2017 Ezee Forza: Electric Bike Review

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The bike feels complete, like a legitimate electric vehicle. with some minor upgrades, this year’s model has improved over the previous gen.

About one year ago, I completed my first video review, which was of the Ezee Forza. It wasn’t the best review and had a lot of rough edges, but this time around the review will be significantly better than the old one. Now can the same thing be said about the 2017 Forza? Well, Ezee have made some changes including the battery brand and upgrading the brakes. So let’s see how these changes hold up!



The Bike

The old Forza was quote unquote “murdered in all black”, and this new Forza is literally the same. Finished with a gloss black paint, this latest model is black from handlebar to chain stay. You have the Forza logo (which they’ve changed), slapped on both sides of the down tube that matches the reflective pin striping on the tyres and the fork sanctions. Like previous models from Ezee, this Forza is very monochrome. It’s simple, black, and minimal. Personally, I think they could’ve done a little better in the aesthetics department.

Only coming in one size, the Forza is fitted with entry level components. At the rear derailleur, you’ll find a Shimano Alivio RD-M4000, along with its corresponding Alivio shifter. The forks on the Forza are supplied by Mozo, however I don’t have the exact model. Best believe I tried to determine the exact forks, but from the site all the forks look the same and with the stickers removed on this one, it was hard to pinpoint. I’m guessing they are the Mozo Grooves. These have selected over the previous Zoom ZXR AMS forks which were air sprung whereas Mozo uses coils. Now coils are fine, however for most applications air is the best way to go. But let’s talk about the upgrade, the brakes. These are eBike specific brakes from Magura called the MT4e. The ‘e’ denotes that they are an eBike specific brakeset. These are based of the original MT4 which received positive reviews. I imagine these would perform just as well.

BRAKE TEST at 1:55min in video

Moving on, the Marathon Plus tyres supplied by Schwalbe are fitted onto the 26” Ezee Double Wall Pro rims. This set up is almost the same as last year with the only change being the rims. I’m surprised that they have not upgraded the wheels to 29ers. Most commuters are fitted with 29ers for that extra speed. I suspect Ezee went with 26” wheels to provide the bike with a more agile feel and target the hybrid market.

This time around, Ezee have equipped the Forza with a 36 volt 19Ah BMZ battery. They are a German brand which allows the upgrade to 34Ah. Pause, let’s take a moment here. The standard 19Ah is already ridiculous, and for Ezee to provide a 34Ah option, they must want you to be able to ride across the country. Oh wait, they did (Source 1 and 2).

Most electric bikes nowadays come standard with batteries around 15Ah. So a 19Ah and 34Ah offering is insane! According to Ezee, the 19Ah battery can provide a range of 50km on maximum pedal assistance. To put this into perspective, some eBikes only just reach 50km on medium assistance. I’m estimating the 34Ah battery can provide a range up to 80 to 90km with full pedal assistance. There is no pricing on the battery upgrade, but from the website I gather it’ll be upwards of $1,000AUD.

At the heart of the Forza, you’ll find a brushless 200W rear hub motor. It’s internally geared, so you’ll get the benefits of it being smaller and more torquer than direct drive hub motors. According to Ezee, it is street legal, and since it’s rated for 200W, there is no speed limit. Smart Ezee! I like this. For those who don’t know, in Australia, if a motor is rated to 250W, its street legal however the motor must cut out once the eBike has reached 25km/h. If a motor is rated above 250W, it is not street legal. But if the motor is rated to 200W, there is no speed limit required. This rule also allows the throttle to be legal. Thank you Australian Government! Fingers crossed they don’t change this.

Considering this, I’m questioning why companies are manufacturing commuter electric bicycles with a 250W motor. Why not a 200W motor without a speed limiter and a throttle? It would be a huge help to riders if they could commute at 40km/h instead of 25. If you guys know the reason, let me know in the comments below.

Continuing on, the controller is the same one from last year. Most Ezees feature this controller with a simple layout for battery and PAS level, and up and down buttons. Now you’re probably wondering how this bike turns on since it’s not on the meter. Well you turn it on via the key near the battery. It’s a little inconvenient and I would have preferred the key or on button to be on the controller. The issue with having the key where is that my foot sometimes got caught on it while riding. I guess the simple fix to that is to remove the key after you’ve turned it on, so not a huge deal. The key also unlocks the battery which can only be done once you flip the saddle like last year’s model.

In the video review, I also explain the throttle. It’s a twist style throttle on the left hand side which only engages if your PAS level is 1 or more. Pedal assistance of zero will disable the throttle. The throttle will provide maximum power regardless if the assistance is 1 or 5.

To cushion your rear, there is a Velo Plush saddle. Extra features and accessories on the bike include a headlight, a taillight, rear rack and a bike lock.

