- One of the most popular models in the Bulls ebike lineup, it comes in four frame sizes and three styles (high-step diamond, mid-step, and step-thru wave), motor and battery weight are low and center
- Extremely stealthy, the drive system and battery are almost completely hidden on this frame and the motor produces very little noise because it uses a belt system inside, this reduces vibration
- Compared to the 2017 model, the price has dropped by $200 but it uses a standard chain vs. a fancy belt drive, the internally geared hub is durable and can be shifted at standstill, the LCD display is easy to read because it's large, has a Micro-USB charging port, and is removable
- Excellent rear rack with pannier hangers, basic integrated lights that help you be seen, decent plastic fenders that rattle a bit but won't get bent up, I like the chain cover and guide on the chainring, highly-adjustable air suspension fork
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I was told that the Lacuba EVO E8 is one of the most popular electric bike models that Bulls currently sells (for the 2017/2028 timeframe). I think that has to do with how feature rich and versatile it is… Whether you’re riding around the neighborhood for fun, going out for long weekend treks, or commuting to work on a daily basis, this platform pretty much has you covered, rain or shine. What you see in the main image and video review above is just one of the three frame style choices. The deep step-thru wave frame is meant to be approachable and comfortable but sacrifices stiffness and doesn’t look as masculine or sporty as the high-step. For those who have sensitive knees or hips and want to avoid the high-step but still want a bit of stiffness for improved handling, there’s a mid-step option! The bike is available in four frame sizes and you can select the one that fits your physical needs and ride style best. This kind of range is usually only available from the bigger European brands that sell globally, and that is the case with Bulls, they also offer a comprehensive two-year warranty and have a wide network of dealers to visit and test ride or get service from. The Lacuba EVO E8 is purpose-built with internally routed cables, a custom motor interface, and battery integration that is almost invisible from the side. Add to the beautiful visuals a motor that is super quiet and smooth, and this electric bike blends in with regular bikes almost perfectly. In the industry, people refer to this as being “stealthy” because you can fly below the radar and fit in more easily. Some of the compromises that I noticed about this ebike were cheaper “be seen” lights, and a headlight position that could bounce about vs. being suspended. A heavier, bulkier charger that fills the battery quickly but might not be as convenient to take along in a backpack. Fenders that can rattle a bit, an internally geared hub that won’t shift as quickly and adds a bit of weight compared to a cassette and derailleur, and a touch-sensitive menu button on the control pad that can be easily bumped and change your readouts by mistake (or be difficult to use if you’re wearing gloves). There are always trade-offs to consider when price and weight are a factor, and I think Bulls has done an excellent job of not only maintaining the price from 2017 but actually lowering it by $200 for 2018, by swapping the belt drive for a traditional chain. It’s still very quiet and reliable, but using a chain allowed the frame to be simpler and sturdier because they didn’t have to make a cut-out on the right seat stay to get a belt on. The only think I’d consider upgrading on this ebike, if I were buying it for myself, would be the rigid seat post. I’d probably get a 30.9 mm suspension seat post like this if I was riding frequently, just to reduce back and neck sensitivity when riding over bumps. As it stands, the highly-adjustable air suspension fork can be set to lower pressure for lightweight riders (who often suffer with stiff one-setting spring suspension), and the wider 2″ tires, swept-back handlebars, adjustable angle stem, and fatter ergonomic grips make this a very comfortable bike with upright ergonomics vs. forward.
