My 500 mile E3 Dash Review

HumanitiesHaze

Active Member
This is a 500 mile review of the 1st generation Currie E3 Dash ignoring any mechanical issues I have had in the past. This is just strictly about the bike, and how all the components work together as a whole.

As we know the E3 Dash is one of the few 48v 500w Ebikes out there to offer a 20mph twist throttle mode and a 28+mph pedal assist mode (I’ve gotten it up to 30mph doing some very fast pedaling). And some people are curious of how they hold up over time. I've had my bike for about 45 days and expect to get around 1500 miles out of this bike by the end of the season at my current rate.

Starting with the battery:
I do wish the 48v 8.7Ah 417WH battery had a higher capacity, or the anemic 2amp charger was a faster 4amp charger. The 4+ hour recharge time on an almost dead battery is one of the longest in the industry. (Stromer has an 11Ah battery design which takes 4 hours, but they use a 4amp charger). But it’s a slick battery, good attachment to the frame and easy to take on and off. I will more than likely buy another battery/charger at some point.

Pedal Assist and Throttle:
I can kill a fully charged battery using pedal assist level 4 (the highest level) in 30 minutes (or around 11-13 miles @ around 28mph), so I tend to stick to PA3. Speaking of which, pedal assist 4 will top out around 28mph+, pedal assist #3 will do 20mph+, #2 is around 15mph.. I don’t think I’ve ever used #1. Twist will last around 13+ miles helping it pedal up hills and not running it at 100% all the time. I do love the Cruise Control as well (one of the few bikes to offer that). The torque sensor works well at picking up the pedaling and starting. It will continue to power the motor for about a half of second after you stop pedaling however.

Frame:
At 6’4” 190lbs I needed the large frame but it's neat that they also offer a medium. It fits me well, and is very well balanced, cruise control with no hands is easy to do. The bike offers an aggressive stance that leans you forward, but it’s not awkward. Due to my height I wish the pedals were spaced a little wider, but that’s just me. The front shock work well and I love the quick adjust, the seat took a lil bit to break in but it's comfy now. Frame mounts up to an external bike rack with no problem due to the standard diamond shaped bike frame with straight top tube (some Ebikes use a fancy frame that makes it hard to mount). I like the kick stand in the back, you can kick it down and just sit on your bike with ease, but the slightest bump and the spring isn't enough to keep it from clicking it against the frame. (A small rubber bumper fixed that). Clean cabling throughout the bike adds to the overall good looks of the bike. (It’s a head turner) With the battery and rear hub, the bike tends to be rear heavy but makes for popping the front wheel over obstacles easy. The easy disconnect for the rear wheel helps too. Overall a solid frame, no squeaks or rattles have developed yet.

Brakes:
The brakes are one of the weaker points. Using a cable system instead of hydraulic, stopping 250lbs+ @ 30mph quickly takes some effort and the plastic brake handles offer little confidence on a hard brake. I’ve had to readjust the cable at the wheels 3 times already as the cable does stretch out with initial use. There is some squeaking that has dissipated over time, but it’s still there. I would have loved to see the braking system from the E3 Peak used on the Dash. But I still feel larger pads/rotors, or a hydraulic system would be a benefit.

Computer:
Works as expected, I like the controls on the left hand, the backlight at night is great. All the info is there at a glance and it’s pretty quick. I would have loved to see time and temperature on the display. The 8 seconds to power the bike up is annoying, as I live in the city and hop on and off the bike frequently, the computer will shut off in about a minute of non-use. But very functional otherwise.

Motor/Wheel:
Strong and silent. You’ll need to assist more on steeper gradients but overall plenty of power on tap. Something like 42Nm of torque (30 ft.lbs). The E3 Peak offers 20+ more Nm of torque, but that’s due to the nature of the direct drive leveraging a rear cassette over a hub motor. The spokes needed constant tweaking until the bike shop used Loctite glue on them. I’ve driving this bike hard on 90+ degree days, the motor doesn’t overheat. The wheel and tires are the perfect size/width with good traction. If you ever saw an Emotion bike like the Neo Cross, they tend to stick skinny tires on their bikes which wouldn't be as good for debris on the road.

