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  1. #1
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    Bought Ezip, returned it next day. Saying "No" to ebikes.

    Just thought I would share my experience with the Ezip, as it seems to be the most popular ebike around, probably due to its low price.

    I bought it because I found it at my local Toys R Us for $300 on clearance for the 2009 model. I'm a moderately experienced mountain and road biker, but I've just recently started communting to work, so I thought an electric would be in my future to get me there a little quicker with less sweat.

    I don't know what I was expecting for $300.... You get what you pay for. The Ezip is a very poor quality bike. It's a walmart bike with a motor on it. And as an experienced biker, I always tell people to spend a little money on a bike. If you buy a Walmart bike (any bike under, say, $400) you won't like it and therefore won't like biking. Besides weighing 75 lbs, (any good non-ebike will weigh a third of that or less) it has the worst components you can find that work very poorly when brand new and will last a very short time (I know, I've seen family members go through tons of these kinds of bikes). The motor, charging system and battery seem fine, although the battery is quite big and heavy. I know that some, more powerful batteries weigh half as much.

    So I got on the road and clunked it up to speed. This bike is not fun to use. It feels like you're hauling around a bathtub. The motor engages well and pulls the bike along fine, I guess. Top speed, at around 15 mph is slower than it seems on paper. I realized that I bike much faster than this on my other bikes just pedalling slowly and moderately. With a good amount of extra pedal power you can coerse the bike into getting a bit faster, but you're limited by the top gear of the bike. To get top speed on this bike WITH the electric assist going, I figured I needed to work twice as hard as on my other non electric commuter bike.

    So after a long test run, I figured, "what's the point?" I'm not one of those road bikers that train everyday, I don't own any spandex, or anything like that. I think I'm in reasonably good shape but not top of my game good or anything. For someone like me that knows what a good bike feels like and isn't very out of shape or overweight, there's no reason to own a bike like this. It sucks the fun out of the whole experience.

    I can see how people who are VERY out of shape, or overweight (although keep in mind, the posted weight limit is 240 lbs) might like the added elecrtric assist, and they might even find it gets them in shape seeing as you really do need to give a good amount of effort if you want to save the batteries or go faster than a snails pace.

    But if you don't fall into that category and you're considering one of these, please please please go to a bike shop and test ride a good bike instead. They'll go faster with less effort and just feel so much better. They'll be fun and agile and will last a lifetime if maintained. Plus you'll get the exercise and feel good about yourself for using pure human power. I paid $300 for my Trek Soho single speed in mint condition off of my local craigslist. I would take that ANY day over an Ezip.

    I was curious about electric bikes, but I see now there's a reason why people still ride without batteries.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    I can appreciate your opinions, however...

    No bike assembled by a stock boy will EVER be tuned properly.
    Did you tune up the bike before riding it?
    - Lube the chain,
    - set the brakes correctly,
    - adjust the seat to your height,
    - check for bad bearings in the hubs and crank,
    - check the rims for true,
    - set the tire pressure correctly,
    - adjust the derailleurs if necessary

    I'm not saying that your opinion is wrong, just that a lack of accuracy in reporting ends up sounding like a knee-jerk reaction.

    I am running an old '90's mountain bike with a kit and very heavy batteries. My crank and head are worn my derailleurs are out of wack a bit but as long as I perform the above monthly maintenance the bike still rides well.

    I let some neighbors and friends check out my rig and they all concluded that it feels heavy initially but that the battery and motor weight was not significant when pedaling without throttling the motor.

    That being said I have indeed run across a number of crap bikes that feel like pedaling "bathtubs" Crestwood, Huffy and some others and there was NO hope for adjusting anything on them to improve them. The shifters stick, bearings were slow period, the rims were already bent, etc. Adding a kit to these or buying a similar one with a motor reminds me of the phrase "If you put a pig in a dress, it's still a pig."

    My advice is buy a bike you enjoy riding and get a kit. Spend the extra money if you've got it on the LiFePo batteries. I am having nightmares with my SLA batteries and will buy LiFePo's and a charger kit as soon as I can scrounge the money together. (I am trying to cut costs an learn something. So I have recycled SLA batteries. So my opinion on and experience with SLA batteries may be wildly different that other's.)

