Would either of these scooters be good on hills?
This is very tempting. I’ve been looking to get a bicycle for my very short commute to work (only a couple miles), but I was worried about the big hill in-between my home and office. I’m not very athletic and I could picture myself walking the bike up the hill often.
I spent several months researching e-bikes for commuting purposes before buying one personally. I did not choose to buy an eZip, but I had a nice big budget to work with.
In short, the bikes you see here on sale are the low-end models from a reliable company. The only way you could get something for a similar price elsewhere is an off-brand import which will be not worth your time or money to attempt to repair when it inevitably breaks. Currie is a brand that’s been around a while and has people who know how to fix them and replacement parts available in the US. As a comment, replacement batteries (Which you’ll need after a few years) run over a hundred bucks each right now. But at least you’ll be able to get one. I would personally choose the bike design over the scooter for ease of travel if the battery runs low when you’re out and about, but there’s nothing wrong with the scooters.
I did test drive some eZip bikes. They ride like a cruiser (and similarly have not enough gears if you need to deal with hills). They are very heavy. I would not want to ride it without the motor, but you can use it like a regular bike when the battery dies. The eZip bikes are not as good as a pricier models from Currie or other brands, but they are way cheaper. To get something noticeably better you’re looking at well over a thousand dollar price tag.
One of the major benefits of the eZip Trailz is the ability to switch from pedal assist (think of it as a cheater mode making your pedaling take you further, and using your pedaling to make the battery last longer) to throttle (like a motorbike only with super crappy power. I only liked the throttle on the eZip to get me started when a light turns green and I’m on high gear)
I would rely on an eZip to get me over a few small hills (maybe a block or two) or steep sections (like a painfully steep driveway) that you usually want to get off and walk past, or just hate pedaling up. It drained fast on big hills. The motor of the eZip I tested would help me keep up with friends who were in better shape as I biked like a slacker, but it would sound loud and annoyed as I did so. I would not rely on an eZip to get through your usual commute faster, or to go up lots of hills. The motor just isn’t that powerful, and the battery on most of the eZip models has about a 15 mile capacity on relatively flat ground.
Basically you get what you pay for. But if you don’t want to shell out a thousand bucks or more and you know you would bike more if you didn’t have to get off your bike for hills, this is a great deal.
It would be so easy to pick up chicks with one of those scooters!
Only an estimated 200 charge cycles though…if you’re using it for a commuter bike, you’re probably going to end up spending more on batteries than anything else.
My suggestion, start with a good bike, then power it with one of these. http://www.electricrider.com/crystalyte/index.htm
I have owned and ridden this bike for about a year now so let me share some thoughts.
While serious bike owners who would use this to commute every day and long distances might be better buying a more expensive bike, I think the occasional commuter and recreation user would see a lot of value from this given the lower price. In the summer I ride this almost every day for an hour or so. I enjoy the exercise but we live in a hilly area and the motor keeps me from having to jump off and walk the bike up a hill if I’m tired. Mine needed a new controller which was replaced easily (plug and play), replaced by warranty by a helpful California-based support team. I haven’t needed to replace the battery after a year of use and charging probably 60 times. You can charge it at any time. The max charging times is for full charges, I’m told. Fractional charges don’t count as a full charge until combined they add up to a full charge (approximately). I did buy an old used battery case that needed battery replacement and found that Batteries Plus was cheaper ($80) than buying new ($120 plus shipping) and they installed and soldered at no extra charge.
Torque is decent but this type of motor has less torque than the more expensive hub motors. But it’s decent. On a flat surface it’s pretty darn fast. On the steepest hills I usually pedal while using the motor on full power. On hilly rides with me using the motor 60-70% of the time, I can get a couple of hours out of a single battery before it needs charging. I like having a spare so one can be charging while I’m using the other.
One important note is how heavy the lead acid batteries are. They sit high on the bike so you have to be careful steering on loose ground. The weight distribution compared with a normal bicycle is completely different.
I like this bike so much, I’d buy another at this price, though after a few years I can see myself upgrading. The next technology level up is around $1,000+.
Dirtfox, whooven – Thanks so much for the info!
These bikes use lead-acid batteries and are not like most other “rechargeable” batteries. Do not let these batteries discharge like a NiCad, it damages them internally and decreases the amount of charge they can hold. Whenever there is an outlet available, plug them in.
I read about people wearing these batteries out in less than a year and it’s because they discharge them completely before recharging them. Do not do this. Lead-acid batteries have an almost indefinite life-span if you keep them topped up. This is why car batteries last so long - they’re always topped up.
As CaviMike said, car batteries last a good 5+ years because they are always maintained at 12.6v when the vehicle is running. Whatever voltage this battery is at new, you should try to maintain it at that level all the time to ensure the longevity.
Now I can’t remember what I was going to ask, other than if anyone purchased this last time around.
I bought an eZip Trailz bike for my wife for Christmas and was pretty impressed so I got another one for myself when they went back on sale. After a few rides I am very happy. I like to ride in a fairly hilly region but my 63 year old knees have bothered me a lot. With the eZip bike in PAS (pedal assist) mode it takes a lot of strain off my knees when going uphill. The bike is heavy as many have said, but on level ground it is easy to ride without much needed assist. I was concerned with only 7 speeds but with the PAS it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, pedal effort seems to be about the same no matter what gear you are in. There may be better options for regular commuters, but for a casual rider these seem to be a very good choice for the price.