- A purpose-built electric tricycle with efficient and well-balanced middrive motor system, powerful 48 volt battery and optional second battery bay for increased range, rear wheel drive offers good traction
- Comfortable swept-back handlebar with ergonomic grips, massive padded saddle with springs and hybrid tires keep your body upright and well supported, excellent turning radius, easy-mount frame
- Polished steel fenders, steel chain cover and large reflectors keep you clean and visible, integrated lights can be added by shops along with a boost throttle button, large steel basket for cargo
- No reverse mode, the battery can be difficult to slide on and remove, it requires an on/off step before pressing on/off again at the display panel which means more bending and reaching
Electric trikes make a lot of sense… here’s a platform that is stable and approachable (for riders with limited strength or mobility) but heavy and usually limited in terms of pedal ergonomics and gear options. Getting a little boost from an electric motor means that tricycles become more approachable and fun, hills are less daunting and the grocieries and supplies you might otherwise need to move with an automobile or help from a friend are within reach. My own Grandfather lives in a retirement community where seniors drive golf carts but those are much more expensive, heavy and smelly than an electric bicycle… and they usually drive on the street vs. sidewalks and bike paths. Someone in a golf cart was killed a block from his house this year at a stop sign and the incident turned into a hit and run with the car driver leaving the scene. Whether you’re old or young, bicycles are a fun way to get around and move your legs. Parking becomes easier and you don’t have to deal with licensing or insurance. There are a number of quality options on the market today but the IZIP E3 Go is one of my favorites because it uses a mid-motor. This pulls the same drivetrain chain you do and turns the rear right wheel. Some other products use hub motors positioned in the front wheel and they tend to get less traction and operate less efficiently because they don’t rely on the gears you do as a pedaler. You can literally shift gears on this trike and make it easier for yourself and the motor simultaneously! At $2,599 it’s not the most affordable thing and you don’t get reverse or a throttle (though you can pay $50 to have one added) but the basket is large and wide open, positioned lower on the frame thanks to smaller 20″ rear wheels. It’s a one-size-fits-all ebike but the seat height is adjustable and the mid-rise handlebars can swivel forward or back. In short, it gets the job done well after a bit of learning and can be dialed down to lower operating speeds by your dealer if so requested. Lights can also be added inline with the battery so you don’t have to use removable ones… and back to the safety story above, they would be well worth adding if you cycle at dusk or dawn.
Driving the bike is a 350 watt nominally rated mid-drive from TranzX. It’s not as fancy as Bosch, Yamaha or Brose but I don’t know of any trikes being sold with those systems… they just cost too much right now. The TranzX measures pedal cadence but not torque. This means that starting out you’ll need to get the trike moving all on your own, and it can be a lot of work if you’ve loaded the basket. It would be nice to have the boost button for moments like this but then again, the button only works if the trike is moving a couple miles per hour… so again, it’s up to you. The one redeeming factor here is the three-speed internally geared hub. You can shift down to the easiest gear even if the bike isn’t moving and that makes those first pedal strokes much easier. Once the motor is going, the trike has no problem and you hardly need push because all it’s measuring is pedal cadence. Let your legs stretch but keep them going to continue earning that motor assist.
Powering the mid-drive and your backlit display is a 48 volt 8.8 amp hour battery pack. Many older batteries ran at 36 volts and weren’t as efficient. I’d call this pack average in size but slightly higher in power. It mounts just below the basket, on the left tray, and there’s a slot just to the right for storing a second pack! What a cool option, in my opinion it’s a great use of space and a smart way to let riders go further if they wish to spend more on an additional battery. The downside here however, is that you have to physically switch the packs to get the second one hooked up to the bike. The right tray is just that, a holding tray. Both slots felt tight to me and I really had to be careful lining the batteries up and pushing forward (pretty hard) to get them to connect and lock. If you don’t push hard enough, the locking tab won’t line up correctly. Conversely, taking the battery off can be a chore and require similar force when pulling. I chose to sit down, brace the rear end of the trike with one foot and pull hard with my hands. For many riders, this may be too much hassle so it’s great that you don’t have to remove the battery to charge it. Unfortunately, you DO have to bend down and press a little power button each time you want to ride. This step is followed by a second press on the power button at the display panel. It’s a real inconvenience if you forget to turn the battery on, sit down in the saddle and try to power the display up. I did this once and thought DANG! as I got back up, turned, bent down and turned the battery on. I have sensitive knees so turning and crouching down and even getting onto the saddle isn’t my favorite activity.
Once the display panel is on, you get lots of great feedback including battery charge level, current speed, odometer and a cool Range menu that dynamically updates as you press plus and minus to change assist levels. Note that there are four levels of assist but you can completely turn it off with a zero mode by holding the power button for a few seconds. I have no idea why this is burried as it’s a useful drive mode for people trying to conserve battery while still running the display and integrated lights (if you had those added by your shop). The second step to actually turn the bike off is to hold power at the display again for a few more seconds. In short, the on and off sequences for this trike seem unnecessarily complicated… but once you figure it all out, the trike works great and offers better traction and range than a lot of competing products.
