Zeitgeist Cargo Review

Zeitgeist Cargo Electric Bike Review
Zeitgeist Cargo
Zeitgeist Cargo 9 Speed Shimano Alivio
Zeitgeist Cargo Samsung Battery Led Charge Indicator
Zeitgeist Cargo Magnetic Lcd Display Wireless Button Pad
Zeitgeist Cargo Aluminum Alloy High Step Ebike
Zeitgeist Cargo Chainring Bash Guard
Zeitgeist Cargo Pack N Pedal Front Basket By Thule
Zeitgeist Cargo Suntour Suspension Fork Basket Rack
Zeitgeist Cargo Thule Pack N Pedal Rack Panniers
Zeitgeist Cargo Electric Bike Review
Zeitgeist Cargo
Zeitgeist Cargo 9 Speed Shimano Alivio
Zeitgeist Cargo Samsung Battery Led Charge Indicator
Zeitgeist Cargo Magnetic Lcd Display Wireless Button Pad
Zeitgeist Cargo Aluminum Alloy High Step Ebike
Zeitgeist Cargo Chainring Bash Guard
Zeitgeist Cargo Pack N Pedal Front Basket By Thule
Zeitgeist Cargo Suntour Suspension Fork Basket Rack
Zeitgeist Cargo Thule Pack N Pedal Rack Panniers

Summary

  • A sleek and stylish city style electric bike with high-end aftermarket racks by Thule (Pack N' Pedal series) available in one 19" high-step frame size and one metallic gold color
  • Larger than average hydraulic disc brakes are smooth and offer good stopping power if you're loaded up with cargo on the racks, the front rack may droop a bit and will impact steering if loaded since it's mounted to the fork
  • Lightweight suspension fork with lockout and ergonomic grips improve comfort, fairly aggressive body position and higher top tube, the stem is unique and may not be replaceable since the LCD display seats there magnetically but bars could be changed
  • Excellent two year comprehensive warranty, quality tires, pedals and kickstand but priced at a premium roughly 2x similarly specced ebikes I've tested

Video Review

Introduction

Make:

Zeitgeist

Model:

Cargo

Price:

$5,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Worldwide

Model Year:

2016

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

63 lbs (28.57 kg)

Battery Weight:

5 lbs (2.26 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18.9 in (48 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Metallic Copper with Black Accents

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour Suspension with Lockout

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

9 Speed 1x9 Shimano Alivio

Shifter Details:

Shimano Alivio Triggers on Right

Cranks:

Aluminum Alloy with Bash Guard

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform, Black

Headset:

FPD

Stem:

Custom Aluminum Alloy

Handlebar:

Low-Rise, Tapered, Aluminum Alloy

Brake Details:

Tektro HDC 300 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Grips:

Tubro Ergonomic

Saddle:

Selle Royal, Gel Active

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

250 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

DT Swiss PSHS, Brass Nipples

Spokes:

14 Gauge

Tire Brand:

Borough Hybrid, 700 x 45c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

Armadillo Anti-Flat Technology

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

StandWell Adjustable Length Kickstand, Optional Front and Rear Racks from Thule, Optional Thule Pannier Bags, Optional Thule Front Basket, Optional LED Headlight

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

374.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

6 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Display Type:

Integrated LCD (Removable Magnetic)

Readouts:

Pedal Assist (0-9), Battery Level, Speed, Odometer, Trip Distance

Display Accessories:

Wireless Remote Button Pad

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)


Written Review

Zeitgeist is a premium electric bike brand that introduced two models in 2016 including the Cargo reviewed here. This model has a top speed of 20 mph, an average sized 350 watt internally geared motor and slightly above average 10.4 amp hour battery pack with Samsung Lithium-ion cells. In addition to the ebike (which only comes in one size, frame style and one color) you get a set of top-of-the-line Thule Pack n’ Pedal rack systems with a basket and panniers… If you were to purchase them separately you’d spend over $500. I like the racks that officially convert this from more of a city style e-bike to a “cargo” hauler but they do add weight (probably around eight pounds) and the front rack especially may impact steering. Unlike the Faraday Porteur which is also a compact city style cargo bike with a front rack, the Zeitgeist Thule racks attach to the fork and add inertial forces to your steering movements. In the video I talk about this and show that when parked (due in part to the single sided kickstand vs. double leg) the front wheel may turn and the rack could get dumped or bang the frame. This front rack may also slide down as you ride over bumpy terrain which can then collide with the tire and create a buzzing noise. Honestly, it’s not truly a cargo bike in the way that the Motiv Sherpa is for example. this is another more compact hauler type of ebike but the racks are welded onto the frame and can support much heavier loads and won’t impact steering in the same ways.

