With close to 2000 miles on the clock, my eZip is still going strong.
My wife and I have had our eZip bikes for about three years. This series of articles about them will give you some insight on them and help you decide which kind and brand of E-bike is for you. I normally don’t talk prices, but I think it will be important for you to know the value of the many options available to you.
Shopping for an E-bike
Both of us are driving about 20 miles to work round trip. That is well within the distance that is doable without using our gasoline powered cars. After many talks about getting some alternative transportation, we decided E-bikes would be the best for us. We looked into electric cars, considered doing our own conversion, and decided the technology and prices were not at the best level yet. I considered converting a motorcycle to electric, but Barbara is not happy with the safety of them. And even though she had ridden them in the past, we wanted something that each of us could ride and feel comfortable about. That also took motor scooters out of the equation. We even saw electric motor scooters, but they weren’t what we wanted.
I shopped bicycle conversion kits and new bikes. I shopped ready-to-ride E-bikes. We test rode some that local shops offered. I had already decided that I wanted both bikes to be basically the same. Same brand and power system. That would make it easier to understand and maintenance them. Buying two new bikes and conversion kits seemed to be the best option. We already had four bikes between us, but I didn’t want to change them, and I wanted both bikes to be similar. I was a little concerned that the $250 bikes at the big box stores were not going to be good enough (quality and strength). And the prices of the conversion kits seemed a little high. But I figured that each bike would cost about $750-$1000 if I followed the route I was taking. That was not unreasonable compared the E-bikes we had seen.
I wasn’t fully convinced that route was the best for us. I wanted to just go buy a couple of bikes that were ready to go at about $1500-$2000. We could have done this, but that kind of money seemed out of the ball park. We were not only trying to help the environment, but to help our personal finances as well. If we bought much better bikes and the higher quality conversion kits, we would be right back in that price range. What to do? Off to the internet for more information gathering. That is when I came across the eZip bikes.
They are made for (by?) Currie Industries. Or Currie Enterprise depending where you read it. They are made in China. We had already tested an IZIP, which are more expensive and most likely made much better. The eZip is the name of their lesser bikes. These are the least expensive E-bikes in the world. I have got to say that had me worried right there. But, I looked into them further and we decided that if we kept our initial investment low on them, we could decide if having E-bikes would work out for us without braking the bank. So, eZips it would be.
Which eZip to buy and where to buy them.
If you go on Currie’s web site right now, you will find this years bike for $500. I don’t know if that includes shipping. If you check Walmart, you will find them available online for $400 and it will be shipped to your nearest store. It will come in a box, with minor assembly needed. (More on the assembly later). They will need some accessories and upgrades to make them safer and more comfortable to ride. I found Toy-R-Us carried them. They wanted me to pay to ship it to my house. I almost bought it from them, until some phone calls let me know that a Walmart here in San Diego had one in stock. (There are probably ten stores with-in easy driving distance here). I am not much of a Walmart fan, but their price was lower than anyone’s. I finally got to talk to the guy who assembles the bikes at this particular store. This is where the first kicker to this story begins.
He tells me that they have a bike on the floor and it is at a blow-out price of $199. Wow, I am thinking this is too good to be true. When we get there, I found the bike to be poorly assembled and started to doubt if I wanted it. I’ve been a bike mechanic since my youth, but didn’t want to end up with a clunker. Then we found out they had one more in the back that was still in the box. It was also $199. We decided to jump in and I felt good when they both fit into the back of our Toyota station wagon. We headed home with two E-bikes for $400 plus tax. There is more to the Walmart story coming up. But for now, they totally filled the bill for our first purchase in the E-bike world. All I could think is that they were both last years model and no one was interested in them enough to buy them. Good deal. I have kept an eye on the bike isle whenever we visit one of their stores and they never have E-bikes on the floor. They offer them online, but not in the store.
We got them home, I assembled the one in the box, and correctly assembled the other one. I gave the batteries a long, good charge. Both bikes worked and we were happy. But there is a lot more to our story on getting ourselves on E-bikes. Before you go out and buy your own eZip, make sure you read the rest of the process it took to make us happy with them. E-bikes are the best, Turbo Bob.
“Chasing records doesn’t keep me on my bike, happiness does”.—-Lance Armstrong, on his third Tour de France victory.