- A relatively lightweight, approachable, comfortable cruiser electric bike, oversized saddle and padded grips dampen vibration, available in two colorways and three frame sizes to fit style preferences and body types
- 26-inch wheels lower the frame height and provide more strength than 700c, high-volume 2.4-inch Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires provide stability and traction in gravel and packed dirt, responsive hydraulic disc brakes
- Bosch Active Line Cruise is the entry point in terms of power but it's also the lightest and quietest motor in their lineup, excellent battery position, compact charger is easy to bring along
- Limited accessories (no lights, racks, or fenders), the display panel is simple to use but lacks USB charging and is not removable or easily adjustable to reduce glare
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The IZIP E3 Vida is an Class 1 Pedal Assist, cruiser-style electric bike. It offers an upright body position, comes with a slightly oversized saddle with rubber bumpers for support and comfort, and swept back bars with padded grips so you don’t have to lean forward as much. This model is similar to the Raleigh Venture iE, which lacks the adjustable angle stem found here. Stems like this are wonderful for adjusting body position but can sometime rattle loose, so keep it tight and consider using Loctite threadlocker to secure the primary bolt if you notice issues. The oversized saddle is set on a 30.9 mm seatpost with a rubberized seat clamp that requires less effort to adjust than some of the standard hardware I’ve seen on similar ebikes. This bike is very lightweight for a cruiser, weighing in at round 47 pounds total. The lower weight is due in part to its lack of suspension, rear rack, and fenders, although there are mounting points for adding 26″ aftermarket fenders if you so wish. My feeling is that this product is best suited for relaxed riding around neighborhoods and towns. The frame is approachable, offers good weight distribution (with the battery and motor low and center), and is comfortable to stand over. One can hop on and off very easily, although the battery pack position should be considered, to avoid kicking and scuffing. The bike comes in three frame sizes and two colors, lime green and gray, which adds a nice choice element for his and hers or family situations where variety could help to distinguish ownership. The stem is upright with five spacers underneath, and it holds a mid-rise handlebar that sweeps back to meet you. This reduces shoulder, back, and neck fatigue, in my experience. It has a quality choice of tires–high volume Schwalbe Super Moto-X, with a PSI rating of 30-55; they are 27.5 inches in diameter and 2.4 inches in width. The tires add a lot of comfort here and increase the effective diameter to create a lower attack angle, which helps to span cracks and overcome small obstacles without so much jar and bump. The frame was built with sturdy aluminum alloy tubing and features large heavy-duty welds with additional gusset plating at the base of the downtube and battery mounts. While some step-thru cruiser e-bikes tend to feel flexy as you pedal, this one feels very solid, so no concerns there. Favorably, the bike comes in 3 frame sizes, so the rider can choose whichever frame best suits their body type or preference.
The IZIP E3 Vida comes with hydraulic disk brakes, Tektro Auriga, that require minimal hand strength and offer adjustable reach. The brakes use 160 mm front and rear rotors, which I’d consider adequate for a neighborhood bike. The drive system components are all made by Bosch. The motor is an Active Line Plus, which offers a mix of efficiency, lightweight design (weighing just 6.3 lbs), and affordability. Although it’s cheaper and more compact than their Performance Line motors, I still found it very powerful and able to climb well… as long as I shifted down to the lower gears. While the motor does not supply as much torque as the Performance Line motor; it goes up to 40 newton meters of torque, and 100 RPM (rotations per minute) vs. 75 nm and 120 RPM, it does pedal without any gear resistance. That makes the IZIP E3 Vida more efficient if you turn the motor off or attempt to pedal beyond the 20 mph top assisted speed. Considering the casual riding this bike is designed for, the efficient Active Line motor is a great fit because it keeps the price down while still providing features like shift detection to protect the sprockets and derailleur. The bike comes with a 1×9 Shimano Alivio Derailleur and Shimano HG Cassette with 9 speeds, great for varied urban terrain. The chain is equipped with an alloy guard, which helps keep pants or dresses from touching it while reducing chain drops. The cranks are standard length 170mm. As a whole, gear shifting operates very smoothly. The pedals (Wellgo R199) could be wider and more sturdy; the steel cage design can get and bent and become sharp if the bike tips… and they are steel, so they could rust. My personal favorite pedal option to upgrade to is the affordable Wellgo BMX pedals, but some riders might want rubberized pedals to reduce the potential for shin scrapes. The stock R199’s have reflectors and are lightweight, so they work well enough. A particularly nice feature of the drive systems is that the motor measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second. So, if it were to sense a change in tension, it would try to ease out motor torque to prevent the chain, sprockets, etc. from being damaged. Overall, it’s a very a smart, efficient system, and even though it’s not top of the line for Bosch performance, it’s above average for reliability. This bike’s motor is also one of the quietest of mid-drive motors I’ve encountered. It does lack a throttle, unlike most cruiser ebikes, but the tradeoff is an efficient, well-balanced system, that can offer good range.
