eZee bikes are a name that have been in the electric bike industry since 2001. It’s a company based out of Shanghai, whose CEO, Wai Won Ching, tested several of his eZee bikes across huge trips, such as 2700km across South Africa, and 6000km from Perth to Sydney.
eZee bikes are thoroughly tested before they’re sold, and so, naturally they’re expected to handle a lot that’s thrown at them
eZee bikes enter Australia through one distributor, Glow Worm Bicycles, who are located in Marrickville, Sydney. Maurice Wells, the founder of Glow Worm, has been dealing with eZee bikes since 2010, and works closely with Mr Ching. In fact, Maurice, and Abraham Wile (lead bike mechanic @ Glow Worm) were joined by Mr Ching on their Perth to Sydney trip to test the eZee Titanium Torq. In other words, eZee bikes are thoroughly tested before they’re sold, and so, naturally they’re expected to handle a lot that’s thrown at them. Maurice and Abraham are also engineers who have been heavily involved in electric bike design and development through university and later in their professional careers, so it’s not just about sales for these guys, even though their shopfront stocks other big brands such as BH Emotion, and Gazelle.
We were given the eZee Forza RWD City Edition for review, equipped with a monstrous 36V 20Ah battery and some optional upgrades such as a 1000 Lumen front light ($180), AXA Chain ($50), Thusbuster ($210). It comes standard with mudguards and the pannier rack, otherwise not available on the standard RWD Forza Mountain Bike Edition.
Purposely built electric bikes are recently becoming more integrated with electronic components hidden or disguised in the frame. However, with the Forza, the first thing you will notice is the battery located behind the seatpost. All eZee bikes have a similar battery setup like this, and although it allows for larger capacity batteries, there’s no hiding the fact it’s an electric bike. On closer inspection you will also see the black controller box well secured and tucked away behind the battery.
The word ‘Forza’ is imprinted along the down tube, and I really wish eZee had done more with the colours and branding of this bike to help lift it visually. Possibly a plaque or something as simple as a better font could have been used.
The battery and assistance indicator box is centred on the handlebars and although waterproof, it’s a basic black box with LED indicators to show you the assistance and battery levels.
It also comes fitted with a Cateye Velo 8 as standard, which is a basic cycling computer that gives you readings such as speed, distance, time, and so on. The Cateye isn’t backlit unfortunately, and I wish it was as it would be nice to know your speed while riding at night. The speed reading comes off a sensor located on the front wheel, and we found it to be accurate in measuring speed. The good thing about measuring speed using a magnetic wheel sensor is that you can change the diameter and width of your tyres, without affecting your speed read out, as the Cateye takes manual inputs for the circumference of wheel.
The black and gold Zoom ZXR AMS 120mm travel front forks help break up the black, without looking like they’re out of place and really helps deter attention away from the battery.
The front and rear lights have been neatly integrated and run off the main battery. The wiring doesn’t look like a spaghetti mess, and with the Forza in black the wires don’t stand out at all. The Forza also comes in green, blue and red.
It offers a whopping 720 watt hours and is the biggest battery capacity we’ve tested so far.
We were given the eZee 36V, 20Ah battery which is available as an upgrade or optional extra from Glow Worm Bicycles and eZee dealers. It offers a whopping 720 watt hours and is the biggest battery capacity we’ve tested so far.
The battery weight came in at 5.6kg on our scales, and although this may sound heavy to you, for the capacity it offers it isn’t all that much. The battery is also longer than the standard 15Ah battery this bike comes with, making the seat post length slightly longer.
If you need to remove the 20Ah battery from the Forza (you can charge it when it’s on the bike), you will need to remove the Thudbuster seatpost. The seatpost clamp is a quick release making the job easier. The standard seatpost the Forza comes with has a flippable mechanism allowing you to remove the battery without removing the seat. I hadn’t seen something like this before, and I don’t think there are too many companies producing such a seatpost.
