Zen Samurai Review

2022 Zen Samurai Electric Bike Review
2022 Zen Samurai
2022 Zen Samurai Bosch Performance Line Speed Motor 4th Generation
2022 Zen Samurai Optional Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
2022 Zen Samurai Ergon Locking Grips Button Pad Enviolo Twist Shifter
2022 Zen Samurai Bosch Intuvia Display Panel
2022 Zen Samurai Manitou Mechete Air Suspension Fork
2022 Zen Samurai Optional Fox Suspension Fork 180mm Hydraulic Disc Brakes
2022 Zen Samurai Downtube Integrated Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
2022 Zen Samurai Lezyne Headlight Adjustable Angle Stem
2022 Zen Samurai Ergon Saddle Custom Suspension Seat Post
2022 Zen Samurai Gates Carbon Belt Drive Ethirteen Cranks
2022 Zen Samurai Enviolo 380 Cvt Heavy Duty
2022 Zen Samurai Schwalbe Super Moto X Tires 27 5 2 4 Reflective Puncture Resistant
2022 Zen Samurai Sks Plastic Fenders Adjustable Kickstand And Rear Rack
2022 Zen Samurai Ebike
2022 Zen Samurai High Step Red
2022 Zen Samurai Electric Bike Review
2022 Zen Samurai
2022 Zen Samurai Bosch Performance Line Speed Motor 4th Generation
2022 Zen Samurai Optional Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
2022 Zen Samurai Ergon Locking Grips Button Pad Enviolo Twist Shifter
2022 Zen Samurai Bosch Intuvia Display Panel
2022 Zen Samurai Manitou Mechete Air Suspension Fork
2022 Zen Samurai Optional Fox Suspension Fork 180mm Hydraulic Disc Brakes
2022 Zen Samurai Downtube Integrated Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
2022 Zen Samurai Lezyne Headlight Adjustable Angle Stem
2022 Zen Samurai Ergon Saddle Custom Suspension Seat Post
2022 Zen Samurai Gates Carbon Belt Drive Ethirteen Cranks
2022 Zen Samurai Enviolo 380 Cvt Heavy Duty
2022 Zen Samurai Schwalbe Super Moto X Tires 27 5 2 4 Reflective Puncture Resistant
2022 Zen Samurai Sks Plastic Fenders Adjustable Kickstand And Rear Rack
2022 Zen Samurai Ebike
2022 Zen Samurai High Step Red

Summary

  • A premium commuter, touring capable, electric bike with Bosch Gen 4 Speed motor capable of 28mph. Offers clean quiet Gates Carbon belt drive, powerful Magura hydraulic disc brakes, and Enviolo continuously variable transmission.
  • Comes stock with a Bosch PowerTube 500 battery pack and 4 amp fast charger. Optional PowerPack 500 doubles range while keeping weight low and center. Four frame sizes, adjustable angle stem, and Ergon touch points ensure comfort.
  • Custom suspension seat post pairs with Manitou air suspension to offer comfort at speed and over long distances. Included SKS fenders, sturdy rear rack, and optimally positioned light offer safety and utility.
  • Weighs a bit more because it comes feature-complete. Pricing starts at $4.6k but rises sharply with optional suspension, brake, and drivetrain upgrades. Battery charge port and downtube cover could be refined.

Video Review

Introduction

Make:

ZEN

Model:

Samurai

Price:

$4,600 (Free Shipping to the Contiguous US and Canada)

Body Position:

Upright, Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Commuting, Touring

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, Lifetime on Frame

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

2022

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

57 lbs (25.85 kg)

Battery Weight:

6.3 lbs (2.85 kg)

Motor Weight:

6.3 lbs (2.85 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminium Alloy, Custom Hydroformed

Frame Sizes:

17.32 in (43.99 cm)18.89 in (47.98 cm)20.47 in (51.99 cm)22.04 in (55.98 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 48cm: 19" Seat Tube, 22.25" Reach, 28.5" Stand Over Height, 36" Minimum Saddle Height, 27.75" Width, 46" Wheelbase, 75.25" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Matte Black, Racing Red, Electric Blue

Frame Fork Details:

Manitou Machete Air Suspension, 120mm Travel, Compression, Rebound Adjust, 34mm Black Anodized Stanchions, Boost 110mm Hub Spacing, 15mm Thru-Axle with Quick Release, Optional Fox AWL Ebike Specific Air Suspension Fork 34 120mm Travel

