Know How News Review

FAZUA Evation Black Pepper – Exclusive: Test, info and how to update the Firmware

The FAZUA Evation drive is the founding father of the eMTB Light concept. Now a new software update allows you to fundamentally change the characteristics and handling of the motor – we’ve already tested it! Read on to find out how it works and how to install it yourself.

Before we get into the review, we would like to tell you about our latest print edition. The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

The FAZUA Evation is a true multi-talent. The slim drive unit, which bundles the motor and battery into one solid unit, can be easily removed from the frame. That leaves just the minimal remote and 1.3 kg bottom bracket including the gearbox and sensors on your bike. This means that all bikes with FAZUA motor can be used without the motor, with no pedalling resistance and with minimal extra weight. So far, the Evation drive distinguished itself above all through its natural and unobtrusive ride feeling. Were it not for the high-pitched hum in the highest setting, you could easily think – in the best way possible – that you’re riding without any support at all. Having said that, the natural ride feeling of the FAZUA has always come at the cost of its power. Despite churning out 55Nm torque, which is only 5 Nm less than other motors like the Shimano STEPS E7000, there’s always been a noticeable difference in power. Not only on steep ramps but also on flat trails, The FAZUA struggled to keep up with its more powerful contenders from Bosch or Shimano, for example. On top of this, you had to put up with a very narrow usable rev band: in other words, whenever you were pedalling at low cadences or above 90 rpm, you could feel a clear and abrupt loss of power, which called for strategic gear shifts. Until now, because the update has radically changed all of this!

Before the update, the FAZUA Evation motor required its rider to work hard, even in the RocketMode.

Testing the FAZUA motor with 2.0 firmware

The development team has taken on board our criticism and addressed all of the flaws: with the new update, they improved the low power output, small cadence range and loud background noise. FAZUA now offer a free, backwards compatible update to the 2.0 firmware. This fundamentally changes the characteristics of the motor, which is now significantly quieter, more efficient and thus allows for a bigger range. At the same time, the overall power has improved, which means the Evation can now keep up with the Shimano and Bosch motors in the RocketMode, both on flat trails and on moderate climbs. And while on steeper climbs it still struggles to match the power of its competitors, it’s a lot faster than it was before the update.

If you haven’t done the update yet, it’s your own fault. With the new firmware, the FAZUA motor plays in a different league!

The three assistance modes also offer more distinctly differentiated levels of support. While the progressive RiverMode offers a very natural ride, the weaker BreezeMode is a lot more reserved and intended to be as frugal with the battery as possible. However, this also means that the latter is still too weak for extended trail use. The drop off in power of the motor at higher pedalling cadences has also been resolved with the update. Of course, the update leaves the hardware of the motor untouched, which means that the FAZUA can still be pedalled above the 25 km/h assistance limit without any resistance. The only thing that changed is the way the motor engages and disengages in RocketMode. Due to the increased power, the transition is now more noticeable but still very smooth. Less smooth, on the other hand, is the roughly toothed freewheel, which is audible when rolling and clicks loudly whenever it engages – the hardware is mainly responsible for this.


With the new firmware, the Evation churns out enough power to get you up a hill. And if you still want to sweat, the two weaker support modes are now working a lot more efficiently.

How to perform the Fazua software update

With the Black Pepper Update, FAZUA hasn’t changed the hardware of the Evation drive – not yet, at least. The development team managed to improve the efficiency, power delivery and background noise of the motor simply by tweaking the firmware. From now on, all new eMTB with FAZUA motor will be delivered with the new firmware. The good news: if you already own a bike with Evation motor, the update to the 2.0 firmware is backwards compatible and completely free of charge. The update is straightforward and can be easily performed at home with a computer – and only takes a few minutes: all you need is your DrivePack, a computer with the FAZUA Toolbox (download here), a mini USB cable, a 10 Torx and a small flat-blade screwdriver.


Remove the Drivepack from your bike
Undo the two screws using a 10 Torx key…
… and carefully pry the cover open with the screwdriver.
Under the cover you’ll find the USB socket. Use this to connect the Drivepack to your computer.

