BIKE TEST: GENZE 2.0

The perfect ride for around town

 

GenZe stands for Generation Zero Emissions. Their bikes and scooters were designed in Silicon Valley for the American market. What they learned from the first generation of electric scooters they made went into the development of the GenZe 2.0.

GenZe’s parent company, Mahindra, is an Indian company based in Mumbai that started in India’s steel industry in 1945. The company, now worth $19 billion, is a global company with a conglomeration of companies that focuses on all kinds of transportation. They are the world’s largest manufacturer of tractors in terms of volume, they are the number-one UV-maker in India, as well as owning information technology companies, hospitality and even financial services.

With all that, they decided to build GenZe products in the American city made famous for motor madness—Detroit, Michigan. Imagine that, India is now outsourcing production of these electric scooters and some electric bikes to the U.S., providing manufacturing jobs to a city that is world famous for its own legacy of transportation.

 

THE BIKE

The bike looks like a fairly normal scooter, but it’s slightly larger and more modern-looking. The aluminum exoskeleton frame makes it strong and light, and they’re offered in four good-looking colors. The white frame with all-black components looks very clean, the black one looks mean, and the blue and green models are bright and easy to see.

The seat is comfortable but quite wide, and the back bay (aka trunk) is ample enough to carry a lot of stuff.

The GenZe weighs 232 pounds including the battery, making it easy to maneuver whether you’re moving it out of a parking space or splitting lanes in traffic. With its handy, huge back bay, you can easily carry three bags of groceries.

“We found ourselves using it for everything around town.
It was a hoot to ride!”

The bike comes with great, connected telematics that can communicate with an app that works either on iOS or Android. You can check current performance, as well as find your bike if you misplace it or disable it remotely and find it if it turns up stolen. In fact, it can monitor up to 100 different data points via a cloud-based system.

Under the seat the back bay extends, and there’s a lower area to hold smaller items and a 12-volt socket to allow charging of a variety of things, including your phone.

The wheels are not the same size. The front wheel is 16 inches while the back wheel is 12 inches. The larger front wheel provides great stability and the small back wheel helps harness all that torque. Front and rear J.Juan disc brakes provide more than enough stopping power, as well as some power regeneration. Brake levers are both on the handlebars as you’d expect. Hardware all the way through, like the steel-braided cables, show off all the attention to detail. Even the rotors have the Z of the GenZe logo on them. Impressive and meticulous details for an electric scooter that only costs three grand.

Suspension is provided by an inverted, oil-damped fork with internal coil springs and twin oil-damped coil-over rear shocks. We took it over speed bumps, road divots and the variety of mangled infrastructure that makes up the mean streets of L.A., and the GenZe took it all in stride. Cornering was sure-footed and confidence-inspiring, and the ride was sublime.

The coil-over rear shocks helped provide a comfortable ride over even crumbling streets.

The seat is wide. It’s comfy, don’t get us wrong, but you have to have some pretty long legs to be able to touch the ground at stops without scooting forward to the narrower front part of the seat. There’s room for two to sit on the wide, long seat, but there are no footpegs for a passenger.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR?

This scooter is perfect for commuters who don’t have to be in fast-moving traffic and great for running errands without having to worry about gas and parking. It’s targeted at people living in dense cities who may or may not want a car or to take ride-share services everywhere. It looks very attractive for this for the price.

A big, bright 7-inch display puts everything you need to know right in front of you without having to take your eyes off the road for more than a glance.

In California, you’ll need an M2 license (the kind you need for mopeds, not motorcycles). Check with your own state laws to see if you’d need a special license or can just ride it with a regular driver’s license.

 

THE RIDE

When we first hopped aboard the scooter, it felt plush and inviting. Pressing the “on” button illuminates the huge 7-inch tablet-style touchscreen Control Center (where an instrument cluster would normally be) to life. In bright sunlight, it’s still very easy to see. Typing in a custom code to unlock it, the panel shows everything you need to know in brightly colored, large-print glory! It’s very easy to read, and for at-a-glance while riding, you can see the time, mode, battery percentage, expected range and a big speedometer in the middle with a small odometer beneath.