Driving the bike is a proven Brose T mid-motor. It’s compact, exceedingly quiet, smooth, and dynamic. Some cheaper motors rely purely on pedal cadence and will only help you up to a certain pedal speed. The Brose motor cotroller, by contrast, listens for rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque to deliver a natural experience. It does not incorporate shift detection like Bosch and some Impulse systems, but that’s less of an issue with the internally geared hub here. The Shimano Nexus Inter8 is a mid-level part that provides a good range of pedaling options as well as some self-protection mechanisms. If you try to shift while pedaling hard (or if the motor is pushing hard), you may hear some clicking and notice that the gear does not change. As you ease off a bit and the motor slows down, the gear will click into place. This behavior is different than traditional sprockets and derailleurs that will basically force a change and compromise the chain and teeth on the sprockets, wearing them out quicker. For cyclists who have ever had their bike tip over and bend the derailleur or those who have experienced dropped chains and lots of greasy noisy operation… internally geared hubs can seem like a dream because they are so durable and clean. The chain on this bike never changes position, there’s just one chainring up front and one sprocket in the back, and Bulls opted for an alloy guide on the chainring so it’s almost impossible to have the chain fall off. To me, this is almost overkill because the Lacuba EVO E8 isn’t designed to assist you over 20 mph and is not setup for extremely bumpy off-road use. Still, it doesn’t add much weight to have the full chain guide vs. a chainring guard, so I see it as a nice little upgrade. Coming back to the motor performance briefly, this thing will assist with up to 120 RPM pedal strokes, which is the highest that any systems I have tested offer, and that means you don’t have to switch gears as frequently to go faster. If you’re willing to pedal fast, this motor is willing to support you all the way. For those who do enjoy shifting but may not be as familiar with triggers, the Shimano Nexus half-grip shifter on the right portion of the handlebar is intuitive to use and has a little window to help you see which gear has currently been selected. One of my favorite features of most internally geared hubs like this, is that they can be shifted at standstill. Imagine pedaling fast and then stopping at a traffic signal without remembering to shift down (to prepare for a low-speed start). That’s not a problem here, just shift down to the lowest gear while you’re stopped and kind of ease off the pedal to allow it to click into place, then you’re ready to go again!
Powering the bike, it’s beautiful backlit display panel, the integrated Micro-USB port at the base of the display, and both front and rear LED Lights is a high-capacity Lithium-ion battery pack from BMZ. This thing offers nearly 650 watt hours (compared to ~500 wh on most ebikes I see for 2018) and it clicks up into the downtube of the frame to be protected, low to the ground, and hidden. The first Lacuba EVO E8 model I reviewed in 2017 had a foam sticker underneath the battery pack, to keep little rocks and dirt from nicking the plastic casing. The newest design has a tougher rubber coating that protects more of the casing and blends in a lot better. The battery seats securely and can be charged on the frame, though a port on the top side of the downtube, near the locking key port. This charging port has a re-designed rubber cover that seats in well enough to keep dust and water out, and when you plug the charger in, it uses a magnetic EnergBus Rosenberger standard (RoPD) that will simply pop out if snagged vs. bending or tipping the bike. This port is actually on the battery pack itself, only a cutaway in the frame allows you to reach through, and of course, the battery can be charged when taken off of the bike too. If you decide to do this however, be careful, because the battery weighs ~1 lb more than competing packs due to the higher capacity. And, since it comes out downwards below the frame and doesn’t have an integrated handle, it can be a little awkward to get off. Avoid dropping this pack because replacements are upwards of $900. I usually remove battery packs when storing them, to avoid extreme heat, cold, and rain. I may also remove the pack to reduce weight when transporting the bike with a car rack, and this is one area where you might need to spend some additional money, to get a sturdy platform rack like this, unless you get the high-step frame and are okay lifting it higher and hanging it from the top tube. Okay, so the battery is pretty great overall, it should provide excellent range with the efficient mid-drive motor if you shift gears thoughtfully, and there’s even a range menu in the display that can help you estimate how far until a charge top-off is needed.
The LCD display panel that comes with this electric bicycle is quite good. It’s much larger, brighter, and more feature-rich than a lot of competing products… even from Bulls. I think this is because the Lacuba EVO E8 is an urban product, not a mountain bike where you want to keep the handlebars clean and streamlined in the event of a crash. This display stick way up high, is easy to see, and can be adjusted to angle directly towards you (though you cannot easily swivel it without tools once it’s locked into place). You can navigate all of the different menus without taking your left hand off the grip, just reach your thumb over to click the little button pad. Powering the bike on requires a press on the top-edge button, activating the lights uses a little top left-side button, walk mode is the lower left-side button, and then there’s a + and – main button on a sort of rocker. These are your primary touch points, more or less assistance. You can ride the bike without any assist, as was demonstrated in the video review by Tony (a random neighbor who was curios and asked to take a test ride). It’s an efficient bike, especially if you have the tire pressure set near the upper limit. From here, you can click through four different levels, designated by four boxes, to receive a 50% to 320% boost. The higher you go, the more zippy the bike will feel and the easier it will be to reach the maximum 20 mph top speed. This is a Class 1 electric bike, so there’s no throttle mode, you have to pedal, but this is the most widely allowed ebike type and is treated as a standard bicycle in most locations. And again, because the motor and battery are so hidden and quiet, people might not even notice what you’re riding. As someone with a sensitive knee, ebikes like this have allowed me to continue commuting to work and getting a healthy stretch when traditional bikes left me struggling in the wind and with larger hills. As mentioned earlier, this display can be twisted to be removed for protection when parking (or you can use the included set screw to secure it more permanently from the back) and it has a little Micro-USB port near the bottom to charge your portable electronics. If you want to explore the different menu settings, and change the units from miles to kilometers and back, you can hold the light button for a few seconds and then navigate through. There’s just one more button to talk about here, and that’s the menu button on the center of the control pad… it looks like two overlapping boxes, inside of a circle. This is a touch sensitive button that cycles through the readouts of the display and gets you to that range menu. I struggled to figure this button out at first and then fumbled with it on camera, when trying to show how range updates dynamically as you change assist levels. It’s easy to activate the menu button when trying to arrow up or down on assist and this is one area that I feel Bulls could rethink or improve in the future.
