So, if you’re not into reading long reviews, let me just say that I really like the Buzz Centris! It’s a thumbs-up from me. For the rest of you, I’ll explain why with some details.
The Buzz Centris is a folding electric bicycle, using a similar frame style that many other brands use, but at a more affordable price. Probably the most comparable ebike would be the new step-thru Sinch from Aventon. It goes for $1799, while the Buzz Centris goes for $1199. Both are equipped with 20″ x 4″ fat tires, 500 watt motors, have a 20 MPH top speed, and a very similar frame.[wptb id=14087]
The Aventon Sinch ST does have a higher capacity battery at 48 volt 14 Ah, compared to the Centris’ 48 V 10.4 Ah, and is a 7-speed instead of a 6-speed. It also has a very nice color display. However, the Centris has integrated lights, fenders, and front & rear racks included in its price. If you want to save $600+, the Centris is definitely worth a look.
But the Sinch isn’t the ebike Buzz is trying to compete against. Instead, it’s the Lectric XP, one of America’s most popular budget friendly ebikes. Buzz has obviously priced the Centris to take on XP.
Buzz Centris vs Lectric XP
After putting a few hundred miles on the Centris, and testing out the Lectric XP 2.0, I lean towards the Centris for a few reasons. It feels more stable, the ride is more comfortable, the battery is much easier to remove and provides longer range, and power is delivered in a more gradual and expected manner. The XP has more pep, which some people love, but I like the smooth and steady nature of the Centris.
No, the Centris isn’t perfect. I won’t lie. The tires are loud on pavement, and the throttle is in a very awkward place next to the twist shifter. If you’re going to be riding on pavement, you might want to change out the tires to something less knobby, if you prefer a quieter ride.
If you’re going to be riding on gravel or sandy soils, then you’ll love those knobby tires. It’s not meant for mountain bike trails due to its weight (67 lbs), limited front suspension, and lack of rear suspension, but it can easily power you through looser soils, and it would perform nicely on gravel rail trails.
I think what I love most about the Centris is just how stable it is. It’s balanced very well, especially for a folding ebike. Even though the handlebars are quite narrow, and it has 4″ wide tires, it’s surprisingly nimble. It’s a very approachable ebike, especially if you’re new to ebikes.
It’s not overly powerful, but it’s still zippy. I most enjoy pedaling along in pedal assist levels 1 and 2, for a comfortable and practical cadence. Many ebikes fall flat at this. The Centris is dialed in pretty good, if you enjoy pedaling at 12-14 mph speeds. You won’t feel like you’re struggling against the weight of the bike, nor only pedaling for show, while the motor does all the work. You can get a nice, enjoyable workout for the health benefits.
If you love speed, it has that too with a throttle and higher pedal assist levels. It easily reaches 20 mph when using the throttle. You may run out of gears in the highest pedal assist settings, though. You won’t be able to reach that 20 MPH using pedal assist, because of the 14-28 tooth freewheel. The Buzz Centris uses a Shimano MF-T2500-6 freewheel matched with a Tourney derailleur. These are entry level components, but brand name.
To get higher speeds using pedal assist, you would need to change the freewheel to a wider spread, or use a larger chain ring.
If you prefer a faster bike using pedal assist, the Lectric XP or the Aventon Sinch are better choices. If you’re like me and pedal along at a comfortable cadence of about 12-14 MPH, the Centris will fit your needs. I do prefer the pedaling cadence of the Centris over the Lectric XP. And, remember, the throttle can reach 20 MPH, so if you need to get up to speed quickly with the Centris, it is capable.
The twist shifter is a RevoShift 6-Speed, which I find shifts smoothly. For all practical purposes, you’ll be riding in gear 5 and 6 nearly all the time. If you run out of battery, it is possible to pedal just using your own power on flat ground. It actually pedals nicely with little resistance, considering the tires and weight of the bike.
When using the throttle, you have to begin pedaling first before it will work. This is a safety feature, that I can appreciate. I once accidentally hit the throttle on my electric scooter when pushing it into my garage, and sent it careening into a wall. That was embarrassing! Luckily, neither the scooter nor I was seriously hurt.