A 720wh battery also needs a good charger. The charger which comes with the Forza outputs 4A, and was able to charge the fully depleted 20Ah battery in 6 hours and 42 minutes. Considering all the charges we’ve come across so far only output 1.5-2A, and take 5-6 hours to charge a depleted 9Ah battery to full capacity, eZee are ahead of the game and get good points here.
Range is important with electric bikes, because as you find yourself enjoying it more, you’ll find yourself traveling further, or at least wanting to travel further depending on how restricted you are by your battery capacity. It’s the difference from doing 30km on a normal bike to now doing 100km on an electric bike.
… we achieved a whopping 75km
At the end of our range test with my weight of 96kg, the Forza’s weight of 28kg (with the 20Ah battery), maximum assistance level with the max cut off assisted speed between 38km/h and 33km/h and an average speed of 33km/h, we achieved a whopping 75km (more on range tests in our FAQ). That’s a huge achievement for eZee considering the Neo Carbon we tested, which held top spot with a 9Ah battery and only weighing 19.8kg achieved 33km. Even if you doubled the capacity of the Neo Carbon’s battery and then some, it still wouldn’t have achieved the same distance. Not only that, but the Carbon’s average speed on our range test was 24km/h compared to the Forzas 33km/h. If you’re lighter than 96kg, the range will only get better.
You could only imagine how we reacted when we found out that a 28Ah option is also now available, which uses the same size case as the 20Ah, as well as weighing the same.
We then decided to have a bit of fun, and after recharging the battery hopped back on our test track and used only full throttle on all downhills and flats, which you wouldn’t normally do in day to day riding. The only time I needed to pedal was up the double run of the 20% graded hill, even though it made it three quarters up on throttle only. Using throttle only we achieved 55km, and it was incredible to just see the battery go on and on.
You could only imagine how we reacted when we found out that a 28Ah option is also now available, which uses the same size case as the 20Ah, as well as weighing the same. The fact their entire range come with so many battery capacity options, especially ones this large is going to make it a hard option to pass up if range is one of your priorities. I’m just imagining if the system went to 48V, and still maintained the same sized battery cases! To us, this is the biggest benefit of not having the battery integrated in the frame.
Although the handlebars are not a complete cruiser style, they do bend back a considerably amount which differentiates them from a flatbar. You will still find yourself leaning slightly forward. I’d be wearing gloves to soften the handlebars if I had to ride for over 30km. Otherwise you could change to proper comfort handlebars, taking all the weight off your hands and wrists.
The front forks have a basic rebound and lockout setting and did a decent job for typical city riding during our tests. If you’re looking at the Forza MTB for off-road trails, they come with the same forks. If things get bumpy, you would need to consider upgrading the forks, but for commuting, these are fine.
The Thudbuster rear suspension post helped a great deal smoothing out our ride. It’s a great thing to have if you don’t have a rear shock, but you do lose the flippable seatpost.
On the left side of the handlebar you will see the half twist throttle. The throttle can be located on the left or right side depending on your requirements. On the Forza, the gear change is located on the right, so having the throttle on the left makes operation much easier.
During our tests we didn’t find our left wrist fatiguing at all, even when throttle was used excessively. There are also upgrade options for thumb throttle for those that don’t want to use their wrists.
If you’re riding your bike everyday to work, having a comfortable commuter is very important. We found the Forza was exactly that, even if it meant our backs weren’t 100% upright.
When I first held the battery, I was concerned with the mounting mechanism and how it was going to hold almost 6kg of weight. Especially, since this exact same Forza is offered as an off-road version without the fenders and pannier rack but with wider mountain bike tyres. Everything needs to be well secured when you’re offroad, and on road shouldn’t be any different. When you’re on any electric bike, you need to know the battery is well secured and won’t be moving around from jolts.
