eFlow Nitro vs 2014 Zuma

Ralph

Active Member
I have been riding a lot of bikes. I like the Pedego City Commuter, but it is just too tall for me. It appears that the new Currie Zuma while not a city bike, will be a good option for island travel. But I have come across the eFlow Nitro which changes only a little for 2014 in the 2013 version on sale for $3,500 which is just $700 more than the Zuma.

The eFlow has so many features and the best of everything including hydraulic brakes, nice computer, intelligent pedelec plus TAG. I know the seating position is more forward, but wonder what you think of this option vs the Zuma.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Ralph! The eFlow bikes are pretty cool and I like that they have both a high end and less expensive lower end model called the Flight for $3,000 vs. $3,500 (I actually just had to update the review because I had the price set wrong). Did you get to check out the Flight? It has fewer gears and no neck shock but is otherwise very similar in terms of throttle and pedal assist modes, multiple frame sizes and high step and low step options. It's nice that those bikes have hydraulic disc brakes but less important for road riding, also the bikes are ~50lbs which surprised me because the Zuma is only three pounds more.

I'll be honest with you, I prefer the Zuma in terms of ride quality due to the seat, balloon tires and handle bars. The large diameter wheels on the eFlow bikes are smooth and great for roads (not sure what it's like on the island for you?). One thing that bugs me, I feel like the LCD control unit on the eFlow bikes is large and clunky. It requires its own batteries (watch style circular batteries) and other high end ~$3K ebikes with displays (that are also removable) are usually powered by the main battery pack which is just more efficient and way less wasteful. Batteries are no fun... I also am just not the hugest fan of the seat post battery design that eFlow uses. Personal preference here, I just think it gets scratched up and keeps weight higher than I'd like, certainly higher than the Zuma.

I really enjoyed riding the Nitro and Flight but would be more excited about paying $700+ less for a bike that's got a relaxed position and feels more refined. Open to any thoughts you've got on this, again, just my opinions here and the torque sensing assist on the eFlows does feel good, it's just more of a road style pedaling type of bike and I have a sensitive back and neck... and sense of style I guess ;)
 

Ralph

Active Member
Court, I tend to agree with you for most of the same reasons you point out that the Zuma is the better choice for me. I think it just became a no brainer though. The 2014 Zuma was just priced at $2400 vs 2013 $3500 sale priced Nitro or Flight or 2014 $4000 Nitro. Combine that with a lean forward seating position on the Nitro and the more cushy ride on the Zuma and I think I am there. The lower center of gravity on the Zuma is likely a better balance. Just have to ride one to be sure it fits.

I have ridden the 2103 IZip Zuma (feels rock solid, very fast with 36v), IZip Vibe (nice ride but almost no boost, but very inexpensive and for a lightweight it could be a great choice), Pedego Comfort Cruiser (big wide handle bars, not as solid feeling bike as the Zuma, feels like a beach cruiser...which it is), the Pedego City Commuter ( beautiful, rides great and I would buy it if it fit me). You really need to ride the bike to know if it is the right fit.

I think the new Zuma has the Intelligent Pedelec system and disc brakes. The Nitro has hydraulic brakes and torque sensing. I guess the Nitro bits are better, but Zuma appears to be a smooth very maneuverable bike. Thoughts?

I wanted to mention that I emailed Currie at the highest level. I got a prompt and thorough reply and the local Currie rep is meeting with me at my dealer next week to help me sort it out. I have no doubt this is a really great company and I am extremely appreciative of their interest in helping get me into the right bike.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
I'm excited for you Ralph! Sounds like you've found the right bike and it has been fun chatting about all of the different options out there with you. Your last couple of questions revolved around the hydraulic brakes and torque sensor on the eFlows vs. the mechanical brakes and pedelec of the Zuma.
  1. I personally don't care that much whether a bike has mechanical or hydraulic if I'm going to be using it on road. They are actually easier to service and less expensive than hydraulic and the only downside is that they are a bit less responsive and require more muscul activation to activate. Mountain bikers love hydraulic brakes because they want to only use one or two fingers to pull the lever and will often ride with the lever half-pulled all the way down a run. You can probably understand how, in a situation like that, having the smoothest, easiest to pull brakes becomes important.
  2. As for torque sensors vs. pedelec, this is another area where it seems more important for off road or high performance. Some people say pedelec feels jerky and that's because it simply switches the motor from off to on vs. varying the amount of power that is applied. You still have a lot of control however, because most ebikes have 3 to 5 levels of assist. This works by dividing the maximum potential into steps. So for a 500 watt motor with five levels of pedal assist you might get 20% at each step. Still other systems divide it out less evenly and start at a cliff of 250 watts in pedal assist level one, going up by ~50 watts with each level until you reach 5. Torque sensing still divides power output into steps but goes even further into activating those steps based on when torque is applied and how much is applied. This kind of system will often have a strain gauge built in to the rear hub that detects exactly when you apply pressure whereas a pedelec sensor has to wait for magnets to send a signal that the pedal arm or bottom bracket axel has rotated around. In conclusion, even though torque sensing is more responsive, I like pedalec bikes for street riding because I don't always want to have to push hard when pedaling in order to activate the motor, sometimes I just like to turn my pedals gently and in these cases the pedelec cadence sensor works great.
Here's a picture of a pedelec disc to help you understand how it works. The plastic disc is mounted to the crank shaft that goes through the bottom bracket of your bike, it has the pedal arms attached to it and the whole thing turns as you pedal. As this happens the metal dots are sensed by the ebike controller and that tells the motor to either go on. When it goes on, it does so at a set level (whatever you selected using the LCD computer ie. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5). This image came from another site where they were discussing the same thing (only a guy was building his own ebike) you can read about it at pedelecs.co.uk.

