Boardman’s HYB 8.9e is a sporty commuter: the angles are road-bike steep and the ride position is aggressive too. It makes sense, then, that it’s powered by the lightweight German-engineered Fazua Evation drive system, more commonly found on carbon e-road bikes than easy-going commuters.
With a claimed weight for the Evation of 4.6kg, it’s easy to see how Boardman has managed to keep the full bike weight down to a manageable 16.2kg.
The Evation motor delivers 250w, which is accessed through a bar-mounted controller that has an on/off switch, +/- switches and 10 LED lights notifying charge level (along with your current mode).
I tried the iOS version of Fazua’s accompanying app and this provides a much more thorough breakdown of the system with mapping, route navigation and plenty of metrics: power used, system temperature, distance to empty, cadence, rider power, rider torque and a direct Strava link.
Using the app you can switch modes between Eco, Moderate and Performance. In Eco mode it drops power to extend range, so green (which signifies low power) is 70w, blue is 140w and red is 200w. In Moderate, green is 100w, blue puts in 210w and red gives you 250w. Performance mode delivers 120w in green, 260w in blue and 300w in red, although this obviously has a detrimental effect on the range.
The system is very smart: it matches your pedalling input so that what you feel is a gentle push from behind, not a big dump of torque fuelled e-power. It feels very natural and the range is impressive at 104.6km (65.02 miles) with 841.42m (2760.5ft) climbing.
Compared to Bosch powered bikes that will take the lead and power you along, this feels like more of a push down the road from a powerful friend. It’s far more suited to sporty-style riders than those coming from a more casual riding perspective.
I recommend that you use the power system much like you’d use gears, using the extra power to enhance the Boardman’s 1x drivetrain when you need a bit of extra help. Fazua claims the Evation delivers a class-leading 60Nm of power. That may be true, but it never feels huge because it’s so well matched to your input.
The HYB’s design is also more suited to cyclists with other, more racy, bikes. The ride position is aggressive, the narrow bar suits zipping through traffic and the contact points are perfect for regular riders.
The Boardman-branded saddle is long and narrow, and comfortable if you’re wearing padded shorts/undershorts, but in civilian clothing it feels pretty hard.
The narrow bar is courier cool, but the slender lock-on grips just don’t have the comfort of the ergo grips found on its rivals, especially in ungloved hands.
The HYB has all the fixtures and fittings for a rack and mudguards and provision for two bottles, so it’s great for weekend leisure outings as well as commuting.
The ride is quite firm even with 35c tyres, while the handling is fast and position sporty, again suiting it to seasoned riders.
The battery level with its 10 LED lights representing charge is the most ‘honest’ system I had on test. Each LED step provides a gauge of equal measure, while the Bosch system promises plenty but drops down to zero fast when the battery level is showing a single bar.
One irritation is that you have to drop the battery out to access the ‘on’ button (it auto-turns off when idle) so you’ll always need to carry the keys with you. I have it on good authority that the next firmware update will allow the app to turn on/off the system.
The Evation system is concealed in the down tube and bottom bracket. It’s a smart way of compacting the system and gives a sleek look, like the Ribble Hybrid AL e Fully Loaded.
You can remove the battery to charge it, and even ride it without as a ‘normal’ bike – a few kilos less and with no drag.
Boardman has done an excellent job here, with good components and a ride that’s spot on for roadies. Unlike the Carrera Crossfuse and Raleigh Motus Tour, you’ll arrive to work in a sweat because the HYB is a bike that likes to be ridden fast and is at its best working hard when you’re working hard too.
If a natural bike-like feel is what you’re looking for in an ebike, then you won’t find many cheaper Fazua options than this.
Boardman HYB 8.9e geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||73||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||73||73|
|Seat tube (cm)||49||54|
|Top tube (cm)||59||61.5|
|Head tube (cm)||14.5||17|
|Fork offset (cm)||4.3||4.3|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||6.5||6.5|
How we tested
We put four options around £2,000 to the test that should get your to work feeling fresh. Each bike was ridden from 100 per cent charge down to zero across multiple rides, and included the type of terrain you’d normally encounter on a commute: roads, towpaths, bike paths and city traffic – and were tested in all weathers.
We were concerned with comfort and traffic-friendly riding position, as well as components to ease commuting, such as wide-range gearing, great brakes and tough tyres, rather than any racy features.
Also on test
|Available sizes||M, L|
|Motor||Fazua Evation 1.0 with bar-mounted control unit|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Citizen K-Guard 700 x 35c|
|Shifter||Shimano Deore M6000 10-speed|
|Saddle||Boardman Hybrid by Velo|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Deore M6000|
|Bottom bracket||Fazua Evation 1.0|
|Handlebar||Boardman 24.5-inch flat bar|
|Cranks||FSA Fazua 44t, 170mm|
|Cassette||Shimano HG500 11-42|
|Brakes||Tektro hydraulic disc|
|Wheels||Boardman alloy disc|