The Charger is a 1990 era high-tech original. The system is 24 volts powered by a lead acid
battery pack. Top speed is 20 mph with a 40 mile range claimed. Weight of the Charger
is 65 pounds, not bad for a lead acid battery EV.
The bike has some interesting features that are ahead of their time:
The built-in battery pack charger is powered through a retractable cord. The controller/battery
pack/charger is one detachable unit. A PIN code secures the lock to the bike. The bike is powered by a motor chain linked to a 7-speed transmission, which then powers the hub. A 12V power port is provided for accessories.
At last count, the Charger price was about $900 US.
The Comoto is about half mountain eBike and half eMotorcycle. The Comoto is designed for power with a 72 volt motor. The aluminum monocoque frame rests on 26 inch mountain bike wheels. Top speed is listed at 40 mph with a 30 mile range.
The 20 AH battery is undersized, in our opinion, since the bike weighs in at 110-120 pounds. Many eBikes running 36 volt motors have 10-15 AH batteries.
The bike appears well designed and powered, but lacking storage. Going up a steep hill pulling rider and bike will likely drain that 20 amp hour battery quickly.
Crystalyte kits are a standard in the industry. There are dozens of Crystalyte resellers on the web and elsewhere. Crystalyte motors are direct drive motors; basically an electric motor in a wheel. Amped kits for instance feature internally geared motors.
There are three basic types of Crystalyte kits depending on the motors. The kits are generally available in front and rear wheel versions. The first number in the designation is the voltage and the second is the amperage.
The controller volts times the controller amps gives the power. For example, 3625:
36 x 25 = 900 Watts. The controllers may be mixed and matched according to the manufacturer.
Cyystalyte kits are ranked from lesser to greater quality and power (Sparrow-Brute). However, there is some overlap obtained by using more powerful controllers with lower kits.
Note that 900 Watts exceeds many local statutes for unregistered eBikes. The most powerful kits are fast to the point of being unsafe.
Here are the three types of Crystalyte kits:
The Sparrow: 1 brushed Motor, 2 controller choices: 3625, 4825
The Roadrunner: 1 brushless Motor, 2 controller choices: 3625, 4825
The Phoenix 3 Motors, 3 controller choices for each motor: 3640, 4840, 7240
Crystalyte kits are engineered well and generally get good support. The company has a long record in the albeit short history of eBike kits. We like the kits, with the exception of them being overpowered in some configurations, and not offering geared motors.
Currie also has a long history of eBike kit manufacture. The company manufacturers their signature external frame mount motor. These are great entry level eBike kits. However, they are not good at pulling steep hills. The kits include:
24 volt, 450 Watt motor and rear wheel
Rear rack and one battery
Thumb throttle and battery gauge
Complete wiring and hardware
Add a second battery pack to double the range
The kits go for around $300 - $500 US depending where purchased. Installation is relatively easy. The battery packs are modular and can be easily added to. The kits are popular and get good reviews. We recommend them.
Currie also makes a full line of electric bikes. The current line consists of the EZip and IZip line. Currie eBikes generally get good reviews and offer value for the price.
Prices on these eBikes (in US dollars) range from bargain to expensive. As might be expected, with such a range, you get a variety of comments. We cover the lower end to mid-range models here. Prices change, and so have been rounded.
The Ezip Trailz is the entry level Currie built eBike. It features the same 24 volt frame motor as the Currie kits and the Currie Ezip Ecoride eBike. The bike frame itself is steel. Combined with the VRLA (valve regulated lead acid) battery pack, the Ezip Trailz tips the scale at 68 pounds.
Top speed is about 15 mph and range is from 15-20 miles. The eBike appears to be well made and gets good reviews. The Ezip Trailz would make a good starter eBike for around town use.
Izip Via Lento - $600, 4.5 stars
The Via Lento features a 24V rear geared hub motor powered by two 12 volt lead acid (VRLA) batteries storing 10 amp hours of power. That combination gives a top speed of about 20 mph or 32 kph over a range of 20-25 miles or so. The bike weighs in at 62 pounds, and will carry a 240 pound rider.
