The Currie eZip Trailz is one of the most affordable entry level ebikes around. I’ve ridden all of the major brands out there and tried varying levels of ebikes but the Trailz is one of the most common and enduring models I’ve come across. Sure, it’s sold at Walmart and seems so much more basic than other bikes but that’s actually one of its strengths. I found myself riding it more often and feeling less protective due to the low price and basic non-glamorous feature set.
The external side-mounted motor performs great and isn’t that loud but will still be heard over something like a hub motor or mid-drive system. Picture this, on the left side of the rear wheel is the motor which is attached via chain and on the right side of the wheel are the normal chainrings attached to the pedal and cranks system. This sort of balances out the bike and allows the rider to stop pedaling without disrupting the motor which turns its very own chain. It does mean there are more chains to deal with though, more rust, more noise and friction, and it also makes changing a flat harder.
The eZip Trails features a 450 Watt motor which is pretty powerful for an entry level bike (most are just 250 or 300) but it’s necessary for the heavier Lead acid battery and steel frame, especially if you add a second Lead Acid battery. The motor provides a decent amount of torque and works well in PAS (pedal assist mode) and TAG (twist and go mode). Sometimes when I ride cheaper bikes in this “low end” category I feel myself wondering if simply riding a lighter, faster bike would be as efficient and fast as going electric… but then I find myself passing road cyclists going up hills and I remember just how much work the motor is actually doing for me! This motor and drive system, as with most ebikes, is electronically limited at 20mph.
Because the motor is connected to the rear wheel and drives independently from rider pedaling action, you can pedal at any speed you want, fast or slow, and pick gears that fit your desired level of effort and speed. This is a huge benefit over some fixed mid-drive systems that require you to work with the motor at set gear ratios. Also, since all of the drive energy is going into the rear wheel the front of the bike is easier to handle; light for popping up curbs and making quick turns. Bikes with front drive systems require heavy duty forks and the shocks are less fluid.
The brakes on the Currie eZip Trailz bikes are old style v-brakes that also serve to cut power to the motor when squeezed. They won’t last as long as disc brakes before you have to get new pads but that’s super cheap (less than $10) and easy enough for nearly anyone to install with just a screwdriver and wrench. They perform well and stop the bike very effectively, sometimes faster than disc brakes because they are mounted on the rim instead of the hub which provides more mechanical leverage. The downside to v-brakes is riding in wetter conditions because if your rim gets wet it will create a bit more slip in the system and can also scratch the rims if you’ve gone through mud.
The eZip Trailz is one of the few bikes out there designed to accommodate two batteries right from the get-go. You’ll still have to buy that second battery, and most people don’t need that extra distance, but it’s a nice built in feature. You can also switch which side of the bike the battery is on and balance your ride out! The pannier style side mount also let’s you balance out your own cargo with groceries on one side and the battery on the other. The battery locks directly to the frame which is great for security. Over time, this bike will become more rattly sounding than some other ebikes because the rear rack is bolt-on verses welded.
There’s a reason this bike has been around so long and why so many used models are available and still running. It’s inexpensive, relatively solid and offers several upgrades and replacements. It’s also backed by one of the largest ebike manufacturers around so parts and service are easier to come by. I especially like the addition of a shock, even if it is lower end and does not include a lock-out. The front chain ring only offers one gear but centers the chain with guides on both sides so it’s nearly impossible to have the chain fall off when riding on bumpy terrain. The extra thick tires with smooth rolling tread pattern perform very well on pavement and help you avoid flats in a way that can only truly be appreciated when changing the tires on a 50+ pound machine.
one of the least expensive electric bikes out there
simple and tough, solid steel frame doesn’t vibrate as much as aluminum but is heavier
intuitive twist throttle and grip shifter
throttle mode or pedal assist for extended range
less of a liability if it gets stolen or vandalized because it’s so cheap, you may use it more as a result
thick, smooth rolling tires resist flats and coast well
built in pannier rack with space for second battery and saddle bag
decent front shock considering the low price, not overly firm or sticky
stronger 450w motor provides good torque
Lead acid batteries are less expensive, more environmentally friendly and easier to recycle than lithium but won’t last as long
both batteries lock to rack to deter theft and secure in place, don’t lose the key!
heavy, heavy, heavy… hard to cary up stairs, rear of bike is especially unweildly and could do some real damage if tipped over
lower end brakes, still stop well but are susceptible to slippage when rims are wet vs. disc brakes
external side motor and side battery make bike non-semetrical, and potentially less balanced if not riding with a pannier on the other side
external motor and motor-chain more susceptible to damage and water issues, not sealed like some hub motors
a bit louder than hub motors, not terribly noisy though
rear rack and batteries can wiggle and create noise over time, especially if ridden off road, they are bolt-on vs. welded permanently
range and power of batteries diminishes over time, sooner than lithium
Affordable entry level electric bike with a unique side-mounted chain drive motor that can make truing wheels, replacing tires and fixing flats more difficult. Offers seat post shock, suspension fork, fenders, chain guard and ergonomic grips for comfort...
