When you have no option but to buy online...

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
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Was interested in purchasing a new BULLS e-stream fs3 29 and with no dealer in my state, I had no choice but to go online. I would prefer to buy at a LBS after a test ride and get their service, but not possible in this case.

When you send an online dealer your money, you have to trust that they will do a number of things for you including correct packing and trustworthy information. I purchased through MOTOSTRANO, in Redwood City, Ca. and dealt with "Joe". They advertise 1-3 day shipping if the bike is in stock. So called and s/w Joe who confirmed "the bike is here, we would just need a few days to get it ready for shipping". So I paid around $4200 with shipping. After two weeks go by with no word from them I contacted Joe again and he said "we just received the bike from BULLS USA and need a few days to get it ready for shipping".

When the bike finally arrived it had a damaged seat frame bent beyond use, both tubes were punctured, the brakes and derailleur were way out of adjustment, damaged box with foam padding taped to the outside of the box where part of it was missing, most of the packing material was on the bottom of the box as if it was not re-packed securely. After some over the phone arguing back and forth, Joe agreed to send me a new seat and tubes.

I also had problems with the bikes motor performance. Joe was not responsive and in the end I had to go directly to Barney at BULLS USA, who provided great customer service and a 100% remedy on their own after the dealer refused. I chose the right manufacturer but the wrong dealer, IMO. I would buy another BULLS (Bosch) bike for sure, but it felt like Motostrano was not too concerned with the problems I had.
 
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Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Sorry you had such a colorful experience,but I would be very interested in hearing more about your opinions of the bike itself as you get familiar with it. I had thought my next one - and first torque sensor bike vs cadence - would be a Specialized Turbo of some flavor, but that ship seems to have sailed and I'm not loving the Vados. I'm getting very interested in the Bulls bikes, particularly the e45 Lacuba. My usual trip (non commuter) is around 30 - 35 miles mixed side roads and bike paths with lots of medium hills, right at and over the capacity for my battery, so I need to up the bike a couple of pegs.

I really love the way they've integrated the battery on the new ones, but again would enjoy following your experiences with mid drive and Bulls. I bet there's other Turbo aficionados with the same interest around here as well.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
Dave i dont have the bulls lacuba but rode it at a shop, it ROCKS

Very cool bike, if i could get 3 inch tires on it would buy it right away!!

I am adamant about plus or fat tires on my bikes or it would have come home with me lol
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
I agree the brose is my favorite motor out of yamaha/ bosch/ brose

I just personally like the stability and the ability to change terrains with no skidding etc. of the plus and fat tires

easy to go from paved to gravel road and not really notice much difference on the fat tires
And they seem to ride plusher
 

Alphbetadog

Active Member
I sorry you had a bad experience with Motostrano. I've received 2 bikes from them at different times, and so did a good friend, and all where in great condition. It was obvious they took care in packing them with additional cardboard in all the crucial areas. I was pleased with doing business with Joe. Again, very surprised by your experience.
 
One of the biggest risks of buying online is the shipping. A single bike being shipped gets tossed around, dropped and dragged thru multiple warehouses and trucks compromising the cardboard box and anything in it including parts falling out and then box being taped back up.. I guarantee the damage done to your bike is a result of rough/normal handling from the multi stage shipping process. When parts are bent, tires are flat and chain is off..you got tossed. Better check for flat spots on those wheels and give the bike a good inspection. As a dealer buying in bulk, my bikes come in strapped to large pallets and have to be moved with a pallet jack minimizing any shipping damage. A "This End Up" sticker means nothing to these guys.
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
is it power or torque you feel is lacking
Not sure we can think of torque and power as separate aspects. You can measure torque with a meter, but power is a product of torque and crank/motor shaft RPM (hp=T x rpm/ 5252). Torque at the rear wheel is the torque at the motor combined with the additional leverage given by the chain through gearing. The BULLS 29er has a 10-speed cassette and dual chain rings, so the "transmission" definitely has the climbing torque potential; but the drive train receives only the power coming from the motor and your pedaling, even though the rear wheel gets the resulting force combination. So if you lack power, you lack torque.

Bottom line, I was not getting the amount of assist I need to even get up to 20mph on flat ground with no headwind and brisk pedaling. However, the bike climbs well as long as you are working the pedals fairly hard. I have discussed this at length with BULLS USA and they explain the design is for "riders" who want help getting up hills, as well as the look and feel of a classic bike. Their website reads in part: "The E-STREAM EVO models are classic bikes with a little extra push, whether you’re pedaling on or off road."

My point is that I think they went a little too far with the classic bike feel to the point that the e-assist is so weak it does not justify the 52 lbs overall weight of the bike. In fairness, I am a large 6-2" 250 lbs rider in fairly good shape, but this bike is more of a workout than I want on an electric bike. I have owned a 350w Bosch performance line Haibike and, although it does not have the power of my older 500w/48v/20a motiv cruiser with a hub motor; I never felt like it did not have enough assist. The BULLS/Brose bike is noticeably under powered as compared to my old stuff; and this was a surprise to me. The bike performs extremely well in terms of overall design and components, my problem is with the Brose 250w/37v/20a system. So I have learned by this experience that the larger riders like me really need a minimum 500w/48v/30a configuration. Also, the manufacturers should not be advertising these 250w/36-37v systems as "powerful"...that is a misrepresentation.
 
