- A fully equipped speed commuter capable of 28 mph operation, running on the proven Bosch Performance mid-drive motor and updated 500 watt hour Samsung battery
- Extra large 203 mm hydraulic disc brakes offer smooth solid stops without requiring exorbitant hand strength, this is what you'd normally find on higher-end mountain bikes
- Four frame sizes deliver great fit, the suspension fork, ergonomic grips and large hybrid tires improve comfort and allow you to take bumpy streets and light trails without issue
- Only available in the classic high-step diamond frame style, skewers are more standard 9 mm QR vs. sturdier thru-axles but the head tube is tapered and oversized, nice integrated lights and tight solid fenders, minimalist pannier-only rear rack
Bulls introduced several speed pedelec electric bikes for 2017 and the SIX50 E2 Street is a value priced model that was customized just for the US market. Now I said value there, not cheap… but you get a lot for your money. A very similar ebike model is available in Europe but it’s not capable of the 28 mph (45 km/h) top speed. The SIX50 Street is built around a traditional high-step frame available in four sizes and includes a mid-range suspension fork mounted through a sturdy tapered head tube. It comes with beautiful close-mounted Aluminum alloy fenders and a narrow pannier rack as well as integrated LED lights. Given the 27.5″ wheel size and fatter 2.25″ tires, the bike rolls smoothly and comfortably. The tire tread is checkered allowing it to roll efficiently but still grip when needed… and when you step back and compare this with other speed pedelecs, it appears more trail capable like it would handle packed dirt paths and busted up streets much better. There’s a whole range of “fast ebikes” and some of them forego suspension completely, opting for aerodynamic Carbon fiber forks or seat post suspension. This model, by contrast, is sturdier and larger but that also makes it heavier at ~55 lbs.
Driving the bike is one of my favorite motors, the Bosch Performance Line. It’s a speed version that raises the more typical 20 mph to 28 mph but keeps torque at ~60 Nm. Some Bosch motors can hit 75 Nm (the Performance CX) but are mainly found on mountain frames, and in my experience they are all very capable. Perhaps my favorite thing about any of the models is the move towards minimalist casing and an angled mounting position which raises ground clearance and blends in with the downtube. As you can see in the images and video above, this motor looks great on the SIX50 E2 Street, the black casing matches the fenders and dark coloring on of the frame. On the right side is a 15 tooth sprocket that’s a little small compared with the 20 tooth found on other speed models but you do get a 10 speed cassette in the rear so it all sort of works out. This is one of the areas where compromises might have been made coming from the slower European version. The motor control system measures rear wheel speed, your pedal cadence and pedal torque to start and stop very quickly. These signals are measured 1,000 per second and a “shift sensing” software helps to reduce tension as the bike detects you’re changing gears. Overall, it’s a great setup and with a bit of practice easing off of the pedals while shifting and paying attention to the shift recommendation arrows (up and down) on the display panel it performs great. I regularly hear from e-bike dealers that Bosch motors perform without issue and the two year warranty is reassuring.
Powering the bike is an upgraded 500 watt hour battery pack that’s built into the same form factor as the older Bosch Powerpack 400. So that’s a 25% capacity increase in the same size and only slightly more weight, less than half a pound more. This battery is backwards compatible with older Bosch packs so if you already own one, you would now have two batteries that are interchangeable. The mounting design is a standout on this bike, having a wedged downtube and cupped metal plates at the base which meld the pack into the design making it stand out less. That’s one of the trade-offs with Bosch compared to Brose (offered on other Bulls electric bikes), the battery is not fit inside the downtube but rather, mounts on top of it. This makes it much easier to access, plug in to charge (if left on the bike) and take off for reduced weight or storage/charging separately. It locks to the bike securely and has an LED charge level readout on the left and a nice little loop at the top reducing drops as you take it off and carry it around. This single battery pack powers the 60 LUX headlight, three-LED back light and the beautiful Bosch Intuvia backlit display panel.
Operating the bike is a cinch with how easy the battery is to charge and connect, just one power button to press up at the display panel and you’re set to go. Just like the battery, the display panel is removable for safe storage and it offers a Micro USB port on the right, beneath a rubber flap, so you can top off your smart phone or other portable electronic devices. The display angles forward and back for reduced glare and shows your battery level, current speed and trip feedback (max speed, trip distance, time and more). My favorite feature is its range estimation readout because unlike the battery indicator (which only has five bars representing 20% each) the range menu is very precise. It relies on your last five miles of activity and the current state of charge on the battery to dynamically estimate how much further you can go depending on whichever pedal assist level you’re in! There are four levels in total and I’ve found that 80+ miles is very possible in the lower more efficient ones. Of course, as you arrow up towards the top, Turbo, range goes down but this is still a very efficient system because you can shift gears and empower the motor just as you would yourself as the pedaler. Many hub motor designs operate with only one gearing output which limits their optimal output to a specific speed.
