IZIP E3 Ultra—Blue Streak
I never had any intention of letting the color of this E-bike guide my article, but it’s too late now I guess. How many times have you let the color of some item sway your choices and opinions? This shade of blue is one of my favorites, so when this IZIP came to me, I was already liking it. As it turns out, there is much more than the color that makes it desirable.
You have probably noticed by now that Currie Technologies has invited me to try out their whole E-bike line one-by-one. I don’t really mind as the two E-bikes my wife and I have are made by this long time E-bike company. I figured it would give me a chance to see how advances in electric bikes have helped keep them in the forefront of the industry. Plus, posting articles on their website allows me one more forum to express my views.
The Ultra is a higher-end E-bike. It employs an intelligent pedelec control system that is only on the nicer E-bikes on the market. Making for a safe and solid feel as you ride, I have enjoyed every E-bike I’ve ridden that uses this operating system. In a nutshell, the bike can tell how hard you are pushing on the pedals and adds the motor assist in perfect tandem to your needs.
Being a dual-control E-bike, it also has a hand twist-throttle that can be used instead of the pedelec function, or to complement it if you ever feel you need more power during your ride. I have gone into more detail about this in many other articles you can read, but let’s just say I really like intelligent assist and the way it adds to the safety and comfort of any E-bike.
The E3 Ultra rides on some fairly skinny tires and rims. Not quite as narrow as road bike tires, they hug the road and have just enough give to smooth out the rough surfaces. The front fork has a preload adjustment to further allow you to tailor the ride to your preferences. The built-in frame angles offer a sporty feel with good response at any of the speeds you might encounter. For the type of riding this E-bike is designed for, I think they nailed it on the choices made in this department.
Gracing the rim and tire selection are a hearty set of disc brakes. They never let me down or gave any reason to doubt they were ready and able to do the job they were intended for. I thought the effort needed to work them is better than many of the disc brake bikes I test. I am getting closer to fully embracing disc brakes and it’s bikes like this that are starting to sway me away form the old standards.
The color coordinated saddle is a good fit for me and the bike. It sits on a suspension seat post that is much nicer than the sloppy ones you find on other bikes. The cockpit is on the sporty side and the controls are close at hand. For some reason I was given the 18 inch diamond frame model which was a tad on the small side for me. Believe when I say this never slowed me down one iota. Their website shows a 20 inch and a low-frame model available too.
Unlike most E-bikes, you will find a triple-ring set of gears up front that widen up your gearing choices. On most electric-assist bikes, especially one like this with a 500 watt motor out back, you rarely need the extra low or high gears. There were times on climbs or downhills that I put them to use, so having them is not a drawback. Still, on even the steepest of climbs I made, the power of that near silent motor was enough to take me to the top without the need of the granny gears.
My first exposure to this type of IZIP frame, that holds the battery out of sight and exposure to the elements, was one of not much fondness to the appearance. But there is much to be said about the security and protection it adds to the most expensive single piece on this E-bike. What I found then and found now is that once you mount up and start pedaling, it is hidden from view. Plus on this Ultra, the awesome blue color makes it look so much better.
The battery is powerful and offers a longer range than you might think. Most of the range extension is due to the efficient nature of intelligent pedal-assist. It is great at only using the power you need without wasting a drop of energy. The battery won’t come out of the frame easily (a mechanic’s task) like many E-bikes you see. That means you need to get the whole bike near an outlet for charging. I don’t mind that as I don’t like to think of any bike been left out in the elements.
The charger included with the bike is just one more indication of Currie’s push for quality. It is a beefy unit that even has a cooling fan built-in and off-on switch. It has the normal two lights that indicate when the charge is happening and when it is complete. Seeing as the bike has a large capacity lithium battery and an exceptional range, you might not have to charge it after every ride. I sure didn’t. I did make rides of over 40 miles between recharges too.
The only thing I don’t like about the Ultra is seen on many E-bikes. I rally against it and sometimes I feel my words might be sinking in with the different manufactures. That is the short, skimpy hand grip on the right handlebar. I feel that it should be at least as wide as your palm so you aren’t forced to hold the half-twist throttle with part of you hand while riding. This is the first thing I changed on our own E-bikes and have helped others make the swap too. Unfortunately, some E-bikes don’t have wide enough handlebars to do this, so a change there would be needed too. I guess if there is only one thing that I don’t like, than there must be a ton of things I do. And that is how I feel about the E3 Ultra. It is one nice, fast and comfortable E-bike.
And, it’s blue, Turbo Bob.
“It doesn’t get any easier, you just get faster.”—Greg LeMond.
A link to the Ultra on Currie Technologies’ website.
A couple of articles I written for the Currie Technolgies’ site
Here is a video I posted on my You-Tube channel with the Ultra and some in-action shots.