On closer inspection, the battery itself has a socket on the rear casing which has been reinforced with a toothed metal socket embedded into the hard plastic. I’ve seen similar mounting mechanisms in other electric bikes, except the socket has always been hollow plastic, with no reinforcing ring. On a key turn to lock the battery, a metal rod pops out of the bikes mounting bracket and fits into this socket to hold it secure. On the Forza, not only does it have a reinforced socket that makes for a snug fit from the frames metal securing rod, but the battery slides onto rails and then slots into the connection port of the frame. When the battery was secured on the rails I found there was maybe 2 to 3mm of lateral play which was corrected when the mounting bracket was tightened.
This wasn’t enough to say the battery is well secured, so we tested it on some steps to see how it would end up when it got to the bottom. A indicator that the battery moved a significant amount would be if the Forza lost power. I would also feel the battery case hitting the bottom of the Thudbuster.
The Forza did not lose power at all with the battery still well secured and operating as normal when we reached the bottom.
The Forza did not lose power at all with the battery still well secured and operating as normal when we reached the bottom. I also didn’t feel the battery jolting up and hitting the bottom of the Thudbuster. That’s impressive considering the weight of the battery.
Waterproofness is always important both off road and to those who commute in the rain. The controller and display are both waterproof. The battery case has a charge port cover to protect it from the elements, while the connection port in the frame has a square plastic raised wall around it to avoid any water ingress.
The controller and display are both waterproof.
With a total carrying capacity of 124kg, you need strong rims, and that’s what you get with 26” Weinmann Ultimate Power SP 17 Alloy rims, laced with Sandvik T302 Stainless Steel 13g/2.3mm thick gauge spokes.
The Forza has been built from the ground up as an electric bike. A close look at the battery mounting system, the controller, the wiring, and the long frame will tell you exactly that. Even if it’s not discretely hidden, it hasn’t been slapped on as an afterthought to make it electric.
Glow Worm also keep all their spare parts on hand. Their dedicated spare parts warehouse is packed, so you don’t have to be waiting for weeks for something to arrive from the distributor.
The Forza uses a cadence sensor, along with a half twist throttle and so is under the old nominal 200 watt ruling. Cadence sensors are typically made up of a single hall sensor and a magnetic ring on the crank. When the hall sensor detects the pedals rotating past a certain revolution per minute (it gets this signal from the magnets), it sends a signal to the controller to engage assistance. The amount of assistance the Forza gives you is almost like an on/off switch (although much smoother) in the sense that irrespective of how hard you’re pedaling, the motor will always give you the same amount of assistance depending on the power level you have set (there are five). This means that even if you pedal harder, the cadence sensor has no way of measuring the pressure applied to the pedals, so assistance will remain the same in that power level.
It’s a very well refined system, and the most accurate cadence sensored bike we’ve ridden.
You might ask what’s the point of pedaling if it makes no difference? Well it does. When you pedal harder than the maximum assisted speed you have set or even in a steep climb, you add your human input above what the power level is set at, or what the motor is able to output. For example instead of riding at 33km/hr on assistance level 4 with a cadence less than 55rpm (lightly pedaling) on gear 9, you can now ride at 38km/h on the same assistance level, with a cadence of 70rpm on the same gear. Because you’re now travelling faster, you’re also covering more range. In hill climbs, you’re also taking strain off the motor by putting in a decent amount of pedal power.
4 out of 5 times, assistance came on within half a revolution.
Now most electric bikes fitted with cadence sensors would have a maximum of 8 magnets, but typically 5. The more magnets fitted on the sensor, the more accurate the hall sensor is in detecting speed of the crank, therefore engaging the motor faster. The cadence sensor on the Forza uses 12 magnets and two hall sensors. It’s a very well refined system, and the most accurate cadence sensored bike we’ve ridden. When using gears 7 or lower, the bike required less than 1 revolution of the crank arm for assistance to come on, and 4 out of 5 times, assistance came on within half a revolution. This is different to many other cadence sensored electric bikes we’ve ridden where most the time it took up to 3 revolutions for assistance to kick in unless you used the granny gears.
