key to be inserted or twisted in the locking cylinder, like many competing designs from Trek and others. You just push the pack up and listen for it to click into place, as shown in the video review above. This battery can be charged on or off the bike frame, and the charging port is located on the left side, which is a bit in the path of the crank arm… Also, I feel that the rubber cover for the charging port can be tricky to get seated again after it is unplugged, but I appreciate the little leash that keeps it from getting lost. For more information on this battery, check out my in-depth review on the EBR forums here. While it’s not as lightweight, compact, or easy to swap between different ebikes as the PowerPack 500, it does look good and open up the frame for more accessories.
Activating the drive systems on this ebike is fairly straightforward. You charge and mount the battery pack then press the power button on the top edge of the little display panel. This is called the Bosch Purion display, one of the nicer compact offerings on the market right now, and it’s very reachable and usable here – mounted close to the left grip. It cannot be swiveled to reduce glare easily, is not removable for protection, does not show as many menus, and does not have an active Micro-USB charging port like the larger Bosch Intuvia display. However, it does keep the handlebars open, and probably reduces the price of this model a bit. Some ebike shops will swap the Purion for an Intuvia if you pay ~$200 for parts and service, but I’m not sure it would fit perfectly with the Fuxon headlight here. Even though the display is a bit smaller than some competing products, it’s intuitive enough that you might not have to look down that often to read it. You might be able to set it and forget it because the motor controller is so responsive. It would be nice if Bosch offered eMTB mode for their high speed motor, because this “all in one” drive mode requires less display interaction. Anyway, I have grown to accept the Purion, but do have a few tips for use as follows. The + and – buttons, which raise and lower assistance, are designed to click in at an angle towards the right. They are attached near the left edge of the control pad and pivot in towards the LCD. With practice, I have found that the right edge is really the sweet spot for consistent clicking. Sometimes the lower left and middle areas can be inconsistent or non-responsive. The screen itself glows faint white at all times, which shouldn’t draw much power. Holding the – button will cycle through trip distance, odometer, assist level, and range. And, the range menu is dynamic, so you can see the bike calculate how far it thinks you can go before the battery completely drains based on the last mile of riding, your current state of charge, and the chosen level of assist. This helps to make up for the very basic 5-bar charge indicator on the left side of the battery and the display which isn’t as precise as a 10-bar or percentage readout seen on some competing displays. On the lower edge of the control pad is a walk-mode button. Press it once and then hold the + button to have the motor slowly assist you when walking the bike (you must be in Eco, Tour, Sport, or Boost for walk mode to work). It’s useful for crowded non-bikeable areas like parks, or if you get a flat tire, and not all companies have it enabled, so props to BULLS. I’ve created an in-depth Bosch Purion review in the EBR forums for more information.
In closing, I want to compliment the longer 120mm travel that is offered by both suspension elements on this ebike. The rear swing arm design reminds me of high-end mountain bikes that reduce braking bounce and chain kickback because travel is isolated more vertically. I love that the suspension fork has thicker 34mm stanchions because it keeps it stiff and solid, which is especially important with the 15mm thru-axle, Boost hub spacing, big Schwalbe Super Moto-X tire, and metal fender. I love where they mounted the headlight, high for visibility, because it aims where you steer and won’t bounce around or get blocked by the fender if it were down on the suspension arch. I also appreciate the little attetion to detail on the rear rack, which has holes for securing a pannier from sliding forward and back. Yes, the rear rack is missing a top platform for trunk bags and no it is not sprung like the super fancy Riese & Müller Delite models, but it’s a lot less expensive and still a great setup in my opinion. As always, I welcome feedback and corrections in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this model if you’re from Europe because they’ve been selling similar products for the past couple of years. 2019 is the first year that a full suspension urban ebike with full accessories for commuting and touring has been made available to the North American market. You can engage with other owners and share your ow pictures of the bike with different accessories or modifications in the BULLS electric bike forums, and I wish you many happy and safe rides! Please ride safe and consider the visibility upgrades like reflective clothing, bags, and lights.