Overall:
I would recommend the E3 Dash to anyone looking for a solid built bike knowing that Currie technical support stands behind the product. I’ve had to use them and they respond fast, ship parts out ASAP and communicate well with the dealers. It’s one of the better looking, faster Ebikes on the market right now at a price point that you can’t argue with. Hope this helps with any choices you're considering.
 

pcrdude

Member
Great review HH!!

I wish the trip odometer wouldn't reset when the power shuts off.

BTW, I use PAS1 all the time. You get a decent level of assist compared to PAS0 (which I also use).

;)
 

Charly Banana

Active Member
Excellent review. I'm sure it will be helpful for prospective buyers.
I absolutely love the pedal assist. I use PAS1 mostly and for hills I use PAS2.
I have found no use for the Throttle Mode in my riding. Perhaps it might be good for bike paths.
I wish the reliability was better.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
".. pedal assist 4 will top out around 28mph+, pedal assist #3 will do 20mph+, #2 is around 15mph.."

Good information, fair review, spot on. If you do your research here (regarding price)..I'm not sure that there is a better value out there right now in this category.
 

HumanitiesHaze

Active Member
Edit: Brakes: I must have glazed the pads or something. Even after cleaning the rotors down with rubbing alcohol and having my bike shop adjust them professionally they just don't stop me. I can't get the rear wheel to lock at all, and the front is just as useless... I just coast to a stop, and it's dangerous at this point... I'll look at replacement pads this weekend. Might have been my fault because I live in the city with a lot of 25mph quick stops between red lights.
I also had to have the rear wheel trued again even with locktight.
 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Edit: Brakes: I must have glazed the pads or something. Even after cleaning the rotors down with rubbing alcohol and having my bike shop adjust them professionally they just don't stop me. I can't get the rear wheel to lock at all, and the front is just as useless... I just coast to a stop, and it's dangerous at this point... I'll look at replacement pads this weekend. Might have been my fault because I live in the city with a lot of 25mph quick stops between red lights.
I also had to have the rear wheel trued again even with locktight.
Get Shimano XT or Avid Elixir hydrualic disc brakes. You'll never regret it. Cable brakes are enough only if you are traveling at ~15mph.
 

Charly Banana

Active Member
It's interesting that you are having trouble with your Dash brakes, because my brakes just amaze me at how good they are.

My 20 mile run is all about going up long steep hills and going down long steep hills. There is one point where I am traveling over 35 mph and come to a 15 mph almost 180 degree bend in the road. I have to brake from 35 mph to 15 mph in a short distance. Later, as I approaching my home stretch, I have another long hill where I am going 35 mph + and have to make a sharp 90 degree left turn on to another road. Again, I can easily slow down from 35 to less than 10 mph with out much effort.

Now, these are the first disc brakes I've ever had, so I'm amazed at how much better they are compared to my old style rim brakes. Not disputing what you say, just presenting my perspective. Perhaps the Shimano XT or Avid Elixir hydrualic disc brakes would really blow me away with their performance.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Cable brakes are good enough, Charly.
If you ride hard like some people here do (1000 miles a month), you'll have to adjust the brake cable regularly. Also, you need to apply significantly more pressure on the lever compared to hydraulic ones.
hydraulic brakes need bleeding once a year.
 

Charly Banana

Active Member
Cable brakes are good enough, Charly.
If you ride hard like some people here do (1000 miles a month), you'll have to adjust the brake cable regularly. Also, you need to apply significantly more pressure on the lever compared to hydraulic ones.
hydraulic brakes need bleeding once a year.
Good information.
I'll have to learn more about hydraulic brakes for bicycles and how easy (or hard) it is to do the upgrade. I hope someone on this forum does the hydraulic brakes upgrade to their Dash and shows us how to do it.
You're right, I'm a lightweight bicyclist compared to some of you. There's no way I could do 1000 miles a month.
 

HumanitiesHaze

Active Member
It's interesting that you are having trouble with your Dash brakes, because my brakes just amaze me at how good they are.

My 20 mile run is all about going up long steep hills and going down long steep hills. There is one point where I am traveling over 35 mph and come to a 15 mph almost 180 degree bend in the road. I have to brake from 35 mph to 15 mph in a short distance. Later, as I approaching my home stretch, I have another long hill where I am going 35 mph + and have to make a sharp 90 degree left turn on to another road. Again, I can easily slow down from 35 to less than 10 mph with out much effort.