If you’re someone who wants a little more speed on an upright e-trike then this is going to be a good fit. With a ~13 mph top assisted speed and the option to have speed lowered by your dealer (or just lower the assist by pressing minus) you get a lot of freedom. The display panel can be swiveled up or down to reduce glare but is not removable and there are no USB charging ports. No cup holder either, but you could add one to the bar or maybe set your drink in the basket. It’s a relatively quiet ride but the fenders and steel basket do rattle (especially with gear in them). You shouldn’t have to deal with much maintenance on this trike and it does come with a great warranty. IZIP has been around for a lot longer than other electric bike companies in the USA and their mid-level products balance price with quality and performance well. Big thanks to IZIP for partnering with me on this post, inviting me to their headquarters to try out the latest ebikes and getting me the boost button to show in the video.
- Most upright trikes forego suspension because it’s heavy and adds to the price, IZIP opted for riser bars and a fancy oversized saddle with big springs, it feels quite good, even getting up to the higher speeds
- With a top speed of ~13 mph, this e-trike is a bit faster than some others when ridden in the highest level of assist, it’s great then to have a three-speed transmission so you can keep up with pedaling, I like that you can also shift gears at standstill since it’s an internally geared hub
- Internally geared hubs tend to require less maintenance and attention than traditional cassettes and derailleurs, this one is also well protected under the main frame section
- The tire tubes all come pre-Slimed to keep them going longer if you get a puncture… just pump some air back in and spin the tire to help it self-seal, changing tubes on a trike can be difficult given the weight and size of the thing
- Being wider, trikes sometimes don’t fit through doorways but this one is just 31 inches wide and should work, most normal doors are 32″ wide in the USA
- The wire mesh basket won’t crack or break as easily as some plastic products but it could rust since it’s steel (so avoid scratches and water), it produces a bit more noise but offers lots of storage space and doesn’t put cargo onto the batteries (obstructing airflow etc.) as some other trikes do
- There are two battery slides below the basket! This is really cool for people who decide on purchasing a second battery to increase range, unfortunately, you do need to physically swap them vs. just having a switch or something
- All three wheels have a metal fender to keep water and mud off of you and your cargo, they do rattle a bit if the road gets bumpy but feel sturdy, be careful with the chain cover because it’s a bit easier to step on when mounting the trike if you’re not careful and that would bend it
- This trike is easy to step over because the frame is a “wave” vs. high-step “diamond” and all of the cables are routed through the metal tubing so you won’t get snagged or scratched
- Some older trikes use drum brakes but the IZIP E3 Go has a rim brake in the front and a mechanical disc brake in the rear! It’s a good setup that can handle more weight and requires less hand strength
- The battery charger is average in terms of size and weight but it has a nice metal end piece that should hold up better if dropped or stepped on, the battery pack also has a nice handle with magnetic clasp so it won’t flop around, this handle makes it easier to carry and reduces the risks of a drop and subsequent damage
- I’d recommend adding lights to the trike (some shops can even wire them in) but I appreciate the big reflectors that come standard, having two at the back is great
- Even though the trike only comes in one size, it’s fairly adjustable and the mid-rise bars can tip forward or back which really helps and gives you an upright body position that’s more comfortable
- The basket has a metal tube welded onto one corner where you could put a flag for extra safety! They aren’t that expensive and can be found online here
- Notice that the two rear wheels are 20″ diameter vs. 26″ up front, this makes them stronger and lowers the basket so it’s easier to load
- Because the E3 Go electric tricycle uses a mid drive motor, it is more balanced and the rear-wheel-drive doesn’t spin out as easily as a front hub motor, it’s also more efficient and should get better range
- The trike has good clearance along the bottom, you can ride over bumpy terrain without bottoming out the frame or drivetrain components (there is a chain tensioner down there to keep things tight), I also like the two parking brakes built into the brake levers that keep the trike from rolling away when you step off on angled terrain
- This bike uses a CANbus system which allows dealers to hook it up to a computer and diagnose issues more quickly vs. guessing, you can enter the display by holding the plus and power buttons simultaneously for a few seconds and change the power support level and backlighting level… another cool feature is that dealers can lower the top speed using their computer interface, this is great for riders who might be less stable because trikes can tip if turned sharply
- This electric trike does not offer reverse mode, something that a few companies have added in recent years to help people get the bike out of their parking spots, garages etc.
- No throttle included… which for some people is a big deal given the weight of the trike and their limited leg strength or mobility, thankfully IZIP does sell a boost button for $50 more and shops can help you install it, you still need to pedal the bike a couple of miles per hour before the throttle will kick in and it’s not super easy to reach
- Motor power and brake power in the rear only goes to one wheel, the wheel on the right side, this can wear the tire down quicker on that side and might turn the bike to the right a little bit if you brake hard
- The battery took some effort to remove from the frame but I’m glad it’s removable because the trike is likely too large for some people to bring inside, store the pack in a cool dry location and top it off every month or so if you haven’t gone riding, people who struggle to bend over and reach down might need help with the battery and I’d love to see future versions of the trike smooth out the plastic mounting tray so it doesn’t require so much effort
- It seems like you have to press the power button on the battery before pressing the power button on the display to get the electric drive systems booted up, this extra step requires the user to bend over and just seems unnecessary and inconvenient compared with some other electric bicycles that only have one step
- The shifter wire and housing on the rear right side of the bike frame protrude and got in the way of my right heel when pedaling, I bumped it once or twice before adjusting my foot, just be careful with this as it’s a little delicate, perhaps future versions will move this part of the pedal path more
- Turning the display off can be confusing as you hold the power button for a few seconds and it goes to zero assist, then you need to release it and hold one more time to completely power down… I wish you could arrow down to level zero and just use the power button for on/off to make things simpler