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.
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. I have both bikes to review, so stay tuned for a full comparison.
I haven’t tested the Lectric XP thoroughly yet, but I can say that it’s going to have to be pretty impressive to achieve the same rating I’d give 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 primarily, 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. It’s a 6-speed, which I thought would be a bigger issue than it is. I thought 6 gears wouldn’t be enough, and it probably isn’t for the fastest speeds, but for normal, practical pedaling along a bike path, it’s ideal. And that’s what I prefer.
Speaking of the throttle, you do have to begin pedaling first before it will work. This is a safety feature, that I can appreciate. I accidentally hit the throttle on my electric scooter when pushing it into my garage lately, and sent it careening into a wall. That was embarrassing! Luckily, neither the scooter nor I was seriously hurt.
But, I do like having a throttle to take off from a dead stop, so I get the argument for having a throttle you can use at all times. Eh, it’s a trade-off, but I can live with it.
The cadence sensor of the Centris is fairly responsive, though, so you don’t have to crank the pedal much before the motor engages. 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. It would be nice to have a precise percentage of the remaining battery, but I’m okay without it. I know not to push an ebike battery once it gets below 50%. They tend to drop much faster when they go below 50%, but the indicator seemed to be accurate.
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. To extend the range and length of your rides, pedal without the motor on flat stretches. It makes a big difference.
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 150 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 a like in order to have proper leg extension when pedaling, but it wasn’t a big issue getting on and off the bike. I’m 5’1″ btw. If you’re short like me and do have balance issues, it might be an issue.
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. Even shorter riders will be able to use a suspension seat post, since there is enough room from the top of the seat tube to where you’ll likely want to adjust your seat. That isn’t the case with every bike.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the Centris can easily become a comfy cruising machine.
Everything worked great right out of the box, including the brakes and gears. I didn’t have to do any adjusting. The brakes feel really good too. They are mechanical disc brakes, but almost feel like hydraulic brakes with very good stopping power. No squeaking and squawking, either. Maybe I got lucky, but I think Buzz chose wisely when selecting the bike’s components, considering the bike’s price.
The Centris comes with a front and rear rack, so it’s set up for hauling groceries, a large bag, milk crate, baskets, pet carriers, and/or child seats. It’s also equipped with front and rear integrated lights and fenders, so it’s commuter friendly.
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. The rest of the assembly is easy, as it comes nearly fully assembled.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Centris. It’s the fat tire, folding ebike I’ve been looking for. 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 reviewed. No, it’s not the best ebike in the world with high-end components, but it’s a blast to ride. It’s also comfortable and practical. I didn’t want to stop riding it when it was time to go home. It’s a keeper!
Sure, it could be better with more gears, a torque sensor, and fancier components, but then it wouldn’t cost $1199. As it is, it’s a very enjoyable ebike to ride. Most people would be more than satisfied with it.
But, I will be testing out the Lectric XP 2.0 Step-Thru too! I know a lot of people love their Lectric XP’s, so I’ll give it a fair shot. We’ll see which one comes out on top!
Check out the Buzz Centris, here.