The Ride

Okay riding review time. I’m going to begin by telling you how my first experience went. The bike is ready and I turn it on with the key. Up goes my leg which swings around and my butt sits on the plush saddle. First push of the cranks, nothing, and BOOM! (Check video at 6:52min for sound).

On a serious note, the Forza is packing a lot of torque in that small 200W motor. I think it hits you harder because you expect the power to smoothly come in, but this bike has a slight delay and then gives you all 200W of it. It’s like an obsessive partner. Give’s nothing, slight delay, and then gives you all it’s got! Joke aside, the motor is quite powerful. I reached speeds up to 40km/h and cruised at 35km/h, thanks to the absence of a speed limiter. The pavement friendly tyres also help with that. With the Schwalbe Marathon plus tyres pumped to 50PSI, the bike effortlessly rolled over the road. The extra width also helps you when things get a little sticky and you need to ride a bit off road, but more than anything, stabilizes you.

I have been consistently pointing out the upgraded brakes, so let’s talk about them. They’re awesome. There’s something about the Magura’s that’s really satisfying. It doesn’t have modulation like Shimano XTs, but there’s this slight click when you engage them and the motor cuts out without delay. It’s beautiful to use and the feedback on the fingers was nice, especially if you like the mechanical feel. I was impressed with its performance which was evident in the brake test, however at first they were lacking a little. But once the brakes bed in, they packed a punch.

So riding the bike is great, how about using it?

Okay so using the Forza is simple, but a little inconvenient. It’s a shame, but like I said before, the controller in the middle. This made changing PAS level on-the-go a little difficult. With other eBikes, it was great having the controller within your thumb’s reach. Stretch your thumb out and press up or down for the PAS level, or hold the power button for the headlight. But with this, you have to take your hand off the handlebars and select your PAS. At least they made the display easy to read with that. This all adds to this feeling I get with the Ezee Forza. It’s difficult to explain, but the Forza feels like a legitimate vehicle. With the layout, accessories, and the key to turn on the bike, it feels like what the future is going to be (although I do hope the future is a little more convenient). I guess the best way to put it is the bike feels complete. Other electric bikes I’ve ridden feel like I’m riding a push bike with an electric motor and battery on it, whereas this Forza feels like an electric vehicle.

This leads me onto the accessories which play a role in this. The headlight is awesome, however unfortunately only turned on through the switch on the headlight and not the controller. Ezee provided us with a good quality headlight that helps you see in the dark, and helps you get seen. The taillight also assist with that as well with its bright red LEDs that automatically turn on when the bike is on. Something that commuters would love is the rear rack. The one found on the Forza is not some cheap and flimsy one, but a quality rack with with quality straps that you will actually use. An additional feature that completes the bike is the flip-able saddle to allow you to take out the battery. Although I have seen this on the old Ezee and other eBikes, it’s still brilliant and like I said it adds to this complete feeling.

However there is one issue I have with one of the components on this bike, and that’s the Cateye Velo 7. It is not backlit so when you’re riding at night, you will not be able to see the speed your travelling at, or the time. It’s not a significant issue, however just thought I would mention it. I’m sure you could change it out for your own trip computer.

The Conclusion

In conclusion the 2017 Ezee Forza is a legitimate electric bike. It’s not just a regular push bike with an electric motor and battery kit on it. It’s complete, and mainly due to the little things. The Forza does present some inconveniences to the user such as the key location to turn the bike on, the lack of backlighting on the CatEye Velo 7 and the location of the controller. At a price of $3500, you would expect a bike without those issues, but the bike does feature a high quality and capacity battery that will last you 50km just on the throttle.

So bottom line is that the 2017 Forza is good and compared to last year, it improved, although not significantly. All it needs is some slight design adjustments and it’ll be even better! You can find full specifications below*



*Specifications may differ from supplier

Price$2,400 + $1,100 Battery
Street LegalYes
Frame50cm Aluminium 6061 T4 T6
ForkMozo Lockout Fork 120mm
ShockN/A
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano Alivio 9 Spd (RD-M4000)
RimsDouble Wall Pro 19 Alloy
TyresSchwalbe Marathon Plus 26×1.75
BrakesMagura MT4e Hydraulic Disc
Brake LeversMagura MT4e
Motor200W Brushless Internally Geared Hub
Battery BMZ 36V 19Ah 10s7p

*Optional up to 34Ah

ControllerEzee Kinetics Generation 2
Charger 4A Fan Cooled
Maximum Speed 35km/h
Range 50km Full Pedal Assist
Additional Features/AccessoriesBell

Throttle

Flip-able Seat

Kickstand

Bike Rack

Headlight

Taillight

Pro Tag Tor Bike Lock

Bike Weight25kg
Warranty2 Years

 



REVIEW OVERVIEW
Aesthetics
6
Quality
7
Performance
10
Use and Ride Quality
8
Value
7
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