My partner needed an electric bike – it is hilly round here so an ebike was the only viable option. There were two important criteria:
- She isn’t particularly small, but the trend towards large wheel sizes means that most bikes are far too big.
- Her top priority was that it shouldn’t look like an electric bike – no bulky battery.
One of the few bikes that met both criteria was the Boardman HYB 8.9e with the Fazua battery and motor system. Both the battery and motor are in a removable lump that clips into the bottom of the downtube. The motor drives the bottom bracket via a three-lobed rotor (that forms the Fazua logo). It is a mid-drive unit – the motor power is transmitted via the normal gears and chain – with torque sensing.
Overall the bike seems to be good quality. The first bike seemed to have been dropped during assembly – the plastic top downtube liner was broken – but Halfords shipped out a replacement quickly and that bike has been fine. It rides nicely and the Fazua system works very well, providing plenty of power for even steep hills.
I did upgrade the firmware in the motor to version 2.0 and tweak the settings via the Fazua toolbox. This was easy to do and very worthwhile – the bike is much more powerful and responsive now. It is still entirely legal – the changes are better performance at a wider range of cadences, plus less rider pedal pressure for given level of assistance.
I’ve fitted mudguards and a rear panier rack. I like the way that the front mudguard eyelets are part-way up the forks. This is an important safety feature as it stops the front mudguard getting jammed in the front wheel if road debris gets between the tyre and mudguard. With the eyelets close to the wheel the mudguard gets closer to the wheel as the debris moves up, causing a jam. With the eyelets further up the mudguard moves away from the wheel releasing the debris and avoiding a jam. The panier rack is so she can lug the heavy stuff up the hills!
The bike is nice and light – about 14kg including battery and motor. It doesn’t feel heavy and is easy to lift around.
The only downside is the downtube. This isn’t actually a tube as it is part of the Fazua system – it is just a C shape so the battery and motor can be clipped in. This means it has very little torsional ridgidity – readily apparent if you watch closely while pressing on a pedal. In practice this doesn’t matter at all – the motor power means you never press hard on the pedals anyway!
Overall – recommended. My partner loves the bike and is happy to go on rides with big hills.
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Would love to know which mudguards you fitted (before I order something incompatible…).
They are the SKS Bluemels Road Mudguard Set – 700c – Black from St John Street Cycles: product code: 22040B45 size: 700 x 45. They look very smart!
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Super! That’s really helpful, thank you.
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I just bought this same bike 2 weeks ago. How do i perform the upgrade of the firmware to version 2.0 and tweak the settings using the tool box, please.
Thanks in advance
You’ll find all the details on the Fazua website: https://fazua.com/en/drive-system/software/drive-system-software/
The biggest difficulty was finding the right USB cable in my box of cables – it is the standard mobile phone cable from about 10 years ago…
Hope it works for you!
Great review…thank you. One question…I will be riding quite a bit on non tarmac roads. Will the lack of front suspension be a disadvantage?
Sorry – no idea. I tend to do almost all my riding on the roads and haven’t ridden a suspension bike. I would imagine that suspension becomes more important for bigger bumps at higher speed (recumbent bikes require suspension on tarmac due to speeds of 25-30mph upwards). Haven’t felt the need for suspension on the tandem even on forest tracks, but that is at low speed.
does anybody have any problems locking the battery compartment in place.
It isn’t the easiest lock. I find it is easier if you remember that the key must turn 180 degrees.
thanks martin. when i turn the key i cant remove it from the lock
Yes – this is the same on mine. However once the battery is out you can turn the key back to ‘locked’ and remove the key. The battery will go back in without needing the key – it should just push up into place.
Hello Martin, nice review by you thanks for that. I have a question how did you changed your settings on fazua toolbox please?
I just followed the instructions on the Fazua website – it is pretty easy to do. It has ended up with the max setting being full power with minimum effort and the second setting being full power but with more rider effort.
Hello Martin sorry I have few questions if you don’t mind please?
1. I am worried about if this bike hybrid 8.9e can withstand in rain as per the Uk weather?
2. You mentioned in your review that some kind of part came out, which part was it?
3. I have seen online that a bottom bracket cover which is underneath the motor can protect motor from water or dirt, is this required to buy?
4. Does this bike help riding up steep hills as I live up the hill?
No problems with the weather so far, including one downpour so torrential it was hard to see anything at all.
The first bike we got was broken so the top/front battery catch didn’t work properly. The second (replacement) bike was fine.
We haven’t bought any bottom bracket cover – it seems ok as it is.
Yes – we have very steep hills round here and it goes up the hills just fine. You will need to use the lower gears so the motor has an easier time. On very steep hills (there is a long 1:6 / 17% near here) you will need to put some effort into the pedals.
Nice one Martin, thank you so much for your prompt response. I am just really concerned about rain and up hill rest I hope should be ok
Hello Martin I bought boardman 8.9e it’s an amazing ebike. Just a question though please, today I was trying to switch on the battery for my ride and I dropped it, not from a height but just from where the battery slot on the bicycle is. Is that a issue?? I mean has this damaged my batter?
I’m afraid I don’t know for sure whether it has damaged your battery – that is a question for Halfords. However I’m pretty sure we’ve dropped ours a couple of times and it works fine. Ergonomically the battery fitting isn’t great and it is easy to drop when turning it on.
Ok thank you for your reply. It’s really inconvenient to remove the battery and switch on every time