2016 Zeitgeist City Review


Technical Specs & Ratings





Class 3




Hydraulic Disc



417.6 Wh

417.6 Wh

43.5 lbs / 19.75 kgs



Custom Carbon Fiber

Flat, Carbon Fiber

Tubro TS420 Ergonomic, Locking with Bar Ends

Carbon Fiber


Selle Royal, Vented Gel Active

VP-882 Plastic Platform, Black

Hydraulic Disc

Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Dorado Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

The Zeitgeist City is a premium, all-Carbon fiber speed pedelec. It’s an electric bike that can high 28 mph and only weighs ~43 lbs which is impressive given the 500 watt hub motor and 48 volt battery pack. At one point, I believe this model was being called the Zeitgeist by Karma Bikes but the company may have adjusted due to confusion with the Fisker Karma electric car… My experience testing this ebike was great because I could tell they put a lot of thought into the design (which is comfortable and well balanced). I especially liked the removable magnetic LCD display and optional wireless button pad because the bike still operates without it if you want to go for a minimal look and reduced weight but using it makes navigating the nine levels of assist possible without taking your left hand off the grip. The grips are also a highlight for me with a locking ergonomic design and unique Aluminum bar ends for changing hand position. The Zeitgeist City is a cross between a city and road bike from my point of view, the addition of rear rack bosses is great for those who plan to commute and want to add a set of panniers or trunk bag.

When you look at this thing from the side it almost looks like a normal bicycle, in large part due to the two-tone paint job, the battery disappears and the white glossy highlights create a safe visual footprint. It’s definitely an active geometry and there’s no suspension but to me Carbon fiber rides nicely and absorbs more road vibration than Aluminum and is lighter than steel. It comes with large hydraulic disc brakes and e-bike specific levers that cut power to the motor… my only complaint is the higher price point. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything out there with similar specs, high speed, low weight and cool appearance so the price is founded but a bit excessive. The other limitation is that it only comes in one sort of medium frame size with a relatively straight top tube that can make mounting and standing over difficult for shorter riders. This thing would be a blast to own for road cycling with friends in hilly or mountainous regions and could make an excellent commuter, rather than going with thin narrow tires they upgraded to ebike specific Schwalbe Energizer Plus that are puncture resistant and a bit more forgiving due to larger 1.75″ radius which makes a lot of sense to me.


  • One of the only electric bikes I’ve tested that is almost completely made from carbon fiber! That includes the seat post, stem, handlebar and of course the fork
  • Considering the large 48 volt battery pack and 500 watt motor this bike is pretty light weight and handles very well because that weight is kept low and relatively centered across the frame
  • I really like the custom stem with integrated LCD display panel… that’s removable! I’m seeing more custom panels these days but very few let you take them out (to prevent tampering and exposure to the weather), well thought out design
  • Pedal assist is very responsive, I was told it’s torque based but it responded almost like a cadence sensor for me (not requiring as much force when pedaling) maybe it’s just dialed in to be very sensitive
  • Class 3 speed pedelec capable of hitting 28 mph fairly easily due to the light weight efficient design and larger 700c wheelset, it’s satisfying to accelerate or cruise at top speed
  • Quality tires with reflective sidewalls for safety and integrated puncture protection, the quick release front wheel makes changing flats or moving the bike in vehicles easier
  • Large, powerful hydraulic disc brakes with ebike specific extended levers that cut power to the motor instantly when activated, they worked well and felt sturdy at high speed
  • Zeitgeist offers optional Thule rack accessories but the City frame also features threaded eyelets on the seat stays for adding a more traditional rack that could work with a trunk bag and panniers for commuting, I like that the bike also comes with a kickstand (which is removable if you want)
  • Almost all of the wires are run directly through the frame on this bike and it looks great, they are exposed at the bottom bracket but this might make tuneups and maintenance easier, there’s a convenient disconnect point near the motor for rear wheel maintenance
  • Quality drivetrain (shifters and derailleurs), Shimano Deore XT components are light weight, designed to stay tuned and offer high performance


  • Currently the Zeitgeist City is only available in one frame size with high-step design so this might not be a fit for super tall or petite riders
  • Extremely expensive at nearly $8k but it does perform well, look great and is likely a very exclusive ebike, there are regular pedal powered bikes that cost this much which are also custom carbon fiber frames so I get it
  • No drop bar option for those who prefer an even more aggressive body position but it did ride more like a road bike, I like the ergonomic locking grips and bar ends for changing hand position
  • No integrated lights on this bike, considering the frame is custom designed it would have been cool to see an LED based lighting system running off the main battery vs. having to add your own
  • The wireless button pad is easy to reach (to adjust assist level or cycle through display modes) but requires its own batteries vs. being run off the main pack with one tiny extra wire, I was told the battery should last two years and is easy to change, you can completely remove the buttons if you want and use a single button below the stem as a backup which is cool
  • The included pedals are very basic, not as wide or rigid as some of the magnesium platforms I’ve seen from Wellgo but this choice might have been made because many people have their own or use clip in options at higher speed

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