    I find that for flat terrain riding, there is absolutely no point to an electric bike... for me.
    But for climbing grades on my daily work commute in order to maintain 15 miles per hour the ebike kit is a God-send. I ride every day that isn't pouring rain in the morning and ride well into November.

    Edit: That's 15mph UP the hill. Riding in top gear with the motor at full throttle most of the rest of the way, I maintain 25mph. (20mph with just the motor)
    Last edited by DarthSensate; 06-18-09 at 09:47 AM.

  3. #3
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    Yep, did a full tune on it. Everything you mentioned except repack the bearings. It's still a terrible ride. It's essentially a Huffy with a motor. Like you said, its still a pig.

    I could maybe see getting a kit and putting it on a good bike to be more enjoyable, but then you're weighing down and modifying a perfectly good piece of machinery that's been designed and tuned to carry a rider, not a battery pack and a motor.

    So if you're in a very hilly area or really out of shape, I can see the benefits. Otherwise, forget it.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    You are comparing all electric bikes to the bottom of the barrel dregs.
    A FisherPrice Hammer is not the same as an EastWing.

    Hauling is another use for them by the way.


  5. #5
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    Whats wrong with Ezip? I had one and I enjoyed it. I actually commuted for few months before deciding to upgrade to a faster setup. And this is coming from a guy that never had any bike that cost less than $1000 bucks.

    Its not the bike. Why do people always blame the bike or attribute things to a bike. Granted, cheap bike will have a cheap components but so what... You didn't pay lot of money, so ride it till it falls apart.

    And you can't compare used bike from craigslist to Ezip. Thats like comparing Soho to Townie beach cruiser. Its now closer in price but still not the same. If Ezip didn't have a motor, it would be a $90 bike - so not quite close to $300 Soho. And in the world of "good" and expensive bike, Trek Soho isn't that much above Ezip quality.

    So if you didn't like it - so be it. But don't blame the bike. I have many expensive bikes and although I no longer have Ezip, it brought lots of smile and I think lots of current/previous owners will agree.

    Maybe you should try more expensive Ebike? Mine does near 40mph.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leamcorp View Post
    Its not the bike. Why do people always blame the bike or attribute things to a bike. Granted, cheap bike will have a cheap components but so what... You didn't pay lot of money, so ride it till it falls apart.

    Maybe you should try more expensive Ebike? Mine does near 40mph.
    I AGREE! It sounds like you're already familiar with more expensive bikes and should have known a $300 bike (electric or otherwise) wouldn't ride or feel like a higher quality machine. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the EZIP is loaded with low quality parts and is very heavy to ride.

    Not the bikes fault - you were expecting too much and should have known better. Want a nice e-bike? Pay more than $300...

  8. #8
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    The 36V 20AH LiFePO4 pack I use cost twice as much as the eZip, and that's just the battery. I can't imagine a $300 eBike, not even a $300 bike period. Not being snobish but $300 won't get you very much of anything these days.

  9. #9
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    $300 US will just about get you a hub motor kit that you can put on a decent quality bike. My daily driver is a craigslist frankenbike- a mid 1980's Miyata ridge runner rebuilt as a commuter with a random mix of newer components. It set me back $200.00, and with it's long wheelbase, slack steering tube angle and lugged steel frame it's a nice riding bike on it's own that can easily handle the weight of the motor and lead acid batteries (as long as I check all of the rack bolts every couple of weeks!). Motor is a Wilderness Energy BL-36 that was $320.00 delivered three years ago. I've looked at the low end e-bikes and have been scared away from THEM, not electric bikes in general. A cheap crappy bike is never going to any fun to ride or work on. Start with a good quality bike you like to ride and add a conversion kit. Almost as cheap, and a lot more enjoyable to ride.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by leamcorp View Post
    Its not the bike. Why do people always blame the bike or attribute things to a bike.

    And you can't compare used bike from craigslist to Ezip. Thats like comparing Soho to Townie beach cruiser. Its now closer in price but still not the same. If Ezip didn't have a motor, it would be a $90 bike - so not quite close to $300 Soho. And in the world of "good" and expensive bike, Trek Soho isn't that much above Ezip quality.