With every new year there seem to be some electric bikes that get less expensive and others that get better… nicer looking, less noisy, longer lasting. The BULLS SIX50 E2 Street falls mostly into this second category but really doesn’t push budget to the extremes either. You’re getting premium parts here, many of which are mountain and trail capable. The tapered head tube, 120 mm suspension fork and 203 mm hydraulic disc brakes are the sort of components I regularly see on e-mountain models. The suspension fork is more basic, being spring vs. air, but you do get lockout (which is convenient for smooth flat sections). The tires are larger and offer a lower PSI rating for cushion comfort but are wide enough to roll efficiently and have tread that can handle bunch of scenarios. I’m the kind of person that tries to get one good product to do a lot of things… I just don’t have a lot of space for more stuff. The SIX50 fits this model very well and delivers the kind of performance riding (at higher speeds) that I find exciting and handy when commuting. Bulls is a large international company and they have a solid reputation but it really makes me smile to see them making market-specific adjustments and not just taking a cookie-cutter approach. I like this bike a lot and while it might benefit from sturdier thru-axles and a larger sprocket, it has other things I really like such as bottle cages and rack bosses so you could add a larger sturdier rack if you wanted. The ergonomic grips are nice and the fact that it’s available in multiple sizes cannot be overlooked, especially given the traditional diamond high-step frame. It’s a fun bike and one that would keep you dry and clean in wet riding conditions… coming back to the wheel size for a moment, if they were larger in diameter or the fenders weren’t mounted as close it would be easier to hit your foot when turning. And if they weren’t reinforced with the struts and rear rack they would make a lot more noise. I specifically went over some bumps in the video review to show how quiet (but not silent) they were. Big thanks to Bulls for partnering with me for this review.
- High quality integrated lights including a 60 LUX adjustable headlight and name brand Supernova tail light built right into the rack, both run off of the ebike battery
- Beautiful purpose-built frame with a wedge shaped downtube meant to meld with the Bosch battery pack, there are metal plates at the base carrying the lines of the pack into the motor mount… it all blends perfectly
- The new Bosch Performance Line motors can be angled up and built more into the downtube for better clearance, this one is very well integrated and has a protective skid plate below and a chainring guard for pants protection and reduced drops
- Awesome Aluminum alloy fenders that hug the wider tires very close and match the black accents on the frame
- Longer travel suspension fork, like you’d find on a mountain bike, works well with the hybrid tires and ergonomic grips for a more capable city or light trail rider… perfect for commuting in many environments
- Very large and powerful disc brakes, like you’d find on mountain bikes, that offer excellent, smooth stopping power, I like that the wires are all internally routed through the frame to keep it looking clean and to reduce snags
- Both wheels have quick release for easier repairs and transport (though the fenders don’t come off easily and would still be in the way a little if the wheels were off), I like that they included an adjustable rear-mounted kickstand
- Excellent two year comprehensive warranty with five years on the frame, good support from a larger multi-national company with growing dealer base
- I love that both the battery and display panel can be quickly and easily removed from the bike (perfect for commuting… protecting them in the office) and I like that the display has a little Micro USB port to keep your mobile devices topped off when riding
- It’s great that this bike is using the new Powerpack 500 Bosch battery because you tend to use exponentially more energy when riding above 20 mph due to air resistance
- Bosch control systems for their mid-drive motors offer software-driven shift sensing so the chain and sprockets shouldn’t take as much abuse… they use cadence, torque and speed sensors so you can control motor output by adjusting how hard you pedal
- Mid-drive motors can be very efficient because they leverage your cassette (for climbing or high speed operation), to really benefit from this you need to shift as your cadence changes and the new Bosch Intuvia display panel actually shows an up and down arrow providing shift assistance recommendation
- Excellent wheel and tire sizing… this is a 650b (27.5″) wheel with 2.25″ tires that make it feel more like a traditional 28″ 700c road bike, you get the traction and cushion of mountain tires with the efficient rolling of hybrid tires without being too large (where you clip your toes on the fenders) or too small (where it’s less efficient and you lose momentum and crack-spanning
- I’ve seen more speed-pedelecs going with thru-axles in recent years to help distribute higher force and improve steering response, that would be nice on this bike considering the suspension fork and hybrid tires (in case you take trails on occasion)
- The rear rack is narrow, light weight and supports the fender but is really only built to carry panniers vs. a trunk bag on top, it’s nice that it has a three-LED Supernova light built in that goes bright when you pull the brake levers, there are separate threaded bosses on the chain stays of this bike frame so you could remove the fender and rack and replace them with different ones easily
- Minor gripes here but I’m not a huge fan of the cage style pedals and wish the tires had reflective sidewall stripes given this is more of an urban commuter setup
- In many ways, BULLS SIX50 E2 Street compares well with the Stromer line of electric bikes because it’s a speed pedelec with fenders and lights but the battery isn’t integrated into the frame as nicely so overall it’s not as stealth, it also doesn’t offer regenerative braking or have the silent gearless hub motor (though mid-drives tend to be more efficient here as long as you shift appropriately)
- Due tot the fenders, higher capacity battery pack, suspension fork and larger tires this bike weighs a bit more than other city bikes at ~55 lbs
- The grips are nice, I like ergonomic designs, but don’t have lockers so if you really bear down they will twist and get out of alignment