2016 Felt Brühaul Review

Highlights

Technical Specs & Ratings

General

2016

BRüHAUL

$4,999

Class 1

High-Step

24.0

10

Hydraulic Disc

Mid-Drive

350

396 Wh

396 Wh

53.5 lbs / 24.29 kgs

Components

FSA Tapered, 2 Large Spacers, 4 Short Spacers

27" 6061 Superlite Alloy, Swept Back, O31.8 mm, 30° Sweep, 17 mm Rise

Ergonomic Rubber

6061 Superlite

30.9

Velo Comfort Gel with Dual Density Base

Alloy and Plastic Platform with Rubber Tread, VP-199 MTB Design, Toe Clip Compatible

Hydraulic Disc

Shimano BR-M355 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Front and 160 mm Rear Rotors

More Details

Upright

Lifetime Frame, 2 Year Drivetrain and Electronics

United States, Canada

8.8

17.5

17.5" Seat Tube, 22" Reach, 29.5" Stand Over Height, 81.5" Length

Matte Grey with Satin Black and Satin Yellow Accents

Front Rack Bosses on Fork M5 Size and Top Tube M6 Size, Bottle Cage Bosses on Vertical Rack Support, Lots of Rear Rack Bosses

Shimano BR-M355 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Front and 160 mm Rear Rotors

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

The Brühaul is one of two electric cargo bikes offered by Felt, a bicycle company with performance racing heritage, for 2016. What you get with this model is an impressively light weight, responsive and great looking hauler that only comes in one size and uses a more expensive but much more refined and powerful drive system from Bosch vs. Yamaha. The other cargo bike, called the Tote’m, is $500 less and includes a front porteur rack. Both models use the same drivetrain, Shimano Deore with a 10 speed cassette. They have the same powerful Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes and they include the same quality pannier that I forgot to mention in the video review :(

What I loved about the Bruhaul in particular were it’s bright silver color, integrated LED lights (that the Tote’m doesn’t have) and how balanced it was. I lifted it up using the nose of the saddle and the bike actually tipped forward slightly… much to my surprise. The center-mounted motor and downtube-mounted battery keep weight low and center for improved handling. With the pannier at the back (perhaps half full) the bike would be perfectly balanced. This is a feature complete ebike with full length high quality plastic fenders, upgraded balloon tires that balance comfort with performance thanks to Kevlar lining (to reduce flats) and an extra long removable rear rack. This is one of the only e-cargo bikes I have seen with a removable but matching, high strength rear rack! It’s a cargo bike that easily transforms into a performance commuter and you can expect 30 to 60 miles per charge thanks to the Bosch drive system.

Powering the bike is a 36 volt 11 amp hour battery pack driving a 350 watt mid-drive putting out 60 newton meters of torque. The battery size and motor power are slightly above what I’d normally call average but the hardware configuration and software running them is top of the line. Mid drive motors allow you to empower the motor for climbing or maintaining higher speeds by shifting gears and the Bruhaul offers 10 of them. With a 20 tooth front sprocket and an 11 to 36 tooth rear cassette cluster the bike is a performer and had no trouble climbing during my tests. I did not load it up for an official cargo test but the site lists 400 lbs payload with up to 200 lbs on the rear rack alone. As with other cargo bikes, expect to be able to use Yepp! child seats and possibly accessories from Yuba and other more established cargo-specific bike lines. Felt offers a few of their own accessories but it’s nice to feel like you could upgrade from an unpowered cargo bike and recycle the kit or perhaps find used bits online.

My favorite part about the drive system and why I prefer it to the lower priced Shimano is shift-sensing. This software features reduces motor torque when you shift gears and helps the chain, sprockets and derailleur to last longer between tuneups. The Bosch Intuvia display system is backlit, large and easy to see, removable and it even has a micro USB port for charging portable electronics. It’s worth the extra money in my opinion and because it turns a smaller chainring vs. the Shimano powered Tote’m the motor seems to start and stop more quickly and operates at a wider range of RPM. There are lots of design features to celebrate on this ebike including quick release wheels that make it easier to service and move, a battery that can be charged on or off the bike (not the case with the Tote’m), a large sturdy scissoring kickstand to stabilize during loading and even the fun name. Note that both of the Felt electric bikes come with a solid two year warranty and use larger 24” wheels which ride nice but also raise the rear rack making it less stable than some other cargo bikes I’ve tested.

Pros:

  • Quick release front and rear means wheel and drivetrain maintenance is easier and more familiar (no extra electronics or wires to deal with), also makes it easier to transport the bike, the battery is also removable
  • Surprisingly light weight at just ~53 lbs considering the length, larger tires and rack systems that make this a cargo bike, you can reduce weight further by completely removing the rear rack from the frame
  • Excellent weight distribution front to rear, I weighed the bike by lifting at the nose of the saddle and it wasn’t rear heavy (as I expected it to be), the motor and battery are mounted low and center for improved handling
  • Great accessories including a chain cover at the bottom bracket, a guide to keep the chain on track, front and rear fenders, stock bamboo load decks (on the rear rack) and optional bamboo foot plates and skirt guard
  • Solid ten speed drivetrain with a large 36 tooth sprocket for hauling and climbing, the derailleur is Shimano Deore which is a higher end groupset
  • I love that Felt included a pair of bosses along the rear support tube for use with a bottle cage, folding lock, mini pump or other accessory… there wasn’t room in the main triangle where the battery is mounted but they figured out another way to make it work
  • The wheelset matches so you get two 24″ wheels vs. a smaller 20″ wheel at the back, this makes replacing tires and tubes less expensive but it also improves comfort because larger wheels roll smoother over bumps and cracks, one other advantage is that the running boards aren’t so low and may not collide with curbs or other obstacles as easily
  • High quality Schwalbe Crazy Bob tires offer KevlarGuard to reduce punctures, because they are fatter than traditional tires they also improve comfort and can be ridden at lower PSI
  • The Bosch drive system is incredibly responsive so you get near-instantaneous help when starting out with a loaded rack (or climbing a hill) and it offers shift sensing to help reduce wear on the chain, gears and derailleur
  • The Bosch display unit is backlit, controls the front and rear LED lights and can be removed to deter tampering and wear when the bike is locked up outside
  • Both the front and rear LED lights are wired in to run off the main battery and can be switched on and off using the light button on the Bosch Intuvia display panel… you don’t have to worry about them being left on or running out of batteries the way independent lights can
  • Felt is a mainstream performance brand known for high quality bicycle builds, strong emphasis on frame and component quality
  • Purpose built frame (CNC Aluminum Ferrules) conceals most wires for shifting, braking and motor systems on the bike
  • Solid two year warranty on drivetrain, components and electronics with a lifetime warranty on the frame and a good reputation from Felt
  • Includes a well positioned double-legged kickstand so you can load it up more easily than a single-side leaning kickstand

Cons:

  • One trade-off for having two 24″ wheels is that the larger rear wheel forces the rack to be higher which decreases stability and means you have to lift gear higher to mount it
  • No throttle mode available here, this is a pedalec only and requires rider pedaling input to activate the motor
  • Lower end plastic pedals that can slip when wet and ergo grips that don’t have lockers that can spin, consider something like this which is wider and has sturdy metal nubs for improved traction
  • This is one of the more expensive electric cargo bikes I’ve reviewed, you get higher end components, drivetrain and motor systems but it doesn’t come cheap

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