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REVIEW: GoSGV e-bike – Go rent it!

The GoSGV e-bike rental, at La Puente Park. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

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

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

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

The four speeds of the bike aren’t drastically different from each other. The lowest setting, ECO, gets the job done the majority of the time, and lasts the longest. The Bosch motor’s digital display reads out about 32 miles for ECO on a full charge (or 4 hours according to the rental website). The fastest TURBO setting gets about 10 miles range, and I mainly used it for getting up hills.

On a short 10-11 mile ride I took with the new group SGV Cycling, the bike had no problem keeping up with the front, hanging in the back, climbing, or making a sudden stop when a vehicle blew through a stop sign as we pulled into a farmer’s market for a break. Guess they didn’t see the five people in front of me... Ride leader Vince La Rocca enjoyed himself taking a spin on the bike before we called it a night. “It’s so fast,” he said – relatively speaking. The motor cuts off at 20 mph, but its acceleration is effortless and smooth.

I can see these making a huge impression on casual riders at the next 626 Golden Streets event. My 70-year-old father left me chasing behind him on a ride around La Puente. Car guy that he is though, he immediately pointed out one of the downsides of the bike: the motor drag when you stop pedaling is immediate, and it’s a fairly heavy bike (45 lbs). Looked at another way, that’s an upside for making safe stops.

Obviously, this isn’t a bike you’re going to take on any kind of unpaved terrain. Wanting to get some 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 rental, by the way). They put me on an Abrazo Sports Outrider, another 750 watt’er with pedal assist. The Outrider was faster, topping out at about 28 MPH, with full twist throttle, and large 26”x4” all-terrain tires. No bell though. 

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

All in all, GoSGV has a great introductory e-bike. It might not suit your exact needs if you’re looking for a permanent commuting cycle, but at $70 a month – versus $2000 to $5000 to own a bike of this quality – it’s well worth a try.

GoSGV electric bicycles are available for rent today. Photo via ActiveSGV
GoSGV electric bicycles are available for rent today. Photo via ActiveSGV
GoSGV electric bicycles are available for rent today. Photo via ActiveSGV

Streetsblog’s San Gabriel Valley coverage is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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