    So if you didn't like it - so be it. But don't blame the bike.
    Why wouldn't I blame the bike? If the bike is garbarge, and it made biking unenjoyable for me, I think its a nice thing to blame. It most certainly is the bike.

    And I can assure you the Trek Soho is miles above in quality and enjoyment. It's a $600 bike compared to $90 bike. And I think you can compare used bikes in here, because I bought the Soho with 5 miles on it for half the price of retail and LESS than the Ezip. But that's my point: It's not that much more expensive, but so much more fun to ride.

    If someone enjoys riding their Ebike, even the cheapest ones out there, so be it. I just wanted to give my story in case someone was curious, and wanted a counter-opinion.

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    I am not particularly shocked you returned it. I am a little shocked you bought it in the first place given you knew it was a cheap bike, that family members have have troubles with these kinds of bikes, that as an experienced rider you encourage others to buy $400+ bikes, etc.

    I agree that a good electric could weigh 1/3rd as much; it would also cost 3-4x as much.

    My eZip meets my proletarian bike needs. I do have a decent (albeit old) hybrid bike I can ride if I want.
    His: 2008 eZip Trailz Mountain (target.com, $299 + free shipping)
    Hers: used 2008 eZip ladies Trailz
    BatteryMINDer 24041 24v charger

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex81 View Post
    Why wouldn't I blame the bike? If the bike is garbarge, and it made biking unenjoyable for me, I think its a nice thing to blame. It most certainly is the bike.

    And I can assure you the Trek Soho is miles above in quality and enjoyment. It's a $600 bike compared to $90 bike. And I think you can compare used bikes in here, because I bought the Soho with 5 miles on it for half the price of retail and LESS than the Ezip. But that's my point: It's not that much more expensive, but so much more fun to ride.

    If someone enjoys riding their Ebike, even the cheapest ones out there, so be it. I just wanted to give my story in case someone was curious, and wanted a counter-opinion.
    Here's why it dosn't jive and using wrong logic doesn't make it so.

    1) Soho is - for all intended purpose, is a road bike with a flat handlebar (lighter side of hybrid). Sure it uses some MTN components but its designed to be light and for city/urban ride.

    2) Ezip - is a cheap bike that try to mimic a Mountain bike. Sure it looks like a MTN bike, but it sure isn't.

    So would you compare that Soho to a Townie Beach Cruiser that is comparable in cost? I bet that you'll complaint about the Townie too. Let see... 1) its not light, 2) doesn't have enough gears, 3) handles like a truck, 4) has basket in front, etc.

    How bout this - compare to my Colnago, that Soho is piece a #$@. Is it fair? Heck no, its a different bike and with a different purpose. I think Soho is very nice bike but just as I wouldn't compare with Colnago, I wouldn't compare it to Ezip either.

    It is the bike!!! Last year during my annual Vermont bike trip, my Specialize Swork broke down. So I've borrowed the Inn keeper's kids bike, which happens to be a Huffy. With that bike, I went on a 40 mile, 7000 calorie burning ride and enjoyed every single moment. Did I missed my bike? Yes I like having a perfectly fitted bike, especially with a good working brake while cruising down the mountain at 40+mph. But when it comes down to it - its a bike! and that Huffy didn't have any problem going fast or slow.

    Lastly - didn't you inspect the bike before buying it? You know what kind of quality Walmart has (even if you didn't see it, you should of known). Just saying.

    Edit - just to let you know, even in ebike, things can go quite high. My A123 battery is nearly couple of grands - to put it in perspective.
    Last edited by leamcorp; 06-19-09 at 02:44 PM.

  13. #13
    New to the scene forestsoul's Avatar
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    Don't base your opinion of eBikes solely on the eZip from Wal-Mart.

    I'm using a $250 Canadian Tire bike with a $400 Goldenmotor electric kit and I'm having a blast! There are many kits out there for all types of different riding needs, not to mention all the various voltages, controllers and types of batteries to choose from to make a bike that works for you.

    As for the comments that only people in hilly areas or people who are out of shape should consider an eBike, that just doesn't make sense. I commute 10km to work in a shirt and tie and use this bike as an alternative to a car. I prefer this to straight biking so as to not get soaked in sweat.