The IZIP E3 Vida comes equipped with a battery pack that is mounted vertically in front of the seat tube–a different and cleverer design than the rear-rack and downtube mounted batteries I have seen more often. Those tend to compromise balance and exacerbate frame flex. Ideally, you want as much weight low and center on the frame as possible. The battery you get here is a Bosch Power Pack 400, a slightly smaller and more affordable product than the high-end Bosch PowerPack 500. The battery weighs roughly 5.5 pounds, offering 36 volts and 11 amp-hours of capacity. It is small, but very effective… and the casing design and mount interface is forward compatible to the larger 500 watt battery pack, in case you want to borrow, rent, or buy one in the future. With the smaller battery pack, this electric bicycle also comes with a compact 2 amp, 1.3 lb charger. Bosch does sell a faster 4 amp charger, for those who want to minimize downtime, and just like the forward compatibility of the battery interface on the bicycle, the faster charger can also be used for this pack if you happen to have access to one. Practically, this battery is very convenient. It can be charged on/off the bike and it uses the same charging interface as the mount pad on the bike. This means you don’t have to use an adapter and keep track of additional parts like some other ebikes. The battery is easy to remove, just insert and twist the key then pull forward and up using the molded plastic handle. This handle is very handy for transporting the battery safely, with replacement packs costing in the range of $800, it’s not a part that you wan’t to drop or damage. An LED charge level indicator is built into the casing of the battery pack, which lights up with small green LED boxes when you press the indicator button. The battery capacity readout is active even when the pack is detached from the bike. Visually, the black battery casing has been enhanced with some branding and accent stickers to tie into the frame colors. Overall, this battery is quite reliable and durable. To help maximize its lifespan, I’ve heard that storing in a cool dry location and avoiding discharge below 20% is best.
Activating the drive systems on this ebike is fairly straightforward. You charge and mount the battery then press the power button on the top edge of the little display panel, which is mounted within reach of the left grip. This is the Bosch Purion display, one of the nicer compact offerings on the market right now. It cannot be swiveled to reduce glare easily, is not removable for protection, does not show as many menus, and does not have an active Micro-USB charging port like the larger Bosch Intuvia display. However, it does keep the handlebars open for adding a GPS phone mount or cup holder, and may not get damaged as easily if the bike tips or is parked at a crowded rack. This is a very popular display panel for electric mountain bikes, which often strive for stealthiness to fly “below the radar” visually. I have grown to accept the Purion, but do have a few tips for use… The + and – button pads, which raise and lower assistance, are designed to click in at an angle. They are attached near the left edge of the control pad and pivot in towards the LCD. With practice, I’ve found that the right edge is really the sweet spot for pressing, and I’ve noticed that sometimes the lower left and middle areas can yield inconsistent pressing results. The screen itself glows faint white at all times, which shouldn’t draw much power, and is handy when it’s early morning or later at night and you need to read it. Once you get the hang of things, you really don’t have to look down at the display at all, because you can feel and hear the clicks of the button pad. Holding the + button will turn lights on and off if you choose have a shop wire some in. This will of course cost extra, but it’s nice to know that it’s possible and fairly easy to do (from what I’m told by many electric bike shops around the US). Without a rack, fenders, or lights installed by default… this bike is clean and sturdy, but it’s nice to know that it’s somewhat open to being upgraded. There aren’t many locations to mount a bottle cage to the frame, but you could add a cup holder to the handlebar. As for rear racks, a beam rack might be the only option without using a seat clamp adapter and taking up spots for where the fenders would otherwise connect (be sure to get a disc brake compatible rack, if you go this route). Back to the display! Holding the minus button will cycle through trip distance, odometer, assist level, and range. And, the range menu is dynamic, so you can see the bike calculate how far it thinks you can go before the battery completely drains based on the last mile of riding, your current state of charge, and the chosen level of assist. This helps to make up for the very basic 5-bar charge indicator on the left side of the battery and the display, which isn’t as precise as a 10-bar or percentage readout seen on some competing displays. You can also reset the range estimate as you ride, in order to get an update as terrain changes. I believe this can be accomplished by navigating to range by holding the – key, and then holding – and + simultaneously for a few seconds. On the lower edge of the control pad is a walk-mode button. Press it once and then hold the + button to have the motor slowly assist you when walking the bike. For walk mode to work, you must be in Eco, Tour, Sport, or Boost. This can be useful for crowded non-bikeable areas, or if you get a flat tire, and not all companies have it enabled, so props to IZIP. Changing flats is easier with the quick release wheels and the premium Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires have GreenGuard puncture protection to help minimize cuts and thorns.