Okay, so even though this isn’t truly a cargo bike… it still rides very well and may even be preferable for people who want removable racks! That’s something the Motive I mentioned earlier cannot do (at least for the rear rack). The battery is beautifully integrated into the downtube along with wires and cables for the brakes, gearing and motor. The LCD display is also impressive as it seats into the custom stem using magnets. It, and the wireless button pad can be removed quickly and easily when you park. I love the suspension fork which is light, narrow and color matched to the battery. You get lockout for riding on smooth streets (to decrease bob and improve steering) and the ergonomic grips are another nice upgrade. For the money, this seems like a niche product because you’d have to be the right size, be okay with a high step frame, really appreciate the racks and aesthetic and be okay with pedal assist only. If you’re into that then you’ll benefit from the two year warranty and have something very unique. It’s tough, the hydraulic brakes are awesome (though I hope the final version offers brake levers with motor inhibitors) and the drive system is zippy and responsive. I enjoyed it and felt like the fit was good (I’m about 5’9″) and appreciate the refined nature of the frame.

Pros:

  • Awesome LCD display panel with custom stem, the display fits into a slot magnetically so you can remove it easily (to prevent damage and exposure), the wireless button pad worked well making it easy to change assist levels without taking your hand off the left grip while riding
  • Solid nine speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain (mid-range component) provides lower gears for climbing or porting around cargo but can also handle 20+ which is where the motor cuts out, pedal assist offers nine levels as well so there are lots of options for power vs. efficiency with this bike
  • Wires are integrated through the frame for improved look and feel, the kickstand is large and sturdy for loading panniers or simply propping the bike
  • The light weight suspension fork and ergonomic grips do a lot to improve ride quality but you can go one step further with a seat post suspension with 31.6 diameter like this Thudbuster from Cane Creek
  • Excellent battery integration, it looks nice, locks securely, doesn’t rattle and can be charged on or off the bike, it also positions battery weight low and centrally on the frame for improved handling and quality Samsung Lithium-ion cells
  • Large 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes are easy to pull, smooth stopping and offer extra power for those times when you’re actually loaded up with cargo
  • Sturdy Aluminum platform pedals from Wellgo with good traction, solid Aluminum chainring guard to help keep your pants clean and protect the teeth on the front sprocket
  • The pedal assist sensor uses 12 magnets vs. 5 or 6 on older models, it’s smoother when starting and stopping
  • I like that the front wheel offers quick release to make it easier to transport or perform maintenance on, I also appreciate the upgraded electronic wire connectors which should be very water resistant
  • Even though I’d call the motor and battery size “average” they felt really zippy and strong, especially considering the weight of the racks, basket and panniers I was testing with

Cons:

  • The racks add utility and look great on this ebike but you could always buy them separately as well (front and rear racks $99, front basket $59 and rear commuter panniers for $119 each as well as the rear pannier blockers for $19) so that’s a ~$500 value but in my experience the front rack started to slide down and rub on the tire a bit
  • Overall, this is an extremely expensive electric bike given the average specs and traditional aluminum frame build… it only comes in one size, one color and isn’t lighter or higher performing than similarly specced bikes that cost half as much
  • I don’t love the idea of wireless on the button pad because it could run out, requiring more time and energy to swap the battery out but I’m told it should last for ~2 years and I do like that it’s removable and you also have a button under the stem for changing assist level if the button pad does run low
  • The front rack mounts directly to the fork arms vs. the head tube and frame which means the weight of your rack and cargo will definitely impact steering and easily swing to the side when parking (try to avoid this as it could dump your basket or bang the frame)
  • At the time of this review the Zeitgeist Cargo electric bike was only available in one medium ~19″ frame size and one frame configuration – traditional high-step with a pretty high top tube
  • The demo model I tested did not have motor inhibitors built into the brake levers which would be nice for a cadence sensing pedal assist drive system, the production version may have them as the other Zeitgeist City model I treid did

Resources:

More Zeitgeist Reviews

Zeitgeist City Review

  • MSRP: $7,999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2016

A Class 3 speed pedelec made entirely from Carbon fiber including the frame, fork, seat post, stem and handle bars. Powerful 500 watt planetary geared motor, 48 volt Lithium-ion downtube mounted battery (removable) with premium…...

Comments (4) YouTube Comments

Nirmala
5 years ago

These Zeitgeist ebikes look nice enough, but man, the prices are way out of line. I am not sure who they are marketing to, but unless they offer some big discounts, I doubt that they will sell many.

  Reply
Court Rye
5 years ago

I agree with you Nirmala, the price seems quite high and this may be a signal of exclusivity or be used as anchoring so they can offer seemingly deep discounts and appear to be a better version of similarly specced electric bikes. I do like the display and both models look good but it’s difficult to consider something so expensive.

  Reply
VB Ebikes
5 years ago

Really nice looking bike! But Alivio, 8-Fun, Tektro (no inhib), 36v, 10.4ah and cadence for $6000….whew.

  Reply
Court Rye
5 years ago

Yeah, I like the custom frame and LCD but even that is made by King Meter so we may see other bikes with similar designs in the future. The bike uses a lot of mid-level parts which are reliable and perform well but the motor and battery are sort of average… again that’s fine but the price seems very high given the real differentiator of the frame (which is only available in one size, style and one color)

  Reply

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