    Unfortunately I cannot bike year-round, as I have a short summer season, but I save HUNDREDS of dollars in gas commuting with this bike to work and don't get there with soaking wet clothes.
    "We are told never to cross a bridge until we come to it, but this world is owned by men who have crossed bridges in their imagination far ahead of the crowd." -Anonymous

  14. #14
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    My USA-made Tidal Force cost me Can$4000 bought in Kelowna, BC Canada.
    It is 4-years old , 13,300km on second battery and this thing lasts , motor/controller is rock solid and very high quality comparing with Chinese crude hub motors. I opend motor at 10,000km - no one speck of rust inside, pristine clean. USA labour costs more , USA engineering cost more but last.
    I like measure price of ebike in tanks of gasoline.
    My van fills for 70dollars average, you do the math, my TF paid for itself and health benefits, they are priceless!!
    Could I buy 2-3 crappy ebikes during this period?
    Possible.
    MC

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    Have to agree and disagree with the OP.

    I grew up in my dad's bike shop. He was a champion road racer and I raced road and mountain bikes for years. I was also a master bike tech. I am used to riding in a proper position, on the right sized bike, with a responsive, reliable, snappy machine working beneath me.

    I was curious about e-bikes as a commuting alternative. I work in health care, and can't ride to work and get sweaty, so I thought an ebike might be fun. I plan to get the workout on the way home.

    I followed some advice on these boards to throw a kit on a cheapie bicycle, so that's what I did. But let me tell you something: RIDING ONE OF THESE CRAPPY BIKES IS PURE MISERY.

    I just did a 10km test ride of the completed machine. It was kinda fun .. the thing goes well over 40km/hr without pedalling, for the $500 I invested in the 48V 500W kit and a new Canadian Tire cruiser bike. But the bike was starting to fall apart beneath me. It wavered and clunked and rattled and skipped. The store stocked only one size of bike - some kind of pitiful 'medium' that is far too small for me and too large for my wife - that is just sinister! Evil! I will not ride it again. I might be fine as a grocery getter on very flat terrain, but we have serious hills here and the motor won't take me up them, but neither will the crappy bike while pounding on the pedals. I will not ride it again!

    I'm not giving up on the ebike idea. I will throw this kit on one of my good mountain bikes, now that my rigid fork arrived. If I enjoy using it, I will probably upgrade to a high-end electric kit soon enough. Quality is usually worth the price. It is a real thrill flying along at 40+ with nothing but the sound of wind in my face.
    Last edited by bcsaltchucker; 06-23-09 at 01:22 AM.

  16. #16
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Hi Rex,

    I had a similar story about the Schwin AL1020 from Canadian Tire. Now that bike was a deathtrap.

    Like many have posted here, I agree that if you intend to have a performing ebike, you must spend a bit more. .

    300 bucks is the motor alone .

    Case in point, my ebike does at least 50 kph, gets me to work in no time 15 km commute, 32 minutes overall time, yes I do stop at red lights (that's the reason behind all this). Mine costs now about $2500, started as a $100 MTB from Walmart. It's a sinn, I know But I just love my bike. (Can i just plug in my setup here? errrm.. it's a 72 volt monster, but it's so cool.. I'm yet to show photos, but I will soon ! )

    I had a friend enquring about the Izip from Walmart, I tolds him: buy at your own risk. I nudged him towads putting together his own setup. If you're a DIYer and don't mind getting your hands greasy, it's the way to go. Please don't hord me, that's just my opinion, based on personal experience.

    I think bikers, regardless of electric assist or not, is mostly a culture of fix it yourselfers. You start with adjusting your brakes, then you get into truing your wheels before you know it you're rebuilding your own wheel and if you went electric, you'll end up soldreing and learning about mosfets and bobafets and all sorts of stuff

    It's really all cool And the money you spend? I consider it money spent on a hands-on course (man, i blew components, yikes, I better view it as a learning experience otherwise I'll have a mental hernia). Once you've got it all right, and the bike lasts... it's all worth it.

    Ok I've said enough. Cheers and ride on buddy
    Last edited by alfonsopilato; 06-24-09 at 02:08 AM.

