BIKE REVIEW: IZIP E3 PATH+ COMMUTER BIKE

IZIP E3 PATH+ COMMUTER BIKE

Photo: Pat Carrigan

 

Izip is part of Alta Cycles, a group that also offers brands including Diamondback, Raleigh, Redline, Haibike and Ghost for the North American market. Izip is their brand devoted to reliability and value.

Although the Izip E3 Path+ has been around for over six years now, it definitely has evolved with the times by being updated in appearance and geometry and has gone from using a Bafang rear-hub drive to a Shimano Steps mid-drive motor to its current configuration using a Bosch Active Line mid-drive. 

THE BIKE

The Path+ is available in both diamond-shaped or a low step-through model. In the diamond-shaped version, the battery is mounted on the downtube, and in the low-step version, it’s smartly mounted to the front of the seat tube to allow better clearance for stepping through. Both come with a SR Suntour NEX fork that offers a modicum of travel to smooth out bumps in the road.

It comes in three frame sizes. The small fits people 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-5, medium fits 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7, and large fits 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-10 (so taller riders need not apply). 

THE PARTS

For a value-oriented bike, the Path+ has some solid components, all name-brand stuff, like the Shimano Altus drivetrain, Alex rims, KMC e-bike-specific chain and Tektro brakes. The drivetrain has a 38T front sprocket, and the rear cassette is a Shimano HG200 7-speed with 12-32T and a display at the shifter to show you what gear you’re in at a glance.

The SR Suntour NEX fork offers 63mm of travel, enough to take the edge off of small bumps.

 

There are bosses for a rear rack, and it comes with plastic fenders that are good for keeping you clean. It also has a kickstand mounted right by the left rear dropout, which is our favorite mounting spot because it stays out of the way when riding. 

The Izip Ergo Comfort saddle is generously sized and well-padded for those who want comfort while riding. The handlebars have a nice sweep and ergonomic grips, providing an upright riding position.

THE MOTOR 

The E3 Path+ uses a Bosch Active Line motor. It’s the lower end for Bosch, but still provides plenty of oomph to get you going. It has a plastic gear wheel internally to help cut motor noise and a torque sensor that tells it how much support to offer you when pedaling (it actually takes over 1000 measurements per second, including torque input, cadence and wheel speed). It has 40 N/m of torque and can add support of up to 250 percent of
rider input.

The battery on this bike is a 400-Wh Bosch PowerPack. While this was an industry-standard capacity a few years ago, now it’s offered as a lower-cost solution to keep the cost of the overall bike lower and still offer the reliability of a Bosch system.

The Purion display is an all-in-one unit that shows speed, battery level and assist mode (i.e., Off, Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo). The included charger is a slower 2A version, but with the 400-Wh battery, it should still fully charge in three to four hours and can be charged on or off the bike.

The small 7-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain turns out to be plenty of gear range for even most hills.

 

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

This is a good all-around commuter or touring bike for someone that wants a bike that’s well-made and dependable with power to tame hills and windy conditions and that won’t break the bank. 

THE RIDE

Climbing aboard is easy in the step-through frame. All the buttons to turn on and control the Bosch system are on the display, so firing it up is easy. You can even do it after you’ve started pedaling, though it’s better to start it up than pedal. 

The upright riding position, nice sweep on the handlebars, ergonomic grips and overall geometry of the bike make it very comfortable on everything from short commutes or long rides. The Tektro brake levers have a reach adjustment to make them easier to actuate with different hand sizes. 

The fork provides a little travel, enough to take out some of the bumps in the road, but with the narrow, high-pressure Kenda Kwick Bitumen tires, any bump greater than a gum wrapper is passed right up to your backside. As long as your seatpost height will allow for it, adding a suspension seatpost will certainly make your rides more comfortable.

 

“We had one ride on a really windy day, and having the motor made that ride just as fun as the other days; we just had to bump the power an extra mode higher.” 

 

Those same tires, however, keep rolling resistance to a minimum, and the bike just flows along the trail beautifully. There’s a center strip to help with that added speed/lower resistance, while the deep grooves are for better grip in wet conditions. The bike felt planted while cornering in many different conditions—from dry to wet to sandy. The tires have Kenda’s K-Guard puncture resistance to help avoid flats and offer longer wear. 

We found the Tektro mechanical disc brakes to be a hair inadequate—just not quite enough stopping power overall.

 

With the Active Line motor, the bike easily gets up to 19 mph, but going above 20 is hard. Bosch has improved the motors above 20 to have less resistance, but it hasn’t eliminated all of it by a long shot. The good thing about the mid-drive is that it is less prone to overheating and subsequently shutting off if you’re climbing long, steep hills. This is something to keep in mind if you live in a hilly area, because few things are less fun than stopping on the side of the road to wait for your motor to cool off so you can get going again, which is something unlikely to happen with a mid-drive bike like this.

We climbed hills, enjoyed some long descents and more and the relatively small 7-speed range was more than adequate for all of it. We had one ride on a really windy day, and having the motor made that ride just as fun as the other days; we just had to bump the power an extra mode higher.

The cockpit is very clean, with an all-in-one Purion display and controls on the left, and an indexed shifter on the right.

 

On some rides with steep, long hills, the battery gave us a full-range look at the bike and its performance, and we were able to do everything from not sweating when we didn’t want to, to getting in a heart-pounding workout. 

The one area we think could be improved are the brakes. They are Tektro mechanical disc brakes, which offer adequate stopping power, but even with some adjustment, these just didn’t have the power we’d like. The 180mm rotors should be adequate, as they have been on other similar bikes we’ve ridden. A properly setup rear brake should be able to lock the rear wheel pretty easily, but on this bike, it took a lot of effort to do that. The narrower, higher-pressure tires that provide low-rolling resistance also means that the contact patch isn’t as big as higher-volume tires, which is part of that equation. We found we’d have to anticipate braking earlier for stops. 

Photo: Pat Carrigan

 

THE VERDICT

For the affordable price on this bike, you get a Bosch mid-drive motor and battery with good range; a dependable Shimano drivetrain and other name-brand components; a well-built bike that’s comfortable to ride; and it can be easily accessorized to fit your needs. The Path+ is a home run for someone looking for a well-priced, comfortable-to-ride, value commuter/city bike. If that’s what you’re looking for, we recommend you take a test ride at a dealer, and you can look up dealers on Izip’s website using their dealer locator.

 

IZIP E3 PATH+

Price: $2500

Frame: 6061 T6 aluminum

Fork: SR Suntour NEX DS E-25 63mm travel, e-bike-specific

Motor: Bosch Active Line

Battery: Bosch PowerPack 400Wh

Controls: Bosch Purion

Charge time: 3–4 hours

Top speed: 20 mph

Range: 25–45 miles

Rear derailleur: Shimano Altus M310 SGS

Chain: KMC Z7 ePT e-bike-specific

Brakes: Tektro MD-M280 mechanical disc brakes

Saddle: Izip Ergo Comfort

Rims: Alex DB-22 700c double-wall alloy

Hubs: Alloy

Tires: Kenda Kwick Bitumen 700x40c with K guard puncture protection

Weight: 52 pounds

Color choice: Light blue, dark blue

Sizes: S, M, L

www.izipelectric.com


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$2500$28commuter bikeIZIP E3 PATH+