eBike Buyer Beware?

Quinby

New Member
I was taking a close look at the E3 Peak by Currie, but I had some concerns about replacing the battery when it eventually dies so I emailed Currie customer service. I have copied and pasted the original email, the response from Currie, and my 2nd attempt for an answer to my question. In the response from Currie they avoided the question about the battery entirely. I never had any response on my 2nd attempt. I am disappointed because I was really excited about the E3 Peak... but it is too much money to spend on a potentially disposable ebike.

My original email to Currie customer service:

Comments: I am considering purchasing an E3 Peak to be used as a commuter bike and for mountain biking, but I do have a few questions.
  1. I do have concerns about replacing the battery when it eventually dies. I am assuming the battery will last a few years. If at the time when the battery dies you no longer make the same battery pack, can the original battery back be rebuilt?
  2. Like I said, I would like to use the bike as a commuter. How weather resistant are the electrical components of the bike? The bike would have to be left outdoors while working.
  3. Do you sell a commuter kit for the E3 Peak? If yes, what is included in the kit and what is the cost? Thank you
Currie customer service response (note that the battery question was avoided entirely):

Thank you for contacting us. I think the Peak would make an excellent commuter bike. Most of the electronics are very well protected and the bike would not be affected much more than a a standard, non-ebike. That being said, I would not advise keeping the bike out and under heavy rains with the battery pack attached. It might be best to have a plastic bike bag, available at most shops ready for parking in these conditions. You may want to rubber-band a small plastic bag over the LCD display and thumb-pad to keep them dry too.

Lighting and accessory kits are in the works and should be listed on the website with pricing shortly.

Best regards

My return email to Currie but no response from Currie:

Thank you for the response, but the question about the battery was missed. That is actually my primary concern with purchasing an ebike. It seems the design of these bikes and the battery technology is a moving target. If I cannot get at least 6 years, preferrably 10 years, before the ebike becomes useless because I cannot replace the battery pack then I cannot justify the cost of the Peak. The Peak looks like a lot of fun but I must also consider my return on investment and if 3 years (hoping a single battery lasts that long) from now I find out I cannot replace or rebuild the battery pack then 3K is a lot of money to spend for a bike that will only have a service life of 3 years. Please advise.

Thank you
 

Vern

Active Member
I had/have the same exact concern as you about battery replacement. I was VERY interested in the new DASH, but I was concerned buying a Currie bike because they make so many different models and the components across the range are almost all entirely unique to the specific model. That was my primary reason for choosing a Neo bike.

HOWEVER, the more I see and hear about Currie from Larry, I feel that he is absolutely outstanding. I truly believe that Currie will stand behind their products both present and future. Check out the most recent tour that Court did at Currie's Simi Valley headquarters. Larry had a conversation about replacement batteries of prior models. I think that Currie cares about and will support their customers. Honestly any ebike purchase is a gamble. If the company goes under you may very well be stuck with a heavy, useless bike in a few years, once the battery is dead. The best bet is choosing a larger company that you trust. I think Currie is a pretty safe bet, but perhaps their email customer service need some looking into??
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Quinby,

I see your concern and it's too bad the email wasn't more direct. I can't speak for Currie but I agree with Vern's thoughts; it's a big company (owned by the Accell Group in Europe now) and they seem to do a great job honoring their warranties and even going above and beyond.

When I did the tour with Larry last month I asked about battery replacement off the cuff (even the tour was somewhat informal) and there were a bunch of very old packs laying around being serviced. He explained that they do everything they can to keep older bikes working for customers, even converting them to Lithium if original Nicad or Lead acid cells aren't available.

He explained that they do have sensors in the packs designed to determine if there was misuse (exposure to extreme temperatures, water etc.) so replacement may not always be free (especially out of warranty) but these guys have been around for a long time and it's amazing just how far they seem to be going to keep customers happy. I also got to see the call support room where they have operators standing by to help people with issues... I've toured several major ebike manufacturers (some didn't want me to film) but very few others have this kind of support in place, they just aren't big enough. That doesn't mean they won't try to help but it does slow down the process.

Even though the support email reply you got back seemed to miss your question about the battery I love the other advice they provided about water. The honest truth about electronics is that leaving them outside is a bit risky and using a simple bag or cover is a great idea. I personally would opt to bring the battery inside, especially in extreme temperatures. This protects it and lets you keep it charged. The neat thing about the Peak is that the front and rear wheels are very easy to remove since it uses a centerdrive so that may make it easier for you to store inside in poor weather conditions.

In any case, here's an interesting cover that's similar to one I used with my old road bike (to protect the carbon fiber from UV) that could work for your bike.

waterproof-bicycle-cover.jpg electric-bike-cover.jpg

It's labeled as being waterproof and is fairly affordable. Now if your ebike is parked at a public rack this might get stolen or vandalized... so a couple of Ziploc bags or other simple covers with rubber bands might be best :)
 

Larry Pizzi

Active Member
I was taking a close look at the E3 Peak by Currie, but I had some concerns about replacing the battery when it eventually dies so I emailed Currie customer service. I have copied and pasted the original email, the response from Currie, and my 2nd attempt for an answer to my question. In the response from Currie they avoided the question about the battery entirely. I never had any response on my 2nd attempt. I am disappointed because I was really excited about the E3 Peak... but it is too much money to spend on a potentially disposable ebike.