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, 10mm Threaded Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Multiple Bottle Cage Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses, Front Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Speed 1x∞ Enviolo 380 Heavy Duty Edition Mechanical Continuously Variable Transmission, 22 Tooth Belt Sprocket

Shifter Details:

Enviolo Half-Grip Twist Shift on Right (Rider Infographic, Powered by NuVinci), Optional Kindernay 7-Speed Triggers, Optional Rohloff E14 Electronic Buttons

Cranks:

E*thirteen Alloy 165mm or 170mm Crank Arms, 55 Tooth CDX or CDX EXP Belt Chainring

Pedals:

OneUp Composite Platform with Adjustable Pins, Sealed Rebuildable Ceramic Bearings

Headset:

Cane Creek, Internal, Sealed Bearing, Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-1/2"

Stem:

Custom Designed Satori, Adjustable Angle, Aluminum Alloy, 65mm or 90mm or 110mm Length, 0° to 60°, Two 10mm Spacers, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

ZEN Custom, Aluminum Alloy, Low-Rise, 680mm Length, 20mm Rise, 15° Backsweep, 31.8mm Bore, Optional Female Specific Handlebar

Brake Details:

Magura CT4 Hydraulic Disc with 180mm Rotors, 6 Bolt Pattern, Dual-Piston Calipers, Three-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach, Optional Magura MT5E Quad Piston Brakes

Grips:

Ergon GP1, Ergonomic, Locking

Saddle:

Ergon SF3 Gel, Optional Female Specific Ergon Saddle

Seat Post:

Custom Designed Suspension Seatpost, Optional Kinekt Suspension Seatpost

Seat Post Length:

420 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

Double Wall, Aluminum Alloy, 25mm or 35mm Outer Width, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Sapim, Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge, Double Butted, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Super Moto-X, 27.5" x 2.4" (62-584)

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

30 to 55 PSI, 2.0 to 4.0 BAR, Performance, 3mm Anti-Puncture GreenGuard, Reflective Sidewall Stripe

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

SKS Blumel 75 U-Long Plastic Fenders (75mm Width, Rear Rack Support), RackTime Rear Rack (25kg 55lb Max Load, Pannier Blocker, Bungee Loops, Rear Light Mount), Integrated LEZYNE Macro Drive 1,000 Headlight (5 Modes: Strobe, Flashing, Low, Med, High), Integrated LEZYNE Super Bright STVZO Rear Light (2 LED), Portland Design Works Rear Kickstand (40mm Bolt Spacing, Adjustable Length), Optional Supernova M99 Mini Pro 45 Headlight (1,300 Lumen, Low and High Beam), Optional Supernova M99 Rear Light (5 LED, Brake Light Integration)

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube-Integrated Battery Pack, 1.7lb 4 Amp Charger, Maximum Cadence > 120 RPM Motor Support, ABUS Locking Core (Keyed-Alike Code Card)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Gen 4 Performance Line Speed or CX

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Torque:

85 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Bosch PowerTube 500 3500mAh 18650 Cells, Optional Bosch PowerPack 500

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13.4 ah (Optional 13.4Ah Bosch PowerPack 500)

Battery Watt Hours:

500 wh (Optional 1,000Wh total with Bosch PowerPack 500)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Estimated Max Range:

100 miles (161 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Intuvia, Removable,2.7" Backlit Grayscale Display, Buttons: Reset, Power, i, Lights, (Hold Reset and i for Settings Menu)

Readouts:

Shift Recommendation (Up, Down), Battery Indicator (5 Bars), Assist Level (Eco, Tour, eMTB, Turbo), Power Indicator, Range, Odometer, Gear, Trip Distance, Clock, Max Speed, Average Speed, Trip Time

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left, Buttons: Walk Mode, +, i, -, 5 Volt 500mA Micro-USB Port on Right Edge of Display

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Rear Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence, and Pedal Torque over 1,000x Per Second, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 60% 40Nm, Tour 140% 50Nm, Sport 240% 60Nm, Turbo 340% 85Nm)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)


Written Review

This review was provided for free using a demo bike. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of ZEN products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the ZEN electric bike forums.

