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Review: BULLS Alpine Hawk, electric bike, or non-electric

BULLS is known for making a lot of different electric bikes. Cruisers, hard-tails, all-mountain, commuters, and much more. While they don’t get too far into unconventional frames and experimental models or drive systems, they’re not afraid to test the smaller existing markets.

Case in point, the Alpine Hawk EVO. My first impression when hearing of the model was intrigued. There have been a few entries into the carbon fiber electric bike scene, but BULLS isn’t pulling any punches with this competitor.

The Alpine Hawk is incredibly lightweight, 33.1 lbs (15.01 kg) in total. This aspect alone makes a world of difference in many ways. Acceleration is very quick, whether human or electric assisted. This really gives a new sense of encouragement and adventure.

Also due to rider positioning, the steering cuts like a knife and the Alpine Hawk definitely gives a sensation of diving head-first into the ride. Braking power is instant and a bit intimidating at first. With a few minutes of controlled practice, it’s easy to stop on a dime and give 5¢ change. It’s hard to overstate just how much the bike feels like a perfect fit mechanically.

But why? How?

BULLS Alpine Hawk EVO tech specs

  • Motor: 250W geared mid-drive motor
  • Top speed: 20 mph (32 km/h) with pedal assist
  • Range: 30 miles (48 km)
  • Battery: 36V 7Ah (252 Wh)
  • Weight: 33.5 lb (15 kg)
  • Frame: Carbon Fiber
  • Drive train: Shimano Ultegra
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra
  • Extras: LED display, app connectivity, removable battery and motor, completely decoupled electric motor at 0 assist

Weight weenie of e-bikes

In a stroke of genius, the Fazua-made Evation motor and battery can be completely removed from the mechanical system. On top of this, when not in assist mode, the mechanical system decouples and doesn’t interact with the rider at all (i.e. literally zero drag). This feature makes the non-electric experience as authentic as it could possibly get. Most every other electric bike still leaves a hulking motor of about 10 lbs (4.5 kgs) on the bike, which is better than about 20 lbs (9 kgs) of included battery.

After removing both the battery and the motor from the Alpine Hawk the only thing left is the 3 lb (1.3 kg) gearbox. Compared to typical electric bikes, the added weight may as well be 0. But why would someone want an electric bike that can quickly convert to non-electric?

Two worlds, one bike

From my end, I’ve loved electric bikes, scooters, motorcycles, and electric toys for years. Like most humans, I enjoy non-electric cycling because it’s fun and challenging. Taking the battery and motor out of the Alpine Hawk feels great, it reminds me of what a bike can feel like with natural, human-powered movement. Since I ride electric bikes all day, I’m not competing in a non-electric race anytime soon. For me, having the ability to add/remove the electric component is great safety net and major step towards cycling. From the other side, I could see a non-electric enthusiast or racer using this bike for leisure. Blasting around with the motor, taking it easy, while still using a similar platform to prevent total muscle degradation.

Oh yeah, it’s electric.

For a while now I’ve talked about how great it is to not use the electric feature, but truth be told it’s great either way. The electric system isn’t a powerhouse, I think we all can see that. The light 250 W motor and 36v 7 Ah battery are housed inside the battery tube (motor tube?) but still has enough punch to assist, but never take over. The pedal assist is quite familiar, using torque, cadence and wheel speed to offer great responsiveness on the road. Since it’s not a speed demon, the display only shows battery level and color-coded assist level. Overall I find the electric system to be a great combination for the sleek application. Compared to other name brand motors, it’s not the most potent at delivering peaks of power, and that’s alright.

Light bike, hefty specs

Coming February of 2020, all this bike can be yours for $5,799. Not a bad price considering the equipment: carbon fiber frame, advanced pedal assist, Shimano Ultegra groupset, awesome brakes, removable motor/battery, and local dealer support. If you’re interested in this kind of bike, then the BULLS Alpine Hawk is a great contender. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a fast, cheap, folding bike or a high-end scooter, stay tuned to Electrek for more reviews.

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