GoSGV electric bike – Go rent it! – Streetblog Los Angeles

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I was quite popular last month. Until I return the e-bike.

Friends and family of all skill levels have enjoyed its lightweight, near-silent motor and simple design. Three speeds, four speeds, solid brakes and that charming little bell. That’s all they talk about… If they talk to me at all now.

All kidding aside, the new monthly e-bike rental program GoSGV (of ActiveSGV and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments) should be a success. The pedal-assist 750-watt commuter bike felt great from the first moment I stepped on it.

The four gears of the bike are not radically different from each other. The lowest setting, ECO, gets the job done most of the time and lasts the longest. The Bosch engine digital display reads approximately 32 miles for ECO on a full charge (or 4 hours depending on the rental website). The fastest TURBO setting has a range of about 10 miles, and I’ve used it mostly for climbing hills.

On a short 10-11 mile ride I took with the new group SGV Cycling, the bike had no problem following the front, hooking up the rear, climbing or coming to a sudden stop when a vehicle blew through a stop sign while we were parking to a farmer’s market for a break. Guess they didn’t see the five people in front of me…Leader Vince La Rocca had a fun ride on the bike before we called it a night. “It’s so fast,” he said – relatively speaking. The engine cuts out at 20 mph, but its acceleration is effortless and smooth.

I can see them making a huge impression on casual cyclists at the upcoming 626 Golden Streets event. My 70 year old dad let me run behind him on a ride around La Puente. Car man that he is, he immediately pointed out one of the downsides of the bike: the drag of the motor when you stop pedaling is immediate, and it’s a fairly heavy bike (45 lbs). Seen from another angle, it is an advantage for making stops in complete safety.

Obviously, this isn’t a bike you’re going to take to any type of unpaved terrain. Wanting to get a comparison since this was my first e-bike experience, I visited Stan’s bike shop in Azusa (where there are two of the GoSGV bikes for rent, by the way). They put me on a Abrazo Sports Outrider, another 750 watts with pedal assist. The Outrider was faster, hitting around 28 mph, with a full twist throttle and big 26″x4 all-terrain tires. No bell though.

The Outrider seemed more capable of handling a long drive, with a range of 40-100 miles depending on speed (depending on the manufacturer). And it rolls over grass and dirt. But I don’t think you can put anyone on it like with the GoSGV bike. It took a lot more effort to get his 82 pounds moving, leaving the rider very dependent on the throttle. And its seat is not adjustable. On the GoSGV e-bike, I felt comfortable taking off from anywhere and had no reservations about letting anyone ride it.

Overall, GoSGV has a great introductory e-bike. It might not meet your exact needs if you’re looking for a permanent commuting cycle, but at $70 a month – versus $2,000 to $5,000 to own a bike of this quality – it’s worth a try.

GoSGV e-bikes are available for rent today.  Photo via ActiveSGV
GoSGV e-bikes are available for rent today. Photo via ActiveSGV

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