Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a full-suspension SUV ebike for on- and off-road use? The BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 is difficult to categorise with its Pinion MGU E1.12 drive unit. But we think that it’s exactly this balancing act that makes a versatile SUV ebike. We took an in-depth look at the BULLS.
Click here for an overview of our SUV ebike buyer’s guide: The best e-SUV 2024 – 10 ebikes in our group test.
In business and other strategic situations, VUCA is used as an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. And the solution to VUCA is… well, VUCA, too: Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility. We applied both sides of Vuca when testing the new eSUV from BULLS, the VUCA EVO FSX 1, looking both for problems and solutions. Like FLYER, the German bike brand BULLS are part of the ZEG network, the largest bike purchasing cooperative in Europe with over 1,000 specialist dealers. BULLS launched the Vuca range together with the newly introduced Pinion MGU drive unit. The range includes a hardtail, a full-suspension s-pedelec, a sporty eMTB, and the eSUV on test. The full-suspension versions rely on a striking swingarm. This is combined with a linkage driven design on the EVO AM eMTB, but on our test bike and the s-pedelec, the rear suspension has just a single pivot. The eSUV is available with a step-through frame, or a classic top tube, like the variant on test. Both variants are available in sizes S to XL. But that’s not the end of the options offered by BULLS. You can also choose between a 720 Wh and 960 Wh battery. Our test bike, the full-suspension BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 eSUV with a classic frame and 960 Wh battery, weighs 29.9 kg in size L and costs € 7,499. The version with a smaller battery costs € 200 less and loses about 800 g. It rolls on 29″ wheels and offers 120 mm travel front and rear. There’s no denying the VUCA’s complexity and ambiguity. Read on to find out more about the positive traits we discovered in the Vuca during the test.
The only constant is change – What sets the BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 apart?
It’s about as difficult to describe the Vuca as it is to teach your neighbour’s cat quantum mechanics. While the FLYER Goroc TR:X 8.63 cuts a fine figure both as a striking city commuter and as an extroverted eMTB, the Vuca takes an opposite yet similar approach. At first glance, the BULLS is more understated: a monochrome dark grey finish, no colour accents, and minimal branding. At second glance, the bike has an industrial look: a solid aluminium frame with many different angles, and weld seams as long as the Great Wall of China. The rear suspension with its striking swingarm and eye-catching belt drive looks like it’s been copied from a sleek roadster motorcycle. There’s a thick sheet metal above the shock, on which the seat tube rests. If you look at the front half with the Fuxon FS-100 EB headlight on the fork arch (with daytime running lights and light sensor), the relatively slick SUPERO All Ground tires, the comfortable, winged grips, and the adjustable stem, the Vuca is more of a city bike than an off-roader. The somewhat chaotic cable routing is kept in check with the help of spiral cable wrap. The cable of the headlight dangles loosely under the fork crown. On the non-drive side, there is a port for the internal cable routing behind the head tube the size of a bullet hole, as well as a very neat flap for the charging port and the battery lock.
The Pinion MGU E1.12 performs well, offering plenty of thrust in both off-road and commuter scenarios. And the electronic gearbox shifts gears precisely in all situations. Thanks to the belt and the encapsulated gearbox unit, chain lubrication and cleaning as well as readjustment of the derailleur are a thing of the past. Here you get a first glimpse of the positive V and C of VUCA: vision and clarity.
The heavy 960 Wh battery protrudes slightly from the bottom of the down tube, which doesn’t look great but offers a big capacity. If you don’t like the look of the large battery, you should go for the still very big 720 Wh model, which makes for a slightly sleeker silhouette. Removing the battery from underneath the down tube is somewhat cumbersome because it’s secured with a lock and a second latch. The motor system and battery integration on the FLYER Goroc TR:X is noticeably better, but with a much smaller battery. The Vuca is completed with components from the ZEG universe, such as the MonkeyLoad luggage rack with an integrated taillight, and SR Suntour suspension, including the Lytro 36 suspension fork only found on BULLS bikes. We would have preferred a MonkeyLink mount for the headlight, too. That way the headlight would have been placed higher up and the unsightly cable routing underneath the fork crown could have been avoided.
Bulls Vuca EVO FSX 1
Motor Pinion MGU E1.12 85 Nm
Battery FIT Ultracore 960 Wh
Display FIT Compact Display
Fork BULLS Lytro 36 Supreme SL 120 mm
Rear Shock SR Suntour Edge 120 mm
Seatpost Limotec Alpha 1 100 – 150 mm
Brakes Shimano BR-M6120 203/180 mm
Drivetrain Pinion MGU E1.12 1x12
Stem Bulls SUVi
Handlebar Zecure Sport SL
Wheelset RYDE Disc 30 29"
Tires Super All Ground 2.4"
Size S M L XL
Weight 29.9 kg
Perm. total weight 150 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 120 kg
Trailer approval yes
Kickstand mount yes
two battery options
integrated gear shifting
|Top tube||610 mm||610 mm||635 mm||660 mm|
|Seat tube||410 mm||440 mm||480 mm||540 mm|
|Head tube||105 mm||120 mm||130 mm||140 mm|
|Chainstay||470 mm||470 mm||470 mm||470 mm|
|BB Drop||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,204 mm||1,206 mm||1,233 mm||1,359 mm|
|Reach||449 mm||445 mm||468 mm||490 mm|
|Stack||601 mm||615 mm||624 mm||634 mm|
Vision, understanding, clarity, agility – Which of these does the new BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 have?
