- A relatively comfortable electric bike that feels well suited for shorter treks through the city thanks to its Selle Royale Free Way gel saddle, Ergon ergonomic grips, and overall frame geometry
- The 350-watt geared hub motor is surprisingly zippy and able to drive the e201 to its 20 mph top speed relatively quickly, it's compact and lightweight - balancing out the mid-frame battery
- Torque sensing pedal assist and throttle only options expand the roles the e201 can play, giving riders the option to use it as a traditional electric bike or more like a moped or scooter
- Integrated GenZe app provides tons of great information and functionality like built-in navigation, but the bike also has some components found on entry-level electric bikes
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GenZe has been making electric bikes for a while, having established themselves with their 100 series several years ago – in fact, Court actually covered both the e101 and e102 all the way back in 2014. Now, GenZe has a new lineup – the 200 series – with some improvements over their earlier iterations. The e201 and e202 have more powerful motors, larger capacity batteries, a sleeker design and improved warranties. The e201 and e202 come in either 16-inch or 18-inch frame sizes with two color schemes: white with red accents or black with blue accents. The e201, which is the model I tested, is a high-step frame, while the e202 is a step-thru. I like that GenZe has a variety of frame sizes and types as opposed to a standard “one-size-fits-all” frame. I believe this allows for a wider variety of riders to find the perfect setup for them. In my opinion, the GenZe e201 is a striking bike with a unique frame design and the Ergon ergonomic grips coupled with the Selle Royale Free Way saddle and overall geometry make for a comfortable ride that feels something like a hybrid of a cruiser and a road bike. Priced at $1,899, the e201 and e202 aren’t exactly entry-level price point electric bikes, and while it seems like there are some compromises when it comes to the components, overall there are still a lot of positive aspects to these models and the smartphone app really sets it apart. I particularly like the fully integrated and removable battery that all but disappears into the frame, making these electric bikes pretty stealthy – you really have to pay attention to notice it’s electric because the motor is compact as well. The battery is surprisingly light at just 2.1 pounds, which means lugging it around the city while the e201 is parked at a bike rack wouldn’t be nearly as much of a chore as some of the heavier batteries that way upwards of six pounds. A quick turn of a key unlocks the battery and with a slight tug on the built in handle it slides out of the frame, ready to be charged on the go. I love that the battery has a handle built in too, so you won’t drop it as easily. GenZe estimates the max range of the 200 series is about 40 miles, but given the battery has 345.6 watt hours, I’d venture a guess and say the range will probably be a bit less than that, especially if you’re a larger rider like me (200 lbs) and are using the throttle and power mode a lot.
Weighing in at 49 pounds, the GenZe e201 isn’t the lightest electric bike in the world but the 350-watt geared hub motor in the rear and the integrated battery in the middle of the frame, it felt like it was well balanced. There are two different operating modes for the e201 – “Normal” and “Power” – and the power mode provides a decent amount of, well, power. Even at 350 watts the e201 felt pretty zippy, even when only using the throttle. The motor can bring this bike up to 20 mph with the throttle or with pedal assist, and even though I weigh 200 pounds I found I was able to easily reach top speed. The e201 also has a torque sensor as opposed to a cadence sensor – one of the areas where I feel GenZe opted for an upgraded component. The torque sensor felt relatively responsive and the power came on quite quickly once I applied pressure to the pedals, and perhaps more importantly power cut off just as fast when I let off the gas. I always appreciate electric bikes with quick power cut offs as having the motor continue to provide power once pedaling has stopped can make traveling at low speeds a bit tricky, and sometimes even dangerous. Imagine trying to weave in-between cars or pedestrians on a busy street at slow speeds and having the motor cranking out full power when you don’t want it to… not that I’d advise anyone do that of course. :) Thankfully, that’s not an issue with the GenZe bikes. Additionally, the 200 series have motor inhibitors, so anytime the brakes are depressed the motor instantly shuts off, even if the rider is still pedaling or twisting the throttle. The Shimano Tourney derailleur offers 8 gears to cycle through, another slightly upgraded feature.
Braking power for the e201 was ample, though the mechanical disc brakes did require some extra pressure compared to hydraulic disc brakes. I think one of the upsides of having mechanical disc brakes is the ease of maintenance and adjustment. Generally speaking, they’re easier to fine tune than hydraulic disc brakes for the end user. Interestingly, the e201 has two different sized rotors for the front and rear disc brakes. The front has a 160 mm rotor while the rear has a 180 mm disc rotor. Given that the majority of stopping power comes from the front wheel (as your body weight shifts forward), I feel like it would make more sense for this to be reversed, with the larger rotor in the front and the smaller one in the rear. Still, I was able to bring the bike to a full stop pretty easily. During my brake testing I also put the motor inhibitors to work by trying to pedal while braking and also using the throttle while braking. In both instances the motor inhibitors worked as intended and power to the motor shut off as soon as I put pressure on the brake levers. I should probably note the brake levers aren’t adjustable in terms of reach, which could make grasping them difficult for those with extra large or small hands, or those wearing gloves. Maybe not, but just something to keep in mind.