The bike itself is a quality Currie aluminum design with suspension forks and adjustable stem. The drivetrain is single front chainring, 7-speed rear cluster. We would prefer at least one more front chainring since often times your eBike will be pedaled as well. This eBike gets mostly great reviews.
Ezip Ecoride - $800, 4.0 stars
The Ecoride is a relatively lightweight eBike at 54 pounds. It is powered by a 250W chain-driven motor (mounted on the left side). The motor is like the 450W systems included on many other EZIP / IZIP models. The motor gets power from a Li-ion battery.
Range of the Ecoride is estimated at around 22 miles. The bike features a pedelec function (pedal assist according to pedal resistance) working in combination with the throttle. Reviews on the Ecoride vary from great to less than. We give it 4 stars.
Izip Via Rapido - $900, 4.1 stars
The Via Rapido features an aluminum frame and Li-Ion battery that keeps the weight to a very respectable 52 pounds. The bike is powered by a rear hub, 24 volt, alloy shell, DC brushless geared motor.
The range is around 20 miles with a top end of about 18 mph, courtesy of the 10 amp hour battery. Instruments and switches are first rate digital. This eBike is one step up, and gets good reviews at 4.1 stars.
Izip Tri Cruiser - $900, 4.5 stars
The Tri-Cruiser is powered by the Currie 450 Watt external frame mount motor. However, the motor for the three wheeler is configured to run at 36 volts, which gives extra power to push the 107 pound trike around. The trike can haul up to 240 pounds.
The battery consists of three, instead of the usual two, 12 volt VRLA units packed into a case tucked behind the seat. The power setup provides plenty of power for most users commuting about town. Speed is reduced to a 14-15 mph top end, and range holds at around 25 miles. People seem well satisfied with the Currie Tri-Cruiser, and good reviews reflect that satisfaction.
Izip Trekking Enlightned - $900, 4.5 stars
The Trekking Enlightened model is yet another Currie 24 volt, rear geared hub, powered eBike. The motor is fed by a 24V, 10 AH lithium-ion battery pack. The Trekking model has a lightweight frame, components, and front disc. This eBike is another well built and well received Currie eBike.
The Cyclamatic is a 24 volt, 10 amp hour Li-ion powered mountain bike. The bike is basically in the same class as the Currie Via Lento or perhaps the Ecoride. While the bike appears well made, the reviews are split between great and not good. We would probably skip the Cyclamatic and go with one of the Currie models. If you have a problem with a Currie, it would be much easier to get service or return the eBike. Not recommended by us.
Cytronix eBikes are modified existing bikes by Trek and Cannondale. The Cytronix is really a 180 Watt boosted hybrid eBike designed for speed, not endurance.
The Cytronix features a small battery in a water bottle cage powering a light weight front hub motor. The result is a stealth eBike difficult to detect. The total weight is around 30 pounds, half the weight of most eBikes today.
These eBikes start at about $2,300 US. They are highly rated.
Dream-E bikes by Day6, are interesting eBikes. As the saying goes, they are "built for comfort, not for speed". The DreamE features a unique double parallel downtube design, and a double wide bench seat. The seating position is between upright and recumbent. The Dream-E comes in standard (no-motor) and motorized versions.
The motorized versions feature 360 or 500 watt motors. Lead acid or Li-Ion packs from 10-18 amp hours provide the energy. The Dream-E weighs only 59 pounds, great for such a plush ride. Top speed through the 7-speed cluster is listed at 20 mph, with a 20 mile range.
The Dream-E 36 volt, Li-ion electric version is priced at $2,250 US. This compares to $750 for the base Dream-E, bringing the electric components to $1,500 US. We would probably install the kit ourselves and save half the price.
The standard Dream-E gets very good reviews. The extra components added depend on the quality of the installation, so we are not rating the Dream-E.