Understanding: the 150 mm dropper post makes it easier to climb aboard the BULLS and lets you put your feet on the ground when stopping at traffic lights without having to get off the saddle. For those who want even more comfort and don’t want to or can’t lift their legs too high, you could also choose the version with a step-through frame. The riding position on the Vuca is pleasantly upright, and the adjustable stem makes it easy to dial in the fit. The suspension is buttery soft and transforms the cobblestone streets of historic city centres into smoothly paved highways. Speaking of cobblestones, the accessories on the BULLS, like the stand and other components, rattle loudly while riding. The large and heavy SUPERO All Ground semi-slick tires need some time to get up to speed. Once you’re up to speed, no bike rolls through the city faster than the BULLS Vuca. The flip side of the meaty tires is sluggish, but also good-natured handling – so it’s a no regarding the agility of the Vuca acronym. The connectivity package from the FIT ecosystem provides useful functions for city traffic, such as arrow-based navigation on the FIT Compact display, and the option of activating your smartphone as a digital ebike key.
The MonkeyLoad rack is a picky diva when it comes to finding compatible panniers. The BULLS itself is relatively unimpressed by additional weight on the rack, and our MonkeyLoad panniers clipped onto the rack easily and securely in just a few seconds. However, the rack offers little support at the bottom of the panniers. That allows soft pannier bags to swing freely and rub against the brake rotor and the belt every time you go through a corner or hit a bump, making loud chafing noises and damaging the panniers. That’s why the rack only works with relatively short panniers that don’t reach the rotor, or stiff panniers that don’t require support. Another shortcoming, which is less severe, though, is that the bottle cage in the front triangle of the Vuca is somewhat difficult to access, only working sensibly with smaller bottles and cages that provide access from the side. A magnetically attached MonkeyLink or FIDLOCK bottle would also make things much easier.
Identity crisis or identity diversity – With the BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 SUV ebike, you’ve got to take some time to get to know the bike.
If you want to know how far you can really get with the 960 Wh battery, you’ll have to ride beyond the city limits and explore the surrounding area. We tested the Vuca with both a 720 Wh battery and the 960 Wh variant, and it works fine with both options – it’s up to you to decide which battery suits your requirements better. Despite the relatively slick tires, the Vuca grips well on fine gravel. That said, the front wheel can wash out if you steer too aggressively on damp or loose terrain. The Shimano DEORE four-piston brakes perform well and are almost as powerful as the XT models on the CONWAY. Here, too, heavier riders might want to upgrade to a 200 mm rotor at the rear for a little more fade resistance. We like the way the rear brake calliper is tucked away in the swingarm of the Vuca. The BULLS proves to be stable on slightly more demanding trails and stays planted on the ground. The bike does a good job of absorbing bumps, but the accessories rattle loudly and the kickstand unfolds without warning when you hit rough terrain. Overall, the BULLS eSUV lags far behind the Specialized Tero X in terms of off-road performance. Due to the rattling of the accessories and slick tires, the BULLS Vuca is only suitable for leisurely trekking, not for wild off-roading.
Tuning tip: Replace the side stand with one that has a stiffer spring.
Who is the BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 for?
Hiding beneath the somewhat rudimentary facade of the BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 is a charming lifestyle commuter. Those who mainly ride in the city and occasionally veer off onto well-maintained woodland paths will feel at home aboard this very comfortable eSUV with its low-maintenance Pinion drive unit and big battery. However, you can’t live out your sporty mountain biking ambitions with the Vuca.
Our conclusion of the BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1
The BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 is a very comfortable and good-natured long-distance commuter that requires little maintenance thanks to the Pinion MGU E1.12 system. It offers urban dwellers and leisurely riders everything they need. Like many SUVs in the automotive world, it’s not designed for real off-road use. The design takes some getting used to, but some will love the striking rear end. Due to the limited versatility and relatively high price, however, the BULLS lags somewhat behind the competition.
- low-maintenance drive unit
- very comfortable
- choice of battery sizes with very large capacities
- limited versatility due to weak off-road performance
- rattling accessories and loose stand
- rear rack allows some panniers to rub against the brake rotor
You can find out more about at bulls-bikes.com
The test field
Click here for an overview of our SUV ebike buyer’s guide: The best e-SUV 2024 – 10 ebikes in our group test.
All bikes in test:
ADVANCED Trekking Pro FS Wave | BULLS Vuca EVO FSX 1 | CENTURION Country R3000i LX | CONWAY CAIRON SUV FS 7.7 | FLYER Goroc TR:X 8.63 | GIANT Stormguard E+ 1 | Moustache J. All | Riese & Müller Delite 4 GT Touring | ROTWILD R. C1000 TOUR | Specialized Turbo Tero X 6.0
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Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Jan Richter, Robin Schmitt