Observations:

  • ZEN products are built with an emphasis on reliability and safety. The Samurai can be configured to offer long range by adding a second battery pack. It’s setup for urban riding, commuting, or touring and uses premium hardware including Bosch Gen 4 drive systems, Supernova lights, Magura hydraulic brakes, internal gearing such as Enviolo CVT and Kindernay IGH, Schwalbe tires, and Gates Carbon belt.

Pros:

  • Delivers a combination of performance and hardware features that are unique including a belt drive, internally geared hub or CVT, speed pedelec, and dual battery option!
  • Impressive range of sizes and color options to choose from. I appreciate the range of body types this ebike can accommodate, and how adjustable the stem and handlebar are. It can be upright comfortable or forward aerodynamic.
  • Great touch points. The pedals are large, stiff, and even have adjustable height pins. Both the saddle and grips are Ergon, which fit my body very well in terms of comfort.
  • Emphasis on safety with bright integrated lights and reflective tires. I love that the headlight is up high at the handlebar, because it will be easier for cars to see and won’t bounce around or get blocked by the front fender. If you upgrade the brakes to MT5, the rear light will go bright when stopping! You can go from a dual LED rear light to a 5-LED Supernova.
  • The tires offer a layer of puncture resistance for improved durability. The hybrid tread is smooth and efficient, but capable enough for gravel… in part because they are wider 2.4″ width.
  • Good protection from water and mud thanks to wide SKS brand plastic fenders. The front fender connects to the fork lowers with bolts vs. plastic cuffs, making it more durable. The rear fender has five supports (bottom bracket, seat stays, front of rack, and two arms)! It also has a metal piece below to help support the rear rack for increased weight while still looking beautiful.
  • High carrying capacity from the rear rack, up to 25kg (55lbs) and it’s positioned far enough back that it won’t interfere with trunk bags, baskets, and child seats. It has pannier blockers, supports the rear light, and has bungee loops.
  • Perfect kickstand positioning to avoid pedal lock. Tool-free adjustability makes parking easy and stable.
  • High quality Ethirteen cranks and Gates chainring with alloy guard. The carbon belt is said to be more reliable than a chain, and tends to be quieter and cleaner. Gates belt drive systems stay on track with a center wedge and are considered the leader in the space.
  • It’s neat to see an ebike that comes stock with a highly adjustable air suspension fork and suspension seat post! The ride is comfortable, especially with the high volume tires and swept-back handlebar. Note the tapered steer tube that allows for fancier upgrades including the ebike specific Fox AWL with thicker stanchions and heavy duty damper that ZEN sells as an upgrade.
  • Internally routed cables look great, especiall if you get the second battery pack and electronically shifted Rohloff E14 IGN. The sloped top tube blends directly into the seat stays for a beautiful look while keeping standover height fairly low. Notice the gusset plate where the top tube meets the seat tube for improved strength.
  • They planned the design to allow space for a seat tube mounted bottle cage and have two more pairs of bosses near the head tube which could be used for additional fluids, accessories like mini pumps and folding locks, or the optional front tray basket.
  • Name brand Magura hydraulic disc brakes with decent 180mm rotors come stock. If you pay a bit more, you can get Magura MT5s with a quad piston front caliper and brake light activating levers.
  • ZEN used an ABUS Plus Code keyset that works with two batteries, if you opt for the long range setup, as well as folding locks and other ABUS accessories. I appreciate that the main battery locking core is high up on the right side of the frame.
  • The included charger is fairly compact and light weight for offering such high amp output. It is also UL certified (along with the motor, display, and battery pack).
  • Bosch ebike hardware is some of the best, their electronics are IP65 rated against water, mud, and dust. Their controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal torque, and pedal cadence over 1,000 times per second and can even detect shifting to reduce drivetrain wear.
  • It’s nice that both batteries can be charged and discharged at the same time and show the individual readout percentage if you upgrade to the Bosch Kiox display panel.
  • The default Bosch Intuvia display is excellent. It’s large, removable, and easy to interact with thanks to a reachable button pad and dedicated buttons. It even has an integrated Micro-USB charging port on the right side. It does not have Bluetooth or support the Bosch Ebike Flow smartphone app, show battery percentage, individual battery capacity, or heart rate etc. as Kiox does.

