Gogoro Eeyo - Electric Streetfighter
The Gogoro Eeyo is an elegantly designed, unbelievably scant E-Commuter with an aggressive character
When the new Eeeyo arrived at my doorstep, the delivery man commented it was one of the lighter bike boxes he’s delivered in recent memory. I proceeded to tell him it was an E-bike, which gave him reason to pause and lift the box once again just for a sanity check. The bike industry has focused on delivering lightweight for decades, and it’s easy to see why; the simple act of lifting the bicycle can transcend words and speak volumes about the benefit of lightweight.
We’d be remiss if we focused solely on the weight, this bike has much more going for it than that. Let’s dive in.
ORDER & DELIVERY
The Eeyo has a semi-integrated seatpost and is “measured to order” meaning you’ll need to do some homework before completing your purchase. The first order of business is to provide Gogoro with your inseam measurement. This is easily achieved by standing against a wall, putting a straightedge between your legs at the groin area, then measuring from the floor to the top of the straightedge. Pretty simple right? I of course had to overcomplicate things by giving my saddle height measurement the way a cyclist would do (center of the BB to top of saddle) after years of being able to jump on a rental bike, loaner, whatever I’ve come to trust this measurement more than inseam for proper seat height. In either case, the first seatpost that was delivered with the bike was way too short. I thought perhaps they’d made a “flatfoot” product that allows the rider to sit on the saddle and still reach the ground. It took a second attempt to get the right length seatpost, and while I’m told this will be sorted out for delivery of production bikes, the cut-to-order seatposts will be pre-installed (mine wasn’t) for the customer. I’ll come back to the seatpost later in the review.
The rest of the assembly was a snap, and Gogoro included all the tools needed in the box. Even a pump. The front wheel went on quickly, and the disc brakes were already set up so there was no rub or cable tension to deal with. Pedals go on quickly too, they are a unique lightweight design in their own right. Rear brake was properly adjusted and the belt drive came pre-tensioned. The only part that needed much attention at all was the stem and bar which only needed to be straightened and tightened. I threw the bike on the provided charger and went onto the app.
Downloading the app and pairing with the Eeyo was simple. The smart wheel already had some charge upon delivery and the little blue light on the hub lit up as the bike and phone paired. It’s worth noting that I was not instantly able to pair the phone and bike in the stem mounted phone cradle. The first time (and subsequent times) I had better luck putting the phone closer to the hub than the stem distance. The final step for me was putting the phone in the cradle, which created a small problem when I tried to put my iPhone 8 Plus on the bike. I had to remove the phone from it's Otterbox protector… Something that would prove to be costly for me. My naked phone lay in the cradle as beautiful as the day I bought it, the app with it’s lively colors and responsiveness was in full unprotected view and accessible at my fingertips. Time to ride.
Riding the Eeyo is really exhilarating. It’s lightweight and lively as expected, but what’s interesting is how well the Smart Hub delivers consistent, natural feeling power. I’ve ridden several hub drive systems, even one “Gear of the Year” award winner, that didn’t feel as consistently smooth no matter how much power you put into it. Of course I went straight to Sport Mode and found myself at max speed within just a few pedal strokes.
Within moments of mounting the Eeyo it’s “Street Fighter” geometry becomes apparent. With it’s slammed stem, steep head angle and long fork offset the bike feels like it’s meant to ride aggressively in traffic. The narrow riser bars paired with a slammed stem isn’t something we’ve seen in the bike industry that often, but it matches the characteristics of the bike nicely and is a nod to fixed gear / messenger culture. It does make the bike more playful on the wide open bike paths of Sun Valley, ID where the majority of my riding was done. Still, I’d prefer a more upright and wide cockpit myself, something with a bit more hands free handling vs fast and agile. I can see the appeal for others though.
I was impressed with the rear brake mechanism’s power and modulation. Most integrated systems don’t work that well. The rear brake actually outperformed the front cable-actuated disc even after the bed-in period. For what it’s worth, raising the price a bit more to have a full hydro front brake should be a consideration. It did seem odd to me that the Smartwheel wasn’t developed with disc compatibility. Discs save so much hassle. In this
case you would need a mixed set of carbon rim brake rear and disc front. That has to be a service consideration for the future. But even design wise, you wouldn’t have needed the integrated low profile brake set if you had a rear disc. I realize the brake provides some of the product ID and aesthetic, but sintered metal on stainless steel will almost always be the preferred brake material choice for best performance. Just like F1 and ceramic rotors…
They nailed the saddle height on my second go around with the seatpost. I feel strongly this part of the ordering for general customers will be sorted out. I do however think that for larger sizes like the bike I received, shipping the saddle/posts installed will start to pose a shipping challenge. Ultimately, consumers need to know this basic aspect of bike maintenance, and forcing them to learn it during the assembly process could prove valuable to them down the road. Possibly cut down CS time. More on Integrated Seatpost below.
The tire width could have been bigger IMHO, there’s plenty of clearance for 33c’s or bigger. The 28’s that come stock are almost road race sizing. A bigger balloon tire, possibly a file tread or center profile would be preferred. With all the weight savings you could potentially put a heavier tire that offers more flat protection. A larger tire may allow for a tire insert and tubeless set-up from the factory. One could dream.
All in all a brilliant ride. It was nice to forego shifting. Riding rolling hills, I never felt like I had to gear down. The Smartwheel applied pretty consistent power no matter the terrain. It’s an eye popper too, and I got plenty of compliments onboard this bike.
The Eeyo is built around Gogoro’s “Smartwheel” which puts all the components of the motor, the battery and the sensors into one neatly designed hub. This allows Gogoro to innovate on their own smart platform too, and it means the system can continue to get smarter as updates are pushed to the app and the firmware.
