- An affordable, relaxed cruiser style electric bike with suspension fork and seat post shock for added comfort... though the saddle is a bit firm
- Lots of extras for improved utility and safety including steel fenders, a chain guard, a carry rack and an integrated LED headlight
- Solid double leg kickstand, deep step-thru frame, adjustable angle stem and lower seat tube accommodates a wider range of riders small to medium height
- Pedal assist and throttle mode operate independently, separate keys to activate the bike and remove the battery, the key has to be left in while riding and the components are more basic (but the bike is fairly affordable)
While the Gama Cruise isn’t exactly a beach cruiser with cantilever frame design and a large cushy saddle, it does offer the same relaxed upright body position and comfort thanks to swept back handle bars, a suspension fork and seat post shock. The frame is available in one small/medium build that’s easy to step over and handle thanks to the super low step tubing and the top and bottom are reinforced to reduce flex but there’s still some softness given the motor and battery weight towards the back. It’s affordable but still offers extras like fenders, a chain guard, rear carry rack and integrated headlight. I love that the battery is painted to match the frame and blends in more than a lot of the silver battery boxes I see on other builds like the Big Cat Long Beach Cruiser which costs about the same. Notice that there’s no controller box outside of the battery pack and that electrical wires are routed through the frame instead of tacked on with zip ties. It’s a good looking bike and you can choose from three colors (red, white and blue).
ElectroBike is a company that began in Mexico City around 2012 and has since expanded to ~25 locations in that region with five in the USA. Their products are available directly through the ElectroBike website with a low $50 shipping fee if you reside in the continental USA or you can visit a dealer like I did in Santa Monica. They offer a solid year long warranty that covers all parts and that’s great because the motor and battery seemed very generic to me. You get Lithium-ion cells in the pack which are appreciated for their light weight and longer lasting “non memory developing” charging characteristics but it’s difficult to say what quality level the cells actually are so there could be a drop off in range over time, faster than Samsung or Panasonic premium cells that is. To really extend the life of the pack I recommend storing it in a cool, dry location because extreme heat and cold can degrade cells more quickly. One inconvenient aspect of removing the battery here is that you have to first switch the battery to off using one key and then move to the other side of the pack and unlock it from the bike using a second key. I wish there was just one lock on the battery and that it did both of these things AND that you didn’t have to leave the keys in while riding because they jingle and are prone to snags while pedaling if you’ve got additional keys attached.
The motor driving the ElectroBike Gama Cruise is an average sized 350 watt planetary geared hub. It’s more compact and light weight than a gearless design but produces more noise. The entire bike (with the fenders, rack, battery etc.) weighs just over 53 pounds which isn’t bad and again, you can remove the battery to reduce that number by about six pounds (I love that the saddle swivels forward to make removal easy and fast without disrupting seat post height). Both wheels use bolts verses quick release so you’ll need a wrench to do this and the tires are more generic than higher-end offerings which come with Kevlar lining to reduce punctures. Changing tires on an electric bike is no fun because of their weight but something like Slime or tire liners may come in handy here to lessen those chances but that starts to raise the price and hassle of working with a shop to have it setup, it may not be necessary if you don’t encounter many thorns where you live and ride.
All things considered, this is a comfortable, affordable and fairly nice looking electric bike. You get both throttle mode and pedal assist but they run separately so you can’t override assist with the throttle going up a hill. The throttle itself felt uncomfortable to me because of the plastic design where the signal wire enters (which protrudes into the twist-zone). The kickstand is solid and helpful for loading the rack and the six speed drivetrain lets you pedal at a range of paces, climbing or hitting higher speeds as you desire but the components are the most basic in the line. It’s designed to be affordable and you get some trade offs because of that.
- Relaxed, upright seating position with swept back handle bars and ergonomic grips, I love that you get a suspension fork and seat post shock to smooth out the bumps
- Color-matched battery pack blends in with the frame and is removable for easy charging inside or reducing weight when transporting the bike, I like that the saddle flips up to make removal easier
- Lots of great add-ons for utility and safety including full length fenders with mud flaps, a chain guard, a rear rack with standard sized tubing and side blockers for clip-on panniers, a double legged kickstand for easier loading and an integrated LED headlight
- I like how intuitive the lights and horn activation switches are, they’re easy to reach and understand for quick use
- The fame used for the Gama Cruise only comes in one size but the seat post is highly adjustable along with the stem angle so it should fit shorter and medium sized riders pretty well, having only one frame size keeps it more affordable and I appreciate the three colors (Red White and Blue baby! Mexico knows how to flatter us US folks)
- This bike is based around a purpose-built frame with extra channels for running electrical wires through which improves the visual presentation and reduces the chance of snagging
- The control pad lets you activate cruise control which is very unique in the world of electric bikes, while in throttle mode press and hold the Fn (function) key for several seconds while holding the throttle steady at the speed you desire and it will lock in, this is handy for reducing wrist fatigue on longer rides
- Built with many entry-level components including a Shimano Tourney derailleur, plastic pedals and basic tires that don’t have reflective sidewalls or Kevlar guard and aren’t especially wide
- The battery and motor are both very generic, they offer average power at 350 watts and 36 volt 10 amp hours respectively and you get a one year warranty which is nice, the motor made some extra noise when straining and the power cable running to it enters far out at the end of the axle which is more vulnerable to bends and snags if the bike tips or is being transported
- Pedal assist and throttle mode are completely separate so you need to click a button on the left display panel to switch vs. being able to override assist with the throttle at any time
- The LED display panels are pretty basic, battery level isn’t indicated as precisely as some other ebikes with LCD displays and you don’t get speed or range readouts
- Basic five magnet cadence sensor doesn’t start or stop the motor as quickly as the 10 and 12 magnet sensors I’m seeing more frequently on ebikes, thankfully you get motor inhibitors on the brake levers with the Gama Cruise
- As with many low-step electric bikes, the frame here can feel flexy if you’ve loaded up the rear rack, having the motor and battery mounted towards the rear just adds to the frame flex but it’s not a performance bike so this isn’t a huge issue, at least you get a rack here because there aren’t any mounting points on the downtube or seat tube for adding a bottle cage or other accessories, consider a cheap basic trunk bag like this
- In order to use the electric drive systems and light on this e-bike you have to leave the key inserted and turned to “on” in the battery pack
- In order to remove the battery pack you actually have to unlock a separate keyed area with a second key and this certainly adds clutter to your keychain and increases the potential for losing keys etc.
- The twist throttle has a rectangular piece of plastic (where the signal wire enters) that protrudes into the half-grip twist area and collides with my fingers, it felt uncomfortable at times so I moved my grip out a bit to avoid the scraping, I haven’t noticed this on other electric bike throttles
- Official Site: http://store.electrobike.com/products/gama-cruise-electric-bike-350w
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/w2DxcaPJhhV6b8rK7