  17. #17
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    We all have bad experiences from time to time with many different things and people. Do you condemn them all because of that one bad experience? No.

    You're effectively saying that the rest of us that like our electric assist bikes, (and I would assume most of us pedal and just use the assist) are stupid for our decision because you made a bad one.

  18. #18
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    Oh dear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex81 View Post
    .....I was curious about electric bikes, but I see now there's a reason why people still ride without batteries.
    I'm sorry, but your comments about electric bikes and their suitability -- or otherwise -- would have to be one of the most pointless posts I've read for a while!

    In fact I'm not quite certain as to why you actually used so much bandwidth for your little dummy spit? Okay; you bought an el-cheapo electric bike, apparently against your better judgment, and subsequently found that it didn't suit your purpose, and, more generally that you didn't like the concept of power-assisted bikes as a viable means of transport.

    That's fair enough; we're all entitled to our personal opinions about everything -- including bicycles -- but you then launch into a diatribe about how useless and inappropriate for purpose electric bikes are. Why?

    And to make matters worse (which is what caught my eye!) you say.....

    I can see how people who are VERY out of shape, or overweight might like the added electric assist, and they might even find it gets them in shape seeing as you really do need to give a good amount of effort if you want to save the batteries or go faster than a snails pace.
    Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but not all (any?) of us that choose power-assisted bikes are "very" out of shape, or "overweight"! In my case, at age 63 and with pinched sacroiliac nerves, I simply can't sustain unassisted cycling for any reasonable distance. Your comments could then be seen as fairly patronising, and not constituting any real commentary about electric bikes per se. You seem to reach the (false) conclusion that only fat, unhealthy slobs choose to ride power-assisted bikes.

    You even -- laughably -- self-contradict yourself when you say that power-assisted bike riders may find that "it gets them in shape". Uh... isn't that one of the major reasons a lot of us ride these bikes -- to get fit by utilising "a good amount of effort" (as you say)?

    Incidentally, I don't think you fully understand the nature of the beast when you imply that it's difficult to go faster than "a snail's pace" without any pedalling by the cyclist. Many electric bikes (depending on the wattage of their motor) can maintain speeds around 40km/h on the flat without any input by the rider. I'm guessing all the snails in your neck of the woods must be supercharged and run on nitrous!

    Anyway, the fact that electric bikes "suck the fun out of the whole experience" for you is fine as such, but please don't judge the bikes and their riders solely on your perceptions. They may just be wrong.

    Cheers

  19. #19
    Senior Member karma's Avatar
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    ouch $300 for a ebike

    i wish it was that cheep
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    Last edited by karma; 06-26-09 at 05:31 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ausGeoff View Post
    Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but not all (any?) of us that choose power-assisted bikes are "very" out of shape, or "overweight"! In my case, at age 63 and with pinched sacroiliac nerves, I simply can't sustain unassisted cycling for any reasonable distance. Your comments could then be seen as fairly patronising, and not constituting any real commentary about electric bikes per se. You seem to reach the (false) conclusion that only fat, unhealthy slobs choose to ride power-assisted bikes.
    Just to add to your point, only a small percentage of our customers are actually "fat" or "unhealthy". I would say 60-70% of our customers are older folks who just don't have confidence in their ability to comfortably ride a bicycle like they used to. They want to get outside and be active, but they're worried they don't have the energy - or can't keep up with the grandkids. An electric bike gives them this confidence and allows them to be active like they haven't been in years. We get customers back in our shop all the time who are just thrilled about all the fun (and exercise) they're getting...

    Then there's the other 20% who are younger customers: daily commuters, wives trying to keep up with their husbands, "green" or tech junkies, college students, etc. Very few of these people are out-of-shape.

    Another 10-20% of our customers are people with injuries or chronic pain. Knee problems seem to be the most common issue. Electric bikes allow them to be active again and help get the blood flowing to these problem areas. Very theraputic...

    Finally, there's the small percentage of "fat" and "unhealthy" people (maybe 4-5%?). But guess what... they're trying to be active! To me, if there's a product that will help people get off their couches and out of their cars, it's a WIN WIN for everyone!