When you first fire it up, there’s a warning triangle that will remind you that you have to turn off the kill switch (like you would on a motorcycle) and raise the kickstand. The latter is set really far back, so much so that you have to slide back on the seat to reach it.

The 16 kWh battery fits beneath the seat and locks in with the key.

Once that’s taken care of, you’re ready to twist the throttle and start riding! This is an incredibly easy bike to ride for a beginner, because it has three modes—Easy, Eco and Sport. Easy is so mellow that even the most nervous rider will find it tedious after the first few moments. Eco is slightly better, as the acceleration is gradual. Sport is the most fun, though it still takes around 10 seconds to reach the top speed of 30 mph. This bike has the power to go faster, but it’s electronically limited to 30 mph.

It’s a silent ride to get anywhere, and with that huge back bay, it’s the ultimate grocery-getter. There’s extended storage under the seat, a slightly deeper part of the trough. The seat doesn’t lock, however, so stuff under it isn’t completely safe. Also underneath the seat is a 12-volt outlet (read: cigarette lighter port) for easy device charging.

At night, the always-on headlight provides more than ample light to see and be seen. It’s excellent to have a light that you won’t over-ride at 30 mph. We rode it through clear nights and misty ones, and the lights provided perfect illumination.

The C14 socket on the battery means you can charge it with a common computer monitor cord. The handle is padded for easy carrying of this 30-plus-pound beast.

If you’re used to riding a motorcycle, the controls are all similarly located. The turn signal is by your left thumb. Easy to reach and actuate, it also is indicated by a bright indicator on the touchscreen, which takes up all of the right 10 percent or left 10 percent of the screen. It’s a good thing, too, as there’s no audible indicator that the signal is on, and it doesn’t self-cancel when you finish the turn.

Underneath the turn-signal switch is the horn button. The horn they’ve built into this bike is the loudest thing on it, but that still isn’t much louder than the quack of an asthmatic duck. When you’re on a small vehicle, a louder horn provides a little more ability to be noticed. It’s courteous but not assertive.

Look at the details—not just the Z in the brake rotors, but the steel brake cables and clean routing.

The battery is under the seat, near the floorboard. It comes out simply with a key, making it very easy to carry upstairs to charge and be able to keep the bike downstairs, or into the house while you leave the scooter in the garage. It’s heavy, at just over 30 pounds, but has a nicely padded handle to help make it more comfortable to carry. The charge port is a simple C14 inlet, using a computer cord with a common C13 connector. If you ride it to work and forget your cord, you can just hijack one from a computer monitor for a while to charge it. It’s easy to keep a spare under the seat.

We liked having the reverse switch, which lets you back the scooter up under power. It’s not full speed or full power and it won’t take you up a hill, but it’s really handy when parking the bike, especially in tight spaces.

 

THE VERDICT

We found ourselves using it for everything around town. It was a hoot to ride! It was so quiet that we accidentally snuck up on people, something riders have to be aware of. It will make you visit more friends and come up with reasons to ride it. It’s American-made, environmentally-friendly, just plain fun and an incredible value.

There are dealers in California, Michigan, Colorado, Washington, Florida and Oregon, with new dealers coming online as time goes on. You can search for dealers for a test ride on their website, www.genze.com.

 

SPECS: 2017 GENZE 2.0

MSRP: $2999

Motor: GenZe brushless permanent magnet hub motor, 100Nm output

Battery: 1.6 kWh

Charge time: 4 hours

Top Speed: 30 mph

Range: 30 miles (tested)

Brakes: J.Juan, single-piston hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, regenerative

Controls: 7-inch LED touchscreen monitor (app-connected to the GenZe Cruise-Connect System)

Fork: Telescopic oil damped front fork with internal coil springs, twin oil-damped coil-over shock rear swingarm suspension

Frame: Cast, welded and powdercoated aluminum exoskeleton

Tires: 100/80-R16(front), 130/70-R12(rear)

Weight: 232 lb.

Color choices: White, green, blue, black

www.genze.com