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RoadWrinkle

Active Member
Better check for flat spots on those wheels and give the bike a good inspection
Packing material needed to be secured to the bike better, IMO. Since they remove the bike when it comes from the manufacturer and are supposed to inspect, partially assemble and then re-pack for shipping to the buyer, this is a dealer issue.

BULLS USA, and Barney were responsive, sympathetic and in the end solved the problem 100%. IMO, Joe at MOTOSTRANO did not seem very happy about that and he made this clear in a series of emails to me. MOTOSTRANO has a good reputation, but not all transactions are ideal, and nobody is perfect (buyer or seller).
 
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Peter Polling

New Member
Not sure we can think of torque and power as separate aspects. You can measure torque with a meter, but power is a product of torque and the motors rpm's, as with the equation for horsepower ( hp=T x rpm/ 5252). Torque at the wheels is the torque at the motor combined with the additional leverage given by the chain through gearing. With a 10-speed cassette and dual chain rings, the BULLS "transmission" definitely has the climbing torque 'potential'; but the drive train receives only the power coming from the motor and your pedaling, even though the rear wheel gets the resulting force combination. So if you lack power, you lack torque.

Bottom line, I was not getting the amount of assist I need to even get up to 15-20mph on flat ground with no headwind. However, the bike climbs well as long as you are working the pedals fairly hard. I have discussed this at length with BULLS USA and they explain the design is for "riders" who want help getting up hills, as well as the look and feel of a classic bike. Their website reads in part: "The E-STREAM EVO models are classic bikes with a little extra push, whether you’re pedaling on or off road."

My point is that I think they went a little too far with the classic bike feel to the point that the e-assist is so weak it does not justify the 52 lbs overall weight of the bike. I am a large 6-2" 250 lbs rider in fairly good shape and this bike is just more of a workout than I want on an electric bike. I have owned a 350w Bosch CX Haibike and, although it does not have the power of my older 500w/48v/20a motiv cruiser with a hub motor; I never felt like it did not have enough assist. The BULLS/Brose bike is noticeably under powered as compared to my old stuff; and this was a surprise to me. The bike performs extremely well in terms of overall design and components, my problem is with the Brose 250w/37v/20a system. So I have learned by this experience that the larger riders like me really need a minimum 500w/48v/30a configuration. Also, the manufacturers should not be advertising these 250w/36-37v systems as "powerful"...that is a misrepresentation.

I disagree. I can get to 40-42 kmph without wind when I work with the bike. My wifes Flyer works a little bit harder, so she doesnt have to work as hard, both have 250 watt motor.
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
I can get to 40-42 kmph without wind when I work with the bike
I always pedal with a fair amount of effort on all ebikes I ride (even the throttled cruiser). I think the issue here is that my subjective experience with my 250w motor is not the same as your subjective experience with your 250w motor. I am guessing your not 250 lbs or more(?). No question the power performance would be different for a smaller rider with less motor load. The European manufacturers "massage" the 250w maximum laws by having larger amperage controllers that push peak wattage up to 100% of nominal, and the motors can take it. Why not offer a 500w/48v/25a configuration that peaks at 1200w if your going to offer a 250w/36v/20a system peaking at 720w?
 
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pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
One of the biggest risks of buying online is the shipping. A single bike being shipped gets tossed around, dropped and dragged thru multiple warehouses and trucks compromising the cardboard box and anything in it including parts falling out and then box being taped back up.. I guarantee the damage done to your bike is a result of rough/normal handling from the multi stage shipping process. When parts are bent, tires are flat and chain is off..you got tossed. Better check for flat spots on those wheels and give the bike a good inspection. As a dealer buying in bulk, my bikes come in strapped to large pallets and have to be moved with a pallet jack minimizing any shipping damage. A "This End Up" sticker means nothing to these guys.

Very true. I was gone when I receded one Debbie and it was cart wheeled (not dropped at least) through the side door up the ups truck!
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
I guarantee the damage done to your bike is a result of rough/normal handling from the multi stage shipping process.
Although I agree with your premise about rough handling, in this case I doubt it was the cause for two reasons: 1. There is no impact damage visible with the seat frame warping. 2.) Joe at Motostrano sent me a pic of the bike on their stand "getting ready for inspection and shipping" and you can see the rear tire is totally flat and the shrink-wrap is actually pulling the airless tire off the rim a little at the bottom. And that is exactly how it looked when
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I pulled it out of the box so that means they shipped it that way. I know you want to let some of the air out of a tire before you ship, but you don't ship a bike with two punctured tubes.
 
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PaulGee

Member
RoadWrinkle - Sorry about your experience with the online dealer. You seem to have taken it much better than I would have but it is good to know you eventually were able to sort it out. I am thinking about purchasing a Bulls e-stream MTB in the future and curious what your specific problem was with the Bulls motor performance that was "100%" resloved with the manufacturer? I think I read on the forum somewhere that they recently did a software update but not sure if it improved the power delivery.