The “Auto Lock” feature is convenient as an anti-theft deterrent, essentially “bricking” the Smartwheel when locked. Make no mistake, this isn’t a mechanical lock, it feels like the magnets in the hub make the wheel harder to turn like a resistance trainer turned up to eleven, but it can still be moved or even ridden, albeit a struggle. No, you’ll still need a cable lock to keep someone from grabbing your ultralight E-bike and running off with it. I presume a future update might offer location services for the hub if it’s ever turned on after a theft to aid in recovery. All in all I found the hub drive system to be well thought out and the connected app simple and fun. I did have some connection issues when the phone was cradled and I tried to connect, essentially having to remove the phone and bring it closer to the hub. I even had some instances where the display showed speed and the hub was unlocked in the app, but the drive was bricked. I’d shut down the system and relaunch the app several times and luckily the bug resolved itself. Though it should be idiot-proof, it would be more than mildly inconvenient to have to ride a bricked bike anywhere.
It’s fairly obvious that the design of the bike centers around the integrated seat mast/shouldering feature, almost as though it was the top consideration beyond the Smartwheel. The design is beautiful, no doubt, but what we find every time we interrupt the seat tube in bike design is a series of compromises. I’ve been involved in several industry projects with interrupted and integrated seat posts/masts so I feel like I’m coming from a position of experience. This will be a CS load and a returns load on the organization.
Most of the design of the seat mast is to simply “cover up” the seat clamp, because mechanically it’s no different than any other carbon bike with a seat clamp. In this case though, you only get a small margin of adjustment because the clamp is at the tip of the seatpost. You can’t raise the seat without losing purchase on the post, and you can’t lower it without cutting. There’s the first compromise.
The shame of it from my standpoint is that you have so much volume to work with in the molded cavity, why not innovate vs integrate? I’m talking about taking a new approach to dropper posts. Getting on/off a bicycle can be much simpler if you drop the saddle. If you have a heavy bag on your back, this can make it harder to mount, dropping the seat makes it safer and more comfortable. Why not make a pneumatic telescoping seatpost with smart stops? Then you don’t need to cut to length, you can program to length. Cannondale designed this into their “Simon” fork where travel and mode were adjustable via the head unit. Even if it weren’t pneumatic and controlled via app, the simple addition of an analog telescoping post could solve a ton of field issues for Gogoro, and reduce operational load for fulfillment along with a reduction in erroneous shipments that are costly to recall.
The other central tenet of this design is the “carry” element where there’s a nice place to set the bike on your shoulder. I’m going to come right out and say it; I try to avoid carrying my bike so this feature is less desirable for me. I’ve raced Cyclocross where shouldering seems to be a religion, but I’d often bunny hop the obstacles or just pick up the bike from the top tube vs making the big huff onto the shoulder. I’ve done hours long portages in the Alps with my mountain bike and almost never carried the bike over the shoulder. Also, at my size, I can rarely fit all my parts inside the frame, maybe it comes down to body type but it doesn’t work for me. My office is on the second floor and most of my bike portage during the test happened there. One other odd thing I found, with the bike on my shoulder and balanced, the rear tire hit the ceiling above the stairs or the stairs above; could be my height is an issue but the balance point if I HAD to carry it would need some adjusting to keep the wheel from leaving marks on the ceiling or just banging against the ceiling.
The bike does carry very nicely, the weight of the wheel being well balanced when you have the bike on your shoulder, though I’d opt for an even cushier pad for the seat mast if it was up to me. Notably however, you run the risk of getting road scum on your nice shirt when the tire scuffs your back because there's no seat tube between your body and the tire. It does look very cool, though. It’s striking actually the removal of the seat tube, reminding me of the Bowden Spacelander.
There is room for improvement for sure on the seat mast design.
I’m not going to say the dock broke my phone, because truthfully no matter how sketchy it got running over potholes or hitting speed bumps the phone never ejected. But, having to take my iPhone out of its protective case absolutely contributed to the destruction of my phone. I recall being initially concerned about taking my phone out of it’s Otter Box to put it in the cradle, the only time since it left the Verizon store it’s ever been naked and exposed. I felt like it wasn’t a good idea. Sure enough, I dropped my phone after taking it out of the dock and smashed the screen. It was my own fault of course, but I can’t help but think that this would have been avoidable if the dock had some kind of protective case and easy on/off mount. The rubber hold downs are not confidence inspiring like a protective case would be.
A company named Fidlock has developed a VACUUM phone mount that could be considered as a rev 2 for the dock and would work with many cases. Or your own case could be supplied with the bike. A fully integrated version that matches your ID would be a bonus.
There’s no place to mount anything, including the provided pump, which could benefit from a nice integrated mount system. It would be nice to have some fender mounts for PNW riders, the removal of the seat tube means the rear tire spray will act like a hose nozzle and literally fill your shoes with water if you ride in the rain. Maybe it’s a “fair weather” commuter? And the frame design is just begging for a frame bag to carry your goods with you.
The Eeyo is a blast to ride, and it’s lovely to look at. It’s not aimed at core cyclists, which is great. We need more people on bikes, and differentiated products aimed at broader segments are healthy for the market. I do however think some fundamental cycling product norms should be considered in future designs. Things like accessory or fender mounts can be essential for the user, even if their trip is short.
The easy “pedal and go” format the single speed drivetrain offers is excellent, even for seasoned riders who may normally have way too many levers and gadgets on their handlebars. It’s refreshingly simple. This bike is great for anyone who wants to get around by bike, and given the recent bike boom, that’s a lot of potential riders for the Eeyo.