Published on September 29th, 2020 |
by Kyle Field
September 29th, 2020 by Kyle Field
Gogoro spent the last few years living, working, and breathing electric scooters. Mastering the two wheeled electric vehicle form factor opened their eyes to the potential of ebikes, launching a new internal project to rethink the ebike from soup to nuts.
The result of their efforts is the Eeyo Smartwheel. It packs everything an ebike needs into the rear hub. Sensors, motors, the motor controller, and even the batteries are encased in the beautiful creation known as the Eeyo Smartwheel. To showcase their new baby, Gogoro developed a complete bike that’s equally advanced in just about every way, the Eeyo 1s . Gogoro sent us an Eeyo 1s to run through the paces for a few weeks and we’re back to tell you all about it.
Disclaimer: Gogoro provided the author with a Gogoro Eeyo 1s for several weeks for the purposes of this review at no cost.
The Über eBike
The Eeyo 1s is a work of art on two wheels. Its sleek lines, minimalist weight, and high tech build that is equally at home with the likes of creations from Herman Miller, Apple’s Jonathan Ive, and Charles and Ray Eames. The sleek lines of the frame are noticeably missing the vertical seat post tube, relying instead on the strength of carbon fiber to support the rider. This enables a sleek method of carrying that’s augmented by an integrated rubber pad below the seatpost. Riders can simply sling the lightweight bike over a shoulder and get walking.
When I say everything I mean everything. The motor, batteries, controller, and sensors are all integrated into the clean black hub with a bluetooth connection as the single interface with the outside world. The Smartwheel keeps the overall look of the bike clean, with zero external wires, sensors, bolt on battery packs or displays.
The benefit of consolidating everything that makes an ebike an ebike into the rear hub is a super clean look. Combined with its sleek carbon fiber frame, stubby seat post, and hidden cable runs, the Eeyo 1s is an ebike that looks like it was transported here from the future. Most bystanders can’t tell the bike is electric, but the massive amount of style and design simplicity the bike exudes catches eyes everywhere it goes.
Putting everything in one place on the bike also means less cables, connectors, bolts, and sensors. Everything had to be compact to fit into the hub and that translates to a significant savings in weight. The Eeyo 1s is a featherweight in the world of ebikes at just 26.4 pounds, compared to the 50, 60, and 70 pound behemoths we typically review. No expense was spared to trim weight, with a lightweight race saddle and more carbon fiber than you can shake a stick at.
That includes the handlebars, frame, and seatpost. They ditched the chain and derailleurs in favor of a slick carbon belt drive. The belt not only saves weight, it makes for smoother and more confident pedaling experience.
The design decision to consolidate all of the tech into the rear hub of the bike does come with some trade offs. Putting everything in the hub of the bike makes the bike a bit unbalanced, with a significant amount of the weight of the bike sitting in the rear. The differential, while not fatal, is noticeable. It rears its head when maneuvering the bike around in the garage or into a parking slot, making movements awkward.
The Smartwheel also forces the entire user interface with the bike into the Eeyo smartphone app. Most importantly, the app is required to unlock the bike before every ride. That’s great from a security standpoint, as the motor will not engage without the paired phone being connected, but still requires the bike to be physically locked to something for any meaningful level of security. The hollowed out frame of the Eeyo 1s makes this a breeze with any traditional lock or owners can simply bring the featherweight bike with them into the home or office at the end of a ride.
When riding, the optional Eeyo phone mount transforms your phone into a minimalist display for the bike. When riding, it simply displays the speed of the bike with a fun bouncing ball theme. When accelerating, the giant ball on the screen slides towards the back of the screen, gradually getting pulled forward again as the bike slows.
In our testing, we experienced a few connection issues between the bike and our phone that were not easily overcome. It took several app, phone, and bluetooth resets to get them paired again, making for a frustrating series of rides. The great news is these are simply software items that can be fixed by over the air firmware pushes to the bike and app updates.
Blasting around town on the Eeyo 1s is a delight. The light weight of the bike coupled with the race tires make it fly on city streets. A slight whine from the rear motor lets you know when the electric assist engages, helping you along to your destination. The 250 watt motor and 123.4 Wh battery in the Eeyo 1s are rated to support 40 miles of assisted riding in Sport mode and 55 miles of range in the less enthusiastic Eco mode.