Overall, this is fun cruiser ebike because of the approachable frame, cheerful colors, mid-motor efficiency, and balanced battery position. The price of $2.7k is higher than most, but comes with the support of a vast dealer network, where you can test ride and get fitted, and receive support for the two-year comprehensive warranty. This a smart, well-designed bike with some updated features, such as its hydraulic disk brakes. Brakes are important, and these ones have adjustable-reach levers that might fit smaller and gloved hands. The IZIP Vida is sturdy, stable, and very comfortable; there was no wobbling riding it… which sometimes happens on wave-style step thru models for me. It excels most in its weight distribution, making it light and approachable, perfect for riding casually around town. In the past, some IZIP electric bikes used cheaper drive systems that weren’t as sophisticated and natural feeling. This one activates smoothly, always feels controlled, and has the potential to get riders who might have struggled with wind and hills, back onto the saddle for some fun exercise. Big thanks to IZIP and Raleigh for partnering with me on this review and providing several models to test back to back, it helped me zero-in on what makes the Vida unique in the line. I welcome questions and comments below as well as the IZIP electric bike forums.
- The deep step-thru frame is approachable, sturdy (reinforced with alloy gussets near the head tube and seat tube), and available in three sizes for optimal fit
- Most of the cruiser style electric bikes I have seen use a rear rack mounted battery (which can feel unbalanced and contribute to frame flex) or a downtube mounted battery (which can raise the standover height and get kicked), so I like that IZIP went with something a little bit different here, mounting the battery vertically in front of the seat tube to keep it low and center but still balanced and out of the way (just be careful when unlocking and removing it because it seems like it could tip forward and fall off more easily)
- I was surprised that the Vida only weighs ~47 lbs because most cruisers are 50+, this is probably a result of using the lightweight Bosch Active Line Plus motor and smaller PowerPack 400 battery, and having no suspension, fenders, or rear rack included… but it does have mounting points for fenders if you wanted to add some
- The bike is fairly comfortable to ride because of the upright body position, oversized saddle with rubber bumpers, swept back bars with padded grips, and high-volume Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires! Great choice from IZIP here, the tires are high quality and offer a unique 27.5″ x 2.4″ size vs. 26″ x 1.95″ on many of the older models
- The larger wheel size of 27.5″ provides a lower attack angle so you don’t feel bumps and cracks as much, the wide pressure range of the tires, 30 to 55 psi, means that you can ride more comfortably if you are willing to sacrifice some rolling efficiency (which isn’t as big of a big deal on an electric bicycle)
- Great aesthetics here, I love the two color choices (satin lime and satin gray) and appreciate that the paint extends from the frame through the fork and saddle, the grips, and battery stickers all match beautifully and that helps it to not look natural and purposeful, note also that the spokes, hubs, bars, and other minor hardware pieces are black vs. a mix of silver and black
- The Bosch Active Line Plus motor is known for being lightweight, quiet, efficient, and easy to pedal unpowered because it uses a standard sized chainring without reduction
- Great kickstand choice and placement, I like the chainring protector (because it will keep your pant legs or dress ends from snagging and reduce chain drops), and the rigid stem provides good positioning and strength here vs. an adjustable angle stem… it’s a personal preference with the stem, but this part won’t come loose as easily and still offers good rise and positioning with the five spacers
- Both wheels offer quick release and I was very impressed with the thicker 12mm thru-axle at the rear (vs. a standard 9mm axle and skewer), this design approach should further reduce flex and provide support for the larger heavier tires
- This bike coasts efficiently and balances well because of the wider tires and relaxed geometry, I didn’t detect any speed wobble and was able to ride with no hands easily
- Cables are internally routed to look clean and stay out of the way, most of the weight is positioned low and center for optimal handling
- Bosch has been expanding their motor offerings and the Active Line Plus is meant to be smaller and cheaper but it is still very powerful and climbed well for me when I shifted to lower gears
