Top critical review
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An Electric Commute Mobile
on May 11, 2011
*** Update 9/11/2012 - After a year of ownership, I still enjoy the bike, but there is about a 20 % diminishment in power going up and down hills. The charge ration is also very diminished. Where I used to be able to get a 15 mile ride out of one charge, I now only get 7.5 miles out of a single charge. Also, it's expensive to replace flat tires, and the manual does not help with this at all. If you have issues with the bike, Currie is very helpful, but the certified repair people are not convieniently located in my region. I still love riding the bike, but I'm wondering if there's a better option out there.
I bought the Currie EZip Skyline as a commuter bike to try and minimize my carbon footprint. I wanted a bike I'd have fun riding and that I could use to get some exercise , but not arrive at work or home completely worn out from the journey. I researched a bunch of bikes and decided on this one based on the battery type, shape, water 'resistance' and price. I received the bike last weekend, and after making my way through a slightly annoying set of assembly instructions, I can review it's performance based on my first 15 mile roundtrip commute.
- Overall performance - The bike is a lot of fun to ride and it seems pretty sturdy so far. I really liked the variable modes of travel, PAS (pedal assisted) or TAG (full scooter mode). I was able to 'zip' past quite a few different bikers on the hills, which made the overall distance seem less. In fact, with this bike, my 15 mile commute felt completely doable. There's a little bit of a whine when the electronic motor is assisting you, which may bother some. The amount of force that the electric assist produces seems well balanced to the type of bike. It's not so much that you feel like you're speeding out of control, but it's enough to get a good boost.
- Functionality - I found the controls fairly intuitive, once I figured out what mode I was in. It pays to have some practice time on the bike to figure out what's happening before you get into traffic. The gears are enough for my plans (no big long hills, mostly bike paths all the way to work). I believe that the correct handlebar placement has eluded me thus far. It's important to figure that out, as your wrists are engaged in a different way if you're using the throttle a lot. It's heavy, so when the electric assist isn't on, it's not fun going up hills, though it's fine on the flats.
- Battery Life -
I fully charged the battery the day I assembled the bike, and it stayed full for the first leg of my trip (7.5 miles) after an hour charge at work, it stayed on full all the way home too. Seems to have long life on a charge.
- Assembly - It's not completely simple to assemble as the packaging is not customized to the bike, and so there's plastic parts that are there just to support the shipping that are hard to remove. Also, there are some places where the instructions point to the wrong location for a bolt, the Wedge bolt in particular, and so that gets frustrating. I did insist on doing it myself though, cause I wanted to be able to know how it was put together if I had any problems out on the road.
- Improvements -
I think this bike would be improved by adding an indicator to the PAS / TAG toggle that lets you know visually which mode you are in. A tilting seat would facilitate easier battery removal.