Download the Firmware 2.0 software update and select ‘Firmware update’ in the menu.
Pull out the plug, carefully screw the cover back on and install the Drivepack back into your bike
Possible remote updates happen automatically from the drive pack to the remote

Finally individual motor setups

Even before the update, bike manufacturers were able to adapt the characteristics of the FAZUA Evation to their bikes and individually “tune” the maximum support level, support factor and responsiveness of the motor. With these small yet effective tweeks, the Evation will deliver a completely different riding experience on an eRoad bike than it would on a genuine eMTB. With the firmware update, you’re now the boss and can adjust the MAX POWER, SUPPORT FACTOR and the RAMP-UP of the motor through the FAZUA- Toolbox. For all three parameters FAZUA has a preconfigured template, which lets you choose between Eco, Moderate and Performance. And if you want to finely tune the Evation to your personal preferences, the “Advanced Settings” allows you to configure all three parameters of the three support modes levels (Breeze, River and RocketMode) individually. But how do the parameters translate on the trail?

  • MAX POWER is the maximum power and torque the motor can deliver. 100% means that the motor uses its full 55 Nm of torque, while at 33% (e.g. in the Eco-Level) the motor only provides a third of its maximum power.
  • SUPPORT FACTOR indicates how much of the rider’s “own power” the Fazua requires to release the MAX POWER. When selecting a low value, the Evation pushes hard even with little pressure on the pedals. This, however, can cause a rather unnatural ride feeling.
  • RAMP-UP Indicates how quickly the motor reacts to the rider’s input and thus how quickly it accelerates.
The preconfigured settings range from Eco to Moderate and Performance. These change the characteristics of the Evation in all three support levels.
In the Advanced Settings you can individually set the parameters for each support level. Our tip: choose a suitable template and refine its characteristics in the Advanced mode.

At the moment, the FAZUA Evation can only be configured from a computer using the FAZUA Toolbox. However, the Bavarian start-up is relentlessly working on a dedicated app, which allows you to customise the motor’s characteristics from your smartphone. This means that in future you’ll be able to play around with the settings on the trail and try all the different options while riding.

Are there any changes in the hardware?

At first we couldn’t believe how much the performance of the Evation improved without changing, or at least tweaking, the hardware. Having said that, the overall system still isn’t perfect. First off, the exposed speed sensor mounted on the chainstay, still relies on a rudimental spoke magnet. Also the chunky Remote b handlebar remote offers clumsy operability and is getting on in years – in this regard, FAZUA brought some improvements with the slim Remote fX last year. This, however, is only conditionally suitable for trail use because it can’t be operated from the handlebars. We were able to take a first look at the new Remote bX, which is a lot more compact and sits on the handlebars – and thus it is easier to reach. We still have to see how well it works on the trail. On top of that, in future you should be able to display all relevant data on third party devices such as a Garmin or Wahoo – and not just with the brand new Remote bx, but with all remotes, thanks to another software update.

Availability

All those who are already looking for a 10 Torx and a suitable USB cable must be patient until April 16. Then the Motor Firmware 2.0 and the latest version of the FAZUA Toolbox are available for download.

Conclusion

The free FAZUA Black Pepper software update is absolutely worthwhile. With the new firmware, the motor support of the FAZUA Evation almost reaches the level of most all-round motors – with the same weight, natural ride feeling and improved range. We’re glad to see that the Evation can finally use its full potential and are looking forward to seeing whether FAZUA will be able to impress with their dedicated app and remote updates.

Find all info about the update and download the software at: fazua.com


It's finally here: The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Words: Felix Stix Photos: Felix Stix, Robin Schmitt

About the author

Felix Stix

Felix is chief of testing and undoubtedly one of the best test riders in the world. With a degree in sports engineering, excellent mountain bike skills, his love of technology and as a certified bike guide, Felix has everything it takes to make comprehensive and fair assessments of bikes. His legendary group tests are internationally known and feared, though they tend to be a bit longer due to his love of detail and technical deep dives. Every year, he reviews around 100 bikes, specialising in the subject of tires, motors and suspension, before putting on his skis come winter! His know-how is incorporated into each of our reviews, ensuring the quality of our work stays high!