They promise “agility over utility.”
We like e-bikes a lot. We particularly like practical, affordable e-bikes where you can carry tons of stuff and go for miles and miles.
And then there is the Gogoro Eeyo. I could go all Eeyore and just whine about it, but it is taking a different approach. Gogoro founder Horace Luke explains:
E-bikes don’t all need to be heavy cargo haulers or feel like you’re riding a battery, so we created the Eeyo 1 to be ultralight, quick, responsive, and fun. With its iconic open-frame design and new powerful Eeyo Smartwheel, Eeyo 1 is an adrenaline time machine bringing back the pure joy of riding we all once had.
TreeHugger admired the Gogoro approach to scooters, with their swappable batteries, which were great for people who live in apartments and do not have a place to plug in and charge. They never brought these to the USA because the market for scooters is small. But I would have thought that would have been an interesting approach for e-bikes too.
Luke and Gogoro have taken a different approach entirely; they have made the bike light enough that you can just throw it over your shoulder and carry it up to your apartment. It’s all carbon fiber, the seat post is eliminated, and the whole package is only 26.4 pounds, insanely light for a full-size e-bike.
The motor, battery and sensors are housed in the SmartWheel, and connected to the pedals with a carbon fiber belt. There are no cables to a controller; you do that wirelessly to your smartphone which clips onto the handlebars. When you get it home, there is a very clever stand that charges the bike.
I do get nervous when all those batteries and electronics are packed into a tiny spinning package, subject to all kinds of forces that they don’t get when they are on the bike and not in the hub. I suspect that service will be a challenge. But there are advantages too, with all the connections being short and sealed up in one place.
With Intelligent Power Assist, the Eeyo Smartwheel utilizes a state-of-the-art torque sensor to detect a rider’s pedal-power and instantly delivers pedal assist that provides increased control, power, and speed that feels more balanced, and natural. This not only conserves energy and prevents the rider from breaking a sweat, but it ensures there is enough power to get you where you want to go and back with power to spare.
Not a lot of power, with a 250 watt motor and not a lot of range with a 123 Wh battery, but enough to go 19 mph for 40 miles, 55 in eco-mode, and you can go faster if you pedal hard, the bike is certainly light enough to move faster than the regulations. It’s not cheap either at $3,899, but it is built and priced like a sports car. One that you can carry into your apartment. Micah Toll of electrek, who normally looks down his nose at 250 watts, seems to get the point of this bike:
To be fair, some sacrifices were made. There’s no multi-speed transmission and the battery is rather small. But I think Gogoro made up for those two shortcomings well. Multi-speed transmissions, while nice, aren’t as necessary on e-bikes that can use their extra power to overcome a lack of lower gears with higher torque. And the small battery is offset by the fact that this is an ultra-efficient, lightweight, pedal-assisted e-bike.
This is the kind of bike that you keep inside, or you would need a lock as heavy as the bike. It’s not for everyone, many would prefer utility over agility. But I drove a sports car for years; agility is a lot more fun than utility. It also might have a lot of utility if you don’t have a safe place to park. It might be perfect if you could take it from home to office. As Horace Luke tells Techcrunch,
At the moment, use of public transportation is down and people are very cautious about it. This is forcing people to find alternative ways to get around,” said Luke. “A lot of cities are very hilly, commutes are long and with streets closed, cars are not as efficient as they used to be. So there is a huge demand and the e-bike market is blowing up.