People are ditching cars and choosing to commute using electric transportation as electric bikes and electric scooters have become more easily accessible. They come in all different shapes, sizes, weights, and price points. With so much choice, it’s hard to know which one to get. That’s why I’m here. I test drive these new products and report my experiences back to you so that you can make an informed decision.
Today, I’m looking at three electric bikes with foldable designs. The first is the Gyrocopters Cargo. This is an entry level electric bike for everyday use. The second is the GoTRAX EBE1/E01. With a mid-price point, this is designed for urban commuters. Lastly, we have the GO City. At the highest price point, this electric bike offers the best performance out of the three. Which one is right for you? Let’s find out.
Design of the Gyrocopters, GoTRAX, and GO City electric bikes
With foldable designs, each of these ebikes share similar characteristics. First, they all fold at the stem and frame. This makes it easy to store in small spaces, or fit into the truck of a car. Second, they feature fenders above the tires. This prevents mud and debris spraying on you during a ride. Despite these similarities, these come in different sizes and feature specific design characteristics worth noting.
The Gyrocopters Cargo is the smallest of the three electric bikes. The most peculiar design aspect is the cushioned seat on the back rack. At first glance, this looks like a seat to carry someone else and that appears to be its function. According to the spec sheet, it can accommodate two riders. However, there is no area for passengers to place their feet.
My cousin came over with his four-year old son so we tried it out. To be safe, we tested it in my backyard. The child held onto the seat pole and the two of them were able to drive around on the grass. However, his feet weren’t long enough to touch the ground. While he enjoyed the ride, it seemed too dangerous to try on the street, even with bike helmets.
The most notable design feature of the GoTRAX is a dedicated key lock. This provides another level of theft protection and acts as a deterrent to would-be thieves. It also has rear wheel suspension. This provides more traction while braking and an overall smoother ride. The pedal-assist feature is also fully customizable. Riders can choose the level of assistance from the controls on the handlebars.
The Go City electric bike sports a completely different design. Whereas the battery is built into the frame of the other two bikes, the Go City features a removable battery pack that sits under the back of the seat. Users can remove the battery pack and charge it in a different location. It also features Shimano six-speed derailleur and front shock suspension. This makes it operate like a real road or mountain bike. The GO City is the only bike of the three to feature a large control display on the front of the handlebars. The odometer keeps track of the distance while the speedometer displays real-time speed. Users can also adjust pedal assist level on the front control display.
Speed, range, and weight
- The Gyrocopters features a 250W motor with a top speed of nearly 25 km/h. It has a range of 25 kilometres on a single charge and weighs approximately 37 pounds. Keep in mind, this is an entry level electric bike.
- The GoTRAX has a 350W motor that provides a top speed of 25 km/h and a range of 45 kilometres. The GoTRAX weighs 44 pounds.
- The Go City has a 500W motor with a top speed of 32 km/h. It is the heaviest bike weighing 50 pounds. Using pedal assist, it can run up to 58 kilometres on a single charge, or 32 kilometres with electric assist.
Folding down the electric bikes
Before test riding the bikes, I folded each of the bikes down to familiarize myself with the process. Each of the bikes fold down from the stem and the frame and for the most part, the process is similar between the three bikes. When folded down, I noticed a couple of things. First, there is no way to attach the folded parts together. This makes it next to impossible to carry a folded bike in one hand. The bike will naturally want to swing open unless you hold it with two hands.
Second, the three bikes can sit upright when folded, but they do so in different ways. To make the Gyrocopters sit, the seat needs to be pushed down. The electric bike then sits on the bottom of the seat pole. This means you have to readjust the seat every time you unfold it. Both the GoTRAX and GO City have a metal support on the bottom. When folded down, the bike sits on this support to keep it upright.
Riding the Gyrocopters, GoTRAX, and GO City
I drove these electric bikes in and around my neighborhood which features dedicated bike lanes, hills, and gravel trials. I started with the Gyrocopters Cargo. The first thing I noticed is slow acceleration. It takes a bit of time before it hits full speed. This makes it safe for younger kids and novice biking adults. Basically, if you can ride a bike, you can ride the Gyrocopters Cargo electric bike. However, it does get slow going up hills without pedal assistance. Therefore, I see it as an entry level, everyday electric bike to get in and around town.
The GoTRAX definitely feels like a step up to the Cargo. It has a similar riding experience, but there is a noticeable performance boost. Simply said, it’s got way more kick. While they both have the same top speed of 25 km/h, the GoTRAX feels faster because of the acceleration and larger motor. Because of that, I enjoyed riding it more than the Gyrocopters.
The GO City is the Cadillac of the three. It’s enjoyable to ride, both as a bike and as an electric bike. It could definitely be used as a commuter vehicle. Ride it to work and store it under your desk. Or lock it at the bike rack and charge the battery at work. I also realized how much I like the LCD Display. I’m the type of person who likes to know my speed and distance travelled. Plus it’s easy to see what level of pedal assist you have and the battery life with a simple glance.
Pros and cons of foldable ebikes
I’ve ridden electric bikes since they first hit the market, but this was the first time I’ve tried a foldable electric bike. First, I like the intuitiveness. Without reading the manual, I was able to figure out how to fold and unfold all three bikes. It’s easy to do and the more you do it, the faster you’ll get. Second, I like the portability. You can put it in a car trunk and take it virtually anywhere. It’s also great for people who live in condos and apartments. Storing a full size bike has always been a struggle for people who live in small spaces.
Having reviewed three electric bikes in one go, I did notice some issues with foldable bikes. For one, they will almost certainly get scratched up. Parts like the pedals will inadvertently hit the frame. In fact, the Gyrocopters was already scratched when I received this. It goes without saying that foldable bikes and scratches will go hand in hand.
Second, I wish it was easy to carry in one hand. When folded, there is no way to lock the sides together so they won’t open up. This makes it next to impossible to carry a foldable bike upstairs with one hand. I was tempted to use a bungee cord to secure the sides together. This is in stark contrast to electric scooters. They lock together folded, are considerably lighter, and are easy to carry.
For many, it will be a choice between electric scooters and electric bikes to get around town via electric transportation. Foldable electric bikes provide a new alternative for commuters. What this review has taught me is that you certainly get what you pay for. At the entry level, the Gyrocopters are great for everyday use. However, for a little more, you get a performance jump with the GoTRAX. If you can afford it, I suggest the GoTRAX.
Personally, I liked the Go City the most, but that shouldn’t come at a surprise. It’s the most expensive of the three, and deservingly so. I would suggest this to anyone considering a commuter vehicle. The bike rack also makes it easy to carry items with you. That’s always been my issue with electric scooters for commuting to work or school. Without a backpack, it’s nearly impossible to carry stuff.
The good news is as consumers and commuters, we now have a lot of choice. Read this electric bike buying guide to help you decide which is right for you.