- One of the most comfortable urban speed pedelecs I’ve ever tested, the high-volume 2.5″ Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires and full suspension frame offer stability and control over any sort of urban terrain, even a bit of packed trail
- Most full suspension bikes lack racks and fenders but the BULLS ICONIC offers both, and they are really well done, the fenders are solid alloy and don’t rattle, the rack is streamlined and designed for panniers but doesn’t get in the way if you don’t add them
- I really appreciate that the rear light is built into the fender and goes bright whenever you pull the brakes, it won’t get blocked as easily as a seat post mounted light could, and it should attract more attention for improved safety
- Excellent brake choice, BULLS opted for hydraulic disc brakes with large 203mm rotors to provide maximum stopping power leverage with improved cooling, the brake levers offer adjustable reach and activate the back light in bright mode when pulled
- The headlight is also wired in to run off of the ebike battery, the aim can be adjusted (which is important given the adjustable stem), and it has side windows that increase your visual footprint
- Both wheels are mounted using thru-axles that provide additional stiffness and strength, the hubs are a bit wider than normal, which offers a stronger spoke bracing angle, and the rear wheel uses thicker 13 gauge spokes vs. 14g up front
- Even though I wish they had reflective sidewall stripes, the tires are still pretty great, Schwalbe is known for high quality, long lasting products, and thse Super Moto-X tires offer GreenGuard puncture protection
- BULLS has added a little alloy guard to reduce pant leg contact with the chain and chainring, I love how compact they managed to make their motor casing, and appreciate the color matching and tough skid-plate below, there’s also a little shield protecting the stanchion on the rear shock so it won’t get dirty and chipped up over time
- As with most high-end electric bicycles, all of the cables and wires are internally routed through the frame here, it looks nice and reduces the potential for snags
- Available in two frame sizes so you can dial in fit and comfort, notice how the top tube is sloped down for a slightly lower standover height, this is great for petite riders or if you ride off-road where the ground isn’t as level
- It’s rare to see full suspension electric bikes with bottle cage bosses because the battery and rear shock configuration can sometimes take up too much space, but BULLS managed to squeeze them in here!
- Great kickstand position and hardware, it doesn’t get in the way while pedaling and won’t cause pedal lock, the stand is adjustable length so you can position the bike in uneven terrain
- BULLS chose to build their battery lock design with an ABUS locking core, and the keys come with a little card that has a code on it, so you can order matching locks and other accessories, this is a unique program that could help you reduce clutter on your keychain and order replacement keys more easily
- Given the high-capacity Bosch PowerTube 500 battery, it’s nice that BULLS opted to include the faster four amp charger, it’s relatively lightweight at ~1.7lbs and fairly compact, so you can bring it along on rides to top off when taking a break
- With the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor, you get access to relatively high torque output, 63 newton meters, and can consistently ride over 25mph (up to nearly 28mph with increased effort) which could shorten commute times and feel more comfortable when riding with traffic
- The Bosch motor controller is extremely smart and consistent, it measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 per second while also listening for pressure changes from shifting and then easing off, this protects the drivetrain a bit from mashing
- Another great feature with Bosch Performance Line motors is that they can support higher pedal rates without fading out and losing power, you can reach 120 RPM (pedal strokes per minute) and the motor will still be there for you, this allows you to downshift when going into a hill without losing support or just spin faster because you prefer that type of riding, as I do
- With all of the Bosch motors, there’s a shift detection software system built in that can sense that gears are being changed and it tries to ease off of the power to reduce strain on the drivetrain, it’s not perfect but it’s better than nothing, the only other drive systems I know of which do this are some Impulse motors and some customized Bafang systems which are usually installed as kits
- The bike has walk mode enabled, which is especially useful if you encounter a section of road or trail that you aren’t comfortable riding or maybe you get a flat tire, considering that the bike weighs ~60 lbs and has pannier racks for cargo, it could be really nice to get help moving it along in some situations
- The Shimano drivetrain features a derailleur with one-way clutch so you can reduce chain bounce when riding over bumpy terrain or at high speeds, the cassette has 10 cogs and ranges from 11 to 42 tooth so you can climb fairly easily but won’t get outpaced when pedaling up to the maximum 28mph top speed
- Battery and motor weight are kept low and center on the frame which improves stability and handling, with the main triangle section open on this electric bike, you can more easily lift it and hang it from some car and bus racks
- The battery pack can be charged on or off the bike frame (for convenience, battery protection, and reduced weight for transport), I recommend storing lithium-ion battery packs in a cool dry location to keep the cells healthy, try not to store it below 50% over long periods