The boosts of power provided by the motor were beautifully invisible, nudging my speed in the right direction in response to signals from the integrated cadence and torque sensors. Because it has a direct physical linkage to the front cranks via the belt drive, the Eeyo Smartwheel is able to respond to rider input just like ebikes with external cadence sensors that tell the system how fast the user is pedaling and bolt on torque sensors that spy on how much effort I’m putting out (or not).
In our testing, we found the range numbers quoted by Gogoro to be unattainable, but in fairness I am at the upper end of the bike’s weight range and live in a hilly area. For a 150 pound rider living and riding in the flatlands, these numbers feel fair and the same holds true for most ebikes on the market today.
I spoke to the Gogoro team about the hills as I found them challenging on the Eeyo and quickly learned the Eeyo’s fixed belt drive and 250 watt motor were designed to sing in terrain up to a 10 percent grade. We live up one of the steepest hills I’ve ever seen, so it’s not surprising the 250 watt motor struggled. While the 250 watt motor won’t change, hills are an area where Gogoro could leverage its over the air update capabilities to improve performance in the future.
As a Class 1 ebike, the Eeyo 1s provides pedal assist support up to 20 miles per hour and speaks to a key design tenet of the Eeyo 1s and the Smartwheel. It was built from the ground up to dominate urban commutes with lots of stop and go. It erases the pain of having to stop at every red light riding across downtown Manhattan, zipping through Long Beach, and from home to the nearest bus stop.
Being optimized for dense stop and go commuting means its not well suited to longer cycling rides or hills, handling hills up to 10% grade with ease. Our typical testing grounds are ill-suited to its design and in my early testing, I abused the Eeyo 1S on long stretches of road that pushed the single mechanical gearing of the Eeyo 1S past its comfort zone. After a lengthy 25 mile ride, I finished the meal with the brutal hills leading up to my house.
Suffice it to say, the Eeyo 1s performed admirably, but being pushed beyond what it was designed for left me wanting more. More power for the hills, more gearing options for long stretches of roadway and more top end. As a Class 1 ebike, the Eeyo 1s has to cut pedal assistance at 20 miles per hour, but the Eeyo 1s’ protective mode adds a special challenge to work around.
When the bike exceeds 20 miles per hour, protective mode engages. Living in a hilly neighborhood, every single ride from my house quickly blows past 20 mph. To get out of protective mode, you have to slow down to around 7 or 8 miles per hour before the motor will kick back in. I asked Gogoro’s team about this quirk and found that it’s a technical limitation in the design.
When power from the motor is cut, it starts generating power. It then has to wait until the voltage generated by the motor-turned-generator is lower than the current voltage of the battery pack before it can re-engage. In my first few rides, I didn’t understand what was happening, but quickly modified my riding style to keep my speed in the 17-19 mph sweet spot. It detracts from the riding experience a tad, but it’s definitely something I was able to work around with minimal fuss once I realized what was happening.
Riding it around the city, it simply flies. The Eeyo 1s gobbled up stop and go traffic like it was possessed. I regularly beat cars across intersections, thanks to the boost provided by the Eeyo Smartwheel’s Sport mode.
- Motor – 250 W
- Battery – Integrated 123.4 Wh pack. Minimum 500 Charge Cycles
- Sensors – Torque, Speed, Temperature
- Anti-Theft – Yes
- Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0
- Waterproofing – IPX4
- Assist Speed – 19 Mph
- Range – 40 Miles Sport / 55 Miles Eco
- Power – 49.9 W
- Charge Time – 100% Recharge In 2.5 Hours
- Price – $4,599 for the full carbon Eeyo 1s, $3,899 for its little brother, the Eeyo 1
The Gogoro Eeyo 1s is an exciting new entry into the lightweight urban ebike landscape. It is purpose built to attack and solve urban commutes for many city dwellers and transit riders, but remains ill-suited to tackle hills and longer rides.
Its carbon fiber construction bring a new level of quality that is well-suited to the impressive technology of the Gogoro Eeyo smartwheel. Its unsurpassed design is sure to lure new buyers into the world of ebikes, while its lightweight build make it easier to haul around town in the car, on the bus, and for owners living in areas where stairs need to be traversed.
As Gogoro’s first creation in the ebike space, it is an exciting bike with a few rough edges that might make it challenging for some owners. Gogoro is still learning and thanks to the bike’s ability to be updated through the smartphone app, many of those rough edges can likely be taken off in the coming months. A new software update is scheduled for the fall, so stay tuned for what that brings to the party.
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