IZIP E3 Metro—All New for 2014.
Here is a re-designed E-bike from Currie Technologies with a lot of great features. With racks front and rear it is almost worthy of being called a cargo bike. Comfort, up-right seating and plenty of hill-climbing power are just a few of the reasons I like it. Although its looks are kind of different from your regular bike, I think the styling fits fine. Last years model rode well too, but I was glad to see that big front down tube (that retained the battery) go away.
Now the battery is in the enlarged seat stay. This seems to come from the eFlow family of E-bikes, as does the display / control unit. With a 500 watt geared motor running on 36 volts, it has power to spare in every riding situation I put it through. The display reads out many needed things and is close to hand on the left side of the handlebars. The way the control system works is ok, yet I did have a few minor gripes about it.
You may know that we have been trying to decide on a replacement commuter bike for my wife. Her 6-7 year-old eZip has been begging for an up-grade. It still runs and works fine, but with all the advancements in recent E-bike years, I think she deserves to move to the present day with each ride. We had already decided on a low-frame IZIP E3 Path+, but during our recent visit to The IZIP Store in Santa Monica (a whole other story that you will learn about soon), we were offered this for her to try out.
The E3 Metro is a one-size and one color fits all bike. The matte black is cool and it does have some aqua (green?) highlights here and there. It also sports some bamboo for the base of each rack. We thought a couple bamboo fenders and a new Lazer helmet with a bamboo finish could really put the full wood look together. The front rack is rated at 35 lbs. , enough to carry lots of stuff. Because it is frame mounted (and easily removable too), it doesn’t affect your steering at all. I would think the rear rack could carry quite a bit too, so you can really haul the mail (so to speak).
The beefy looking aluminum frame matches up well with the large cross-section 26” tires. It rides solid and firm, using a seat post suspension to help smooth out the rougher bumps. The saddle was a surprise, as so many companies put those narrow racing ones, or the way too wide cruiser ones. With a built-in rear lift handle and a great feel, I could see this item matched up to many of the bikes in the IZIP roster.
It rides well without the power, having an easy roll and a decent drivetrain. The one thumb shifter is awesome, and working it is a breeze and a pleasure. Like many hybrid bikes the steering isn’t too touchy, but responds well at all speeds. The disc brakes are ok and from a good maker, but a step up to the BB7 ones would have been nice. The stem has a rise adjustment and the bike fit every different height person who gave it a try.
My wife really loves riding it, but we did decide to stick with the Path+ as her next E-bike. The few reasons why are all basically minor ones, but seemed to be enough to make the call. I like this center stand (that tucks to just one side when up), but it just doesn’t keep the bike up-right on all surfaces. I like the smoother riding tires, the Path+ has the skinner 700c ones, so this was one thing we are making a concession to. There are some things about the control system that gave me pause (more on this before I’m done).
As much as the IZIP E3 Metro has its own look, I am more taken by the appearance and color of the E3 Path+. It just looks so much more bike like. The front rack on the Metro is very strong and useful, but I found to load the bike on my rack (when carrying two bikes) it needed to be removed. It is pretty easy to do and we may not transport her new commuter bike much, but I did take this into account. One more thing that raised a concern is battery security. On the eFlow there is a place to add a small padlock on the holding latch, but I sure don’t see one on the Metro. I’ve had her feed her cable lock through the seat handle and keep it tight enough where the saddle and battery can’t be lifted far enough to remove it.
Ok, what about the control system? You might know that these are a very big deal with me. So many people who ride E-bikes either aren’t strong enough to deal with jumpy ones, are aren’t bike savvy enough to fully understand all the nuances. The buttons on the display panel are close at hand, yet you do need to take your hand off the grip to use them, and your eyes off the road to see them. This is common with so many E-bikes, but some (like the Path+) have made them safer to use.
My real issue here is found on the new Zuma and Twn:exp also. When in the pedelec mode, the power level is chosen on the display. On most when you pedal, the bike goes to that power level and stays there while the pedals are moving. With this new programming Currie tech is using, the electronics also sense how fast you are pedaling and increase the power level to match. Problem here is they don’t always match.
On the whole it is fine, but there are two things about it I don’t like (when in the PAS / pedelec mode). One, with most E-bikes you don’t need to downshift every time you stop, the motor helps you get going again without it. On this Metro (and the two others mentioned) if you don’t downshift before a stop, as you take off the pedals aren’t moving fast enough to get the motor to kick in. You can use the hand throttle, but in the pedelec mode it doesn’t work until the bike senses the pedal movement. Add to this if you are not in the top power level the power doesn’t come on at all with that slow pedal speed. So I found downshifting at for a stop was kind of necessary.
The other is that during a cruise if the pedals are not turning quick enough then the power level is low. Then you downshift to get more motor power (just one gear), and then the bike starts going faster than your desires and you are pedaling too fast. This too wasn’t to my liking and seemed wrong. I found using the POD mode (power on demand / throttle only) was just easier, more comfortable and safer than using the PAS mode (power-assist). It gets a little old holding the throttle on all the time you want assist, but I felt it was better than putting up with the PAS system.
Regardless, the IZIP E3 Metro is quite a bike and I enjoyed my time on it. I do think the eFlow technology use is part of the higher price point and in that category you would expect the slightly better brakes too. I think many would look past the drawbacks I’ve noted and become one with this E-bike. Maybe Currie Tech will hear my pleas and make the changes for next year, but even still this bike is worth considering.
Carry that load, Turbo Bob.
“Happiness is actually found in simple things, such as taking my nephew around the island by bicycle or seeing the stars at night. We go to coffee shops or see airplanes land at the airport.”—Andrea Hirata.
You can find Currie Technologies on the web or Facebook.
Here is a video I posted showing the IZIP E3 Metro from different angles.
And one from last years Interbike