NewLife RMB Battery for eZips and IZIPs–Review.

The NewLife Battery is a great up-grade for your eZip or IZIP E-bike with a RMB system.

This new addition to Currie Technologies line-up hit the market a ways back.   I have been wanting to get one to see if it is a good up-grade for our eZip E-bikes.   I knew if it worked well, it could eliminate some of the drawbacks of this inexpensive bike.   I took delivery of my NewLife battery a few days ago, and this is what I found.

Most every electric bike on the market offers one of the several types of lithium batteries as its power source.   It is a very efficient and light-weight battery for E-bike use.   The battery in the NewLife is the LiFeP04 (lithium-ion phosphate) style.   This is one of the more popular lithium batteries for the E-bike manufactures.   A definite improvement over the supplied SLA (sealed lead acid) that comes with the eZips from the factory.

So what are the reasons you would want this more expensive battery?   They are, better power delivery, lighter weight, lack of leakage, and lack of damage when left not fully charged.   Let me explain each one of these qualities in a little more detail.   They are all very important to the owner of a Currie RMB (rack mounted battery) E-bike.

A lithium battery is known to give a more constant delivery of power as it discharges.   That allows the user better power and torque from the motor as the ride continues.   This is a great quality, but not the number one reason to have one.   It is nice though, to have this feature on your bike.   In testing this battery, I found this was quite noticeable as my ride continued.

The much lighter weight of this NewLife up-grade makes a very obvious difference in the agility of your bike.   And if you use up the power and have to pedal with no motor assist to your destination, the lighter weight makes for a big plus.   Also, when removed from the bike, to take the battery inside for charging, it is almost feather like.   On my (not so precise) scale, the SLA battery is about 15 lbs.   The NewLife is closer to 4 lbs.   If you ride with two batteries to get maximum range, you are removing about 22 lbs. of dead weight.   That is more than the total weight of some complete bicycles.

The SLA battery that comes with the eZips is basically two motorcycle batteries inside the plastic casing.   It also has a fuse and the needed wiring tucked in there.   One battery is right-side up, while the other is not.   Even though the liquid acid is sealed in each battery housing, the chance of leakage is always present.   During charging, the pressure inside the battery builds.   Normally, the battery housing will retain the acid, but as time goes by, or with the bad luck of a poorly made battery, it can leak out.   The sulfuric acid is quite caustic and dangerous.

The first of the three leaking batteries I had, was not noticed as quickly as it should have been.   It burned off a little paint on my frame, and corroded the freewheel gear.   After that first experience with a leaking battery, I have been much more conscience of the problem.   My wife and I have four batteries for our two bikes, that adds up to a total of eight batteries that could fail.   I keep a closer eye on them for any signs of moisture or leakage now.

The final thing I want to avoid is one of the bad characteristics of a SLA battery.   If you do not start the charging process immediately after use, the internals of the battery will start to deteriorate.   This shortens the life many times over.   When used for commuting, this wasn’t that big of an issue.   We would make the ride, and then get the batteries on the charger right away.   But what if you are on a fun ride and you aren’t near an electrical outlet while you are stopped for an extended time?   You got it, the battery life starts going away.   A lithium battery is not subject to this problem.   It is able to sit in any state of charge with no damage.   It is recommended not to store it fully charged for an extended time.

The NewLife battery comes with  the correct charger.   Both units work together with some solid-state components to protect them.   This circuitry will protect the battery from over charging.   They will also protect it from over discharging.   These are both very important features that make a lithium battery safe for use.   It includes a short-circuit protector that appears to be a fuse like the SLA batteries use.   I installed a self-resetting circuit breaker in a couple of our SLA batteries.   I hope that is what is in my NewLife battery.

Even though it is not mentioned in the paper work that came with this battery, there is a certain procedure to follow when recharging any lithium E-bike battery.   You want to plug the charger into the battery first.   This allows both of the circuits to communicate with each other before you plug the charger into the wall outlet.   Then wait for 5-20 seconds before you plug the charger into the wall.   And for the same reason, when the charge is completed, unplug the charger from the wall, and wait for a short time before taking the plug out of the battery.   This will protect the battery and charger from voltage spikes that could shorten their life’s.