My original email to Currie customer service:

Comments: I am considering purchasing an E3 Peak to be used as a commuter bike and for mountain biking, but I do have a few questions.
  1. I do have concerns about replacing the battery when it eventually dies. I am assuming the battery will last a few years. If at the time when the battery dies you no longer make the same battery pack, can the original battery back be rebuilt?
  2. Like I said, I would like to use the bike as a commuter. How weather resistant are the electrical components of the bike? The bike would have to be left outdoors while working.
  3. Do you sell a commuter kit for the E3 Peak? If yes, what is included in the kit and what is the cost? Thank you
Currie customer service response (note that the battery question was avoided entirely):

Thank you for contacting us. I think the Peak would make an excellent commuter bike. Most of the electronics are very well protected and the bike would not be affected much more than a a standard, non-ebike. That being said, I would not advise keeping the bike out and under heavy rains with the battery pack attached. It might be best to have a plastic bike bag, available at most shops ready for parking in these conditions. You may want to rubber-band a small plastic bag over the LCD display and thumb-pad to keep them dry too.

Lighting and accessory kits are in the works and should be listed on the website with pricing shortly.

Best regards

My return email to Currie but no response from Currie:

Thank you for the response, but the question about the battery was missed. That is actually my primary concern with purchasing an ebike. It seems the design of these bikes and the battery technology is a moving target. If I cannot get at least 6 years, preferrably 10 years, before the ebike becomes useless because I cannot replace the battery pack then I cannot justify the cost of the Peak. The Peak looks like a lot of fun but I must also consider my return on investment and if 3 years (hoping a single battery lasts that long) from now I find out I cannot replace or rebuild the battery pack then 3K is a lot of money to spend for a bike that will only have a service life of 3 years. Please advise.

Thank you
Hi Quniby,

I'm really sorry that our CS team did not directly address your question regarding the battery pack on the Peak (same pack on the Dash) and I appreciate you bringing this to the forum as it gives me visibility into our service level and improve training in this area.

Regarding the battery pack, you can rest assured that we will be able to supply replacements for a very long time to come. One of the reasons we chose this particular design for our latest products is in fact the versatility of this package design. This pack uses 18650 cylindrical lithium ion LMO cells. These cell types will continue to be state of the art for many years. You may have read about Tesla entering into a joint venture with Panasonic to build a battery plant in the US and these are the exact cells that are planned to be built there. What is changing rapidly is the energy density (capacity) and thats a great thing for eBikes because it allows us to pack more capacity into small spaces without increasing weight. While no one know definitively what the future will hold, I feel confident telling you that we are well poised to be able to provide replacements when needed. As Court mentioned, we have been around since the mid-1990's and frequently rebuild packs for customers that have very old, legacy products.

I hope this helps. Please don't hesitate to email me directly if you have further questions or concerns.

Best regards,
-Larry
lpizzi@currietech.com
 

Larry Pizzi

Active Member
I was taking a close look at the E3 Peak by Currie, but I had some concerns about replacing the battery when it eventually dies so I emailed Currie customer service. I have copied and pasted the original email, the response from Currie, and my 2nd attempt for an answer to my question. In the response from Currie they avoided the question about the battery entirely. I never had any response on my 2nd attempt. I am disappointed because I was really excited about the E3 Peak... but it is too much money to spend on a potentially disposable ebike.

My original email to Currie customer service:

Comments: I am considering purchasing an E3 Peak to be used as a commuter bike and for mountain biking, but I do have a few questions.
  1. I do have concerns about replacing the battery when it eventually dies. I am assuming the battery will last a few years. If at the time when the battery dies you no longer make the same battery pack, can the original battery back be rebuilt?
  2. Like I said, I would like to use the bike as a commuter. How weather resistant are the electrical components of the bike? The bike would have to be left outdoors while working.
  3. Do you sell a commuter kit for the E3 Peak? If yes, what is included in the kit and what is the cost? Thank you
Currie customer service response (note that the battery question was avoided entirely):

Thank you for contacting us. I think the Peak would make an excellent commuter bike. Most of the electronics are very well protected and the bike would not be affected much more than a a standard, non-ebike. That being said, I would not advise keeping the bike out and under heavy rains with the battery pack attached. It might be best to have a plastic bike bag, available at most shops ready for parking in these conditions. You may want to rubber-band a small plastic bag over the LCD display and thumb-pad to keep them dry too.

Lighting and accessory kits are in the works and should be listed on the website with pricing shortly.

Best regards

My return email to Currie but no response from Currie:

Thank you for the response, but the question about the battery was missed. That is actually my primary concern with purchasing an ebike. It seems the design of these bikes and the battery technology is a moving target. If I cannot get at least 6 years, preferrably 10 years, before the ebike becomes useless because I cannot replace the battery pack then I cannot justify the cost of the Peak. The Peak looks like a lot of fun but I must also consider my return on investment and if 3 years (hoping a single battery lasts that long) from now I find out I cannot replace or rebuild the battery pack then 3K is a lot of money to spend for a bike that will only have a service life of 3 years. Please advise.