Affordable entry level ebike that's one step up from the eZip Trailz, available in low-step and high-step frame designs. Lithium-ion battery provides good range, durability and is mounted mid-frame for improved balance...
Ronald Boykin9 years ago
I think the trails line of ezip bike is a better buy than the E3 Vibe line because you get a more powerful motor for less money! I could barely get going on the E3 Vibe when in throttle mode and if there’s a slight hill, forget it, you’ll have to use peddle assist mode! Interms of power I’d go with trsils line over the E3 Vibe even though it’s noisier and harder to service.Reply
Thomas Rogers9 years ago
I bought mine from a neighbor for $200. Very good investmentReply
Court Rye9 years ago
Not too bad! I’ve seen this bike on sale used before and at yard sales and you can easily get replacement batteries online for under $150 (depending on SLA or Lithium and which year). How is it working for you so far?Reply
Thomas Rogers9 years ago
I don’t have an owners manual or anything…the motor makes a clicking sound as it runs,maybe the bracket is bent. But other than that it is great, gets me to and from work as long as I charge the battery often.Reply
DrkAngel7 years ago
Clicking sound is the crappy motor side freewheel! – at wheel speed. Can be confirmed by releasing throttle while cruising and very slowly re-engaging. Might take a few tries, but can usually make sound lessen-disappear. Alternately – Inspect sprockets and chain for damage or foreign material.Reply
Court Rye7 years ago
Great tip! Thank you so much for sharing :D
Court Rye9 years ago
Hmm… hard to say? You could always take some video and post it in the eZip forums to see if anyone knows what the noise is and how to fix it? I have no idea off the top of my head but if it runs, maybe the clicking isn’t a big deal.Reply
AuricTech9 years ago
One thing to keep in mind when dealing with lead-acid batteries is that, if you don’t keep them charged when not in use, you’ll permanently reduce their capacity due to sulphation of the lead plates. It’s also a good idea to avoid drawing them down more than about 50% of their rated capacity. I learned about this on a solar power forum at http://forum.solar-electric.com/forum.phpReply
Dwight Glenn8 years ago
Both my wife and I have e-zips, battery is tricky, have had to replace yearly. I think not drawing them down more than 50% is interesting idea. We have passed up a lot of cyclist on this bike, funny to see the look on their faces when 2 older folks who are not all thin like those hard core cyclist fly by them. We like the pedal assist feature and the flat out full throttle. Bike is very heavy and wish the frame was lighter. Gears on mine vary from down right too hard to use, to light. Have to find that sweet spot for use with gears. Price is good. After about 5-6 years still works ok. Though the left side battery slot does not work anymore on mine, I just use the right side. I suppose it is repairable, but as long as it still works and I only use 1 battery, I’m good with it. Nice looking bikes and where we live in all the years we have had them. We have not seen anyone else with e-zips. You can order new batteries through target. Walmart does not carry them which seems strange since we got them online from Walmart. Good bike for those with COPD like my wife and anyone who wants an electric bike for a good entry level price.Reply
8 years ago
You can fix your bike with terminals, ring terminals 14 to 16 guage.Reply
judy5 years ago
Can I order a tire tube from you?Reply
court5 years ago
Hi Judy! I don’t sell bicycle tubes, but you can purchase one that would fit pretty easily on Amazon, here’s the size that I think would work best for the eZip Trailz, and it has Slime in it to reduce flats :DReply
Andrew Hodson4 years ago
I’ve removed motor & batteries, it = better without them? Yes; extra low gear, but big sprocket at front so not that low.Reply
robin roy cleavland3 years ago
How to remove kickstand? Thanks, RRCReply
Court3 years ago
Hi Robin. I don’t have the bike to take a closeup look, so this is just a guess. Usually there is a hex bolt attaching the kickstand to the frame. It might screw in from the bottom and require that you lay the bike on its side or flip it over. I hope this helps! Why do you want to remove the kickstand?Reply