While I was downtown San Diego today, I decided to stop in at Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center to see what new bikes they had to offer. Gary showed me some of the different bikes on the floor. It didn’t take long before I hit the road on one of their eZee E-bikes. This time it was the Torq. This is a high-end bike with many great features. I was able to spend over an hour in the saddle to give it a try.
Very nicely built, this bike is made by a well-known E-bike company. It has the distinction of winning the Tour de Presteigne three consecutive years. This is the world’s premier E-bike rally. It has won other competitions too, including being named the 2007 bike of the year by Cycling Plus Magazine. So you know I was glad to be able to ride it for this report.
With an aluminum frame and fork, it has a low over-all weight (48 lbs). Alloy rims and 700c Schwalbe Marathon tires are the standard spec pieces. With a front disc brake and heat sink equipped rear roller brake, the stopping power matches the go power. The 250 watt brushless hub motor is fitted with internal planetary gears to increase the torque output. And increase the torque it does, accelerating sharply when needed. The power on hills and the flat was more than sufficient. The hub motor is mounted in the front wheel to give the bike a good balance.
The Lithium battery is mounted behind the seat down-tube, with easy access by tilting the seat out-of-the-way. Depending on the amount of power used, it will give a range of over 28 miles. Recharging time is listed at 5 and a half hours. A sophisticated electronic system controls the motor, and even has a built-in diagnostic function if needed. This bike had the pedal assist mode only, but a dual-mode assist is available, and I would strongly recommend getting a dual-mode assist system. More on that further into the article.
This bike is very well set-up. It comes with ergo hand grips, a suspension seat post, and a comfortable seat. The front and rear LED lighting is powered from the motor battery. The rear rack and battery level indicator add to your list of factory installed pieces. Polycarbonate is used for the fenders. The 8-speed Shimano gear train is smooth and shifts easily. Every part on this bike is high-quality and reliable. Plus it is a very good-looking bike.
This bike rides well and has a good feel. The seating position and frame geometry are quite nice. It has a stiff frame that adds to the secure ride. The forks are adjustable for different rider weights and road conditions. I would think the suspension seat post is adjustable too. I made some tweaks to the fork setting to find a feel I liked. I rode it in the downtown area and also on the highway along the coast. No complaints about the ride were noted.
The power was strong, but not as controllable as I am accustomed to. This is where having the dual-mode assist is needed. The amount of power assist is controlled by a knob on the handle bars. The power comes on automatically whenever you pedal. There were times when the power came on that I wished it hadn’t. When slowing down for a light or stop sign, you need to keep the pedals moving to make your down-shift. During this time, the motor would stay on, when it shouldn’t. The dual-mode assist should help with this.
If this bike had an internally geared rear hub, then you could down-shift after stopping. If it had cut-off switches in the brake levers, it would allow you to disable the motor during down-shifts. Also, when starting from a dead stop, there is no power assist available until you have already started moving. There were times when the automatic power application made me a little uncomfortable. This should be remedied by making sure you get the optional dual-mode assisted power control.
All and all, I found this a great E-bike choice. With so many on the market, you are best to search for a E-bike company with a good reputation and a full line of different bikes. That way, you will be sure to find one with the features you want, at a price that is reasonable. Having good dealer support is vital, and you are sure to get that at Ivan Stewart’s Electric bike Center. They stock many of the products that eZee offers.
I can’t wait to try some more of the E-bikes I see there. Every time I do, I will be sure to keep to up-dated about their features and failings. I hope this review helps you make an informed purchase of your first, or newest E-bike.
See you on the turn-around, Turbo Bob.
“Act Bicycle! Speak Bicycle! Write Bicycle! Advise Bicycle! Impact Bicycle! Meet Bicycle! Recruit Bicycle! Persist Bicycle! Subscribe Bicycle! Communicate Bicycle!”—Roger Hertz.
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