by Micah Toll
September 9, 2021
The GOTRAX Endura electric bicycle is the answer to the question, “What e-bike would you recommend if I wanted to spend as little money as possible but not get a pile of junk?” It is far from the best e-bike I’ve tested, but it still scores major points for combining good-enough parts with a super-low price tag of $649. I’ve tested e-bikes that cut too many corners before, and this is not one of them. It makes some sacrifices that we’ll discuss, but it still lands a solid win in the end.
For several years now I’ve been using GOTRAX electric scooters, both testing them for work and personally using them for my own around-the-town needs. GOTRAX has made a name for itself in the electric scooter industry as a bare-bones, gets-the-job-done electric scooter that can do most of what the fancier scooters can – yet for a fraction of the price.
GOTRAX Endura e-bike tech specs • Motor: 250W rear hub motor • Top speed: 15 mph (25 km/h) • Range: Claimed up to 28 miles (45 km) • Battery: 36V 7.5Ah (270 Wh) • Weight: 54 lb (24.5 kg) • Load Capacity: 265 lb (120 kg) • Frame: Aluminum alloy 6061 • Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes • Extras: Minimalist LED dot display with battery gauge and PAS level indicator, included rear rack and fenders, throttle & pedal assist, LED headlight
Right off the bat, I can tell you that the performance isn’t exciting thanks to the low power 250W motor and 36V electrical system, but it still works quite well. It won’t get your adrenaline pumping, but it will give you an enjoyable, leisurely ride.
The pedal assist system provides a nice, relaxed boost and the throttle lets me be lazy if I want the bike to do most of the work. The Endura only has a 270 Wh battery, which is rather small by today’s standards, so I tended to ride more with pedal assist to eek out as much range as possible from the battery. But with a top speed of 15.5 mph (25 km/h), even riding at top speed on throttle-only doesn’t ding the battery too hard. And let’s be honest: with such a low power motor, we’re not talking about a lot of electrical muscle here.
The battery is small but nicely integrated. The motor is also small but works just fine for flat land cruising – even if it can’t handle huge hills on its own. There’s also pedal assist and throttle to choose from, which is a big advantage over pedal assist-only e-bikes. The display isn’t fancy but works just fine as an LED dot display, and you even get a headlight that runs off the main pack. There’s no tail light, but I’m not about to complain too hard there, considering I’ve seen e-bikes at three times this price without a tail light either.
The front fork leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, it’s nice to have suspension, but at what cost? It just doesn’t feel sturdy like a good suspension fork. I might have preferred a rigid fork that I at least know should last for years. And I don’t know anything about this tire brand other than it’s some random Chinese tire manufacturer. I didn’t expect Maxxis here, but I also thought I might at least get a pair of entry-level Kendas.
The shifter and derailleur are also on the bottom end of Shimano’s hierarchy. Not bad, but not great either. Of course for an e-bike like this that is basically a pleasure cruiser, they’re certainly sufficient. So while we can definitely see the areas where GOTRAX cut a few corners to bring the cost down, they surprised me with a few key details at the same time. There’s the saddle that is actually quite comfy, and the inclusion of fenders as standard equipment. Even the rear rack comes standard – saving you some serious bucks compared to e-bike companies that charge extra for lights, fenders, and racks.
Ultimately I’d still recommend this e-bike to anyone looking for a good, ultra-cheap e-bike. If you can spend a few hundred dollars more, then you can get some serious quality upgrades from other brands. But I get it, not everyone can afford to spend a few hundred dollars more. And compared to other e-bikes at the $649 level, GOTRAX Endura delivers a nicer package that rides better and feels more comfortable to use.