After Erik Buell took his talents to the world of electric bikes, he gave us the Fuell Flluid-1S. When we tried the bike in 2021, the squatty-framed commuter cost $4,995 and got juiced by two 500-Wh batteries that delivered a range up to 125 miles so long as the rider continued pedaling. The next generation of Fuell e-bikes is almost here, broken into two models that bracket the capability of the earlier model. We say “almost” because the Flluid-2 and Flluid-3 are still in their Indiegogo campaign phase; however, at the time of writing, the campaign has pulled in $272,444 with 40 days left to support a fixed $30,000 goal. With more than 4,000 examples of the first bike sold, we have a good feeling Buell will be able to deliver both of these.
The earlier e-bike was powered by Mid-Drive Bofeili motors at the bottom bracket, its output sent via a Gates Carbon Beltdrive to internally geared rear hubs from either Shimano or Enviolo. These new models are built with a new motor system, the Valeo Cyclee Mid Drive Unit — yes, that’s the auto industry supplier Valeo. Instead of putting the motor and/or gears on the rear hub, the MDU combines a 750-watt, 48-volt electric motor and a seven-speed automatic gearbox in one enclosure located where the bottom bracket would normally be. The all-in-one system dispenses with a rear derailleur the same way an internally geared hub does, and also eliminates the need to fiddle with the rear wheel and hub to deal with motor or gear issues. Riders control shifting and motor assist settings using three buttons on the 2.3-inch display mounted to the handlebars. They can choose to shift manually or let the gearbox and its predictive programming automatically maintain a comfortable cadence on any urban terrain.
The same Gates Beltdrive carries over, as do Tektro disc brakes, a Suntour front suspension fork, and Roxim lights. The 27.5-inch tires come from Pirelli again, but this time they’re the Angel GT Urban model.
There are two big additional advances applied to the new steeds. Both get a throttle, which the Flluid-1 didn’t have, freeing riders to just enjoy the ride if they wish. Motor output and speed parameters are determined by market, but in the U.S., the Flluid-2 and Flluid-3 can be run at up to 20 miles per hour unassisted, the Flluid-2S and Flluid-3S up to 28 mph. Assisted speeds can go higher, depending on market. The e-motor’s 96 pound-feet of torque — 22 lb-ft. more than the Flluid-1 — shouldn’t have any problem maintaining such velocities on any incline unless Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk is leaned over the top tube.
The second advance is in range for the Flluid-2. Developed to fit two 1,000-Wh batteries into its aluminum alloy frame, Fuell says this model can go a pleasantly insane 225 miles on a charge. The Flluid-3 fits a single 1,000-Wh battery — the same capacity as the Flluid-1S but in a single pack instead of two — and is rated to go 110 miles on a charge, which is 15 fewer miles than the rating for the Flluid-1S because the Valeo mid-drive is more powerful. Fuell said plugging the included four-amp charger into a U.S. wall outlet takes the battery from 20% to 80% in four hours, to 100% in six hours. Purchasing the optional eight-amp charger halves those times.
The Fuell Rider smartphone app grants security at a distance. Dismounted riders can remotely lock and unlock their bikes, get alerted to unexpected bike movement thanks to motion sensors, and check usage stats.
For all this goodness and what we expect will be the same stout build quality, the prices haven’t gone up. Predicted MSRPs on the Indiegogo campaign page stand at $5,495 for the Flluid-3, the same price as the Flluid-1 and Flluid-1S, or $5,995 for the Flluid-2, the same price as the Flluid-1E that goes half the distance. The campaign page indicates the first 20 buyers for each model get special pricing of $3,699 for the Flluid-3 and $3,999 for the Flluid-2, but Feull told us these deals are being extended to the first 50 buyers.