Having said that, if you’re in a high gear such as 8 or 9, and come to a stop, you will more than likely struggle moving the pedals on your own. This is when the Forza’s throttle helps a substantial amount, as you don’t need to think about gearing down. The Forza definitely feels like it has very high peak torque for the acceleration you get.
The throttle allowed the Forza to accelerate fast and smooth and produced a good amount of torque without any lag. Using the cadence sensor in the right gear also produced the same results from a standstill. Using ThrottleThrottle is also good in really tight turns where you may have otherwise used your foot to push off because you couldn’t even get half a pedal revolution in.The balance between power, and the ramp up of that power from a standstill was spot on. When you twist the throttle to 100%, you expect power to come on instantly, but not too much that you fall off the bike, and not too little that you stall. Also, having enough acceleration without lag is critical if you’re in a situation where you need to move fast, such as crossing a road, a roundabout or avoiding an accident. Overall, the Forza offered excellent acceleration from a standstill even though it didn’t use a torque sensor.
As the bikes battery voltage drops, so does its max speed. Fresh off the charger, 38km/h was achievable, then 36km/h after you lose the first bar of battery, then eventually down to 33km/h on the last bar, all with the same cadence of 70rpm.
The throttle itself also has 5 power levels, and it’s only when you turn it 100% of the way where you’ll get up to 38km/h fresh off the charger. Our throttle wasn’t marked with each level. The ramp up between power levels when using the cadence sensor is spaced out by roughly 6-7km/h. This means you can expect 37-38km/h on power level 5, 30-31km/h on level 4, 25-26km/h on level 3, and so on. However on power level 1, assistance can barely be felt, almost like it’s turned off. I see people only using power level 1 to conserve battery and at the same time get a decent workout.
So how would it perform going up a 20% grade weighing 28kg and using 48T-32T gearing?
You will find that with a lot of electric bikes fitted with cadence sensors, if you’re pedaling one revolution every 2 seconds (30rpm), assistance will cut out. Now because the gearing of the Forza is already a little high for a 20% climb, eZee needed to further refine the way their cadence sensor operates, knowing its riders will tackle hills and their cadence will drop considerably only having one chainring up front. Had eZee just slapped on any cadence sensor and hoped for the best the Forza would have been difficult to ride up a 20% grade, possibly stalling and making it difficult to ride like other electric bikes we’ve tested.
… we were so impressed we did the climb at least a dozen times to see how low we could get our cadence without stalling.
The torque from the Forza didn’t disappoint, in fact we were so impressed we did the climb at least a dozen times to see how low we could get our cadence without stalling. At one stage my cadence dropped as low as 23rpm @ 20% grade. The pedals were barely turning, I didn’t stall, and assistance didn’t cut out. I was barely putting any effort in and the motor just kept on assisting and pushing all 124kg up the hill slowly, but surely.
The torque produced from the Forza exceeded our expectations. The torque produced from the BH Emotion bikes previously tested had the top spot, but the Forza is definitely there with them. I would say if the Forza was 2-3kg lighter (smaller battery maybe?), and had a smaller chainring, it would have clearly taken the top spot for it’s hill climbing ability.
Next we tested the top speed of the bike. Once again, we were impressed. With a cadence of around 70rpm, we were sitting on 38km/h using the maximum power level and the 11T on the rear. No crazy heart rate, no excessive sweating, and no carbon fibre. You’ll also get the same maximum speed using throttle only, which indicates our pedaling didn’t play a major part with achieving 38km/hr. When I pushed my cadence up to 75rpm, which is by no means fast, I got up to 41km/hr.
The Forza’s overall performance and strong build definitely took me by surprise, making it one of the best performing and robust legal electric bikes we’ve tested so far.
