Cutler Cycles Fusion Electric Bike Review

Cutler Cycles Fusion Electric Bike Review
Cutler Cycles Fusion Electric Bike
Cutler Cycles Fusion Shimano Tz 30 Derailleur
Cutler Cycles Fusion Top Battery And Vent
Cutler Cycles Fusion Top View Handle Bars
Cutler Cycles Fusion Cockpit
Cutler Cycles Fusion 26 2 Tires
Cutler Cycles Fusion 8 Magnet Pedelec Sensor
Cutler Cycles Fusion 1000 Watt Gearless Direct Drive Motor
Cutler Cycles Fusion Bottom Two Batteries
Cutler Cycles Fusion Front Suspension Fork
Cutler Cycles Fusion Lcd Display Panel Closeup
Cutler Cycles Fusion Rear Suspension Spring
Cutler Cycles Fusion Rear V Brake
Cutler Cycles Fusion Electric Bike Review
Cutler Cycles Fusion Electric Bike
Cutler Cycles Fusion Shimano Tz 30 Derailleur
Cutler Cycles Fusion Top Battery And Vent
Cutler Cycles Fusion Top View Handle Bars
Cutler Cycles Fusion Cockpit
Cutler Cycles Fusion 26 2 Tires
Cutler Cycles Fusion 8 Magnet Pedelec Sensor
Cutler Cycles Fusion 1000 Watt Gearless Direct Drive Motor
Cutler Cycles Fusion Bottom Two Batteries
Cutler Cycles Fusion Front Suspension Fork
Cutler Cycles Fusion Lcd Display Panel Closeup
Cutler Cycles Fusion Rear Suspension Spring
Cutler Cycles Fusion Rear V Brake

Summary

  • An extremely affordable, fast and high powered electric bike with 30+ mile range and 30 mph top speed
  • Uses non-proprietary batteries that are affordable to replace but may only get ~600 charge cycles
  • Not as polished as bulk-produced ebikes, uses generic low-end components, battery not easily removable
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.

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National eBike Shops

Propel Bikes
134 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn,  NY  11205
Electric Cyclery
900 N Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach,  CA  92651

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Cutler Cycles

Model:

Fusion Electric Bike

Price:

$ 900.00 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Moped or Motorcycle (Class 4)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Battery, 2 Year Electronics and Motor, 5 Year Frame

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

95 lbs ( 43.09 kg )

Battery Weight:

38.6 lbs ( 17.5 kg )

Motor Weight:

19 lbs ( 8.61 kg )

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Colors:

Black with Carbon Fiber Patterned Enamel Stickers

Frame Fork Details:

Generic "Element" Suspension

Frame Rear Details:

Coil Spring Suspension

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

21 Speed 3x7 Shimano TZ-30

Shifter Details:

Shimano Triggers on Left and Right Bar

Pedals:

Plastic Platform

Handlebar:

Riser

Brake Details:

Linear V-Brakes, Wuxing Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Grips:

Flat Rubber

Seat Post:

Steel

Seat Post Length:

380 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy (Single-Wall Front, Double-Wall Rear)

Tire Brand:

Thickslick, 26" x 2" or CST Chicopee All-Terrain, 26" x 2.1"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in ( 66.04 cm )

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Second LCD Display Unit with Watt-Amp Meter and Log Function

Other:

Built on the Mongoose Status 2.2 Frame

Electronic Details

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

1000 watts

Motor Peak Output:

2000 watts

Motor Brand:

Generic, Mid-Wind

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

15 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

720 wh

Battery Brand:

Mighty Max

Battery Chemistry:

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM), Lead Based

Charge Time:

2 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles ( 48 km )

Estimated Max Range:

55 miles ( 89 km )

Display Type:

Fixed Monochrome LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Odometer, Voltage, Trip Distance, Ambient Temperature, Avg. & Max Speed, Pedal Assist Setting (0-5), Battery Level (1-5), Throttle Position Percentage (0-500%)

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad, Second LCD Display for Deep Diagnostics

Drive Mode:

Twist Throttle, Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist

Top Speed:

32 mph ( 51 kph )

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Written Review

The Fusion Electric Bike blends entry-level components with affordable off-the-shelf batteries and a powerful direct-drive hub motor to deliver speed and range beyond that of most other ebikes I’ve tested in this sub $1,000 price range. It easily tops 30 mph in off-road performance mode and can travel in excess of 30 miles per charge on throttle alone without pedaling. Of course, you can extend that by pedaling along in one of five pedal assist levels. The addition of regenerative braking here also improves range and helps to reduce wear on the already challenged rubber v-brakes. This is a 95 pound electric bike with four Lead AGM batteries that aren’t designed for off-bike charging, meaning you’ll need to park close to an outlet. The drive system comes preset to 20 mph to conform with US legal code but you can easily up the power and speed for private and off-road use.

