BIKE TEST: IZIP E3 PEAK+
Bosch-powered hardtail that won’t break the bank
Izip began in the late ’90s, almost before the beginning of time in electric bike history, as the brainchild of Dr. Malcom Currie, who founded the pioneering e-bike company Currie Technologies. Dr. Currie saw the potential for electric bikes long before the technology would be ready for making a great bike.
Luckily, in 2017, the technology has indeed caught up and bikes like the E3 Peak+ are the result.
The Izip E3 Peak+ is a hardtail bike with a Bosch Performance Line CX motor. The downtube is shaped in such a way as to cradle the battery pack and make it look more integrated with the frame. The frame is made from hydroformed aluminum and is shaped to allow a low top tube for easy step-over and plenty of reinforcing elements.
Kenda Havok 2.8-inch tires provide the grip on 27.5-inch wheels. We love this size; it’s on the cusp of normal and plus-sized tires, allowing riders to control their grip just by changing the tire pressure. They’re not quite the massive 3-inch tires or fat bike tires, but not as narrow as normal tires, either. We think this is the most versatile size on the market.
Gearing is 1×10 with a 11-40t rear cassette. This is ample with the Bosch CX and its small sprocket. Shimano Deore components do a great job handling the shifting. The SR Suntour air fork that provides 120mm of travel and the thru-axle design add stability and reliability.
There are a lot of great details found on this bike. Interior cable routing keeps the bike clean-looking. Close tolerances in many places speak to this. One place that tight tolerance is very noticeable is the rear triangle. The chainstays are close to the tire. It keeps the lines narrow, but also may be an issue on muddy rides.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR?
As a hardtail mountain bike, this is a good beginner’s bike. It comes with good components, most notably the Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive and the proven Suntour fork. With the plus-sized tires, it can definitely be used for light off-roading. It’s also well-suited for on-and-off-road riding. It would be a great bike to ride to work where some parts are paved and others are gravel or unpaved fire roads with a few fun bumps or jumps.
On the out-and-back trail, the bike climbed like a champ thanks to the CX motor and Kenda Havok meats. The plus tires offer outstanding grip with the right amount of air. We started with too much, then let some out and the overall ride improved. There’s a sweet spot with tires with tubes, especially on plus-sized tires, that provides its own suspension and a massive contact patch for grip without going too low and getting pinch flats over sharp rock edges. These tires are tubeless-ready, so if you’re so inclined, you can convert it.
A Bosch Intuvia display sits in the middle of the handlebars and provides all the necessary information at a glance. It’s clean, easy to read and removable. It shows speed, pedal-assist level, battery level and estimated range. The range is based on how much battery is left and the last 1.5 miles of riding. If you just finished a steep hill, it will show a different estimation than if you’ve so far just been riding on flat ground or a descent.
Our test model didn’t come with the new e-MTB mode, but by the time you read this, it will be available. It allows you to set it in that mode, and the computer will automatically pick the perfect amount of power assistance (from 120 to 300 percent) based on your own power input from your legs. The harder you pedal, the more power it adds. We love this new mode! If you already have a Peak+, you can take it to your dealer and have it upgraded via firmware update. New models will likely ship with the firmware already set up.
Being a hardtail, it’s slightly lighter than its full-suspension counterparts, so on tight switchbacks you can hop the back end around to make the turn easier. Ascents are helped by the hardtail if you’re of the camp that likes to lock out suspension for climbs. There’s no remote lockout on the fork, but flipping the lock lever is easy enough.
On descents, you really remember that your legs are the only suspension, save for the fork and a tiny bit you get from the plus tires. Taking this bike down a rapid, technical single track was truly a challenge. Especially if you’re used to modern full-suspension bikes, this will take you back to your early roots with hardtails, except in this case the fork would have been considered plush.
Stepping out of that comparison, going over some bigger hits and drops, the fork travels through its full stroke and bottoms out with a thud. Even with sag carefully set, big landings would bottom it out pretty easily.
Good brakes provide a confident and faster ride. Bad brakes do the opposite. On the Peak+, braking is provided by TRP Slate T4 hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors that provided ample braking power and really easy modulation.
The bike was responsive in turns and handled tight switchbacks with relative ease and didn’t act like it wanted to loop out on steep climbs. We yearned for a dropper post, but at the price of this bike, that wasn’t expected.
For on-road and light gravel/dirt riding, a suspension seatpost would be a welcome accessory. The plus tires take out the small bumps, but for bigger stuff, especially at speed, a little help in the back on a bike with a rigid aluminum frame would be nice. It’s overall very comfortable for street riding and great on bike paths that allow a Class 1 (no throttle, 20-mph) bike.
It handled the trails okay. In fact, we’d probably have liked it a little more if we weren’t spoiled by riding so many good, full-suspension bikes.
Overall, the Izip is a great beginner’s mountain bike that comes in two sizes to fit most riders. More serious or experienced riders will prefer full suspension and a better fork. We thought it interesting that Izip put an incredibly capable and powerful CX motor and really good Kenda Havok plus-sized tires on an entry-level bike. It’s almost a contradiction to have this level of components on this level of bike. It may be one of the nicest hardtail bikes on the electric bike market because of this.
The Izip was fun to ride on mellow trails, and the tires were a little aggressive for street rides. It’s still a very good bike for the price. It’s a good way to start yourself on a path to having fun off-roading.
SPECS: 2017 IZIP E3 PEAK+
Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX, 350W
Battery: 36V lithium-ion, 11.1Ah, 400Wh
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)
Range: 25–50 miles (tested)
Drive: Shimano Deore with SunRace 10-speed cassette, 11-40t
Brakes: TRP Slate T4, 180mm rotors
Controls: Bosch Purion
Fork: SR Suntour XCR32-AIR, 120mm travel
Frame: 6061 aluminum
Tires: Kenda Havoc 27.5×2.8”
Color choice: Dark grey
Sizes: Medium (17”, fits 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-9) and large (19”, fits 5-foot-9 to 6 feet)
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