I completely agree with your statements about the Brose motor. It is really not a subjective observation since it is documented elsewhere that the motor is less powerful than all the other major mid-drive systems out there, especially compared to the Bosch system. Like you said it is probably not the ideal setup for heavier riders like yourself. Court who is a lightweight at 135 lbs mentioned he does not have any real problems climbing with any of these mid-drives. Have you (or others reading this) taken your Brose bike on any paved or off-road patths with grades in the 12-15% range? I am curious how much pedaling effort is required in the lower gears in full assist mode? Of course, at minimum one has to consider the weight load on the bike (rider and gear) to make any useful comparisons. With my aging body, I am lucky to pedal at 4 mph up such grades on a 20 lb bike ... without significant pedal assist I would never be able to make it up the hills around here with a 54 lb bike.
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
I am curious how much pedaling effort is required in the lower gears in full assist mode?
Mahalo. The brose system has cadence/torque/ and speed sensors, but I have noticed in the lower climbing gears the system seems to give more assist in response to pedal cadence over pedaling force (torque), but I was able to climb a 12% grade with strong/fast peddling. Literally the faster I pedal the more push the motor gives. Obviously when climbing your pedal torque and cadence are up, particularly when you are carrying a heavier load. The problem I had was on the flats where your pedal force is variable, the sensor wants an even higher cadence before you feel any assist. Honestly did not use the bike much in any of the lower assist modes b/c I found the highest level inadequate.
So an issue with the motor performance as designed rather than any defects I am aware of with the particular motor I had. Its a 250w motor like the others but I speculate that the internal belt that makes the unit feel natural and smooth also requires a conservative motor regime for reliability. So the programming of the sensor levels is most likely the issue with their systems feeling less powerful to comparable motors. This issue is magnified for larger riders.

That said I think a rider of average weight would love the brose system, and the smaller size integrates well and looks stealthy, but also allows room for dual chain rings so you definitely have the climbing gears to choose from. All of the BULLS bikes are well engineered, well built, and with top components across their model range. The remedy I referred to was not a technical fix. If BULLS USA or MOTOSTRANO want to share the resolution on this forum I will leave that up to them. Aloha and happy pedaling to you.
 
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PaulGee

Member
RoadWrinkle - I am quickly realizing that there is no perfect mid-drive system and each has their own specific tradeoffs. Selecting one that best suits the users needs is important. Your comment about the belt driven motor on the Brose and how it may limit the spec 90N torque (power) potential makes sense to me. Where I live ebike dealers are few and far between and limited in the brands they offer. Forget about being able to test ride and comparing bikes you are interested in. That is why I value this forum and active members like yourself that share there experiences. Just want to let you know I really appreciate your input ... it will help with my decision. Ride safe.
 

Mikey

New Member
Hi PaulGee. I have an Evo FS3 and I think you won't have any issue with the Brose motor. I weight 215 and my Evo can climb just as good as my BBS02 mountain bike that can push twice as much wattage thanks to the Evo's 22 speed drive train. Both of my bikes struggle on climbs where traction and wheelies becomes an issue so I don't think Brose is lacking in power.

Recently my Brose motor started making squealing noise under max power on very steep climbs. I'm not sure what it is but it's not effecting performance so I'm ok with it for now. It sounds almost like a noisy belt but I think Brose motor use ribbed belt to prevent slippage.
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
I weight 215 and my Evo can climb just as good as my BBS02 mountain
Aloha. I find it hard to understand how a 250w/37v/15a brose system can climb as well as a 750w/48v/25a Bafang set-up. The numbers just don't support the contention.

That the brose system feels under powered as compared to the other mid drive motors is objective fact, born out by numerous rider accounts, and eMTB mag time trials. The cause is most likely due to a conservative motor regime (relaxed sensor settings in the firmware) to protect that belt I am guessing. That puts the question well beyond subjective experience, IMO.

Also, that squealing sound you hear when your brose motor is stressed and at peak RPMs could be the belt slipping despite being notched to align with the cog; better than a torn belt.
 
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Mikey

New Member
Aloha! I find it hard to believe a 250w/37v/15a brose system can climb as well as a 750w/48v/25a Bafang set-up. The numbers just don't support the contention.

Also, that squealing sound you hear when your brose motor is at peak RPMs is most likely the belt slipping despite being notched to align with the cog. That the brose system feels under powered as compared to the other mid drive motors is objective fact, born out by numerous rider accounts, and eMTB mag time trials. The cause is most likely due to a conservative motor regime to protect that belt I am guessing. That puts the question well beyond subjective experience, IMO.

My BBS02 has a 42 tooth lekkie front sprocket vs the FS3 28 tooth. The FS3 also has 40 tooth rear sprocket vs my BBS02 34 tooth rear sprocket. That's why I credited the Evo's drive train giving it the mechanical advantages to climb just as well as my BBS02. If my BBS02 had a similar drive train, it would pop a wheelie constantly on any steep climb.

From the pictures I've seen, the belt on the Brose motor is a synchronous belt with toothed sprocket. If the belt was jumping teeth, there'd be a distinct vibration and sound and definite power loss.