Looking for a folding, fat-tire e-bike? The Buzz Centris should be on your list of contenders.
Thanks to the high volume 4 inch tires, the Centris is perfect for cruising mellow dirt roads or sandy beaches. Add in the fact that it folds (easily and quickly), and it becomes an ideal bike for folks who want to take an e-bike on their RV trips.
Read on to learn more….
Review In A Nutshell
- Easily folds for storage and transport
- Fat tires work well on dirt roads or sand
- Easy assembly, no tools required
- Battery is in the frame, looks a little more sleek and stealthy
- Cheaper, off-brand components
- Extreme upright geometry won’t be for everybody
Price & Where To Buy:
- $1,199 List
- Buy at BuzzBicycles.com*
Folds And Unfolds Quickly And Easily
The Buzz Centris is one of only a few folding e-bikes on the market. The frame breaks to fold in half, the handlebar/stem fold down, and the pedals fold in as well. All of this is simple to do and can be accomplished in under a minute.
Because it folds, the Centris is a good choice for those living in a small apartment or an RV. Because they are so heavy, e-bikes can be difficult to put on a bike car rack, and the folding nature of the Centris allows it to be stored inside an RV or even the back of an SUV.
Fat Tires Are Perfect For Mellow Dirt Roads And Sand
The knobby, fat, 4 inch wide tires on the Centris are perfect for mellow off pavement riding. Fat tires can be run at lower pressures than traditional tires which provides some extra cushion and comfort when riding bumpy dirt roads. Additionally, that extra volume allows them to be ridden on sand.
You’ll also get *some* cushion from the suspension fork, but it doesn’t provide a lot. This isn’t the sort of high quality air sprung fork you’d find on a mountain bike, and I found that riding over bumps definitely caused quite a bit of chatter and the bike felt a little clunky.
You definitely shouldn’t confuse the Centris with a mountain bike. If you want to ride singletrack trails, stick to an electric mountain bike. But if you are looking to ride dirt roads around a campground, or want to veer off the boardwalk to ride along the beach, the Buzz Centris is a good choice.
Electric Drive System Makes Riding A Bike Enjoyable
If you’re new to the idea of an e-bike, let me tell you, it really makes riding a bike a lot of fun. You still get a work out, but you can go further and do it with more comfort.
The Buzz Centris has a 500 watt motor, a throttle, and 5 power settings. For the most part, I found the drive system to be zippy and provide plenty of power, even when going up hills.
Because the motor is in the rear hub, you do feel a bit of jerkiness as it engages. This is typical of bikes at this pricepoint with their hub drive (rather than mid drive) motors, and frankly doesn’t bother me at all. It will only be noticeable if you’re accustomed to the smoother engagement of a mid drive motor.
I also appreciated the throttle. Way too many e-bikes are sold without one, and a throttle makes it so much easier to get up to speed. That said, the throttle on the Centris did require me to start pedaling before it would engage. Compared to the throttles on other e-bikes I’ve tested that require no pedaling (like the Radpower Radcity), this did make it a little harder to get started from a complete stop.
Like other Class 1 e-bikes, the Buzz Centris is limited to a max speed of 20mph. Don’t worry–this feels plenty fast–and the bike had no problem reaching and maintaining the max speed.
The battery itself is located within the frame (though it’s removable). Many e-bikes have the battery located externally on the frame, and having it inside, makes the Centris look a little more sleek and stealthy.
The range on the bike is around 40 miles. (I found riding the hills around my house gave me about 30 miles of range). To recharge, you simply plug the bike into the charger.
6 Speed Drivetrain Helps With Hills
Many e-bikes only have one gear; the Buzz Centris has 6. Even with the electric assist, I certainly find it helpful to have gears when climbing the steep hill to my house.
The Centris has a Shimano Tourney drivetrain. This is an entry-level drivetrain, but brand name. Shifting is done with a RevoShift grip shifter and I found it easy to operate.
The LCD display shows your assist level (1 being the least amount of assist and 5 being the greatest), battery level, speed, and odometer. It’s a simple, but easy to read display.
Low Standover, Upright Riding Position
The Buzz Centris has an extremely low stepover. This makes it ideal for those with mobility issues, as well as women who maybe want to wear a skirt. Getting on and off the bike is a cinch.
