During my 24 hour test of the Feull Flluid-1S $ 4,995 electric bike, I couldn’t help but consider that there are probably a lot of die-hard anti-car fanatics out there. travel fairly regularly on their bikes who think adding a little electric boost can increase the number of days they leave their gas guzzlers at home. I am definitely not that person. But there are also less than die-hard bike enthusiasts who love the freedom of two wheels and think that a drums pack can take them to more places to discover than if they were using nothing but the power of their aging legs. That group right there right in the middle is me.
As I threw a leg over the Flluid (yes, the double L is really part of its official name), I was immediately impressed with the strength of the bike. There is absolutely no chintziness to be found; the frame is decidedly solid, the dual batteries snap snugly onto the upper and lower tubes, the massive bottom bracket area that houses the 500-watt mid-drive motor won’t crack or bend, no matter what the force with which you stand on the pedals, and the Suntour XCR34 head tube and suspension fork with 120 millimeters of travel are just as durable. All of the components seem likely to stand the test of time and thousands of miles.
As you can see in our gallery of images, there is no rear suspension to speak of, other than two shock-absorbing seatpost options, depending on the weight of the rider. Thankfully, that little donation keeps the glutes a bit more comfortable, as do the thick, grippy 2.25-inch Pirelli tires mounted on 27.5-inch wheels. That said, there are a few full suspension models for buyers of well-heeled e-bikes to choose from if they are looking for a more comfortable ride, including options from well-known brands like Giant, Specialized, and Trek.
Driving the Fuell Flluid at high speed enhances the feeling of solidity. Riders can choose how much power assist they want the bike’s motor to provide, but will have to pedal regardless as there is no separate throttle. I immediately set the bike to its highest assist level of five using the handlebar mounted 3.2 inch color LCD display and rode at around 20 miles per hour in the streets of the neighborhood around my house. I wish I could have recorded the looks on the faces of the drivers when they saw how fast I pedaled the Flluid up to speed, helped of course by the magic of the electrons. Maintaining that brisk pace was easy enough, although relying on the maximum amount of assist will drain your battery faster than you expect. I was able to exceed the 28mph rated top speed of the Flluid-1S, but only with very heavy pedaling.
Maintained at a more realistic pace, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the Flluid’s two 500 Wh batteries (for a total of 1,008 watt hours) could indeed deliver up to 125 miles claimed by Fuell. This assumes, of course, that the rider is willing to expend a fair amount of energy on his own. Maintained at its maximum output mode somewhere near its maximum speed and with minimal assistance from my own legs, I was able to empty one of the two packs in about 20 miles. Consider around 40 miles of both fully charged packs to be the worst case scenario if you plan to cover long distances without breaking a sweat. For most people in the real world, somewhere between these extremes of 40 and 125 miles is likely.
The Flluid features a Shimano Alfine geared rear hub with multiple ratios to choose from, meaning there is no low-suspension derailleur to worry about. Add to that five levels of electric assistance and the rider has plenty of choices, each requiring different levels of pedal assistance. Tektro HD-E 350 brakes with 180mm discs front and rear provide braking. It’s nice that these brakes offer a lot of stopping power, considering the Fuell’s 79-pound weight, plus the rider of course.
There’s a built-in kickstand / center stand attached to the large bottom bracket, and it’s one of the well-designed things that make the Flluid feel like it’s worth its asking price. Other cool features include the low-maintenance Gates carbon belt instead of a standard chain and rear wheel lock. Additional anti-theft security is provided by the display PIN code and an optional integrated GPS tracking device.
The Fuell Flluid is available in medium or large sizes and in multiple colors, although availability is subject to change (at the time of writing this article, both a silver shade and a gray shade were displayed on the company’s website. ). If you’re looking for an electric bike that prioritizes long battery life and solid build, the Flluid is definitely worth a look.