Top positive review
123 people found this helpful
Great electric bike for the price
on July 30, 2007
Assembly: I've never assembled a bicycle before, but some assembly is required for the e-zip. I managed to put it together in about 3-4 hours, and someone with experience could probably do it in 1-2 hours. Some parts of the instructions aren't terribly clear, but not too much assembly is necessary. The electric components are already installed, so it's just a matter of putting together the handlebars, front wheel and brakes, and seat.
Range: The claim is that this bike has a range of 18-24 miles, but I don't think this is accurate. My bike will go about 13 miles before the engine appears to run out of energy. The battery indicator says that there's still almost half the energy left in the battery at that point, as there should be, but it acts as though it's run out of juice.
Fortunately my bike commute is just 13 miles, so I can manage with the reduced range. A couple of times when I haven't put as much effort into pedalling, it's run out of juice on me after just about 10 miles, and it's a tough bike to pedal without the electric motor going as it's so heavy. As long as I put some decent effort into pedalling and go a little easy on the throttle, it will get me the 13 miles. You actually don't want to go much further than that anyway, because sealed lead acid battery life is significantly reduced when the battery is discharged more than 80%.
Performance: On my regular mountain/road hybrid bike, my commute takes about an hour, averaging about 13 mph. On this electric bike, the commute takes about 50 minutes averaging about 15 mph. The ride takes significantly less energy, as the throttle makes pedalling much easier. Accelerating and climbing hills (and going against a headwind) in particular are a piece of cake in comparison.
The bike has 7 gears, but I only use about 4, if that many. Most of my ride is spent in the lowest gear going at about 17 mph. If I'm climbing a hill I'll probably drop it down a gear or two until I reach the top. As I mentioned, the motor is engaged with a throttle on the right handlebar, below which is a battery level indicator (full/half/empty). The battery attaches into a slot on either side of the rack on the back of the bike (only 1 battery is provided and necessary). The bike is pretty heavy (50-60 pounds), especially with the heavy lead battery on board. The charger is included and the battery is removable, so you can take it off and bring it with you for recharging.
Battery: Recharging usually takes me 4 hours. The charger claims it takes 6-8 hours, but that's probably if the battery is fully discharged (and you don't want it to be, as that will reduce the battery lifetime, as mentioned). It costs about 0.2 cents per mile (2 cents per ten miles) to recharge the battery, so it's practically free. The battery should last 150-300 charges, and costs about $100 to replace. You also want to recharge it immediately after use to maximize the lifetime of the battery. When I get to work I bring the charger and battery inside and recharge it at my desk, and do the same at home.
The only complaints I have are that I wish the range were a little better and the bike were a bit lighter. A few of the parts are a bit on the cheap side (like the seat), but easily replaceable with better parts if you're so inclined. For $350 I really can't complain. An electric bike conversion kit on its own will cost close to $300, and a regular mountain bike on its own will cost on the order of $400, so $350 for a combination of the two is great. I didn't find any other electric bikes for under $500, so this bike is a great value as long as you don't need to go more than 13 miles at a time.