Thank you
@Quinby - Hi (name obscured for privacy), When I raised the topic of not answering your 2nd email, my CS Team was quick to produce this reply. Perhaps it got caught in your spam filter, but here you go...

----------
From: (name obscured for privacy)
Date: Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM
To: Web Inquiry <webinquiry@currietech.com>
Thank you for the response, but the question about the battery was missed. That is actually my primary concern with purchasing an ebike. It seems the design of these bikes and the battery technology is a moving target. If I cannot get at least 6 years, preferrably 10 years, before the ebike becomes useless because I cannot replace the battery pack then I cannot justify the cost of the Peak. The Peak looks like a lot of fun but I must also consider my return on investment and if 3 years (hoping a single battery lasts that long) from now I find out I cannot replace or rebuild the battery pack then 3K is a lot of money to spend for a bike that will only have a service life of 3 years. Please advise.

Thank you
(name obscured for privacy)

----------
From: Web Inquiry <webinquiry@currietech.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 4:08 PM
To: (name obscured for privacy)
You are correct! I thought about it, but forgot to put it in black and white.

We historically maintain the sale of battery types for years going forward. An example is the Trailz type battery still in use in 2014, was there since 2007. This Peak pack is the first of it's kind, of state-of-the-art battery technology, and undoubtedly will be stock on bikes for years to come. We have always come up with a suitable compromise, at rare moments when an exact replacement is not available. For instance, we've recently come up with a rack-mounted battery system to replace a now out of product one located inside the bike. Another option is to have an after-market company rebuild the pack. Nobody really knows what the future of battery tech will bring, but we may find a trade-in, or the new type of cells would fit and mount as your original one does. Possibly inside the same case, as new battery types tend to be smaller, lighter and carry more "juice". At the end of the day, we've already been around about 15 years, and surely many more to come.

Best regards,

Customer Service
Currie Technologies
3850-A Royal AveSimi Valley, CA. 93063P: 800-377-4532
F: 805-915-4322
 

Quinby

New Member
Well.....first things first.

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Larry and Currie Tech Customer Service. Although I did not receive (and I did double check) the follow-up email from Currie, you clearly responded in short order (13 minute TAT) as evidenced above. I was suspicious that the question was intentionally ducked on the first attempt and that suspicion was only strengthened when there was no response to my second attempt, but that was obviously not correct.....as it turns out it was only inadvertent human oversight on the first response and a technology failure to reach my inbox on the second response. It seems the older I get the more cynical I have become.....ugh.

Thank you for restoring my excitement for the E3 Peak and my faith in Currie Tech. Now that I know the bike will not have the same fate as my cordless drill after a few years of use, I feel much better about the purchase of the E3 Peak.
 

Vern

Active Member
Well.....first things first.

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Larry and Currie Tech Customer Service. Although I did not receive (and I did double check) the follow-up email from Currie, you clearly responded in short order (13 minute TAT) as evidenced above. I was suspicious that the question was intentionally ducked on the first attempt and that suspicion was only strengthened when there was no response to my second attempt, but that was obviously not correct.....as it turns out it was only inadvertent human oversight on the first response and a technology failure to reach my inbox on the second response. It seems the older I get the more cynical I have become.....ugh.

Thank you for restoring my excitement for the E3 Peak and my faith in Currie Tech. Now that I know the bike will not have the same fate as my cordless drill after a few years of use, I feel much better about the purchase of the E3 Peak.

I completely shared your thoughts in this. Right down to the comparison to my cordless drill. Luckily, however, my cordless had a better fate. I have a 12 year old Craftsman C3 cordless power tool set. About 8 years in, the 3 batteries Ni-Ca batteries that I had for it were all but dead. I still used the damn thing to help me sand a piano that I was refinishing. My cordless sander attachment would last about 5 minutes before I would have to switch to another battery. It was extremely frustrating! Sears has updated the set with Lithium batteries. The new batteries still work in the older tools so I bought a couple and WOW my tools are more alive than ever!! I absolutely cannot believe how much more powerful they are now and how much longer they will last. I only hope that e-bike manufactures follow the same format; upgrade the batteries, but make them compatible with the older bikes.

BH Neo bikes have recently done just that. Their newer larger amp hour battery packs are still compatible with the older model bikes. I realize keeping batteries compatible wouldn't work with changes in wattage and could cause issues when placement options are changed. However, by now battery placement/form factor decisions should be down to two choices: A rack in the back, or in the down tube and the choice between 36v and 48v is pretty standard.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Cordless drills, ruining electric bikes since 1961... but not directly, just sort of emotionally and stuff.

old-black-and-decker-cordless-drill.jpg

In 1961, Black and Decker invented cordless power tools. Brian Hoy, who worked as a general contractor for over 30 years, found the convenience of these tools to be among the best technological changes in the industry especially for small jobs.