Now, these are the first disc brakes I've ever had, so I'm amazed at how much better they are compared to my old style rim brakes. Not disputing what you say, just presenting my perspective. Perhaps the Shimano XT or Avid Elixir hydrualic disc brakes would really blow me away with their performance.
When I first got the bike the brakes were amazing! I could do endo's and lock the rear. How many miles you got on yours? These are the 2nd disc brakes I've had.. Again.. I admit I have been braking hard, so I might have glazed the pads. (I had a 10 second 1/4 mile Camaro with No2 that I glazed the pads with as well) But other than that, when the bike is working 100% it's amazing.

The issues with aftermarket brakes is, there's no way to hook them into the computer to cut off power. That's an issues with Cruise control only. I will try new pads and keep you guys informed.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
Get Shimano XT or Avid Elixir hydrualic disc brakes. You'll never regret it. Cable brakes are enough only if you are traveling at ~15mph.
The only advice that I've received (lately) since way before I last rode a bike (30 some years ago) was that you don't 'baby' these disc brakes for fear of glazing the pads. The bike shop guy said to brake hard or to expect problems..for what that's worth.

I'd really like to know what a true quality set of pads is thought to be on these things along with the very best chain oil that one could possibly use (Nano type lube?) and be done with it.
 

Charly Banana

Active Member
The issues with aftermarket brakes is, there's no way to hook them into the computer to cut off power. That's an issues with Cruise control only.
I remembered that @Brian(J) has ordered some Avid BB7 brakes for his Dash. After reading some reviews, this appears to be the best mechanical disc brakes out there. With this option you could keep the original Dash brake levers and still get better brake performance. Perhaps Brian will chime in soon on how his disc brake upgrade is going. Or you could send him a message and ask how the Avid BB7 are working out for him.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
Thanks, HH; exactly the info that I was looking for. Please keep us appraised as to what pads you choose as well or if you switch to another system. Knowing that you're a big guy, how you brake and what works for you will help us all out a lot.
 

MarcD

Active Member
Avid BB7's are definitely the standard for non-hydro discs. I have them on my Salsa Vaya and love them. You have a couple of options when it comes to pads. They make a metal sintered brake pad that will offer better stopping power and longer life, but will be noisier. The organics are much quieter, but wear faster and don't quite stop as well. Generally MTBers use the metal and others use the organics. Outside rain and mud, I couldn't tell a difference. I have used them fully loaded (bike and gear: 45-50lbs) on 35mph+ downhills and the organics work fine when properly adjusted (which is easy since they have inboard and outboard adjustments).

When you replace pads, wear nitrile or other non-powdered gloves ($6 for like 50 at CVS/Walgreens - a must for any bike tool kit) and be careful with the surfaces so you don't contaminate them.

As pointed out, they are adjusted more often, and you may have to squeeze a bit harder. They are popular on tourers since you can fix them with standard cables, etc... and not need a bleed kit and special hoses if you are a long way from a bike shop. For urban e-biking, I prefer the Magura Formula MT Carbons on my Turbo.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
I'll look at replacement pads this weekend. Might have been my fault because I live in the city with a lot of 25mph quick stops between red lights...
Be sure that if you do replace the disc brakes on the E3 Dash you get the 180mm rotor setup for the front and 160mm rotor setup for the back. I've updated my review to include this detail because someone else was changing their brakes out and didn't order the correct size. Hope this helps! Stopping is important... please link to whichever brakes you get so we can hear how they work and get some for other Dash setups if the same problem crops up ;)
 

Ian

Member
Thanks for the review! I've been pondering which bike to get for a 45 mile round trip commute and was wondering, with your experience with the Dash, if you think that it could do 22.5 miles each way at around 15-20mph with a flat terrain and a 180 lbs rider? I'm thinking PA2 or PA3 for most of the way would do the trick.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
 

ChrisD_

Member
Not without charging during the day. On my Dash I can run out the battery on a ~20 mile ride at PA3, though I'm likely to be going more like 23-25 mph. If I stick to PA1 and under 20 mph I can easily go more than 25 miles on one charge. It's hard to go that slow, though. :) I'm quite a bit heavier than you at 230, and sometimes have pretty fierce winds as my commute and favorite fun rides are along the San Francisco bay, but the terrain is nearly billiard table flat.