Let’s talk performance.   I took several rides with my new battery.   Other than the lighter feel of the ride, I couldn’t really tell any difference.   I didn’t run the battery all way to empty.   It is a good idea to not run it all the way down every time you use it.   I did notice there was still plenty of power as the battery was closer to empty.   I also noticed it was a tighter fit in the rack then my three (plus) year old batteries.   In fact, a very tight fit.   It should loosen up as it is installed many times, but I think I might sandpaper the plastic housing where it contacts the rack’s rails a little, so it slides in and out easier.   I will be careful not to overdo it.

I am so glad to have this new addition to our eZips.   I plan on ordering at least one more, and maybe more than that.   The range of this new battery was much more than our old batteries.   With two NewLife batteries on each bike, we should be able to make longer rides than ever before.   This is a must have up-grade for any eZip or IZIP bike with the RMB system.   The factory should have included these on our bikes, but they weren’t available when we purchased our bikes.

You can see the full line of Currie Technologies’ products on their website.   They offer many different bikes and some conversion kits.   Also, if you haven’t read my multi-part article on our eZips, you might consider doing so.   You don’t have to spend a bundle to be part of the electric-motored bicycle crowd.   One way or the other–ride a bike.   See you on the bike path, Turbo Bob.

“So ardent a cyclist must be full of good health.”—Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist.

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About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
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20 Responses to NewLife RMB Battery for eZips and IZIPs–Review.

  1. stoney says:

    Hey BOB,
    Do you know approximately how far you can get on a charge in real life experience (your personal experience not currie advertisement)? And do you you know the terms of the 3yr warranty?
    Enjoy the ride!

    • Guest says:

      I have this NewLife RMB Battery – here is the truth about it.
      DO NOT BY THIS BATTERY

      1. This is only a 6 Amp Battery – the old SLA was 10 AMP, so the new battery has the same speed and feel as the SLA when it is only on a half charge. That slow strained feel (and that’s when the battery is full).

      2. The range is shorter with the NewLife, I would ride the old SLA on the same path faster and longer (10 miles), with the NewLife I run out of power at 7 miles. That’s the same path, with the same weight rider, and better results from the SLA.

      3. I have been having trouble with my RMB NewLife (I have had it 12 months, used it 24 times, mostly short rides – 1 mile). And the battery just stops working, it also doesn’t seem to hold a charge forcing me to recharge it before each use, and the recharge light rarely changes to green.

      4. As to the Warranty, the warranty does NOT apply to normal wear and tear, or to damag, or to misuse, but rather only to defect. So, I take good care of my battery, so how can I prove that – I can’t.

      If I could undo this mistake I would trade my NewLife Lithium for two SLA Batteries.

      P.S. I have put my bad review on the currie website 3 times (once every two months), but CurrieTech does not list bad reviews. They also don’t tell you about the 6-amp, I wrote a nice review that stated that they battery was only 6-amps and they didn’t list that review either.

      • Hi Guest. Sorry to hear you are having problems with your NewLife Battery. It sure sounds to me like you got one that doesn’t work right. Currie has treated us well with warrantee issues. The warrantee states you need to send it to them (at your own cost) to let them evaluate it for warrantee replacement or repair. There is circiutry in the battery that could be causing the problems.
        As far as range on ours, I haven’t run it enough on my bike to know how it performs in that respect. On my wife’s bike, she commutes 7 miles round trip, and it recharges in half the needed time for a full recharge. I do know that I am pretty much done with the leakage problems of SLA batteries, in addition to the weight and their need to recharged immediately after use.
        Trust Currie, send them the battery and charger, and keep your fingers crossed they can supply you one that works correcly. Good luck, Turbo.

      • Guest says:

        Update: I am taking your advice Turbo Bob, and I am sending the Battery back to Currie, I included this letter with the Battery:

        To the Post Office:
        When the Lithium Battery is charged, it has a range of about 5 miles.
        When I first purchased the battery in December, I was able to ride the bike to the Post office and back (about 8 miles), now the battery stops after 5 miles and I must pedal without any charge for the last 3 miles.