One of the areas the e201 really shines is the integrated LCD control center and its corresponding app. The control center on the bike itself probably has enough information to satisfy most riders – a 6-bar battery level indicator, current speed, tripometer, odometer and pedal assist level – but the app has an incredible amount of additional information. And because the main display is integrated into the top-tube, you have plenty of room on the handlebar to mount your phone! On the smartphone app homescreen, you can see battery level in precise percentages, as well as a range estimation based on the current pedal assist setting and the ambient temperature. On the “Trips” tab there’s a built-in navigational tool where riders can input a destination and then get turn-by-turn directions. Very sweet. The app can diagnose the bike if there’s a problem, tracks all activity and displays it in graph form and also provides an overall synopsis of the bike. I really dig the app if you can’t tell. That being said, the display’s location on the top of the downtube makes viewing stats while riding somewhat difficult. I had to tilt my head down quite a bit in order to read it, obscuring obscuring my view ahead, and while I was in a safe area this could be dangerous in busier locations. The display is also non-removable, which means it’s going to be constantly exposed to the elements and possibly scratched at racks.
The GenZe e201 feels like it would be a great electric bike for shorter trips around the city. There’s rear rack bosses so riders can throw on a rack and stow their gear, and also fender bosses to attach fenders to help keep riders dry and clean. The Selle Royalle Free Way saddle, Ergon ergonomic grips, wide pressurized 2-inch wide tires and overall frame geometry make for a relatively comfortable ride. But since there’s no suspension, longer treks could prove to somewhat uncomfortable (I definitely felt this when riding through some grass off-road). The e201 feels like a responsive electric bike that’s enjoyable to ride and I want to thank GenZe for partnering with me on this review.
- Motor inhibitors instantly shut off power when the brakes are activated, ensuring riders can safely come to a stop without fighting against the motor
- Selle Royale Free Way saddle and Ergon ergonomic grips make for a relatively comfortable ride experience, even without suspension, the overall geometry of the e201 adds to this comfort in my opinion, the mid-rise handlebars and stem spacers keep you upright
- Small hub motor and fully-integrated battery make for a stealthy electric bike that can fly under the radar, you really have to look closely to realize it’s actually electric, though the motor does produce some whirring at the higher levels of power
- Schwalbe Big Apple tires are highly pressurized and responsive, making the bike feel nimble, they also have a double layer of nylon fabric for increased protection against punctures and a reflective sidewall for increased visibility in low-light conditions
- Torque sensing pedal assist is responsive and more fluid (matching the power you apply when pedaling, not just measuring an on/off that you are pedaling or not)
- Having a twist throttle means the e201 can be used like a traditional electric bike by using the pedals or more like a scooter or moped by using just the throttle, expanding the roles the e201 can play
- Double-sided kickstand keeps the e201 securely in place when deployed, which is especially important if riders are using a rear rack (which you have to buy separately, make sure it’s disc brake compatible like this)
- Front and rear mechanical disc brakes offer adequate stopping power and will stay cleaner than most rim brakes… even though this is more of an urban style bicycle, they make it easier to take the wheels off the bike too
- Built-in display offers a good amount of information, but the GenZe app provides tons of extra functionality like navigation, a more accurate battery indicator, and a lot of overall stats
- The battery is lightweight and easy to carry around, and even has a built in handle so you’re less likely to drop and damage it by mistake, batteries tend to be one of the most expensive parts of ebikes (store it in a cool, dry location for best results)
- 2-year comprehensive warranty means GenZe will take care of any issues should they arise, this is a small unit of a much larger company that has been around and feels reliable
- Available in two frame sizes and two styles (high-step and low-step) so you can optimize for stiffness and performance or approachability, great if you have a sensitive knee or hip
- Great pedals, they are large and stiff with plenty of traction, I also like that they squeezed bottle cage bosses onto the downtube!
- Most of the wires and cables are routed through the frame, this thing is purpose built to look good and reduce snags if you’re lifting it or hanging it on the back of a car rack or on some busses
- You can switch from Normal to Power mode to increase the feeling of zip and achieve higher speeds more quickly… or go with Normal to help the battery last longer and take you further, it’s a neat little extra
- The battery pack is super light which makes it easier to toss into your backpack and charge off the bike, I also like how integrated it is into the frame, it looks really nice and streamlined
- The crank arms, chainring guard, motor, rims, and spokes are all black and blend together nicely, most of the time you get silver spokes or different colored pedals… but even they are black here
- The front disc brake rotor is smaller than the rear, and since most stopping power comes the front wheel it seems like that should be the other way around
- No integrated lights means riders who want illumination for night riding must buy and attach their own aftermarket lights
- No suspension, and the 30.8 mm seat post diameter is not super common, which could make finding an aftermarket seat post suspension difficult
- Brake levers aren’t adjustable so riders with extra large or extra small hands, or those wearing gloves, may find it difficult to grasp the levers… but at least the mechanical brakes are going to be easier to adjust for most owners than hydraulic
- The double-sided kickstand does provide stability, but when folded up still hangs down pretty low and could get caught on debris while riding
- At 9.6 amp hours, the battery capacity is a little lower than some other electric bikes, which means the range will also likely be a little less than electric bikes with larger batteries
- With a price of $1,899, the 200 series aren’t overly affordable, and the bikes also have a few components that are found on most entry-level bikes, like mechanical disc brakes vs. hydraulic, Shimano Tourney derailleur, no-name hub motor
- The tube-integrated display looks neat and keeps the handlebars clutter-free but it requires you to look further down to get to the readouts vs. something up higher and more forward where you’re already looking as you ride, the good news is, you now have plenty of room on the bars to mount your phone with something like this