- Unlike some other Bosch PowerTube battery implementations, this one can be forced into place without using the key to unlock the core, just push on it and listen for a click to know that it’s securely mounted
- Not every electric bicycle company has mastered the design aesthetic of integrating the Bosch motor as well as BULLS has, in my opinion, look at how it’s angled up and incorporated into the seat tube and downtube to raise ground clearance, it really blends in compared to the big plastic housing used by many other companies
- During this ride test I hit 40 miles per hour (coasting down a large hill) and the bike felt stable and stopped very well, note most electric bikes allow riders to go beyond their maximum assisted speed, they just won’t help you do it, however not all of them feel this solid
- Excellent two year warranty covers everything on the bike, including the motor, battery, and display system with a vast network of dealers in the US and other parts of the world who can help with fit and maintenance
- I like that both shocks offer rebound and compression adjust with lockout for efficiency on smooth sections, they are air shocks which means you can dial in sag for different weight and ride conditions… it’s just nice to have 120mm of travel on a high speed urban ebike because it really reduces back, neck, and wrist sensitivity for me
- It’s a minor point here, but I really like the saddle they chose for the ICONIC model, some of the other BULLS ebikes have sloped top fizik saddles that just weren’t comfortable for me
- The stem is mounted on three spacers and has quite a bit of rise on its own, this brings the bars up for a more relaxed body position (especially with the adjustable angle feature) so the ride is more like a hybrid or cruiser feel despite the really cool aggressive look
- This ebike is on the heavy side because it has wider Boost hub spacing, sturdy thru-axles, high volume tires, alloy fenders, a rack and integrated tail light, as well as a high powered motor and high capacity battery pack… but at least you can remove the battery to reduce that weight by roughly 7.2lbs and the front wheel has quick release
- Minor consideration, the Bosch Purion display panel is compact and provides plenty of space for accessories, but it isn’t removable, doesn’t have a 5 Volt Micro-USB charging port like the Bosch Intuvia or some of the Brose displays on other BULLS models, and it doesn’t show power output, avg speed, max speed, trip time, clock or shift recommendation (some shops will let you upgrade to the larger Intuvia display panel if you pay an extra $200)
- The alloy shield on the PowerTube battery looks great and provides a lot of protection but adds weight, these batteries are also physically longer and larger than some competing in-tube battery products or the older Bosch PowerPack 500 and there’s no handle for secure removal and carrying
- One relatively minor trade-off that Bosch has made with their Performance Line motors is to incorporate a reduction gear so when you turn the crank one time, the chainring actually goes around 2.5 times, and this does create some mechanical friction, the upside is fast response, improved efficiency, and better chain retention, I like how BULLS has included a chainring guard here, as well as a slap guard to protect the paint on the left chain stay since the chain is positioned closer
- The minimalist rear rack looks great and reduces weight but doesn’t have a top platform for using a trunk bag and might not work with cloth panniers that fold over the top of some racks (they could hang down too far)
- The location of the battery charging port on the left side of the bike frame is pretty close to the left crank arm, and actually blocks the rotation path when plugged in, just be careful not to bump the pedals when the bike is plugged in, or consider charging the battery off the bike, the rubber cover protector for this port is also a bit finicky to get in (at least for me)
- I’m not a huge fan of smaller rubberized pedals like the ones included with the BULLS ICONIC EVO TR 1 because they don’t offer a lot of surface area and aren’t as grippy as alloy with pins, consider swapping for some Wellgo alloy or magnesium platform pedals if you’re concerned about slipping off or have larger feet
- The Bosch Performance Line motors are heavier and larger than the Brose S, Shimano E8000, and Yamaha PW-X while also having a wider minimum Q-Factor (so the bottom bracket can be wider), but it’s rare to find a Class 3 speed mid-motor from a European company so this is a minor gripe
- I love the way this ebike looks, how they matched the frame color to the motor casing and suspension fork perfectly, but it only comes in one color option, and it’s fairly dark… there are no reflective stripes on the tires so you rely on the lights a lot more in dark riding conditions (I’d definitely wear reflective clothing and get panniers with reflective fabric or patches)
- Being a Class 3 speed pedelec, it seems like the lights automatically come on whenever you power up the bike and you cannot turn them off, which bothers me a little bit because sometimes I don’t want to blind my fellow riders on evening rides
- BULLS chose a bottom-up battery mount design and this can feel a little snug when there’s high volume tires with fenders in the front, I appreciate the two-step dismount for safety, but it can still clunk out when released and is heavier than it looks, so take your time and be careful
- Because of the high speed motor, upright body position, and heavier build of this ebike, it’s not going to get as great of range as some others… but you should be comfortable :)