The riding position is also ideal for those with limited mobility as it’s extremely upright and doesn’t require you to lean over. For some, especially older or less confident riders, this will be a selling point.
For more athletic riders and those accustomed to more aggressive frame geometry, the extreme upright position will feel like overkill. Additionally, the handlebar height is not adjustable so shorter riders with the seat dropped all the way will find the handlebars to be uncomfortably high.
Off Brand Components Keep The Price Down
One of the biggest attractions of the Centris is it’s price. Buzz has kept the price down by using mostly off-brand components.
Rather than using a big name like BOSCH, for example, the entire power system is off-brand. Additionally, smaller components like the tires (Chao Yang) and brake levers (Wuxing) are off-brand as well.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (especially for something as simple as tires), but keep in mind that the durability and level of after-market support may be lower than with brand name components. We know many local bike shops that won’t work on e-bikes with off-brand drive systems.
Still, Buzz offers a two year warranty on the electronics so you do get some durability reassurance and peace of mind there.
At 67 Pounds, This Bike Is Heavy
The biggest issue with e-bikes is that they are heavy. And at 67 pounds, the Buzz Centris is particularly hefty.
This is NOT an issue when riding around with the electric assist on, and thanks to the low standover, I don’t find it to be an issue when getting on and off the bike either.
Where it does become an issue is if you run out of battery life away from home. This isn’t a bike you want to have to push or pedal uphill without an assist. The weight can also be an issue if you have to lift the bike to get it into your RV, for instance. A ramp can make this much easier.
Racks Can Carry Some Light Gear
The Centris comes with botha front and rear rack to haul your gear. They are big enough you could easily attach a basket or even a milk crate to them.
That said, the weight limits are quite low (10 pounds), so this isn’t a cargo bike like the Cero One but it’s enough to carry your backpack or a picnic lunch.
Other Stuff Worth Mentioning
- Ergo-esque grips. The bike has ergonomic grips that are comfortable and make gripping the handlebars more enjoyable.
- Bell. The bike comes standard with a bell. This is great for riding on busy bike paths, for instance.
- Front and rear lights. The Centris has integrated front and rear lights. This comes in handy for evenings when you get caught out after dark, or for riding at dusk. It’s great not having to remember to bring lights or to take them inside to charge.
- Internal cable routing. The bike has internal cable routing to keep things looking clean and tidy. That said, because the handelbars are so high, there is a lot of exposed cable between the handlebars and the frame itself.
- Fenders. The bike comes with fenders installed. This is great for riding in the rain, or right afterward when everything is still wet.
- Quick release on the seatpost and front wheel. The seatpost height is easy to adjust thanks to quick release seatpost collar. (No tools are required). We also appreciate that there is a quick release on the front wheel which makes changing a flat tire a little easier. There is no quick release on the rear wheel, but with the hub drive motor, a rear tire change is going to be a bit of an ordeal regardless.
- No eyelets for a bottle cage. Perhaps of particularly important note, there are no eyelets for a bottle cage on the frame. I thought this was a bit of a bummer. If you want to carry water, you’ll have to figure out a more creative way to do this.
- Kickstand. The bike has a single sided kickstand. This isn’t quite as sturdy as the dual sided kickstand found on many e-bikes, but I never had any issue with the bike falling over.
Buzz Centris vs The Competition
The closest competitor to the Buzz Centris might be the Radpower RadExpand 5. Like the Centris, it’s also a fat tire, folding bike. It has similar stand over, similar tires, overall similar vibe.
The RadExpand is a bit more expensive ($1,299 as of this writing), but offers a more powerful 750 watt motor and a rear rack that can carry up to 55 pounds. The Centris, on the other hand, has the integrated battery that looks a little sleeker.
Bottom-Line: A Great Companion For Mellow Outdoor Adventures
The Buzz Centris is perfect for folks who want to go further with less sweat. It can store away easily for camping adventures, or fold up in the corner of an apartment for weekend trips to the boardwalk.
This is not the bike for daily bike commuters or for folks wanting to do more challenging off-road rides, but it’s great for casual riders. The low standover and upright geometry will also be attractive for those with limited mobility.