On a 0% grade, the smallest 11T on the rear is just right and you would find it quite difficult to pedal faster than 45km/hr as the motors limit gets pushed, making the bike feel quite heavy. We really didn’t see the need to go this fast, and found sitting anywhere from 35km/hr to 40km/hr to be more than adequate on a commute. Going down hill you could probably do with one more gear, however you would lose significant climbing ability and you wouldn’t gain anything on a flat grade due to the weight of the bike and the limits of the Forza’s motor. Overall we found the gearing to be more than sufficient in a commute, and the chain guard will help keep grease off your pants.
The Forza also handled very well as a comfort commuter and felt extremely sturdy at speed with no wobble or strange noises coming from the bike. The eZee MK2 motor does have a soft whine though and can be heard when the bike is being pushed above 30km/hr. It would be hard to hear if someone whizzed by, and during our tests onlookers struggled to hear anything on approach. The whining at speed is only a small criticism in an otherwise excellent performing motor.
The handlebars are slightly bent back but are not complete comfort handles that would otherwise allow you to sit in an upright position. They still allowed for a good turning circle without your arms hitting your body on sharp turns, which can be a problem with typical comfort style handlebars.
The Forza’s overall performance and strong build definitely took me by surprise, making it one of the best performing and robust legal electric bikes we’ve tested so far.
Travelling at the speed the Forza provides means you need decent brakes. The Forza is fitted with Shimano M495 mechanic disc brakes with a 180mm rotor at the front, and a 160mm rotor at the back. We found that after some heavy use, naturally, the modulation decreased requiring to press the levers to the point they were almost touching the handles. This happened from stopping multiple times in quick succession from 35km/hr, with the brakes then becoming rather soft with fade increasing. If you’re constantly speeding around and slamming the brakes, you’ll constantly be tightening the cables. If this isn’t an option, you will need to turn to hydraulics which Glow Worm offer as an upgrade. I could only imagine the reason they weren’t included as standard in the first place, was to keep costs reasonable for day to day riders who don’t speed around abusing their bikes as we have.
Both brake levers were also fitted with brake sensors which disengage the motor once the levers are recessed. It’s a good little feature to have and assures you’re never engaging the motor and braking at the same time, which can lead to the rotors, motor and controller getting hot quite fast, as well as wearing out.
The Forza comes standard with a powerful 1000 lumen front light running off the main battery.
If you commute at dusk or night time, you would want to have lights on your bike. Not having to buy or replace factory fitted lights on your electric bike is always a bonus. We find that generally most lights bundled with electric bikes are gimmicky, and quite poor in strength. The Forza came with a powerful 1000 lumen front light running off the main battery, with an on board switch to flick it to 500 lumens if required. The rear light is also integrated into the main battery and provides plenty of brightness so you’re easily spotted from behind.
Glow Worm build wheels and have a spoke cutter on hand. All their electric bikes are checked and trued before they leave the shop. The rims fitted on the Forza as standard are Weinmann Ultimate Power SP 17 Alloy rims wrapped in 26×1.75” Marathon Plus Puncture Proof tyres. It’s a great street tyre in the dry, but it can get a bit slippery in the wet when at speed and cornering, so you would want to be careful. If you’re commute involves any light off road, I would have it fitted with the Marathon Tour Plus 2” tyres instead, which is a nice hybrid tyre.
Now if you commute or ride your bike anywhere, you’ll be looking at some sort of lock. No problem, the Forza comes standard with an AXA defender wheel lock and an optional AXA chain for you to use. When you first look at the Forza, the lock isn’t all that easy to spot. It’s mounted on the rear seat stays, and because of how tightly packed everything is around there it’s not the easiest thing for a thief to remove.
The rims fitted on the Forza as standard are Weinmann Ultimate Power SP 17 Alloy rims wrapped in 26×1.75” Marathon Plus Puncture Proof tyres.