electric-bike-pedalec-sensor.jpg
 

Dave

Active Member
I took a long look at the E3 Nitro as well. The two things that I didn't like about the Nitro were the computer interface required too much messing around to change setiings, and there was no way to add a suspension seat post. I think the computer interface on the E3 Dash and other Izip bikes is much better thought out, with the remote buttons. I plan on adding a Thudbuster to whatever bike I purchase, so the battery in the seat post won't work for me. The Nitro, does however, have some cool features. I thimk the 2014 models have a bigger battery for longer rides, and now go 28mph in pedal assist.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Dave, some great insights there on the E3 Nitro, thanks for sharing. It has been a while since I took the test ride for that bike and I remember having mixed feelings about the ease of use with the LCD computer (along with its physical design). I agree that the E3 Dash and other Currie Bikes are just easier to use, remote buttons work great but I've also been a fan of how Easy Motion integrates their buttons but positions them on the far left side so they almost work like remote ones. I also love that their system doesn't require batteries.

The Thudbuster is a great idea, I've owned a couple and really appreciate the extra cushion when riding at higher speeds (like 28mph for example...) the thing I learned with those is to get a strong seat post lock. I like the Liplock by Salsa, it just keeps the seat post tube from sliding down with each bump in the road. After a bit of riding the post ends up all the way down, and I'm not even that heavy! They also use a hex or star bolt which deters theft of the seat post or your seat. Whenever I would lockup I'd run my cable through the wheels and the Thudbuster and then lock it to a u-lock through the frame.

salsa-lip-lock-bicycle-seat-post-clamp.jpg

salsa-liplock-reduce-seat-post-sliding.jpg
 

LynetteSerpent

New Member
Thanks for this info. I read this while looking for an upgrade in power from my pedago cruiser. I just bought a nitro demo after also trying the zuma. I planned to go buy the zuma but fell for the torque sensing assist on the nitro. In addition, the shop I finally ended up at, said they were having lots of electrical problems with the zuma. The torque system on the nitro is such an ego booster and the assist is so smooth, even when you increase it climbing a hill. But that pedago was so comfortable. I've got to figure out how to get the seat more comfortable on the new nitro and get a bit more upright. Old women don't have as much padding down there. Apparently I can only get the handlebars an inch or two higher or I will have to change all the cables. I probably should have bought the izip metro like my daughter's. I already have a seat that is supposed to have gel in it and it has a couple rubber balls under the back. I need softer yet! Can I put a cruiser seat on this thing?
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Hi @LynetteSerpent, there are some limitation to what you can do with the E3 Nitro seatpost and stem, but take advantage of the inches you can get. Peeps complain about the console; however, it really doesn't take too long to get used to- the Izip Metro uses the same unit and its cool that its removable. Can't make the bike do anything without the unit, so its safer. Maybe think about getting some padded shorts to go under whatever you're wearing; they're not the lycra shorts some cyclists wear, but they are a quick way to help pad the bumps of the road. Andiamo and other companies make a variety of styles that you can wad up and carry with you. Maybe an ergo style seat with the cutouts for 'sensitive body parts' would work better than a super wide saddle- sometimes the extra wide seat is just more irritating to the inside of the legs. Consider adjusting the forward/backwards position of the seat on the post; a more forward position will help you be more upright and from what I gather from your post, more comfortable. Keep experimenting! The Eflow bikes are so stealth, they are just a great ride.
 

GatorBob

Member
FWIW, I ride a 2015 Pedego Interceptor III step thru. I'm 5'9", 165 (I'm 86 and uster be 5'11"). It is a BIG, HEAVY bike but very manageable after I spent a few days dialing it in and getting a feel for it. It is a powerful, comfortable, solid bike that provides all the pedal assist I need to handle the steep Santa Fe roads and trails that I no longer can manage without electric assist.
 

Hurley

Active Member
FYI
The Nitro's computer does utilize the battery that is located in the seat post. It uses the watch battery inside the computer for when it is removed from the bike so you can still use it.
The Zuma uses a "cadence" sensor which I think is far inferior to a "torque" sensor. Where I agree the Zuma is way more comfortable, the Nitro wins in every other category in my opinion.
Zuma is a great bike but is more of a good handling cruiser that is much more of a struggle if you run out of battery power. The Nitro peddles well and has plenty of gears so there is no fear of running out of battery power.
For the more casual rider Zuma hands down. For a serious commuter who wants a workout the Nitro is the way to go. Still comfortable, but very light on it's feet/wheels.