        To the Store:
        The old SLA Battery gave me a nice 11 mile range, to Costco and back, but using the lithium on the same path, with the same rider, the lithium – new out of the box – could NOT go to the store and back. Now, I couldn’t even reach the store with this lithium battery.

        Discharges:
        This Lithium Battery also discharges when NOT in use, at a very fast rate, forcing me to recharge it before my weekly or biweekly ride. If I let the batter sit for 2-3 weeks, it seems to take more than an hour to recharge it. And now I rarely ever get a green light on the recharge.

        I have to pay for shipping, and Currie repeatedly told me that if it is not defective then I’ll have to pay for return shipping. That’s an additional $20+$20 = $40 in shipping, on top of the $400 I paid for the battery. I don’t see how they could say that it is not defective, as the battery is useless, with only a 5 mile range. So, I’ll will mail the battery out today, July 15, 2011, and I will update my post stating what happened.

      • I think you made the right decision. That’s what a warrantee is all about–getting a working product for your money spent. Currie is a good company that should make sure you are happy with their offerings.
        Good Luck, and keep us abreast of the outcome. Turbo.

    • Hey Stoney, I don’t know the range on this battery yet. It has been on my wife’s bike almost since we got it. Judging by the recharge time after her days commute, I am thinking 12-20 miles is a good estimate. There is no true number because everyone uses the power differently, and has different terrain to deal with. The best benefit so far (other than the much lighter weight of the bike), is that she doesn’t have to bring it into work with her for a recharge.
      As far as the warranty, it is pretty standard stuff. I was going to copy it, but it is too long. In short, the customer pays for shipping, if needed. Not covered is normal wear, misuse, damage, modifcations, and improper charging–etc. Covered–free from defects in material or workmanship.
      I will follow up with more info on the battery’s range when I get a chance to spend more time with it.
      Thanks for the interest, Turbo.

  2. Guest says:

    I am the same guest that sent my defective battery back to Currie, when I mailed it I paid extra for tracking and Currie received it on July 18, 2011, at noon. It is now Aug. 17, 2011 (30 days later), and I have called them three times (thrid time today 30-days later), they have not yet tested my battery, so I still have to wait.

    • That is unfortunate. I still think you made the right move to let them test and warrantee it. I think they will make good on your problems. We have had great luck with ours and I do plan on ordering another for my bike.
      I have thought about your battery problems a few times since you let me know about it. I have got to think they would just send you a new replacement so you can get back to enjoying your E-bike.
      Hang in there, Turbo Bob.

    • Guest says:

      Update: Good News, Currie found that my battery was defective and they are replacing it for free. So, I’ll be able to test the new battery and give a report on its performance in a few weeks. Thanks.

      • Great news. I am not surprised that Currie made the decision to replace the battery with a new one. It does seem that they took a little longer that they should have, but you have got to figure they are very busy. E-bikes just keep getting more popular.
        We hope to hear that your new battery fills the bill and your bike starts to deliver the way it should.
        Thanks for the update.
        Turbo Bob.

      • Hi Guest, I also wanted to mention that you should review my article, (the part about recharging the battery). It is important to plug the charger into the battery before plugging the charger into the wall socket. And when done, unplug the charger from the wall, before unplugging from the battery. Also, try not to run the battery all the way out of charge. And finally, don’t store the battery fully charged.
        I bet this battery will work great.
        Turbo.

  3. stoney says:

    They make a 9.6 ah battery now what do you think about that? Also I would like an honest opinion or follow up of your personal experience with the actual distance and reliability and any degregation since it really is a low AH battery

    • Stoney, this battery has been on my wife’s bike for 6 months now. She rides 3-4 days a week. Her round trip is just over 6 miles. A couple times she has ridden it a second time without a recharge. Those times it was just out of juice as she rounded the final corner coming home. So we have found the range to be about 10-12 miles. This is going to vary with your terrain and use of the battery. And in the 6 months, it has been strong and worked well.
      I am still thinking of getting one or two more of these for my bike. But with this news of the higher rated battery, some checking is in order.
      I will look into the 9.6 ah battery to find out more about it. Thanks for the interest and info.

