eGo Cycle 2: Great style and fewer emissions than your Vespa

[This is a guest post by Mary Jensen. Thanks Mary! -Ed] We recently bought an eGo Cycle 2 as our ‘second car’. Without fail, every time I take it out, a passer-by asks about it and I get to rave about its virtues. Personally, I was drawn to the eGo by its mention in Vanity Fair, but was sold by the positive reports I found online when comparing it to other electric bikes. For anyone who has considered a Vespa as an alternative to a car, or for anyone not willing to get sweaty with pedal power, the eGo bike is a top choice. Rather than bestowing the product features here, check them out on the manufacturer’s website. The battery life, distance range, speed, ergonomics and ease of use all live up to their claims. Overall, I have high praise for the bike and couldn’t be happier with the purchase. Having used it almost daily for the last month, I thought some more subjective observations on its use might be helpful to prospective buyers.

On the positive side, it couldn’t be easier to start using the eGo cycle. I drove it right home from the dealer, since no registration, vehicle insurance or motorcycle drivers’ license is required in our home state (California). A regular bike helmet is sufficient for head protection. One both of these counts, it’s best to check the regulations in your home state or country.

Driving-wise, the eGo is somewhere between a regular bike and a motorized scooter. You likely won’t be riding at the same speed as traffic (top speed is 24 mph), so you have to ride to the side and be careful negotiating traffic. The LX model – designed for heavier traffic conditions – includes signal lights, an odometer and a horn, which give a greater feeling of safety. If you stick to ‘bike lane’ roads, there’s a bit less concern about the same-way traffic, but watch for parked cars opening their doors. I prefer to use residential streets when possible, because you can stay a fair distance from parked cars and not slow down traffic.

In terms of the eGo terrain capabilities, keep to nicely paved streets and no big hills (I’m curious if anyone is riding one in San Francisco?). It can handle hills, but don’t expect top speed. Try to stay off sketchy roads - broken pavement at top speed is hard on your body and your bike. The distance range at 25 miles on flat terrain (less on hills) seems to be appropriate for the product’s style and comfort – any hillier or longer, and you probably want to be in a car or on a moped anyway.

Performance-wise, I’ve only had a few instances where the acceleration hasn’t responded immediately. In that case, just let the bike slow right down before retrying to accelerate. On a related note, I have unintentionally started the bike while not actually riding it, simply by gripping the bike’s right handle where the accelerator is located – very dangerous, because as the bike moves away from you, your hand is pulled back and the bike will accelerate even more. Keep your right hand at the far end of the handle until you actually intend to ride and you’re fine.

In terms of possible improvements, I’d like to see some kind of locking storage accessory, to put away your bike helmet and not-so-valuables with a certain degree of certainty they’ll be there when you get back. The good thing with the eGo’s bike-like design is that if options exist for regular bicycles, they will probably fit the eGo.

One fellow mentioned that the rubber belt drive system could be prone to vandalism, since it’s partially exposed. I’m not especially worried about this, counting on the good eco-karma that I’m generating to ward off the vandals.

See also Treehugger's post about the eGo from 2 years ago ::eGo ElectricBike - Can you say Geek-Chic?

[This is a guest post by Mary Jensen. -Ed]

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