In order for an electric bike to stand out from the pack, it helps if it offers unique features such as light weight or the ability to fold. Of the e-bikes that we saw at last week's Charged Up event, however, one of our faves is a little number that isn't particularly remarkable in any one way. It's the iZip E3 Town:exp, and it simply manages to pack several good things into a small package.
Although the Town's compact frame and 20-inch alloy wheels make it look fairly ... snug, its cockpit is actually big enough even for relatively tall riders. It's also deceptively powerful, with a 400-watt rear hub motor taking the one we rode up to a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). That figure is limited to 20 mph (32 km/h) for markets with lower motor-assisted speed limits.
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It has a removable 48-volt lithium-ion battery, which provides a maximum range of about 35 miles (56 km) under normal use. That battery is located directly behind the seat post, keeping the weight nicely centered.
Riders use a handlebar-mounted LCD console to choose between varying levels of electric assistance when pedaling, or they can choose to go with a straight-out scooter-like throttle setting. If they do get lazy and use the throttle, they can additionally "lock in" a speed using its cruise control feature.
The console also has an integrated ambient light sensor, that automatically turns the head- and tail lights on as it gets dark outside. Riders can alternately turn the lights on and off manually, if they like to be in control.
Other features include headset and seat post shocks, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.
The iZip E3 Town:exp weighs 61 lb (28 kg), and is available via North American distributor Currie Tech for US$2,900.
Product page: iZip E3 Town:expView gallery - 10 images