I do prefer having a throttle that works from a dead stop, so I get the argument for having a throttle you can use at all times. Luckily, the cadence sensor of the Centris is responsive. In about a half pedal stroke the motor kicks in. The Lectric XP has a longer delay.
The power delivery on the Centris is very good for those new to eikes. It has good torque, but it doesn’t have jackrabbit takeoffs. Between the Centris and the Lectric XP, it’s the milder choice that some may prefer.
The display is basic but tells you what you need to know. It is readable in sunlight and backlit for nighttime riding.
As I mentioned before, if you do run out of battery, the Centris is practical to pedal on flat ground without the motor, even though it’s a heavy bike with fat tires. If going up hills, you’ll definitely want a motor.
I easily got 30 miles range from a single charge with more to spare. That’s using pedal assist levels 1 and 2, sometimes 3, and testing out the throttle here and there too. I also rode without the motor for maybe 10-15% of the ride. I’m not a featherweight either, weighing in at close to 160 lbs.
As far as riding comfort goes, the Centris rates high. The reach is ideal, even for a shorter person. Handlebar height is adjustable, so it will accommodate a wide range of rider heights. I do have to set the seat up a little higher than I like in order to have proper leg extension when pedaling, but it isn’t a big issue getting on and off the bike. I’m 5’1″ with a 28″ inseam.
When on bumpy roads, the Centris is comfortable to ride. Those big tires and front suspension take a lot of the jolts out of the trail. Also, the frame style doesn’t transfer bumps to your body, like some other frame styles do. It certainly has a more supple and comfortable ride over the Lectric XP.
I found the seat to be okay, but you could add a suspension seat post, and get an even more comfortable ride.
Assembly is minimal, as the bike comes almost completely assembled. The longest part is just cutting all the zip ties for the foam protecting the bike. It’s just a matter of unfolding the bike, latching it together, putting the seat post in, attaching the handlebars, and screwing in the pedals. You don’t need any expertise to assemble it, though it’s always a good idea to take a new bike to a bike shop to have inspected and fine-tuned.
Out-Of-The Box Condition
Everything worked great right out of the box, including the brakes and gears. I didn’t have to do any adjusting or make a trip to the bike shop. I am honestly impressed with the brakes. They are only 160-mm mechanical disc brakes, but almost feel like hydraulic brakes with very good stopping power. No squeaking and squawking, either. After, 100 miles, the brake pads are still holding up and performing as they should.
The rear rack did have some shipping damage. It’s not enough damage to affect the usage of the rack, but I thought I would mention. The rest of the bike didn’t have a scratch on it.
The Centris comes with a front and rear rack, so it’s set up for hauling groceries, a large bag, or milk crate. It’s also equipped with front and rear integrated lights and fenders, so it’s commuter friendly. The rear rack isn’t as compatible with child seats as the Lectric XP or the Aventon Sinch, so if you plan to carry a young child, keep that in mind.
I didn’t think I’d use the front rack, but it’s handy, especially if I’m carrying something I want to keep an eye on.
Removing the battery is very easy. Just turn the key, and it pops up for you to easily lift out, and then clicks back in securely. You don’t have to leave the key in for the bike to work, unlike the Lectric XP.
Folding the bike is a bit of a chore. Unfolding the bike was actually the most challenging part of the assembly. The hinge on my bike was stiff, but I eventually got it. I’m sure it would get easier if folded more often.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Centris. It’s priced well, especially compared to the competition. Buzz is owned by the same parent company as Huffy, so it’s not a fly-by-night ebike company that will dry up and blow away tomorrow. (BTW, Lectric is legit too.)
I love riding the Centris. I put 30 miles on it faster than any other ebike I’ve ever reviewed. No, it’s not the best ebike in the world with high-end components, but it’s enjoyable to ride. It’s also comfortable and practical. I didn’t want to stop riding it when it was time to go home.
I love how approachable the Centris is for new riders, and its smooth takeoffs. It’s also terrific on bumpy roads and gravel. Those knobby tires are loud on pavement, but appreciated when off-road. It’s also surprisingly nimble. It’s a very enjoyable and comfortable ebike to ride. Most people would be more than satisfied with it. With a few upgrades, it could achieve higher speeds, but as is, it’s one of the safest folding ebikes I’ve tested.
Check out the Buzz Centris, here.
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