The 1,000 watt direct drive gearless rear hub motor used on the Fusion is street legal in California but most other states in the US limit nominal wattage to 750 watts… You may be able to register it as a moped and add some lights but otherwise, do be careful and definitely consider a helmet. The motor is smooth, quiet and very zippy with peak output up to 2,000 watts. It’s heavier than a planetary geared hub motor, weighing in around 19 pounds, and does experience some light cogging but also offers regenerative braking. During my ride tests, regen was noticeable but not super strong (I was told that it’s being refined right now). I love that the LCD display unit clearly shows that regen is active, I was able to pull the Wuxing levers gently and avoid wearing down the rubber v-brakes while still getting it to engage. Speaking of brakes, these ones did a solid job stopping considering the extra weight of the bike but did require more effort in my hand muscles. I only weigh ~135 lbs so this bike felt pretty responsive but definitely required more distance to stop than lighter ebikes and those with hydraulic disc brakes.

The batteries are the real star of the show here… the founder of Cutler Cycles (Lamont Cutler) said he was inspired by the low price, wide availability and chemical stability of Lead Acid batteries and wanted to figure out a way to use them on an electric bike. He ultimately chose to work with the more advanced AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) variants which are designed to offer ~600 charge cycles if cared for (don’t let them get discharged, top them off monthly). These packs are relatively small and only cost ~$40 a piece. The system here combines four 12 volt 15 amp hour blocks in series to create a ~48 volt 15 amp hour power system. In my opinion the weight is well distributed across the frame for balance (one pack is above the top tube, one is below and two are below the downtube near the front tire).

The otherwise ugly square blocks are protected and beautified by the custom aluminum shields on either side of the frame. I like the faux carbon fiber vinyl sticker they chose to coat the aluminum and the circle-punched vent on top is sturdy but functional. The big downsides here (aside from weight) are that the batteries are more or less permanently bolted to the frame so you can’t take them off for easy charging or transport and they are somewhat exposed to water and mud. The top battery might also make the already high diamond frame more difficult to step over and could cause some interference if you came down hard on your crotch. Generally, bicycles keep this area of the frame clear for safety reasons while motorcycles and other vehicles fill it with a gas tank. Note that the final version will have a cover over the battery here just behind the vented bit above the controller.

Operating this electric bike is fairly typical, once the packs are all charged up you just press the middle “mode” button on the control pad which is mounted near the left grip. It’s easy to reach and use even while riding… there are just three buttons here and the top and bottom ones let you navigate up or down in assist through 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Unfortunately, you can’t operate the throttle in level zero but the good news is, you get 100% throttle power in all of the 1-5 assist settings. The display offers a wide range of readouts including the standard speed, range, battery level and assist level but I love the extras like regen, throttle output max speed and ambient temperature. In addition to the standard display which is mounted front and center (and not removable or easily swivelable) is a second LCD mounted just below the controller and this one shows your watt-amp meter and has a log function. Neat :)

