IAt the age of electric mobility, the reliable bicycle played a surprisingly low role; scooters seem to pick up all the news (and app rentals). Instead, the e-bike has become the place of those who can afford it. A decent conventional bike already costs a bit, so the addition of a car obviously only adds to the cost. Enter Tenways, a new player in the e-bike world trying to catch up. Its debut model, the CGO 600, is currently available on Indiegogo for around $ 1,400, and despite its relative affordability, it does not skimp on features.
Now, the usual disclaimer: with Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms there is always an inherent risk. However, Tenways states that its production is already underway, and since the review model they sent looks full and final hardware, we were somewhat assured that everything was ready.
The CGO 600 is clearly a city bike with its thinner tires and a classic diamond frame. It is powered by a 250W battery that is discreetly hidden in the lower tube, to the point that it is almost impossible to see that this bike is electric at all. The rear hub motor is visible, but also small enough not to attract attention. The car offers a maximum assistance speed of 15mph in Europe or 20mph in the US, which is the maximum allowed in those areas. The claimed range is about 80 miles per charge (though that seems optimistic) and it’s all put together in a package that weighs about 15 kilograms (about 33 pounds).
In addition to the key specifications, the car uses a torque sensor for fast, smooth acceleration with three levels of assistance. The bike has no gears, so the car serves as a regular tool or can be used as gears as you go uphill. The brakes are hydraulic to make it easier to maintain, and the carbon belt transmission should mean no oily fingers or pit stops to put it back in place. The CGO 600 can be fully charged in about 2.5 hours, and there is a small LCD screen that serves as a built-in trip computer and on / off button.
I will not lie; the specs were pretty impressive at this price, but what initially attracted me to the CGO 600 was the understated design. Although it looks good in all five colorways, there is something about the black and green model that looks uncomfortable. The fact that it does not shout ‘e-bike’ makes him feel less like a lure to thieves, and just an attractive object. It reminds me a lot of the Cowboy (€ 1,990 or about $ 2,198), but with a slightly less aggressive modern design.
Your first task is to assemble the bike, but it’s not a challenge, and I was done with a tea break and breaks on the way in less than an hour. Once you have it together, you can download the companion app if you want (it is not essential, other than on the Cowboy) and get there on the go.
There are two frame sizes offered 50 cm (19 inches) and 54 cm (21 inches), without a walk-through option if this is your preference or if the available sizes are too large for you. I’m pretty average and find the 50cm version I tested comfortable. The riding position is slightly forward, but not in a way that bothered me.
The very first thing you will notice is how fast to engage and how smooth the car is. If you stop at the stoplights, it only takes a fraction of a second before the help switches on. Once you’re fast, it sometimes feels like the help doesn’t really help that much, but you just have to turn it off and hold the bike in manual mode for a few seconds before your thighs remind you to run. on own steam.
If you go uphill, you will feel the benefit from it. The torque sensor means that the amount of assistance responds immediately to the intensity of the rise. I found that even on fairly steep slopes I did not have to get up from the hall; burn only the highest level of power and work on the pedals.
The torque sensor is also magnetic rather than pressure-based, which means that you can happily drive the CGO 600 completely on your own leg without any resistance or load from the car. This is great if you are worried that it will be less useful when the battery runs out.
About that: Tenways’ claim for 80 miles of assistance per charge is difficult to determine. I have definitely not driven 80 miles yet. But on a full charge, I covered just over 22 with a remaining battery of 58 percent. On a rough calculation, that means I’m about 45/50 miles on a single charge. It’s much less than the advertised 80’s, but I also enjoy the full power support, so if you’re only driving on level one, you’ll probably drive more miles out of it. Either way, about 50 miles would take a 5 mile commute back and forth over a week without charging.
It is worth mentioning that there is no gear mode here. It’s pretty typical of e-bikes in this style, but if you were hoping for it, you know it by now. That said, if you hold down the button on the mileage test, the bike will sneak up on its car, but it’s only about three miles per hour, such a smooth start or a track sharing tool as something like a motorcycle mode.
Consistent with the awkward appearance, the car makes a noise. It is not completely quiet, but you are definitely not going to hear it while driving around the city. I love that the hub motor is barely visible and that the battery is so well hidden. Although this of course means that there is no option to buy / exchange parts. But it also means you can wave past serious cyclists on their riders while barely sweating and enjoying their curious glances as you do so.
One last remark about how it rides: it is definitely not an off-road bike. This is pretty clear from the design, but noteworthy. The CGO 600 lives for asphalt. I took over some less friendly sites (potholes, gravel and a pavement), and while it all handled well, the suspension is pretty hard, so you can feel every teeth chattering.
The on-board computer is handy but simple. The standard screen contains everything you need to know at a glance (speed / battery / distance, etc.). Then there are touch screens that are accessible with a tap for more detailed information, such as average speed and range. This is also where you can add security via a password for the car. Of course, this does not prevent someone from stealing your bike, but is it perhaps a small deterrent?
At just 15kg, the CGO 600 is definitely one of the lighter e-bikes in this style. Lighter than the Cowboy (16 kg) and the VanMoof Electrified S2 (19 kg, $ 2,298). This makes it a more manageable option if you have to drag it up stairs, or like I have to handle it in an elevator every time you want to walk out. It also makes manual mode a little easier on the legs if you prefer to be used by human power (or if the battery is empty).
On a more practical note, Tenways includes an integrated front light that is bright enough for the darker parts of your city trip. How things are in the countryside is probably a different matter. There is also a taillight included, but it is an accessory that you can attach with its own battery, so you should check regularly if you do not want to be caught out.
The humble city e-bike has evolved a lot over the past few years, but still needs a bit of pressure to bring it into the mainstream as a viable commuter option. Companies like Cowboy, VanMoof and Brompton have chased away at the remaining resistance points and now Tenways is here to show that you can use most of the features of the models and pack them in a more pocket-friendly way. The $ 1,400 price is likely to rise once the Indiegogo campaign ends, but expect it to remain competitive, even at retail prices.
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