We brought the Haul a Day into our bike lineup last Fall because we knew that there were families who needed a super space efficient rear carrier that performed well on hilly city streets. Our test ride bike is setup with a BionX electric assist. This setup is smooth and quite powerful, getting you up steep hills, but requires you to put a lot into the bike as you pedal to get the power out. This works for many people, but we’ve found that lots of other customers want/need a setup that has more oomph.
Enter the Bafang eRad/8Fun mid-drive. We’ve been building out this setup for a few customers, and getting to know it in the process. Now that we’ve spent more time with this build, we’re happy to report that it’s as awesome as we hoped. Here are some of our observations:
The Bafang is a 750W mid-drive electric assist. There are both three pedal assist settings and a throttle. The first time we tried the throttle, we nearly fell off the bike. It’s that powerful. The combo of the lightness and spryness of the Haul a Day and the power of the Bafang make for a really nimble but rock solid, sturdy bike that can get you and your children up the steep hills with confidence. We’ve found that customers who live in neighborhoods where the grade changes are sudden, profound and twisty, like Bernal Heights and Noe Valley, really need and want the kind of setup that lets them quickly access the power they need, without cycling through multiple levels of assist to get there. The Spicy Curry does that well, letting you go directly from 0 to 4 and vice versa on the assist rather than having to go 0-1-2-3-4. Now the Haul a Day with Bafang offers that ease of adaptation as well.
The Bafang is a mid-drive, which means that the motor is right under the crank (the motor is the round black thing that says “ERad” in the photo). Moving the motor to the low middle of the bike instead of the rear wheel has made the experience of carrying kids on the Haul a Day even more balanced and easy. The bike is easier to lift and to balance with children or other stuff on board. This is a big deal.
One of our concerns going into this build was whether shifting gears would be smooth and intuitive. Previous versions of the Bafang required you to backpedal a bit to stop the motor before you shifted gears in order to avoid trashing the gears quickly. This kind of riding experience was, understandably, not for everyone. The newer version of the system now automatically cuts the motor for you as you shift, so now it feels … just like riding a bike.
The Haul a Day with BionX electric assist is still a wonderful, super smooth and quietly powerful option. We recommend it for people who really like to dig into their pedals and get more of a full, physically invigorating ride. We’re happy to now offer the Bafang build, too, for people looking for more oomph. Both setups are great in their own way.