The AXA RLC100 chain (RRP $50AUD) and the AXA Defender system are designed to work together. The chain is 100cm long and is first looped around any pole, then through itself before it plugs into the Defender system. The Defender then works by creating a reinforced O ring (when locked) between the frame and the inside of the wheel. If a thief manages to cut the chain and try to ride off, the Defender system wouldn’t allow them as it stops the wheel from rotating.
The safety features which come standard on this bike are a nice addition you would have paid extra for with other manufacturers.
Although the assistance indicator box isn’t removable, it’s highly unlikely anyone would want to steal it. It’s not flashy and has multiple cables running from it. The Cateye 8 as well as the battery are of course removable.
The key socket has 3 positions, off/locked, on/locked, and open/unlocked. The same key is what powers on the bike when it’s in the on position, and it would have been nice to have a dedicated power button on the handlebars. The only time the keys are removable from the bike is when the battery is unlocked or in the off position. The AXA defender system is the opposite of course, and the only time the key is removable is if the system has been locked.
The safety features which come standard on this bike are a great addition you would have paid extra for with other manufacturers. We only wish the Forza came standard with hydraulic disc brakes given the maximum speed this bike can travel at.
Because Glow Worm know their bikes well and the way the electronics work together, most accessories such as light upgrades, USB chargers, Cycle Analysts, motor repairs, and wheel rebuilds can be carried out by them in store.
You also have the option of a USB charger.
If you’re not happy with the LED indicator box, a Cycle Analyst is available for purchase which will give you more information on watt hours used, average watt hours per km, and so on. It’s a much more advanced system that relays a lot of information about the battery and motor back to the rider. Most likely not required if you don’t know what the information means or don’t care about that sort of feedback. You also have the option for a Grin Tech Dual USB Power Adapter (RRP $124AUD). This will supply dual USB ports and is helpful if you use navigation mapping on your phone while riding your bike and don’t want your phones battery to drain. Each output is over 1A which is sufficient to charge you phone while navigation is in use.
There’s also the option of different pannier mounts. The carrying limit on the pannier rack is 25kg, and we found our Ortlieb bags fit perfectly. You also have many more options such as a thumb, half twist or full twist throttle, front baskets, pedals, saddles, seatposts, dual kickstand, bicycle mirrors, water bottle mounts and the list goes on. If they don’t have something in stock they can most likely bring it in.
Although the Forza is not as discretely integrated as other electric bikes, it’s performance really blew me out of the water. I simply didn’t expect it to perform this well given its 200watt nominal rating, and how much it weighed in combination with using a cadence sensor. The Forza is heavy at 28kg, and if it wasn’t for it’s powerful motor, its weight would have definitely been felt. Instead you will barely notice it’s weight when commuting, even if you’re going up steep hills. That’s unless the battery runs flat or you have to lift your bike up a flight of steps; I would recommend removing the battery if you had to do this.
If you’re looking for an electric bike that takes the sweat out of your daily commute … the Forza City Edition is a hard option to pass up.
The cadence sensor performed extremely well, and was one of the most surprising components of this bike. A lot of electric bikes these days are using torque sensors without throttle, and it’s something I had grown used to. Going back to a cadence sensor reminded me of the simplicity needed during commuting. I didn’t have to think about applying any heavy amounts of pedal pressure to get some ratio of assistance back. Yes, torque sensors are a more efficient system on the battery, but with 15Ah+ battery capacities available, who cares? For a cadence sensor to continue operating at one revolution every 2.6 seconds in a steep climb means you won’t be suddenly stalling going up a hill like most sub-par cadence sensors. If I didn’t want to pedal, I had throttle, an option you don’t get with torque sensorsed bikes in Australia.
The large battery capacities available, as well as all it’s standard features and performance, offers you something no other manufacturer provides for the same price point. If you’re looking for an electric bike that takes the sweat out of your daily commute, while still packing all the performance and features you would want in a commuter, the Forza City Edition is a hard option to pass up