  21. #21
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex81 View Post
    Why wouldn't I blame the bike? If the bike is garbarge, and it made biking unenjoyable for me, I think its a nice thing to blame. It most certainly is the bike.

    And I can assure you the Trek Soho is miles above in quality and enjoyment. It's a $600 bike compared to $90 bike. And I think you can compare used bikes in here, because I bought the Soho with 5 miles on it for half the price of retail and LESS than the Ezip. But that's my point: It's not that much more expensive, but so much more fun to ride.

    If someone enjoys riding their Ebike, even the cheapest ones out there, so be it. I just wanted to give my story in case someone was curious, and wanted a counter-opinion.

    The same reason you don't fault the rake because it can't dig a hole. You blame the guy who bought the rake with the intention of digging a hole.

    Your rants about "what I could buy" are just ridiculous.
    Why would I buy a Trek for $600? I can buy a used car for $600 and it will carry four people and go 90mph. That Trek must be a POS.


    Whatever... I'm not defending the ezip. I assume it's low-quality, just from the store you purchased it from. My problem is your post and reasoning.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    I think it may be best if this one is put to bed.
    Last edited by Allen; 06-26-09 at 01:53 PM.

  23. #23
    Member vermontcathy's Avatar
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    Just my two cents on the eZip. (I had started writing this before Allen closed it, so he was kind enough to let me post). I bought one last year from Walmart. I think I paid $350. I knew almost nothing about ebikes, but I knew there were too many hills in my 14 mile (1-way) commute for me to do it regularly - I'd get exhausted & sweaty (too exhausted to do the return trip the same day), and it took too long. Since I really didn't know if an ebike would work for me, I wasn't about to plunk down $1000 for one. I figured $350 was worth the experiment of using an ebike, and if it REALLY didn't perform as advertised, I could return it because Walmart lets you return anything. My husband thought I was making a big mistake - he didn't see how a $350 ebike could possibly get up the hills or generally get the job done. But soon he admitted he was wrong and he even borrowed it a handful of times to commute himself.

    Yes, it's heavy, and not the highest quality bike. This year I'm moving up to a better bike, mostly because the SLA batteries are too heavy for me (I learned that in order to not destroy the battery by draining it far down, I need to use two). BUT, $350 was well worth it for a year (well, not in the winter) of commuting, a LOT of gained knowledge about what's possible and what I want in my next bike, and now my nephew has the eZip and is thrilled. I am not overweight, lazy, or in terrible shape. I do have hills, and the motor helped A LOT. The 450 watt motor is actually more powerful than many Li-ion bikes and kits.

    So yes, it's not a high quality bike, but for someone who just wants to see what the whole ebike thing is all about, it's a low-cost way of getting your feet wet.

  24. #24
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    well done Cathy

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by leamcorp View Post
    Whats wrong with Ezip? I had one and I enjoyed it. I actually commuted for few months before deciding to upgrade to a faster setup. And this is coming from a guy that never had any bike that cost less than $1000 bucks.

    Its not the bike. Why do people always blame the bike or attribute things to a bike. Granted, cheap bike will have a cheap components but so what... You didn't pay lot of money, so ride it till it falls apart.

    And you can't compare used bike from craigslist to Ezip. Thats like comparing Soho to Townie beach cruiser. Its now closer in price but still not the same. If Ezip didn't have a motor, it would be a $90 bike - so not quite close to $300 Soho. And in the world of "good" and expensive bike, Trek Soho isn't that much above Ezip quality.

    So if you didn't like it - so be it. But don't blame the bike. I have many expensive bikes and although I no longer have Ezip, it brought lots of smile and I think lots of current/previous owners will agree.

    Maybe you should try more expensive Ebike? Mine does near 40mph.
    I think one thing that concerns me about buying an E-bike is there in your post. You had one, what happened to it? by your suggestion the OP should expect a product that weighs 75 pounds, has a motor and battery, and is mostly plastic.

    For a few months of poor performance it gets to take up the space of a dishwasher in some landfill?

    incredibly poor use of resources at any dollar price, these things should be discourages in every way.

    and the Trek Soho is much higher quality than any city bicycle at a box store. You get a much smoother ride, a lighter bike and reliability with minimum servicing. For years of riding further and faster than a box store bike.

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