Newcomer Award 2018
Last year saw the emergence of a number of new brands onto the market, but few made such a grand entrance as FAZUA. With the launch of their compact Evation motor, this Munich-based startup went beyond purely laying the foundation for e-road bikes by ushering in a whole new category of e-bikes. This groundbreaking launch earned FAZUA the verdict of Design & Innovation Award Newcomer.
While e-bikes have witnessed a widespread boom, road riding has remained virtually untouched until now. The recent change in tide is largely down to the work of FAZUA, as their innovative Evation motor has set the parameters for how a motor should look on a road bike. The idea of e-road bikes is one that sparks controversy, but the Design & Innovation Award jury have taken an open-minded stance on the topic, choosing to identify future potential and challenge common prejudices. A drive system like this one can essentially eliminate, or smooth out, any differences in ability or endurance when riding socially in the mountains, whether it’s a cross-generational family ride, or disparately fit training buddies or couples.
The most striking feature of the FAZUA drive system is its low weight, which sees the motor unit and battery weighing just 4.59 kg, which is roughly 2 kg less than current market competition. Each system is built by hand in Germany, although rapidly growing demand means their production looks set to double in 2018. The system, comprising the 1.91 kg motor unit and 1.38 kg 250 Wh battery, can be detached. The 1.31 kg bottom bracket gearbox is the only fixed system element on the frame. This detachable construction means that any FAZUA Evation-equipped bike can be ridden without the battery and motor while a cover will protect the now-empty area.
Riding with the FAZUA Evation is like enjoying an uninterrupted tailwind on an ever-so-slightly downhill stretch of road – it’s a very natural feeling. Its output is far removed from the power associated with a Bosch CX or a Shimano E8000, but it isn’t trying to compete with these powerhouses. Based purely on its supremely natural ride sensation, this motor is batting in a whole other league. It responds to the rider’s input and works well over a broad cadence. For riders putting some legwork into the pedals, you’ll get a reciprocal level of support. As a motivator, the FAZUA motor certainly makes you want to put down the gas.
The additional weight of the system is noticeable on the flats and descents, although the design possesses a considered weight distribution to benefit the handling. Above the 25 km/h limit there’s hardly palpable resistance from the decoupling of the motor. Whether it’s motivational or aspirational, it’s fair to say that a FAZUA bike lends itself to more of a challenge for the rider – an invitation to ride harder, one could say.
There are certain drawbacks or flaws to the system, although nothing abnormal for a product in its early days. (Newcomers rarely enter the scene as perfect all-rounders.) The battery, for instance, can only be charged when removed from the bike – an additional charging port on the battery would be ideal. The bar-mounted computer also shows room for improvement. However, based on our feedback, we’re confident that FAZUA will soon alleviate these concerns. Just a handful of performance-led road bikes have been fitted with the FAZUA system so far, but it’s already enough to testify to its potential. The FOCUS PROJECT Y and the Pinarello NYTRO are emphatic proof that motors have a place on road bikes too. For the E-MTB market, there’s hype around the ultra-lightweight FOCUS RAVEN², which blurs the lines between a conventional mountain bike and its motorised self. These bikes are paving the way towards highly fit riders being convinced by the advantages of electric support.
By treading new ground with its lightweight and natural ride, the FAZUA Evation motor has ushered in a new category. As it smoothly bridges the gulf between e-bikes and standard bikes, the FAZUA Evation appeals to performance-focused riders; as it is well versed in its audience, it knows that the only thing that really counts is the passion for riding.
For more information head to fazua.com
Words: Moritz Dittmar / Photos: Valentin Rühl, Robin Schmitt
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