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Customer Story

Dan, a man of many bikes, rides the IZIP

Bicycles are one of the most simple, pure forms re-living your childhood – with an added benefit of saving the world. It doesn't really matter who you are or what you ride, everyone likes to simply go faster. That feeling of the wind blowing through your helmet is second to none when it comes to exercising and commuting. Our 970 sq ft household has about a dozen bikes laying around and oftentimes I'm conflicted trying to decide which bike I will ride today. On this particular Friday, I feel the need, the need for speed. I glance over at my Trek Emonda ALR, specifically set up for the local Driveway Series Crit races. Oh, it's a rocket ship, much faster than my capabilities! Then my eyes get stuck on the iZip E3 Dash and immediately a grin forms on my face. It's a cross between an evil grin, knowing that some people think it's the "cheaters" way of riding a bike, and a boyish grin looking forward to zipping past everything on two wheels. iZip it is.

My skepticism of the iZip E3 Dash electric bike was extremely short-lived. Why would anyone want to ride an electric bike? They're bulky, heavy, awkward, heavy. Did I say 'heavy' twice? With loaded saddlebags and gear, it weighs in at a hefty 63 pounds. Lugging it down the front steps of my porch can be a challenge, but once it’s ready to roll, you completely lose its weight and bulk. I am now perched atop a city racer. I lock out its front suspension fork because I know that today I'm out for speed, and every compression of that front fork when out of the saddle is costing me precious miles per hour. With its flat bars, it feels eerily similar to zipping my mountain bike through the fast flowy singletrack trails at Walnut Creek.

The E3 Dash has four different power levels. The higher the number, the more watts it shares with each pedal stroke. I choose Level 3 to start. I quickly start pedaling, click click click through the shifters, and before I can even get my SPD cleats fully clicked in I am cruising at 23 mph. Whoa, there, Mrs. Dash, let me click in first!

I warm up by cruising down Shoal Creek Blvd. somewhere between 23-24 mph and passing every cyclist with a quick friendly wave. "On your left!", I yell to them. I hear some of them yell back at me, "Cheater!" I chuckle. I find a mile-long stretch of road where I request the power of Level 4. 350 additional watts of power with each pedal stroke and now I'm cruising comfortably at 28 mph. It's hard to break a sweat at this speed with the wind cooling you down as you fly through the neighborhoods. The website says that its top speed is 28mph, but I find otherwise.

If you want that 350 continuous watts, then yes, hold your speed at 28 mph, but if you try to pedal even harder the bike then shuts off its motor and says, "Ok, you're on your own!" I then find speeds of 29-30 mph and my legs are starting to really work while I lift myself off the saddle in search of more go-juice. If I start to tire and the speed drops to 28 mph, then I can hear and feel the motor kick back on to maintain my speed. It's very similar to that feeling of chugging up a long hill and having someone come up behind you to lay a hand on your back for a little extra push. I try to get back up to that 29-30 mph range in hopes of saving a little battery power, knowing that I can only get about 20 miles total at Level 4. If I'm struggling to maintain that speed, I'll drop the power to Level 3 and just cruise at 23 mph to conserve energy.

Conserving energy at 23 mph on a bicycle. What other bike can do this? I find myself on Loop 360 in northwest Austin. Beautiful rolling hills for about ten miles. I check my battery life and see that I have plenty available so I punch it once again to Level 4. This 63 lb. hunk of aluminum is now rolling down a hill at about 34 mph. I'm in an "aero tuck" hovering over the flat bars and I'm starting to fly past the cars stuck in rush hour traffic yelling at me, "Slow down, cycler!" Ha ha ha, I laugh at them in their exhaust-spewing, gas-guzzling rolling death boxes. On to the next hill! With each car passed I can virtually see a new tree being reborn in the forests with bunnies hopping along in the fields scooping up the field mice and bopping them on their heads. The earth lives on!

After about an hour of zipping in the streets of Austin, I drop the power down to Level 2 wearing a permanent grin. I'm slowly meandering back home at a paltry 18 mph attempting to re-catch my breath. Don't get me wrong here. Electric bikes are still bicycles that you have to pedal. I equate Level 2 to simply riding one of my other road bikes. The electric motor provides just enough assist to help you pedal around a 63 lb. bicycle comfortably. If you want to extract every ounce of assist from one, then you need to do some work! The payoff, though, is provided at much higher speeds! If I were to compare this particular ride to a training session on my Trek, it would be the equivalent of riding that bike unassisted at 18-19 mph for just over an hour.

I arrive back at my home and lift this beast back up the steps into the living room. As I approach my other bikes, I can feel them all staring back at me with that look of disapproval and a hint of envy. "Don't worry guys, every bike has a life. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe we'll go grind some gravel."