Gogoro Eeyo wants to be the Porsche 911 of ebikes

Chris Davies - May 28, 2020, 6:00am CDT
1
Gogoro Eeyo wants to be the Porsche 911 of ebikes

Gogoro promised something special in ebikes, and the Gogoro Eeyo 1 delivers, aiming to buck the trend in powered cycling with a sleeker, lighter, and generally more fun way to get around. Tipping the scales at just over 26 pounds in its lightest form, the Eeyo 1 looks, at first glance, just like a regular bike. That’s because Gogoro packed all of the assistance tech into its Eeyo Smartwheel hub.

It’s a departure for Gogoro, which has been developing electric scooters for the past years. Equipped with removable batteries, the Gogoro Smartscooter can now tap into a network of Go stations in multiple cities, with riders quickly switching out the power packs rather than waiting for a recharge.

In Taiwan, for example, there are 1,690 Go stations, positioned every 1,000 feet or so. Gogoro’s own scooters have been joined by compatible models from Yamaha, Suzuki, and others. However conspicuously absent has been any sort of US launch.

“We’ve always viewed the ‘States as a non-motorcycle, or non-highly-deployed motorcycle, region,” Gogoro’s Horace Luke, founder and CEO, explained to me ahead of Eeyo’s launch. More than three years in development, it reflects the company’s original goal of addressing urban transportation in more ways than just electric scooters. For Eeyo 1 – and the flagship Eeyo 1s that launches alongside it – that means something for the “medium-speed commute.”

Meet Eeyo: the “Porsche 911 of ebikes”

“The Eeyo 1 is not designed for everyone,” Luke insists from the outset. That goes for design, weight, and the degree of involvement the rider should expect. Rather than a way to offload cycling to an electric motor, Eeyo works on a collaborative principle – it’s for people who actually enjoy riding, but who maybe don’t want to arrive at their destination soaked with sweat.

Think along the lines, Luke suggests, of the Porsche 911 of ebikes. “When you get in, you get that feeling,” about the driver-focused 911, he points out. “When you get out you look back and say, wow, that was really fun. That wasn’t boring.”

There’ll be two modes, Sport and Eco. Sport mode will have around 40 miles of range, and be focused on naturally amplifying your own power. “It’s not about comfort, it’s about the thrill of the ride,” Luke warns. Maximum speed assistance is 19 mph for the US Eeyo, or 25 kmh (15.5 mph) in the EU/Asia version.

Eco mode, meanwhile, prolongs the range to 55 miles; if you start to run out of charge in Sport mode, the ebike will automatically switch over. The promise is that Eeyo’s intelligent power assist will learn and adapt to how you ride, so that you get the maximum reward from it. Because of that, it’s smarter than it looks.

Eeyo Smartwheel

The key is the Eeyo Smartwheel. Rather than take a standard bike and then bolt electrification to it, or begin at the opposite direction and dress up a battery and electric motor to make them rideable, Eeyo built its own powered wheel hub. Almost everything is produced in-house, as a result, and squeezed into the middle of the bike’s rear wheel.

There’s a 250W motor and a 123 Wh battery. That’s small for an ebike, but it makes it quick to recharge: 2.5 hours from flat to full, Gogoro says. Torque sensors track how much pedal power the rider is putting in, and then adds the right amount of assistance so that it feels balanced and natural.

Gogoro calls it Intelligent Power Assist, and it gradually learns from the rider to improve their own power, cadence, and riding style. The result is “agility and fun over utility,” Luke says.

When it comes to recharging, Gogoro will bundle a charging stand with the Eeyo 1s (it’ll be sold separately for Eeyo 1 owners). Or, there’ll be a wired, horseshoe-shaped charger that clips around the Smartwheel hub. Rather than a chain drive, the ebike uses the Gates Carbon Drive system, which should be more durable and doesn’t require lubrication.

Eeyo 1 vs Eeyo 1s

To begin with, there’ll be two Eeyo models. The Eeyo 1 is the more affordable, at $3,899. Its carbon fiber frame and fork will be offered in Cloud Blue or Lobster Orange finishes, and it’ll pair them with an alloy seat post, handlebars, and rims. As a result it tips the scales at 27.5 pounds – still enough, Luke points out, to put over your shoulder and carry up to an apartment or down to a subway platform.

The Eeyo 1s, meanwhile, is the flagship. It’s $4,599, and will come in matte Warm White only; as well as the carbon fiber frame and fork, it’ll throw in a carbon fiber seat post, handlebars, and rims. That helps it hit just 26.4 pounds on the scales. Both bikes will go up for pre-order in the US in mid-June, and then begin shipping from early July.

Each will fit riders with inseams from 29- to 34-inches, and have seats adjustable to five custom sizes. They’ll use TRP Disk front brakes and Tektro V Clip forged aluminum rear brakes, along with MAXXIS 800 x 28C tires. The whole thing is IPX4 splash-proof, and connects to your phone via Bluetooth 4.0; a mount on the handlebars keeps that phone, and metrics like speed and charge, visible.

Both ebikes will have a proximity-based auto-lock system for security. As you walk away, an electronic current lock will enable: you can move the Eeyo a little, but if you try to ride it or push it, it drags tremendously using torque from the electric motor.

Eeyo as a platform not a product

The Bluetooth connection will also be used to deliver OTA firmware updates to the ebike, via the Eeyo app. That’s something Gogoro has done already with the Smartscooter.

As well as software upgrades, we can also expect new models. “We’ve always looked the company as a platform company,” Luke says, “we’re not a one-product company.” Neither will they all need to be made by Gogoro itself, the company planning to work with other bike manufacturers and brands to use the same Smartwheel technology.

One significant possibility there is a cheaper version. Eeyo 1 is undoubtedly more affordable than many ebikes on the market currently, but it’s certainly not “cheap” compared to regular bikes. Luke concedes that Gogoro is leading with its high-end version, lavished with carbon fiber and sleek styling. “It’s a first date,” he explains, “you don’t wear a t-shirt to your first date.”

That’s because, while ebike sales are obviously one thing Gogoro is hunting, Eeyo is more than just the Eeyo 1 and 1s. Luke and the rest of the team are counting on there being a sizable group of would-be ebike owners who aren’t quite willing to sacrifice the joy of the ride for the uptick in convenience. How well the Eeyo 1 lives up to that promise, we’ll find out in short order.

[Updated to correct Go station count]


Must Read Bits & Bytes