Okay, so at the end of the day what you’re getting here is a $150 Mongoose Status 2.2 bicycle frame (with some fairly basic components), $160 in off-the-shelf AGM batteries and a generic gearless hub motor… along with a decent LCD, eight sensor pedelec system and motor cutoff brake levers. On their own, these pieces might seem ordinary but what Cutler Cycles has done here, in my opinion, is combine them in a way that truly is fun and impressive. The bike is fast, has good range, looks nice and is super cheap. You could probably build something that performs like this on your own but the metal shields look great, the battery brackets are strong and well placed and I’m not sure everyone out there has the tools to make that happen… or buying power and patience to order parts from China in bulk and then assemble ad hock. With this bike, for under a thousand dollars, you also get a warranty and support from an upstart team of guys who may posses perfect grammar skills (judging by some of the Kickstarter dialog… and who am I kidding, neither do I) but are honest and passionate about the space. This bike isn’t for everyone but I really enjoyed it and admire what they’re trying to do. This campaign isn’t about exaggerating specs, hyping performance or simply ordering a pre-built lot of Alibaba bikes. The Fusion Electric Bike is partially hand crafted and has a team of close friends supporting it (and already selling it) which obviously sparks my enthusiasm.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable ~$800 with shipping if you buy on Kickstarter and ~$900 if you buy direct from Cutler Cycles
  • Unique battery choice, they can be replaced at your local battery store, are highly recyclable and very affordable at $40 a piece (you’ll need four packs total)
  • Excellent range at 30+ miles in throttle mode (more in pedal assist) and a higher top speed ~30 mph for off-road, private or licensed use
  • Neat aesthetic with either slick or knobby tires, a custom aluminum shield housing and two LCD displays for more advanced drive feedback
  • Very quiet operation, the gearless direct drive motor is smooth and the frame is tight so there isn’t a lot of jingling or shaking noises even at speed and off-road
  • Solid warranty with 1 year on the batteries, two years on the electronics and motor and five years on the frame supported through Cutler Cycles
  • Integrated motor inhibitors in the brake levers cut power in pedal assist mode and also activate regeneration for increased range and reduced wear on brake pads
  • Cadence sensor is very responsive even though it only uses an eight magnet disc, you don’t have to push hard once the bike is going to keep assist active

Cons:

  • The suspension felt hard and didn’t offer much travel, it’s better than nothing but not the smoothest or most comfortable I’ve tried
  • Lower-end Mongoose frame and Shimano Tourney drivetrain, they work well enough but might wear out quicker and require more tuneups
  • Very heavy compared to most ebikes I’ve tested at ~95 lbs due to the Lead based Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery packs and custom built mounting brackets
  • More limited charge cycles on the AGM batteries at ~600 cycles vs. a Lithium alternative which might get ~1,500 if cared for (avoid letting the battery drain completely)
  • Small, relatively new company with limited funding, if they do change course most of the components are generic and can be fixed by the end user, no proprietary stuff here
  • Battery packs are not easily removable, this makes charging the bike more difficult if you cannot bring it inside, charging takes a long time
  • Only available in one frame size (medium) and one color scheme for now
  • No bottle cage bosses available because the battery mounting points and shield obstruct them
  • The controller, second LCD and battery packs aren’t very well protected from water so you may want to cover them when parked or avoid wet riding conditions
  • Standard mechanical v-brakes offer decent stopping power but may wear faster with the heavier frame and definitely require more physical effort to engage than a hydraulic disc setup
  • No “throttle only” mode, you have to be in one of the five levels of assist to activate with the twist throttle (the throttle does get 100% power in all assist levels however)

Resources:

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6 Comments

James
June 2, 2015

The original crowdfunding on kickstarter did not get funded, but the Fusion is back on indiegogo for $549 plus shipping for a limited time.

Chris Nolte
June 3, 2015

Thanks for the heads up on this James! Wishing the team luck, it's a unique build for sure :)

Charlie Halberstam
July 27, 2015

Court, Lamont Cutler is now offering the same bike with upgraded Lifepo4 batteries and a couple other mods and upgrades available on Indiegogo, like integrated lighting and a USB port etc... I've already ordered/backed mine. you should pop over and take a look at the project, as it is now, I think you'll find It's very exciting and perhaps/probably, worth a couple more points for the refinements that likely came about by some of your observations or suggestion.

Court Rye
August 2, 2015

Thanks for the update Charlie! I'll add them to my list, would be fun to catch up again and go for a ride. I like the price and unique design they achieved. Good luck with yours, please chime in about it once it arrives, I'd love to hear how you like it :)

mike delahanty
February 7, 2016

Just got my first e-bike a couple weeks ago (Sondors) I am quickly becoming an enthusiast. I like the looks and Idea of this bike. Am going to look seriously into making this my second purchase if available. Congratulations to the builders/designers of this e-bike. If there is a club/forum for unusual high speed/off road e-bikes, shoot me a link/email.

Court Rye
February 7, 2016

Hi Mike, glad you enjoyed this review and like the Cutler Fusion. I've got a category of high speed electric bikes and there's a forum called Endless Sphere for people who like to build their own creations that are more powerful/faster that you might enjoy. Hope this helps!

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