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  • That Little Bit of Momentum

    Model riding Upstart 3

    Momentum Electric is brand born out of both passion and practicality, creating electric bikes that adhere to its five core values: simple, efficient, value, improve and joy.

    We passionately believe that the electric bicycle is a practical way of getting around and should be as accessible as possible,” says Momentum Electric’s Andreas Törpsch, who is the driving force behind the brand alongside Ying-Tsao Tan. Working with the motto ‘moving everybody’, the team strive to create inclusive products with universal appeal: “It may seem ambitious from the outside for a small company to choose such a motto, but it reflects the way we think about our products. We design with everybody in mind in an inclusive manner, and aim to make our products as accessible as possible.”

    The company is still relatively young. Andreas is a former triathlete and sporting enthusiast. He has a background in sports engineering and also draws from his experience as a previous Head of Testing at ExtraEnergy. Ying-Tsao Tan’s background is in consumer products, and in both engineering and product design. He is more of a commuter cyclist with a passion for products and product design. Together they founded the electric bike company: “The name came from the idea that everybody needs just that little bit of momentum to get going and in an electrical form, hence, Momentum Electric.”

    The brand is well placed in London, where the cycling culture continues to grow. “We have seen the uptake of it over the years,” agrees Andreas. “There seems to have been a boom since 2008, and we reckon that several factors can be attributed to this including positive policies, the economic climate, Team GB’s sporting success and, most importantly, the image and awareness of cycling as a form of transport and exercise.”

    Along with this renewed interest in cycling comes a shift in the perception of the electric bike, as it becomes a more mainstream product. So, what should a potential buyer be looking for? “In general, the consumer should try a range of electric bikes within their budget to make the right choice, and we would push ours as good-value electric bikes that ride well,” says Ying-Tsao. “Our bikes are simple and pleasing to the eye, but the main identifying feature of a Momentum Electric bike is not visual. The main reason many of our customers love our bikes is the way our bikes ride. Our proprietary AUTORQ™ system creates a riding sensation that is best described as intuitive, automatic and fun.”

    UP2 Eurobike 2014 20 Aug 2014 YT Upstart

    It’s important to the brand that it strikes the right balance between features and price. Momentum Electric doesn’t sit at the high end of the market, so features are chosen based on what provides the best value for money for the largest majority of users. When it comes to looks, user research plays a large part, as Ying-Tsao explains: “We discovered it was important that the bikes did not draw too much unwanted attention, yet were still pleasing to the eye. This came from a combination of the desire of users for it not to be noticed that the bike is electric, and good looking enough for the user to be proud to use on a daily basis.

    Both Ying-Tsao and Andreas have their personal favourites in the range. For Ying-Tsao it is the Model T - “ It is laid back and leisurely mostly, but keeps up easily with traffic when necessary” – whereas Andreas prefers the Upstart, which is fast off at traffic lights in a more streamlined position.

    Looking to the future, they say that there is a lot to look forward to: “We are concentrating on refining our range of products (yes, both models!). We are also working to expand our network in Europe.”

     

  • Simply Electric

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    Mixing style with practicality and portability, the Gocycle G2 is your go anywhere, take anywhere, electric bike that comes with its own clever ‘app’… ‘G’ whizz indeed!

    Words by GAVIN STOKER

    Electric bikes don’t have to be clunky beasts, as proved by the sleek and inspirational Gocycle G2. It’s powered by a long-lasting rechargeable lithium battery pack, which provides a range of up to 40 miles, and features a smooth, seamless design. This brilliantly clever, environmentally friendly cycle delivers power and performance on demand and at the touch of a button, thanks to high-tech, programmable automatic electronic shifting. Its micro-sized motor delivers a fast, no-effort, emission-free commute, to get you to where you want to be.

    There’s no stopping it
    Naturally there is technological innovation aplenty here. For starters, we have the Pitstop Wheel®, where interchangeable side-mounted front and rear wheels make fixing a flat tyre fast and easy.

    Furthermore, a nifty integrated dash display provides useful information such as speed, gear selection and displays the power remaining in the battery so you don’t run out of juice at an inopportune moment.

    Have we mentioned that it’s portable too? The Gocycle folds up into a convenient size for space-efficient storage with optional fold leg. Other notable must-haves include its patented, three-speed, fully enclosed maintenance-free chain drive to keep your clothes clean – otherwise known as the Cleandrive®.

    The bike offers its riders a high-tech, durable and ultra-lightweight injection-moulded magnesium frame and wheels. A seamless design has been achieved via internal cable routing for a clean, maintenance-free set up.

    Optional extras include a G2 kickstand, for sturdy display and parking of the Gocycle. The G2 also features torque-sensing pedals, where the motor drive provides assistance, according to the amount of rider pedal input. The Gocycle G2 really could give you the ride of your life.

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    Come on, come on, get ‘app-y
    The Gocycle G2 provides the further opportunity to customise your use of the bike, courtesy of the Gocycle Connect® app for your smartphone. This includes such delights as a calories burned calculator, enabling the rider to view the total number of calories burned during their trip on their smartphone screen, and adjust/reset as needed. There is also the ability to monitor the number of miles travelled via a trip odometer.

    Additionally, the Gocycle G2 app allows cyclists to personalise their riding mode. Here the choice is between the sporty City, range-extending Eco, or On Demand power, at the touch of a button. Riders can further fine-tune their motor assistance, customising the motor power and torque for either a workout, or a sweat-free commute. This flexibility extends to being able to regulate your speed, and usefully set how fast you wish to travel dependent on the region you’re riding through.

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    House-keeping modes include the ability to remotely view the charge status of your bike’s battery, and also troubleshoot, courtesy of being able to upload your maintenance log to tech support so that remote diagnostics can be carried out. Gocycle owners will also be able to download the latest firmware so that they maximise their bike’s performance and stay up-to-date with the latest technological developments and innovations for their trusty steed.

