Felt is expanding its collection of lifestyle bikes with the Brühaul, a new electrified longtail cargo bike designed specifically as a car replacement for urban environments. Claimed to be four times stiffer than its closest competitor for more stable, loaded-down handling, Felt also says it’s among the lightest options around for longer run times, too.
Felt says the biggest complaint heard from cargo bike owners is the lack of some sort of motor so the Brühaul will be offered exclusively with a Bosch e-bike system, offering up to 250 watts of assistance, more than enough to help move bigger and heavier loads up the Brühaul’s 400-pound total capacity.
250 extra watts on demand
That load can be distributed anywhere on the capacious rear rack deck, hung off the sides with the included panniers, or even secured to the lower decks. The rear rack was designed around the popular Zepp child carrier system and there’s plenty of room for two seats. The range of available options will be rather limited when the bike hits stores in August, but Felt says more are already in development for later release.
Although hardly cheap at US$4,999 (international pricing and availability to be confirmed), the Brühaul is otherwise comparatively well-equipped with Shimano’s tough and reliable Deore 1×10 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, double-wall Alex aluminum rims, Schwalbe tires, front and rear fenders, and front and rear lights.
Hydraulic disc brakes front and rear should help keep all of that weight from rolling out of control
Felt e-bike product manager, Zach Krapfl, says that frame stiffness was a key priority in the Brühaul’s design, as longtail cargo bikes often suffer from excessive flex that can be tricky to control. As such, the Brühaul is built around a decidedly stout 6061 aluminum frame with big tube diameters, lots of cross-bracing, and a tapered 1 1/2-to-1 1/8in front end for more predictable handling (although, unfortunately, no thru-axles).
Along those same lines, the Brühaul is designed around 24-inch wheels instead of the more traditional dual-26in layout or the increasingly common 20in rear wheel designs, such as on Xtracycle’s Edgerunner. Krapfl claims this offers a better balance between wheel strength, handling, and load height while also meshing better with the Bosch drive system’s torque transfer characteristics.
24-inch wheels are quite unusual but the reasoning behind them seems sound
A quick test ride around Felt’s global headquarters in Irvine, California with roughly 300 pounds on board (roughly the weight of two full-grown adults – don’t ask how we know this) proved to be impressively uneventful with none of the ‘tail wagging’ that often accompanies such a heavy load or any undue struggling to get all that weight up to speed.
We didn’t have time to test the claimed range but Felt says the standard 400Wh rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack will power the Brühaul for anywhere between 24-80km (15-50 miles) on a charge, depending on cargo load, terrain, and boost level. Bosch also guarantees the battery will still retain at least 60 percent of its capacity after 500 complete cycles – a good thing since a replacement is nearly US$1,000. Boding well for long-term support is the fact that Bosch holds itself to automotive standards when it comes to spares with a guaranteed eight-year supply of parts even after a product line is discontinued.
The capacious rear rack has plenty of room for kids or cargo
Stay tuned for more as we’re definitely planning on bringing a Brühaul in for a longer-term review (and maybe even a redux of the month-long car-free test we did for the Trek Transport+).
For more information, visit www.feltbicycles.com.