IZIP E3 Ultra—Blue Streak

IZIP E3 Ultra—Blue Streak

In its awesome blue livery, this Ultra is ready to ride.

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 torque sensor is mounted on the drop-out at the rear wheel.

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.

Being seen on so many bikes nowadays, only quality disc brakes like these are worth having.

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.

This view of the cockpit show the narrow right hand grip that I (and many people) wish would be up-graded on all E-bikes.

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.

http://www.currietech.com/bike-online/best-electric-bike-izip-e3-ultra-diamond-frame/

A couple of articles I written for the Currie Technolgies’ site

http://www.currietech.com/readblog/izip-electric-bike-turbo-bob-article-12/

http://www.currietech.com/readblog/izip-electric-bike-turbo-bob-article-13/

http://www.currietech.com/readblog/izip-electric-bike-review-turbo-bob-14/

Here is a video I posted on my You-Tube channel with the Ultra and some in-action shots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzgdxxue2rc&feature=plcp

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About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
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6 Responses to IZIP E3 Ultra—Blue Streak

  1. Christopher Caldwell says:

    Hi Bob,
    I’ve been doing a lot of reading on these ebikes and really appreciate finding your blog. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to test ride an ebike yet since there are none available here in Scottsdale at any shops. Which is odd, since it’s such a perfect place to ride! So, I’m getting ready to just buy one on blind faith. But I’m wondering if you can describe how different it feels to ride an ebike. I mean, is it a totally different, more fun experience? I have been riding a road bike for the past several years and while I enjoy it, I’ve been wanting to buy a scooter. This is how I found out about ebikes, by researching scooters. I like the idea of a scooter, but it’s not as practical as an ebike, becuase I can’t bring it in the house, etc. I am trying to understand if the ebike feels at all similar in terms of ride? Does it really propel you? Or do you feel like you are still working hard? I want to be able to go up really steep hills like they do in San Francisco. I want to be able to hop on and run my errands and go on the bike paths, and even commute into town. I guess what I’m asking is can you try to explain the sensation of the ebike? Do the ones with throttles feel like you are on a scooter, or like you are working out? Ive got my road bike when I need the work out. Thank you so much for your insight.

    • Hi Chrisopher, very interesting request. Different bikes allow you to add the power-assist in different ways. As far as the feeling, it is a good one. E-bikes are not so powerful as to cause you to feel like you are riding a motorbike. The motor adds power to the bike much like your legs do. You can ride with no—some—or a lot of assist from the motor. One thing I can tell you is it makes you smile and enjoy the ride. Generally you will be pedaling all the time, but adding some power to make it easier.
      Some E-bikes have more power to make the steep hills flatten out better. You will be pedaling on the hills, but not nearly as hard. They are great for headwinds too.
      As you ride, you add the amount of power that feels right, simlilar to the way you pedal to get the amount of power you feel is right.
      The truth is, most are just regular bikes with one extra accessory–the power-assist system. How they ride and feel is kind of hard to put into words.
      Here is one article that might help—-
      https://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/e-bikes-the-whats-and-whys-and-other-thoughts/
      I am going to look into E-bikes shops in your area and get back to you.
      I do think you need some way to test some different E-bikes to help make your decision.
      What E-bike are you thinking of.—You may of mentioned this to me in previous comment.
      Turbo.

      • Ok Chrisopher, I re-read your other comments–and I Googled E-bike shops in your area. I know the internet info can be dated, but I found 5-6 that are in or close to your area. Try that search yourself and see what you get. Then call then to see what is in stock for you to test ride.
        I try not to tell people (or you) what to buy, but I do have some favorites that match different people needs.
        I saw the two bikes you are thinking of, and I do think you need to widen your choices a little an consider a few other E-bikes.
        Tell me where your Google search leads you.

      • chris caldwell says:

        Hi Bob,
        I googled ebikes in Scottsdale, and got 2 relevant hits in 4 pages. One was for a very inexpensive bike that was 450 dollars, and if you bought one, you got another one free. Im not sure that bike would convince me that this is what I want.

        The other was for a Trek bike, none of which are in stock. Additionally, the only other hit that seemed interesting was a link to a court case where I guy had to go to jail for riding a motor powered bike, because the police in Scottsdale thought it was a moped. That would certainly put the brakes on this for me. I can’t imagine having to explain to the police the difference between the moped and an bike! And then having to go to jail? (Well, apparently he had a dui and his license was suspended. So he thought he’d get around on a bike. From what I gather, the cop caught him riding in a bike lane, and then qualified his ride as a moped. So mandatory two days in jail).

        How often does this sort of thing happen? I was under the impression that an ebike can go up to 20mph and be qualified as a bike. How often do the police stop people on an ebike? Can you not do bike paths, bike lanes, sidewalks with these?

        Can you please point me to the 5 or 6 shops that are close to me? The bike that seemed to be the best based on the reviews I’ve read is the OHM Sport 750. Seems like it has a proven Bionx system, and has nice range.

      • This is the page I found. Hard to say how up-to-date it is.
        http://www.electricbicyclesmagazine.com/shops-page1.html
        As far as the law goes—I am in California—and we seem to follow the federal guidelines.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#Arizona
        This page tells of the world-wide views on E-bike laws. The one for your state does not cover E-bikes, only gas powered ones. It does seem the case you mention might have been a gas-powered bike. They are clamping down on them here too. Although, it depends on different factors.
        In general, bikes are not for sidewalks and many bike paths don’t allow E-bikes from what I’ve heard. I think as long as you have a company made–legal—E-bike, there is not much they can say. They are silent (or near silent), go slower than a regular bike in most cases. They look like regular bikes. And while you are pedaling there is almost no way any average person could tell if it has an E-assist or not.
        I do sometimes ride on sidewalks (when the road is a mess or to work street crossings) and ride on bike paths all the time. Just give plenty of room for everyone else and even stop for the walkers when the going is tight.
        I don’t like to see people buy E-bikes on-line for so many reasons. If nothing else, go to that shop and try some to see if you like the way it feels. Then, order from a known E-bike company and keep your fingers crossed that you don’t have any problems.
        The Ohm seems to have a good reputation. I have not ridden one yet. They have asked me to try their bike, but have no dealers in my area to offer me a test ride.
        Like I said before, I do have my favorites. I tend not to push them on people, but reading my articles can guide you to them if you look hard enough.
        I don’t have all the answers for you, but can say my wife and I love our E-bikes, have had no legal issues, and the world is embracing them more and more.
        Once again, let us know what you decide, what you find out, and how E-bikes affect you life style, Turbo.

  2. Zobeid Zuma says:

    I’ve been shopping for my first e-bike, and I took a hard look at this bike and its sibling the IZIP E3 Metro. I really wished I could have somehow bashed them together and came out with my preferred features from both models. I did eventually settle on the Metro. (The one thing from the Ultra that I suspect I may really miss is the torque sensor.) I also wanted the convenient step-through frame, which forced me to pass over the very spiffy blaze orange version and accept “yucky green” instead. It reminds me of pond scum. Well… It might grow on me, eventually.

    The signature feature of both bikes has to be the frame with its integrated battery. I like the look, I like the way it’s protected, and it seems like the perfect place to put that weight and keep the bike balanced. I learned a long time ago that if you can’t make something lightweight, you better at least try to balance it. I figure that huge downtube must be pretty stiff too, which is a plus for the step-through version.

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