    Gocycle is a British company, founded by Richard Thorpe, who was born in South Africa. Although British, he refers to himself as ‘a bit of a mongrel’. Thorpe’s family moved to the USA when he was a child, where he later enrolled at Boston University, to study Mechanical Engineering. In the 1990s, along with his Canadian wife, Thorpe relocated to Britain, and began a prolific career in innovative design engineering.

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    What is your own background in terms of cycling and engineering?
    I’ve always followed the Human Powered Vehicle speed races and that is what inspired my passion for cycles when I read about the Vector tricycle on the cover of Popular Science magazine. It was a fully faired and streamlined bullet bike that had just won the Dupont prize for exceeding 55mph under human power alone. I was in the 7th grade and thought, ‘How cool it would be to ride to school on that’, rather than the school bus that I hated. I remember going down to the local hardware store to buy tubing to start building that night!
    Since then I have designed many recumbent bicycles. I am passionate about Moulton bicycles and own a few of those. The Moulton certainly influenced my thinking when it comes to bicycle design. I commuted to work on my Moulton AM7 for many years. When I started designing Gocycle I was living in central London and rode a Condor Fixie – that got stolen. So I bought an old mountain bike single speed, but that got stolen too! Then I designed Gocycle to be storable inside your flat or house – yet to be stolen!

    Was Gocycle born out of passion or practicality?
    Both. I left McLaren Cars to start the company and felt extremely passionate that I could bring F1 and automotive design elements and practices to the e-bike. It needed to be lightweight, integrated in design, desirable and something I would want to own. I lived in central London, so the portability and stowability was essential. Also, living with the product was important, like not having an exposed chain to get carpets greasy and being able to share it with friends – for example, being able to fit different sized riders comfortably using the Vgonomic® frame adjustment.

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    Do you ride a Gocycle?
    Everyday. I commute to Gocycle HQ on it and I am able to get back home for lunch too – which I could never do in a car regularly due to traffic. On hot days I’d not dream of riding a normal bike due to getting too sweaty. Every commute on Gocycle is fun – still!

    What other bikes do you own?
    Well, there is my weird and wonderful recumbent collection, all the XP Gocycles, and my son’s bikes. My son had the original wooden balance LIKEaBIKE – how amazing is that! Sad to see all the copies though. The guy that developed the original did a fantastic job. Then he’s had a Specialized Rockhopper and now a Specialized Hotrock. Maybe it’s time to design a mini Gocycle!

    Does Gocycle as a company have a motto or belief?
    We’re a small company with an amazing product. We have to deal with the challenges that the market brings to us daily. We know that mottos are not going to ship products, bring in sales, or service customers. We just try to do the best we can. I suppose we are lucky in the sense that Gocycle is such an engaging product and that is the focal point of the company – maybe our motto is Gocycle. There is a special feeling about the story so far and what it could become.

    How did you come up with the name?
    Gocycle was developed before the e-bike market was recognisable in Europe. It was something new and different to Western mainstream: an electric-powered bicycle. The idea was an entirely new class of bicycle – first there were bicycles, then came Gocycles – the ‘go’ referencing the power. Obviously, the Chinese invented the e-bike, but to us Westerners following them, we can pretend, though we are making them cooler!

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    What are the key elements of a Gocycle?
    The cool seamless look and feel. The uncluttered, clean sheet design, like you’d expect with an automotive design philosophy. And this is coupled with adjustment to fit you well for comfort, plus the ability to be stored or made portable.

    What makes Gocycle different from other electric bikes?
    The automotive design. Everything is integrated and designed by us. It’s not a pick-and-mix approach like you find with other e-bikes. Gocycle is thoughtfully engineered , well balanced; it’s a no-compromise design.

    Who are your customers?
    Gadget lovers, customers that get e-bikes and what they do for you, but don’t want a boring and traditional e-bike, or a second ebike purchase. We are seeing good sales in luxury car and high-end yacht sectors. Sightseeing on a couple of Gocycles when you’ve pulled into a new port is a recipe for fun. Gocycle’s urban DNA will always appeal to city customers.

    How do you strike the right balance between features and price?
    Our Gocycle G1 was very economically priced, and partly due to the lack of an established e-bike market or reference price point. Now e-bikes are priced over a wide range. Our G2 has significantly improved features , it’s a premium, special, and high quality product and the price reflects that.

    How big a part does customer feedback play in the design of present and future bikes?
    We always listen to our customers in order to improve service and reliability. But as far as design goes, Gocycle is a no-compromise design. It is not designed by committee and never will be.

    Why do you think Gocycle is proving so popular?
    It’s just flat-out cool – and that is not me saying this – we hear it universally from our customers. It makes a boring commute fun, and a talking point when you go out for a ride on the weekend. It makes people smile. And it has loads of high-tech cred to ‘wow’ people.

    Where is Gocycle going next?
    We are working on future models and new innovations. Making sure we keep learning from our customer feedback on how we can improve the G2. Entering the US market very soon.

    Could you give us a few of your personal favourite points on the G2 and its accessories?
    The app has a ‘kill’ option; if your Gocycle gets stolen, report it to us and the next user that uses the app will have the Gocycle ‘zapped’ and it won’t work. It makes theft of Gocycles for resale a pointless endeavour. The Gocycle kickstand is probably the only kickstand in the world that folds out into a robust triangle footing and also tucks away neatly on the centreline of the bicycle. Our lights are Busch & Müller from Germany, powered off the main battery and are probably the highest quality and most widely certified lights in Europe. They work very well. This unique combination of benefits sets Gocycle apart from the competition.

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