  4. stoney says:

    Did you start looking into it? I am eager…

    • Yes I did Stoney. Here is what I found. The one we have now is 6.4 Ah. The new one is 9.6 Ah. When I first checked with Currie, the 9.6 was not in stock, but now it is. Although I can’t really explain why, it seems I have my choice of getting one 9.6 Ah battery or two 6.4 Ah batteries. The 6.4 charges quicker and if I have two on my bike they should add up to 12.8 Ah instead of 9.6. From what I read on their site, the minor weight penalty shound be next to nothing (3 LBS.) with two 6.4 batteries. Plus, with the faster charging, if I go on a real long ride, I can get going sooner when I recharge at a remote location.
      With the two 6.4 Ah batteries, I should be able to go on longer rides. Of course, two 9.6 Ah batteries would really be great, but it doesn’t look like an option right now.
      Most (?) E-bikes come with a 10 Ah battery. Some have more, but 10 seems to be pretty common. This is the battery that should have come with the bike in the first place, but they didn’t have it then and the price would have to be higher. I think I noticed on their site that they now offer a E-Zip RMB bike with the NewLiFe battery.
      Either way you go, the price seems competitive. The quality is warranteed. It looks like a great up-grade for any RMB bike from Currie.
      And by the way, the 6.4 Ah NewLiFe battery we have had for over 6 months has been performing great, makes the bike much lighter, doesn’t need to recharged while my wife is at work, and should never leak.
      So Stoney, let us all know what you’ve decided, how it is working for you, and all the fine details. And I will do the same. Thanks for asking, Turbo.

      • stoney says:

        “it seems I have my choice of getting one 9.6 Ah battery or two 6.4 Ah batteries.”
        Are you saying that you can get either one 9.6ah or two 6.4 ah for the same price? And if so what is the price offered?
        Thanks

      • lester gardner says:

        Clean Republic has a 12v 10amp lifeP04 (direct replacement of sla batteries), a full ten amps of power 24volts, two batteries $220, had mine a month now getting 13 miles at 18 mph.

  5. Stoney, the prices are listed on the Currie website. Although from what I remember, if you own a Currie bike with a RMB, they ask less that the price listed. (Which makes me wonder why they would do that as it seems only people with their bike would want one.) So if you order from them, ask about a lower price because you’re already one of their customers.
    I can’t really explain why my choice is between one 9.6 or two 6.4s, but that seems to be the way it is. It is up to you to decide which is best for you and what you will have to give Currie to get it (or them). Give them a call to find out how they can accommodate your needs. They offer great customer service, and everytime I have called, I have been helped very well.
    Once again, let us know your decision and how it works out for you and your bike.
    Thanks, Turbo.

  6. Todd Isler says:

    I have had it with Currie Technologies SLA batteries and want to get a lithium ion battery. However, I have seen lithium ion batteries with much higher voltage and amps than the Currie brand. Does anyone know of a 36 volt 15 amp lithium ion battery that will fit an Ezip Trailz electric bike?

    • Todd, you do have options. I agree, the SLA batteries leave much to be desired. Although the initial price is good, in the long run lithium batteries cost less and work better.
      There is a comment here above yours that shows one option for a battery.
      You can move to a 36 volt battery but a new controller will be needed and worries of motor overheating are quite real. Way back I saw several videos on You-Tube of riders who opted for the 36 volt system.
      A stronger (larger capacity) 24 volt battery is probably better, yet some jury-rigging of the mounting and wire connectors will be in order.
      We have had good luck with our Currie slide-in lithium batteries. They are pricey, yet those lower cost cells normally are lower quality with questionable internal connections.
      A pair of 9.8 Ah batteries from Currie would do the trick if you can melt enough plastic to get them to your front door.
      Maybe a new E-bike would be a better option?
      Let us know what you do to get what you want, Turbo.

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