There’s a lot to praise and celebrate with the 2018 BULLS Lacuba EVO E8 electric bike. It’s almost like three bikes in one because of the frame and sizing options. I love that the key for locking the battery here comes with a code card so you can order locks from ABUS that will use the same key cut, and avoid clutter. I appreciate the overbuilt chain guide, the little flick bell, and the premium Ergon ergonomic grips. Tony, the random neighbor who took a test ride during the review, came back thrilled, and I think there were just so many new and premium parts on the bike that he had never seen… it really surprised him. Yes, these parts do cost more, but I think Bulls is offering a ton of value here at a very reasonable price, and even at ~57 lbs, I feel that the bike is not heavy. Remember, the high capacity battery, internally geared hub, reinforced frame, rack, fenders, lights, larger gel saddle with bumpers, and kickstand all add weight. Thankfully, they also add a ton of utility. And, stopping the weight of this bike should be easy, even if you have weaker hands or smaller hands, because it comes with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The front rotor is mount bike sized at 180 mm and provides a greater mechanical advantage. The tires on this bike are wider than most 700c size, at 2-inches, an that adds a bit of weight but also improves stability and comfort. I was a little surprised that the smaller frame size (the one I tested) didn’t come with 26″ diameter tires vs. 28″ because that would have lowered the frame and offered a stopping advantage. But what you get instead is a lower attack angle to smooth out cracks and higher air volume to provide more give. It’s the same direction they went with for the Cruiser E model. Compared to that bike, I found the Lacuba Evo E8 to be quieter and suffer less from speed wobble and frame flex. This would be my personal choice, but I have to admit that the aesthetics and sturdier fenders on that model are very appealing. I like that the rear fender connects to the cargo rack here, and that the rack is positioned further back so that the saddle can be lowered way down if you have shorter legs. The hydraulic disc brake levers are also adjustable for people who are petite, so the levers can be brought back further. I’d like to thank Bulls for partnering with me on this post, and providing their entire 2018 lineup for me to explore back to back so that I could get deeper insights. As always, I’ll try to answer questions in the comments below and I appreciate your own thoughts and feedback to help others, you can also engage in the BULLS ebike forums to share your own pictures etc.
- Designed and accessorized for comfort, the medium-sized gel saddle, adjustable stem with swept-back handlebars, name-brand ergonomic grips, and adjustable air suspension fork make a big difference… even the 2″ wide tires are fatter than average which provide cushion and stability
- Available in four frame sizes and three different styles! You can aim for stiffness with the high-step or approachability with the mid-step and wave models, the wave will experience the most frame flex but with the top assisted speed of 20 mph, this shouldn’t be as much of an issue, especially for relaxed neighborhood rides
- Beautifully integrated motor and battery system, you can hardly tell it’s an electric bike at all given how compact and integrated the systems are, the motor is also extremely quiet
- Internally gered hubs tend to be cleaner and more durable than cassettes and derailleurs, the chain doesn’t have to jump to different sprockets so it will be less likely to fall off when riding and it won’t be strained by the mid-motor as much
- Full-sized fenders and a longer chain cover with chainring guide will keep your pants, skirt, or dress clean while riding, feet and shins may still get a bit wet if you pass through deeper puddles
- I feel that the grey/red color combination could work well for any type of rider, it’s gender neutral, and I love that the tires have reflective stripes and you get integrated LED lights here for safety, especially because the frame is a bit darker color
- It’s a minor praise, but I appreciate the addition of bottle cage bosses here, they could be use to transport fluids and make it easier to reach vs. using a trunk bag with a bottle holster like this
- The 647.5 watt hour battery capacity here is quite a bit above average compared to most of the electric bikes I see and test which are around 500 wh, this will allow you to ride further but the pack does weigh about one pound more at ~7.1 lbs
- Brose motors are quiet and smooth, the T (trekking) model is a bit more mellow than the new S model making it well-suited to neighborhood and urban riding, it’s very compact and hidden behind the chainring on this ebike and because it uses a Gates carbon belt system inside, it doesn’t vibrate as much when pedaling
