- Powerful 500 Watt motor paired with strong 36 Volt battery for acceleration and climbing ability
- Sensitive pedal assist mode becomes jerky when climbing hills but is otherwise very responsive
- Purpose-built frame distributes weight well, is relatively light, stiff and easier to lift and mount on racks
- Narrow tires are super efficient, overall geometry of bike is aggressive and responds well to pedaling and cornering
Electric bikes tend to be heavy and require a sturdy purpose-built frame to support the motor and battery. In most cases this means the bike frame gets larger, flexier and less responsive. That is not the case with the Currie IZIP E3 Ultra, this bike was built for pedaling performance. The frame is solid, fast and light weight – especially considering how much power it packs in! The tires are thin and firm which lets it coast extremely well, extending range and making cornering a very comfortable experience. This bike was designed for pedaling and is one of the fastest riding ebikes around.
I commute to work by bicycle every single day and there are some big hills along the way. There is also construction, a few sidewalk sections, several lights and a dirt stretch. At first I was concerned how this bike would perform in terms of ergonomics going over all of the bumps. I don’t like getting bounced around and this design is a bit more road-style than cruiser. To my surprise, the seat shock and fork performed very well. There was even a stretch where I took advantage of the lock-out on the fork to improve pedaling input and get rid of bobbing.
Many electric bikes are starting to integrate their battery packs right into the down tube as the E3 Ultra has done. It’s a way to lower the center of gravity, protect the battery and make the bike look more natural. This bike has done a decent job in terms of design but the trade off Currie made was with ease of battery removal. You really can’t remove the battery on this bike without extreme effort. It’s lodged near the center of the down tube with the controller and wiring located near the bottom where there’s a plastic cap.
This design is stronger and lighter than some alternatives but the trade off is clear, you can’t charge the battery without bringing the bike along and that may not fly at your office or wherever you usually charge. This means you have to plan your round trip at less than or equal to ~20 miles and you probably shouldn’t store the bike outside since the battery will be there too and people can mess with it or water could start to corrode it. I also found that because the battery and down tube extend below the front chain rings, if you go up a big curb you will actually bonk your down tube and could crack the battery cap or cause other damage to a very sensitive area of the bike. Even a small crack could start to let water in and that would be bad.
Unlike many other electric bicycles, the E3 Ultra has three speeds on the front chain ring and nine on the rear. That’s 27 speeds to choose from and unlike most ebikes you can actually take advantage of the higher gears because it’s so stable and solid to pedal on. The gears use trigger shifting which is better for powerful pedaling because you don’t risk accidental gear changing as sometimes happens with twist shifters. I did notice that sometimes when pedaling standing up and using the throttle at the same time, the rear tire would jump a little bit. This is because it’s relatively high torque. The motor on this bike is also a bit louder than some I’ve ridden, especially going up hills, and there are times when it cuts in and out. Since it’s a geared hub motor there are more moving parts and it could wear faster than gearless options but in my opinion the power and weight trade off is worth it.
There are several things I dislike about the bike including the small pedals that come stock, they make it feel like a kids bike and I would replace them with wider metal Wellgo pedals for safety in wet conditions. The adjustable neck that holds the handlebars in place is also low end and quickly becomes loose if you pop up curbs and go off road. Even though the bike offers three modes of pedal assist, I found myself always using the throttle because of jerkiness going up hills. Pedal assist on this bike uses a torque sensor which means you always have to pedal with force to get the electric motor to kick in vs. other ebikes that just sense a rotation and send energy to help, you can see this demonstrated in the video review above.
Considering the higher price tag on this bike I have to say the integrated computer is very basic and does not include a modular plug (so if it breaks you’ll have extra work to replace it). There is no speedometer, trip setting or other digital display. The bike also doesn’t include lights which would be nice considering you’ve got a large battery to draw from. I guess these things would also add weight to the bike but to me it’d be worth it for safety and convenience.
Overall this bike is fun to ride, rigid, light and fast. I like the kickstand they used, the front fork with shock feels good and I love the lock out. I’ll never use the pedal assist, I wish it had lights built in and will upgrade the neck and pedals but am happy there are eyelets for adding a water bottle holder, fenders and racks (on the front and back).
- Very light, rigid frame, high performance thin tires
- Easier to lift, load and mount on racks because of traditional top-bar frame style
- Great range because of the narrow tires and 10 amp hour battery
- Solid disc brakes stop the bike well and are adjustable without tools
- 27 gears actually come in handy, chain doesn’t fall off
- Strong 500 watt motor paired with 36 volt battery climbs and accelerates well
- Seat post shock and lockable front fork smooth out the bumps
- If you like rapid fire shifting this bike has it, better for handling the bike when pedaling vs. twist shifter
- Pedal assist is sensative so if you’re not a fan of bikes that keep pushing after you stop pedaling you might like this style
- Overall this bike looks less like an electric bike than others because of the purpose-built frame
- Pre-slimed tires help avoid flats
- Relatively low end components for the high price (neck, pedals, handlebars, computer)
- Pedal assist becomes jerky when climbing, motor also spotty at times when using throttle only
- Battery is very inconvenient to remove, location in down tube exposes it to knocks going up large curbs or other obstacles
- Charger has a built in fan that can be loud and annoying sometimes
- Despite the custom frame, cables are mounted externally below down tube, could have been integrated to reduce clutter but would be harder to repair
- Official Site: https://izipelectric.com/electric-bikes#desc-bottom
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/DC1VTCCDCiKNvDVm7