- The price is reasonable considering that the bike has hydraulic disc brakes and a Bosch drive system with shift detection, great Shimano Alivio 9-speed drivetrain and is sold through a network of dealers with good support and warranty
- Hydraulic disc brakes tend to require less hand strength to operate, are easier to adjust (in terms of hand reach on the brake levers), and are more consistent than mechanical brakes which tend to stretch and loosen with use
- Durable and reliable battery, I like that the pack has a big handle built in on the top and that it comes with a lightweight and compact 1.3 amp charger with a durable proprietary plug end
- Bosch PowerPack batteries are interchangeable so you could borrow or rent a 500 watt pack to go further, this is one of the most common battery packs globally and that makes it easier to replace
- Minor thing here, I appreciate the large rubberized quick release lever that makes adjusting saddle height easier, if this is a shared ebike, you might be adjusting seat height frequently
- I’ve been told by many ebike dealers that it is possible to wire in 6 volt lights that will run off of the Bosch drive system, that’s a nice upgrade for people who ride in the dark or simply want to stand out more to traffic (hold the + button to activate lights if you add them)
- Minor complaint, there are no bottle cage bosses on this e-bike, there is room on the downtube but perhaps that would reduce frame strength and get in the way when mounting (could get kicked when stepping over), consider a handlebar mounted cup holder like this
- I didn’t see a slap guard on the right chain stay, so you could end up with some chipping over time if you ride across bumpy terrain, consider a clear piece of box tape or an aftermarket slap guard protector
- The Active Line Cruise motor offers a bit lower torque than the Performance Line products and has a limited 100 RPM pedal rate top speed vs. 120 RPM, so you have to switch gears a bit more frequently to go faster vs. pedaling faster, it offers up to 40 Nm of torque vs. 75 on the highest torque Bosch motor
- The Bosch Purion display panel isn’t removable and doesn’t have an active Micro-USB port built-in like the Bosch Intuvia displays, I also found that sometimes the buttons aren’t as easy to push because they pivot inwards (towards the screen) vs. straight down
- The all-aluminum frame is lightweight but doesn’t offer the same vibration dampening properties as steel or carbon fiber, since there’s no suspension that comes stock, I’d probably consider a cheap suspension seat post like this to smooth out bumpy rides
- Many electric cruisers offer trigger or twist throttles to help get moving from standstill, it makes them Class 2 (which isn’t allowed as many places), and can expend the battery capacity more quickly but it can be a nice feature to have if you want to take a break from pedaling or need help getting going
- Minor gripe, the Wellgo cage pedals are pretty basic and don’t offer as large of surface area or good of grip as something like these Wellgo BMX pedals that are pretty affordable… I’d definitely swap them out for myself if getting this bike
- Minor gripe, Bosch does offer a faster four amp charger that would fill the battery pack faster… but it weights a bit more, is physically larger, and adds to the price of the bike, I feel that the two amp charger included with the 2018 IZIP E3 Vida is a good fit for the smaller PowerPack 400 battery, do be careful when charging the pack while mounted to the bike because the plug port is very close to the right crank arm and could get bumped
- Even though the display cannot be removed and may be a little small for people with limited eyesight, it’s intuitive enough that you can kind of guess what’s going on without looking down and those who want the larger Intuvia display can pay an electric bike shop to install the upgrade
- The fork color doesn’t exactly match the frame color (at least on the demo model I tried)… this is the case for both the lime and gray color color schemes and I’m not sure it was intentional? It looks like the stock photo has more consistent colors, so perhaps this was just a prototype issue with the bike I had to review
- It’s nice that both frames have some bright color accents, especially since they don’t have reflective tires or integrated lights
- Make sure that you hear the battery pack click into position because it would be easier to have it tip forward and fall out in this upright mounting configuration vs. the angled forward configuration of most other frames I’ve seen