Mountain bikes—whether analog or electric, long-travel trail/all-mountain or XC race rocket—are a passion among the Cycle Volta test crew. But it’s unlikely any of us would have found our way to the MTB world without first cutting our teeth on a BMX bike in our youth. Now Zooz Bikes is offering a new ebike series that harkens back to those good ol’ days.
Inspired by classic BMX bikes, the new electrics come in three versions: the Urban Ultralight 250, 500, and 1100. They’re built around a chrome 4130 chromoly steel frameset, and a chrome cross-bar BMX handlebar (choice of 6- or 9.5-inch rise) furthers the back-in-the-day look. Where the Urban Ultralight breaks with ’80s and ’90s BMX nostalgia is the cushy moto-style seat—set at a height of 30 inches—that is spec’d rather than a traditional BMX saddle and seatpost. The patent-pending seat houses most of the ebikes’ electronics and has room for two riders. Zooz says the Urban Ultralight range fits riders from 5 feet tall up to 6-foot-5.
Concerned that the nonadjustable moto-seat setup might not provide enough leg extension, especially if you’re a taller rider? Zooz addresses that on its FAQ page:
“This bike is intended to maximize the use of the throttle. The pedals do come in handy for boosting speeds under acceleration, climbing hills, etc., but Zooz Bikes are meant to be ridden like a scooter. Thus, a neutral, upright seating position inspires confidence and control.
‘We periodically add pedal power to boost the motor. Normally, we would stand up for this—an athletic position where you would be standing on the pedals like a downhill mountain bike—and the seat stays low and out of your way for any unwanted taps in your nether regions while you rip across town.”
All three versions of the bike are available for preorder now at early-bird discounts of $500 to $700 off, for delivery starting in April 2021. A line of accessories will also be available for purchase by the time the bikes land, Zooz says.
With the new pedal- and throttle-assist ebikes, Zooz has taken “a less-is-more approach, focusing on quality components, design, and the ride instead of gadgets and racks and gimmicks,” said Chris Zahner, who co-founded the company in 2017. “Urban dwellers are looking for exploration and excitement on top of simple mobility as social distancing measures not only affect your commute but also minimize our daily dose of excitement. Zooz offers thrill-on-demand.”
Offered at a preproduction price of $1,500 (regular price: $2,000), the Urban Ultralight 250 has a 250W rear hub motor (peaking at 500W) providing five levels of pedal assist up to 16 mph. It will ship as a Class 1 ebike, with an optional thumb throttle included in the box. The 17.5Ah/630Wh gets an estimated minimum range of 25 miles on one charge. Customers can choose between 24- or 26-inch wheels shod in 2.1-inch-wide Kenda Kranium tires. Total bike weight with battery is 44.1 pounds, and the Urban Ultralight has a maximum load capacity of 200 pounds.
Next up in the range is the Urban Ultralight 750, currently priced at $2,000 (regularly $2,600). Zooz considers the 750 the flagship of the line, and it has a 575W hub motor (peaking at 960W) with five levels of pedal assist up to 20 mph as well as a thumb throttle already installed, making it a Class 2 ebike. Minimum range for the higher-capacity 17.5Ah/840Wh battery is estimated at 25 miles, same as the Urban Ultralight 250. It rolls on 24-inch wheels with 2.5-inch-wide Maxxis Hookworm tires. The Urban Ultralight tips the scales at 55.7 pounds, and has max load capacity of 230 pounds.
With a preproduction price of $2,500 (regularly $3,200), the Urban Ultralight 1100 is intended for heavier riders (load capacity up to 300 pounds) and to cover longer distances (minimum range of 33 miles from the 21Ah/1092Wh battery). The 728W hub motor (peaking at a whopping 1,092W) moves the Urban Ultralight 1100′s 62.6 pounds of heft up to 27 mph via five levels of pedal assist. The bike also comes with a throttle installed. Like the Urban Ultralight 750, it rolls on 24×2.5-inch Maxxis Hookworm tires.
For more information or to preorder bikes, visit zoozbikes.com.