So, after the Gotrax XR lost the rear fender, the replaced solid rubber tyres need replacing also and 8km top range @ 15 mph max is just not cutting it anymore (and the charger died, but replacement works), i decided to give the Gotrax Gmax Ultra a go.
Why? Gotrax G4 got a good (for the money) review with acceptable range (24 km, i might get 16 km, i guess) and there was some rebate going, so in lieu of the G4 i went straight to the Gmax Ultra to actually improve my travel distance beyond the strictly necessary to cover these sprawled distances without range anxiety…
First out-of-the-box impression:
- Tyres inflated and technically ready to ride (please inflate, i needed more pressure)
- Build quality: Everything is beefier compared to the small/nimble XR.
- Weight: although much heavier, folded and gripping the narrower stem is not THAT much of a difference
- Carrying: folded ok, otherwise bothersome
Specs are listed as 17.5 Ah with 36V battery (whopping 630Wh), which would place it 1.7x larger than the G4, with an unrealistic advertised range of up to 72 km.
The handlebar screws or holes are not perfectly straight, so 3 out of 4 were slightly slanted, but it is tight and holds. Otherwise sliding the handle bars on was easy enough and the required allan wrench was included. No other tools for tightening other screws were in the box, though.
The electronic lock takes a bit to get used to, but using it works (when abiding by the manual) after a view attempts and does not really stymie anyone inclined to steal the scooter. Rolling resistance is a bit higher, but pushing away is no issue at all. Thankfully, the manual includes how to deactivate the electronic lock.
The manual suggests to hold the throttle and push off. This will not work. Please push first and then use the throttle. Over all less easy compared to the much lighter Gotrax XR and takes a bit to get used to. But once one is rolling, it just works.
Gear 1 is 15 mph, while one press on “+” switches it to L2; “-” switches it back. The cockpit is readable enough even in sunlight (once the foil has been removed..) and includes an odometer (visible when not riding) that cannot be reset, and no additional “day trip” button or some such. But yet appreciated to have an odometer rather than guessing or geotracking (or google maps insights).
Tail lights and headlights work and are actually nice. However, no night ride done yet. XR is “dark” and this seems at least twice as bright (guesstimate). In any case, welcome upgrade.
The first impression, based on the G4 review by electric-scooter.guide (https://electric-scooter.guide/reviews/gotrax-g4-review/), was true: some screws needed tightening, but still, a slight stem wobble remains. The inner tube air filled tyres (10″), in contrast to the XR, are really helpful due to the lacking suspension. While the larger tyres yield more stability and the heavy battery shifts the centre of gravity to towards the deck, further increasing stability, at increased speed every bump is noticeable.
The stem slights moves or wiggling is possible, but it still feels quite secure, so i do not see any problems here, for now, especially when the loser Gotrax XR stem held up for more than two years.
The 350W motor is not the strongest motor out there, but the improvement over the insufficient 250W is noticeable still. For full hill-climbing, a 500W motor would have made more sense though. A weird quirk is the noise. The motor is quite loud while accelerating of working full power, and makes the same noise when slightly braking. Braking is acceptable.
Riding and the first range test was done after fully charging the scooter and max tyre pressure i can do with my pump. So, that is the best conditions and longest range it will have, from here on only downhill through battery degradation and tyres no longer being new etc.
Riding was done almost exclusively in the second gear, but due to passing people on shared ways and other stops, the average speed was lower. Also, one section was with gear 1 and 20 km/h (15 mph) due to not so great road conditions.
From Full to blinking batter (please stop riding):
- max speed: 32 km/h (20 mph)
- average speed: 22.27 km/h
- average speed moving: 23.66 km/h
- range: 28.98 km (so not even 30 km)
- altitude difference: 103 m
From Blinking (now fully gear 1) to complete dying: 2 km.
Based on 29km until the battery is complaining, save distances should be set at 25 km with some leeway. Further, sunny conditions outside may not always be possible and higher rolling resistance on wet surfaces will decrease the range. As comparison: a 74kg rider (based on the G4) might expect closer to 39 km range, whereas i got 74% of that. So, it seems to hold true that i have to go with Raimier rather than Justin and use a factor of 0.7 when figuring out my realistic max range (as seen with Gotrax XR already; this corroborates this back of the napkin calculation).
Charging did take 6 hours, but based on the felt temperature (similar to the XR with its 1.5A charger), it slows down once approaching full. The temperatures decreases after quite some time, despite still charging. I appreciate this! Calculation can either be done conservatively with 4.8 km/hour charged or optimistically with 5-6 km/hour charged until maybe 80% charge. This, however, is a rather crude and unsupported guesstimate.
This really is a bigger scooter than before. Handle bars are higher, better to ride than the smaller XR and it feels twice as big. The folding mechanism resembles a swiveling carabiner lock attached to a plastic fender. Could be worse, but could be mounted to a sturdier and lasting support. Centre of gravity once folded is far back, but the rather slim stem makes carrying not really a bother despite the heavy weight (again, compared to the previous XR experience).
The build quality seems good for the money, albeit with certain room for improvements. For a budget “long-range” scooter, it seems the cost was sharply calculated and the components chosen accordingly. Top speed is actually attainable and on flat terrain absolutely possible with riders approaching the maximum carrying weight of the scooter, but the range suffers. 29 km max range (and for me 25 km for planning trips) is less than hoped, a little less than expected, yet so much better than what i had before. While it felt stifling and being tethered, now much more can be explored on weekends.
Charging time with the 3A 42V charger really does take 6 hrs, so once the battery is dead, it will take some time to get good range again.