- Weighing in at about 57 lbs, I would consider this product to be lightweight given that it has the larger battery, fenders, rear-rack, lights, and a custom approachable frame, the high and mid-step models might be even lighter but I could not weigh them
- By adjusting the stem, I was able to create a very comfortable upright body position for the ride tests, and I loved how big and bright the display panel was, it’s easy to read and use while riding and I appreciate that it can be removed easily for protection when parked
- High-quality Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable-reach levers, the rear rack is setup to handle clip-on panniers like this and keep them from rubbing on the wider tire, the kickstand is positioned well to stay out of the way and offers length adjustment
- I love that the suspension fork uses air vs. spring because that means you can lower the pressure if you’re a lightweight rider (like me, at ~135 lbs), the fork also has lockout so heavier riders can reduce bob when pedaling and dive when stopping, it has a quick release skewer so be sure to lock your front wheel, the seat, and the frame when parking
- This was one of the most popular electric bikes that Bulls made in 2017 and they managed to lower the price by $200 for 2018! I think it offers great value at $3,799 considering all of the features, the premium motor, and the larger battery… they cut the price down in part by removing the belt drive and going with a standard chain
- I would consider this bike to be more tough, there isn’t a derailleur that could get bumped out of true, the chainring has a full guide to prevent drops, and the Brose motors are known for being higher quality and require no maintenance
- Schwalbe makes high-quality tires and the Big Apple model used here offers some puncture protective lining so you won’t get flats as easily
- The battery pack has been improved since 2017, the base now has a tougher rubber guard to keep dirt and rocks from scratching it while you ride and the locking core and charging port are positioned in a safer spot, I like that they still use a magnetic charging port to allow the cable to pop out if you trip over it vs. tipping the bike and bending the plug end piece
- I love that the display is removable because it’s so big and beautiful… I wouldn’t want it to get scratched or marred up by the sun and rain at the bike rack, and this display has a Micro USB port built into the base to fill your phone or other portable electronic devices on the go!
- The deepest wave, step-thru, frame does experience some frame flex, this reduces pedal efficiency and may contribute to speed wobble of the front wheel depending on how much the rider weighs, how the body position is setup, and whether the rear rack is loaded… it’s not a big issue, just keep both hands on the bars if you notice a bit of wobble on the front wheel at higher speeds
- The headlight is aimable but positioned pretty low towards the front fender and wheel, it may not shine directly down onto the street and just isn’t as powerful as other options I have seen (it seems like more of a “be seen” solution than a “light the way”), it’s also mounted to the suspension arch which will bounce up and down vs. the head tube or handlebars on the bike which are suspended
- The grip shifter is intuitive but not as fast as triggers, and sometimes internally geared hubs will not shift as quickly (especially if you are pedaling hard or the motor is helping), it’s not a major gripe but it can take some getting used to
- The stock pedals are a bit basic, if you are a larger rider with big feet or someone who is heavy and want a more sturdy platform, consider swapping them with something affordable but tough like these Wellgo pedals
- The plastic fenders do rattle around a bit if you ride on bumpy terrain, tubular Aluminum alloy fenders would be quieter but add weight and cost and steel fenders could get scratched and rust, so I think these make good sense here and I love that the rear fender attaches to the rear rack for extra strength
- The pack detaches downwards and requires a bit of hand strength and balance to hold when unlocking, so just keep an extra close eye on it and make sure the bike is stable fi you decide to remove the pack, most people will probably just leave it on the bike and charge that way for convenience but it can reduce the weight of the bike and protect the battery from extreme heat and cold by removing it
- The center button on the control pad (located near the left grip) is touch sensitive… and I found that it was easily activated even when I really didn’t want to change menus, I think I prefer a standard button vs. the touch interface because its more intentional and probably works with gloves better
- The battery charger is a bit bulky and heavy, it weighs ~2.5 lbs but puts out 4 Amps vs. most standard chargers that just put 2 Amps, I do like the magnetic end piece but make sure not to drop it in the sand or little iron filings may stick to it
- Official Site: http://www.bullsebikes.com/product/lacuba-evo-e8-wave/
- More Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y3MEjxTig0ZJFzM53