Test / e-mountain bike: With the Sonic EVO AM-SL 1, Bulls has had an exciting e-mountain bike in its range for some time: 140 mm spring travel, Shimano motor with 85 Nm and 750 Wh battery – with a total weight of just 22 kg. Sounds almost too good to be true? We took a closer look at the 2023 Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1!
Given the current price development reasonably equipped e-fullies for around 5.000 euros will unfortunately be more difficult to find in 2023 than before. If you then also focus on a low overall weight, you might even want to despair. Integration, powerful motors and ample energy storage have successively increased the weight of modern E-MTBs over the years; A total weight of 25 – 28 kg is often the norm. The Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1 is all the more amazing - especially when you look at the technical data: 85 Nm torque, 750 Wh battery, 5.199 euros and 22 kilos!
Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1: in a nutshell
- Frame material: Carbon
- Suspension travel: 140 / 140 mm
- wheel size: 29 inch
- Engine: Shimano EP6, 85Nm
- Battery pack: Intube, carbon body, 750 Wh
- Weight: 22 kg.
- Price: 5.199 Euros
Lightweight carbon chassis with clever battery integration
The heart of the Sonic EVO AM-SL 1 is the visually appealing full carbon frame. With its sporty, moderate geometry and 140 mm spring travel, it already defines its purpose: All Mountain! The battery integration is a clever solution and one of the reasons for the low overall weight. The energy store specially developed by Bulls does not require an additional "cover" and fits elegantly into the down tube with its carbon housing. It is removed at a slight upward angle, which means that Bulls does not have to stiffen the frame unnecessarily - which in turn saves weight. Speaking of stiffness: Bulls uses its own 1.8 inch standard for the head tube. This is primarily intended to increase steering head rigidity, but it also offers advantages when it comes to integrating the cables. On the underside of the very flat top tube there is a MonkeyLink bottle holder, which allows compatible drinking bottles to be attached using the Fidlock system.
Geometry Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1
|Seat tube length
|top tube length
|Head tube length
|Chain stay length
|seat tube angle
|bottom bracket drop
Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1: Well thought-out equipment
The Bulls engineers have also come up with some ideas for the further completion. Like so many Bulls (e-)bikes, the Sonic EVO AM-SL 1 is already equipped with a MonkeyLink Connect interface under the stem. The magnetic holder, which is powered by the large battery, enables a suitable LED front light to be clipped on in a flash, but is also extremely inconspicuous and does not disturb the sporty character of the bike. A rear light can be attached to a corresponding holder under the saddle - but then it must have its own battery (MonkeyLink Recharge).
The still relatively new Shimano EP6 motor is used as the drive. Basically, the only difference to Shimano's top-of-the-range EP8 motor is the housing material, because aluminum is used here instead of magnesium. Except for a little more weight (approx. 300g), the performance data remains the same as before with a maximum torque of 85 Nm.
|Bull's Zeron 35 Air LOR, 140mm
|Shimano EP6, 85Nm
|Sonic V10, carbon body, 750 Wh
|SR Suntour Edge Plus 2CR, 140mm
|Shimano MT400 / Rodi Tryp 30, tubeless ready
|Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 2.35
|Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 2.35
|Shimano Deore 11 speed, 11-50T
|e*thirteen, 160 mm
|Shimano BR-MT420, 4-piston
|Limotec Alpha 1 Dropper
|prologo Proxim 400
|Bulls MTB SLS
|Bulls Sport SL
While the 2022 Sonic EVO AM-SL 1 still relied on a RockShox suspension, the 2023 model is equipped with suspension elements from SR Suntour. A Zeron 35 Air fork does its job at the front, while an Edge Plus damper is used at the rear. Not a bad choice, as our driving impression should show. Braking is done with a Shimano MT-420 4-piston brake system and gear changes are handled by an 11-speed Deore switching group - with a generous 11-50T range.
The Limotec Alpha Dropper Post is obligatory, but for our taste it should provide a few more millimeters of travel. When it comes to tires for E-MTBs, Schwalbe Nobby Nic with a width of 2.35 are used, which can almost be described as narrow – how does it all ride? Off to the trail and straight into the ride report!
Light-footed over the trail - a refreshing driving experience
To get to the point right at the beginning, the driving behavior can be summarized briefly and concisely with a few keywords: light-footed, agile, playful and refreshingly different!
When you first sit down, you immediately notice the sporty, moderate geometry. Sure, there are now much more progressive bikes, but these often represent a compromise and often only meet individual taste. The well-chosen balance of reach and chainstay length is already noticeable on the climb; The Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1 climbs in a very balanced way, whereby the sporty Shimano EP6 with its usual characteristics (from the EP8) ensures sufficient and, above all, controllable performance.
But the Bulls really shows its strength on the trail! Thanks to its low weight and low center of gravity, it can be maneuvered with determination and agility. The slightly stiffer rear triangle also benefits it: every root or berm on the trail becomes an individual playground. We were also amazed by the performance of the SR Suntour suspension elements; In terms of function, these are in no way inferior to many other chassis manufacturers in this class - quite the opposite. If the trail then becomes significantly more blocked and faster, you have to admit that you are on an all-mountain bike with "only" 140 mm of travel. Then even the really good all-rounders – the Schwalbe Nobby Nic – quickly reach their limits. Trail-versed pilots should switch to a more powerful tire with an even more stable carcass. But Bulls also has bikes with 160 mm in its range with the Sonic EVO EN-SL model series.
Ultimately, everyone in our editorial team agrees: There is hardly any other e-mountain bike on the market that combines performance, range, handling and a low overall weight as well as the Bulls Sonic EVO AM-SL 1 - especially not in the Price range around 5.000 euros. Chapeau Bulls!