Cons:

  • Minor complaint here. The rear wheel speed sensor is a spoke magnet that passes a reader, and it’s easier to get bumped out of position and throw an error. Some of the newest designs mount this magnet to the rear hub, which is less exposed and allows the wheel to be slightly more symmetrical and balanced.
  • The charge port is low on the left side of the frame, directly in the path of the left crank arm. It’s difficult to reach, more exposed to water, mud, and dust, and the rubber cover design can be difficult to align and seat properly.
  • The black cover below the downtube isn’t super easy to get off. It requires a coin or flat key to insert and twist. I like how securely it seats, and appreciate that it’s generic and cross-compatible across colors and frame sizes. Anyone could untwist and remove it, so it’s less secure than the battery itself.
  • ZEN is a relatively new company, which brings up some questions, but the fact that they are using Bosch hardware is very reassuring. Bosch offers a two year comprehensive warranty and has a vast network of dealers who can diagnose, repair, and replace parts.
  • This is a direct to consumer product, unless you live near Halifax Nova Scotia Canada. Most buyers will not be able to get fitted or test ride, and will have to do some unboxing… but this helps to keep the price down.
  • This is a very minor consideration, but the stock Lezyne and upgrade Supernova headlights do not have side windows. Their positioning and brightness are great, but they aren’t visible from as many angles as some alternatives I’ve seen in recent years.
  • The bike is fairly expensive, starting at $4.6k USD. It makes sense to me when you consider the custom frame with cutout for the belt drive, the premium Bosch motor, and all of the other great hardware. It’s less than most of the equivalent alternatives I’ve seen, like the Riese & Müller Charger.
  • The Bosch Performance Line motors, even the 4th Generation, tend to be louder as they produce more power. I was pleased with the fenders, rack, and other hardware being so quiet, but I did notice the motor… especially at higher RPM as shown in the video review above.
  • The Bosch PowerTube battery can be tricky to re-mount to the frame because it comes from below, the front fender is kind of in the way, and you have to unlock the spring interface with the key while inserting the pack which can be a little tricky.
  • As with many companies who are sourcing hardware globally, some parts may be subject to changes. I noticed the wheelset shown was DT SWISS but I was told the actual could be generic.

Resources:

Comments (6) YouTube Comments

Mike TowpathTraveler
7 months ago

Simply a world-class ebike creation, right out of the box. Every component on these bikes are top tier which indicates the research that Ravi and staff did in bringing to the market such a bike. With the dual battery set up (or not, for that matter), the Samurai is a potential coast to coast touring bike on top of being a great commuting or daytripper bike. I’d not worry at all about the spoke magnet for they are proven, dead-reliable sensors that are as set-it-and-forget-it as you could ask for. A direct competitor to the R&M Supercharger series, as well as to whatever Specialized has on the market now. Over the years, Ravi has been a good friend to EBR and the EBR forumites and it’s easy to root on his great success with Zen!

  Reply
Court
7 months ago

Hi Mike, I’m with you on this and was very impressed by the results of Ravi’s hard work and deep knowledge. It’s so nice to have friends on EBR who are helping to shape the industry, and are so kind to answer questions and connect with people. He’s an inspiring guy, and it was amazing to visit his offices and take this bike out for a review. As always, I tried to go deep on the features and also highlight some of the “trade offs” but none of them were deal killers at all :)

  Reply
SteveMercier
7 months ago

I would get with the dual battery option to replace my worn out R+M Charger. I will look forward to trying the belt Enviolo combo also. But first can someone please give me the next winning lotto numbers?

  Reply
Court
6 months ago

Sure thing Steve, it’s 42.

  Reply
Alex
5 months ago

What a nice bike! If I would not have built my dream bike from scratch I probably would have chosen this Samurai! Would be my choice if it appeared a bit earlier. I bought Gazelle C380+ in 2021, which is very close and invested a reasonable amount of money to upgrade it (fork, IGH, brakes, display, light, dual battery) – I would get everything out-of-the-box with Zen!

  Reply
Court
5 months ago

Hey Alex! It sounds like you’re happy with the Gazelle, which is also an awesome bike. Great job with all of the upgrades, it sounds incredible. Yeah, I hope Ravi and his team at Zen are successful, the choices they made and the insights they have are very good, and they are good people. Thanks for the encouragement for them!

  Reply

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