A Tale of Two Bikes (Part 2)

AdilDesai

Active Member
Part 1 can be read here: a-tale-of-two-bikes-part-1.51194

Part 2. The ZEN Samurai.


June 2021.

A year before I received my final refund installment, and well before I received my first, I saw a post from Ravi touting his new startup venture ZEN Electric Bikes. I know what you’re thinking: once bitten twice shy, but the allure of getting in on the ground floor of a new e-bike company is really compelling; you get a lot more bike for your money. I sent Ravi an e-mail asking when his bikes were coming to market.

Ravi’s approach was similar; he quickly responded to my e-mail inquiry. He understood what was happening in the market, to his competitor and me specifically. He was enthusiastic and evangelical, knowledgeable, but far more constrained. I honestly didn’t think he wanted my business because he was concerned that I was all in on Bafang and he was only offering a Bosch motor.

Ravi quickly explained that he had no bike to offer. Testing was taking place; beta versions were being built and evaluated. I was told that when a bike was available for purchase, he would let me know.

January – February 2022

Ravi sent me an e-mail with a link to the ZEN Electric Bike Review (EBR) page. ZEN was taking pre-orders for the new Samurai bike. Like my previous choice, this bike had everything I wanted, but I was honestly relieved to have a tried and tested Bosch motor underneath me versus the Bafang. For my use case, the Bosch was/is perfect. I responded to say that I was interested.

In stark contrast to my prior experience, I was asked for a nominal $200 deposit to show my interest. Ravi and his partners are entrepreneurs, academics, experts in their fields and simply better businesspeople. The money was, I assume, a demonstration of interest that enabled ZEN to go to their investors and say we have x number of pre-orders. Ravi explained that no further monies would be due until the bike was ready to ship.

Ravi worked with me via e-mail and phone to customize the bike to my specifications. I opted for the premium build of the Samurai but swapped in components from the base model (Enviolo versus Kindernay or Rohloff) and used the savings to upgrade the display to Nyon.

Frames and components were ordered. There was no constant communication or updates, save for an occasional EBR posting providing an update or showing a picture of frames or other components on a shipping dock or in the ZEN warehouse.

August – September 2022

Frames and components arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ravi and I finalized the build desired. I was offered the option of custom paint (epic fail on my part as some of the pictures of other Samurai’s I’ve seen are simply stunning). Within 15 days, I was receiving pictures of the build via WhatsApp with near daily updates from Ravi.

October 2022

After a two-and-a-half-year ordeal, my new e-bike arrived. It’s not the bike I started out with, but it is the bike I needed. I am beyond thrilled! The bike is everything that I was promised. There were some assembly issues (my fault), which ZEN’s Service Department helped guide me through and even shipped a part at no charge. There are a series of YouTube videos to help one get acquainted with the Samurai and of course this wonderful EBR community.

I cannot recommend ZEN Electric Bikes more and want to give a particular shout out to Ravi, Blair, and Deepak for supporting me through this process. This is a seriously good bike, built buy a dedicated team. I wish ZEN much success and I’m happy to act as a reference for anyone interested in learning more.

Finally, here are some pictures of my ZEN Samurai around Washington, D.C.:

ZEN at Rock Creek.jpeg
ZEN at the Kennedy Center.jpeg
ZEN on the Potomac.jpeg
ZEN at the Watergate.jpeg
ZEN Overlooking the Potomac and Georgetown.jpeg
ZEN at the Reach.jpeg
ZEN Behind the Lincoln Memorial.jpeg
ZEN at the Reflecting Pool.jpeg
ZEN at the Lincoln Memorial.jpeg
ZEN by the Washington Monument.jpeg
ZEN Overlooking the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial.jpeg
ZEN at the Smithsonian Castle.jpeg
ZEN and Art at the Sculpture Gardens.jpeg
ZEN Near the Capitol.jpeg
ZEN at the White House.jpeg
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Congrats, weather in the area is great today! Where in DC/VA/MD will you take the bike for servicing? Presumably any Bosch certified mechanic could work on the electrics? I had my shop convert my DIY ebike with an Enviolo CVT in the spring, so far no problems. May your bike take you many miles of smiles.
 

AdilDesai

Active Member
Congrats, weather in the area is great today! Where in DC/VA/MD will you take the bike for servicing? Presumably any Bosch certified mechanic could work on the electrics? I had my shop convert my DIY ebike with an Enviolo CVT in the spring, so far no problems. May your bike take you many miles of smiles.
I'll probably use ElectriCity Bikes. It's fairly convenient to my home, and I like supporting local businesses. They were fantastic when I was shopping for a bike and did some service on the ZEN when I broke something (not a ZEN issue at all, but owner error).
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I'll probably use ElectriCity Bikes. It's fairly convenient to my home, and I like supporting local businesses. They were fantastic when I was shopping for a bike and did some service on the ZEN when I broke something (not a ZEN issue at all, but owner error).
That's what I figured, great to know ElectriCity Bikes will work on any brand of Bosch powered ebike.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
I am sure you have your reasons for jacking up the steerer so high but please keep an eye on it because there is more leverage than normal there along with the weight of whatever you carry in that bag and failures can occur. A solution would be to get bars with more rise to them and delete whatever you can from what you have going on there.
 

AdilDesai

Active Member
I am sure you have your reasons for jacking up the steerer so high but please keep an eye on it because there is more leverage than normal there along with the weight of whatever you carry in that bag and failures can occur. A solution would be to get bars with more rise to them and delete whatever you can from what you have going on there.
I was just thinking that yesterday; appreciate the heads up. The bag is used to just carry my phone, wallet and keys (no significant weight at all).
 
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