• Chelsea Rustrum

The GenZe Bike is Cheaper than Public Transport!

Updated: Feb 21

Scooters are fun. I’m used to riding them in Bali or Costa Rica, off the beaten path, enjoying the sun, wind, and the scent of the jungle or humid village life.

Currently, I live in Pacific Heights, which is a hilly neighborhood in San Francisco. A friend of a friend suggested that the local scooter shop should lend me one to see how I liked it. Considering, Scoot Networks (shared scooter rentals, similar to Zipcar) is replacing all of their bikes with the GenZe today, I thought I’d share my experience of the bike!

P.S. if you want to check out the bike for yourself, head over to San Francisco Scooter Centre on 10th St. and go for a test drive.

Cost of GenZe Electric Bike Cheaper than MUNI?

Price: $2,999 + tax Registration: $0 License: $33 Gas: $0 (100% electric) Parking: $0, unless on a meter Insurance: $15-20 a month Warranty: 3 years, covers everything

So, the bike isn’t that expensive and the warranty is long. Considering an annual public transport pass in San Francisco costs $840-$996 per year, this thing will pay for itself in a few short years. Not only that, but the time you’ll save zipping around instead of stopping and waiting will give you more time for creative endeavors, having fun, and making money… not waiting at bus stops. I wasn’t shocked at how inexpensive scooter ownership is compared to car ownership, but things definitely come into perspective when you compare the costs of owning an electric bike to public transit, especially considering the amount of time you’d save.

You don’t pay for gas, insurance is a drop in the bucket, registration non-existent, and you’ll pay a one-time $33 licensing fee. I probably spend $300-400 on Lyft per month – so in that case, it’d pay for itself in less than a year! Though, ride sharing does come in handy when there is a glass of wine or two involved. So, not sure if scooter would ever become my main source of transportation. The new economy of transportation options offers us what we need as we need it, through all sorts of shared methods these days… but an electric scooter still seems like a smart one to add to the mix.

Reasons I Swore I’d Never Own an Electric Scooter

A few of the reasons I thought I’d never want to own a scooter were overturned, with the exception of one, which probably won’t ever change.

Reason #1: I don’t have a garage, so I won’t be able to charge the bike.  It turns out, the GenZe has a battery pack that can be popped out of the bike, strapped to your shoulder like a laptop, and charged using any typical electrical outlet.

Reason #2: Parking, registration, and costs will add up.  You don’t have to register the bike because it will only go 30mph, and is considered a moped, which means you have to get an M2, which requires $33 fee, thumbprint, vision test, and a written test (that’s it!) at the DMV. The warranty is bumper to bumper for three years, so you don’t have to worry about anything breaking on you, in regards to being out of pocket on maintenance, for a long while.

Reason #3: Parking is expensive in San Francisco. With the GenZe, since it’s a moped, you can park in any residential zone in San Francisco for free! Regular fees apply to metered zones.

Reason #4: I’m not a great driver. Well, this is still a problem. You really need to pay attention on a bike. I think the best answer to this one is a good helmut and head to toe clothing.

The Chai Ride

My test ride was to grab a chai and go check out some late morning views.

The bike handled really well, with the exception of a large hill at Larkin and Union. The bike couldn’t make it up the hill. But, I later learned, that was user error (duhr), I had the bike on eco mode, which makes it kind of wimpy, especially on inclines. Pop the thing into sport mode and it’ll take on any hill in San Francisco. It seems like the guts of the bike are really smartly made, but the design leaves a lot to be desired. I felt like it could have been shorter, had cup holder on inside vs. outside, had better compartments, not been so high up and hard to touch ground with feet, etc. Apparently, though, the brand new version of the bike fixes all of these things and is a more thought out and comfortable ride.

My chai spilled all over the place, but if that’s the worst of it… I think it’s ok. Just don’t put your phone in the same compartment.

Overall Impression

If you’re someone who runs around the city a lot, rides MUNI daily, works in the sharing and gig economy doing deliveries or odd jobs, one of these might serve you well and save you money.

Basically… motorbikes should rule the roads, especially in cities. They are efficient, small, use less energy than cars, and are much easier to park. Mopeds are thing internationally – we need to bring that spirit to American cities, thereby making motorbikes safer to ride (then other drivers will be on the lookout for them), clearing up congestion, saving money, and the environment in the process.

If you want to check out a bike, go visit Barry at SF Scooter Center and tell him I sent you!

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