Gigabyke is a newcomer in the scooter market with their sole product dubbed the Groove. Positioned as part bike and part scooter, it aims to combine the agility of a bicycle with the ‘commuting power’ of a scooter. While there’s not much history so far with this company, they are starting to win over customers and look to become one of the leading brands in the industry. How does it stack up to other established electric bicycles such as the Jetson, though? Read further to find out.
How it Works
Your new Groove will require some assembly before taking off on the road. Initially the included instructions weren’t very clear on the process, but due to customer response we’re pleased to say that they have been improved. Once it’s all setup and ready to go you can simply engage the ignition and squeeze the accelerator lever to start moving forward.
Pulling the other lever controls the front and rear brakes. The Groove comes with disc brakes up front, and a drum assembly in the back. One difference between this and other bicycles such as the Jetson is that the Groove uses a superior hydraulic system for the front brake, instead of a wire based one.
Like the Jetson, the Groove is a full featured device with addons similar to standard road type motorcycles and mopeds. This means it includes not only a digital speedometer (doubling as an odometer and battery charge indicator), but also a headlight, turn signals, mirrors, and a horn. The engine power is a point of contention with some users. It’s listed at 750 watts but this pertains to its peak power, nominal range is actually closer to 350-500 watts. When scaling hills or even moderate inclinations, the Groove can struggle somewhat
If you live in a hilly area then be prepared to step in with the manual pedals from time to time. Instead of a more modern Lithium ion battery Gigabyke have outfitted their e-bike with a lead acid one, adding to the overall weight by about 30 pounds. Dual suspension on both of the 16” wheels helps ease any rough patches of road you might encounter.
Speed and Range
In order to maintain its legal status of an electric bike – which doesn’t require insurance, a license, or registration – the Groove is capped at 20 mph. Its range is similar to the comparable Jetson, around 35 miles. Again, the real world distances owners experience can vary wildly. And while the maximum rider weight is officially 250 pounds, Gigabyke claim some of their own employees who weigh 300 pounds were able to ride comfortably.
One area the Groove really wins on is price. At almost 30% cheaper, or $500 less than its closest competitor: the Jetson, it’s an even more affordable transportation alternative. It has a fresh, yet vintage type styling, available in a handful of colors, that will help it stand out from the crowd, in a good way.
The included accessories also feel like higher quality parts compared to the cheaper components used on the Jetson. And as noted earlier, the brakes will provide a safer ride with improved stopping power provided from the front hydraulic system.
The Groove’s biggest drawback is that some will find it underpowered for the terrain they’d like to travel over. This was also a fault with the Jetson and is largely due to the limitations manufacturers have when speccing these types of hybrid bikes to stay under stricter licensing regulations.
Heavy lead acid batteries also contribute to the Groove’s overall weight, bringing it up to a total of around 175 pounds. Not exactly something you want to carry around for anything but very short distances. Finally, early shipments were plagued with poor packing that left many with broken mirrors and turn signals. Bikeberry, who handle most of the shipping, have responded with correcting this problem and new units are packed much more secure.
We were very impressed with the Jetson, reviewed here, but Gigabyke have come along and offered a better built option with an even cheaper price. The company did stumble on a few points early on, but they seem dedicated to fixing any issues brought forth by customers which is a good sign.
If you’re willing to take a chance on a fledgling outfit, the Groove makes a great bargain on an outstanding electric bike.