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Review: Electra Vale Go! e-bike’s versatility outweighs its few shortcomings

The Electra Vale Go! is a capable comfort commuter electric bike with a couple surprises. The look is very functional and attractive, and the performance and ease of use make the bike a treat to ride. As a comfort commuter, there are a few shortcomings that only apply to limited cases, and I think those compromises are understandable.

One of the great strengths of the bike is the wide network of dealer support and availability. This bike is available in almost any city, and in some cases available on site to test and try before you buy. This is a huge leg up over internet order bikes or crowdfunding campaigns. It’s offered in a variety of colors.

Electra describes the bike as: “The Vale Go! is built to handle anything from everyday errands to long commutes to fun getaways.” I agree with this. The Vale Go! is a useful commuter and very comfortable to ride. The combination of the 500wh battery and tame power output from the Bosch active line motor would make me comfortable committing to a 50-mile ride. It’s also quite an attractive bike. Let’s get into more detail.

  • Motor: 250W Bosch active line plus mid-drive motor
  • Top speed: 20 mph (32 km/h) with pedal assist (PAS)
  • Battery: 36V 13Ah (500Wh) lockable and removable battery
  • Range: 60 mi (96.5 km) estimate
  • Charge time: 3.25 hours
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Weight: 53.8 lb (24.4 kg)
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc (180mm front, 160mm rear)
  • Tires: 27.5 x 2.4 Schwalbe Super Moto-X
  • Price: $3,299
  • Extras: Kiox LCD display, 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain, suspension seatpost, rear rack, metal fenders

Right out of the gate, the Vale Go! 9D EQ feels great. Nice plush tires, comfortable riding position, some comfort touch points on the grips, seat, and pedals, and that smooth-as-silk electric system make the Vale Go! very comfortable to ride. As a commuter bike, the fenders and nice and solid, the rack keeps panniers weight nice and low, and the battery-integrated lights and reflective tires improve visibility.

Electra Bosch paired e-bike

Electrically, the Vale Go! is equipped with a fantastic Bosch Active Line Plus system. The Active line motor is a great little motor. While it’s not the powerhouse for aggressive cargo climbing, it’s a great assist for light hills. One of my favorite things about the motor applies perfectly to the bike, and that’s the smooth, intuitive pedal assist. The bike doesn’t have a throttle, or ultra-power mode for racing around, but it does pedal like a normal bike, albeit with a healthy amount of assist. Electra opted for Bosch’s Kiox display, which combined an easy-to-read motif with a small package, and it’s super easy to live with. The battery mount escapes from the side, which makes for a nice look, and the keyed entry keeps it tight. It may be a bit too tight, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Flat foot technology

Electra uses what they call “patented flat foot technology.” Basically, they patented the idea of putting the pedals and bottom bracket further forward, enabling the rider to plant their feet flat, and still get long leg extension during the ride. In this application, for a comfort commuter, it works just fine.

I’ve never ridden a bike like this for any deal of tom (over 10 miles), but what I have done in short trips amounts to a great deal of ease and comfort. Mechanically, the Vale Go! uses smooth parts to complement the smooth Bosch system. The riding position is a bit laid back, and the platform pedals could easily be used in flip-flops. The saddle itself isn’t all that comfortable, but the suspension seat post makes up for it. If you just cruised for fun without bags, you would be very happy with this bike. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Tektro 180 and 160 discs on this bike. Normally, easygoing bikes have wussy brakes, but these are fantastic.

A showhorse can still pull

Although the comfort says “relax” and the appearance says “fun,” the Vale Go! has a business side to it. As a commuter, the bike is almost ideal. The fenders, lights, and rack are all beautiful on this bike. But the rear rack, fender, and light assembly can be a challenge. The wire for the lights run underneath the fenders, and the tolerance is very tight. If the tunneling and the tire come in contact, it can be quite alarming until it’s resolved. Also, the rear rack can easily accommodate pannier bags with hooks. However, a double-sided set would be challenging to mount without a top plate, and a kids’ seat or trunk bag are incompatible. Despite that, the prime functionality is still there, so I can’t be too critical.

Where does the Vale Go! fit?

All in all, I think the Vale Go! is a great bike for cruising and commuting. It does both of these very well, although it’s not perfect at either. If you’re looking for a bike that is adaptable between these uses, you’re in the right place. Add to that a network of dealer support, gorgeous looks, and great resale value, and you’ve got a great contender for your daily drive or weekend stroll.

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