As more of us shy away from mass transit these days — thanks, COVID — the cost of buying and renting cars has skyrocketed. What’s a commuter to do? Or a food delivery person? Or a courier? Well, one company has been developing a solution. Zoomo is essentially an electric bike company that leases its bikes out — right now in a handful of cities around America like L.A., Miami and New York City. For the past two weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to use one — taking it on errands, to meet friends for coffee, and generally to have fun.
I already own an e-bike — and love it. I use it pretty much to go everywhere around town. And it’s a solid mid-range model. So how did the Zoomo compare? Actually, surprisingly well. It’s a step-through model with a very comfortable and height-adjustable seat. I love the rear luggage rack with attached elastic bands to hold things tightly in place. It comes with a GUB Pro 3 phone holder which is phenomenal at holding your cell phone firmly in place while you ride. Speaking of, the ride is super smooth and peppy. It’s a three-speed bike with a manual-twist Shimano gear shifter on the right handlebar — right next to a thumb throttle and bell. On the left side is an LED display for odometer, battery life, speed, etc. — along with a built-in security FOB sensor that allows you to move the bike. And of course, there are the up and down pedal assist buttons. The bike has a headlight that’s nice and bright. And I can’t understate the quality kickstand or the brakes that work nice and tight. Plus, acceleration is incredibly smooth and quiet. The steep hills in my neighborhood were no match for the 750 watts of power. And trust me, I’ve tested a lot of pricey e-bikes the past few years that could not make it up those same hills.
The Zoomo rep who dropped this bike off at my house told me that in nearby L.A., it’s primarily Uber Eats delivery people who rent out the fleet of 700-plus Zoomos. I get that — this bike has proved to be extremely reliable for me during the test period, and even got pretty good range on the battery. The company claims you’ll get eight hours of use per charge, and I have no reason to doubt that.
I realize there are other e-bike rental companies in just about every major city. But Zoomo offers lease, lease-to-own and outright purchase options. And it also has e-Mopeds and e-Cargo bikes available. Subscribers can also get a maintenance plan, roadside assistance service that will fix brakes, batteries and flats, 24/7 customer support, GPS tracking, bike recovery service that’s convenient in theft-risk neighborhoods, and coming soon anti-theft alerts, remote locking and find-my-e-bike integration.
As national CarFreeDay is coming up September 22, I urge anyone possibly considering replacing their car with an electric bike to try a rental. E-bike rental companies I’ve seen let you rent by the ride or by the minutes; Zoomo lets you rent for as little as $20 per week. It’s a great way to try before you buy. And for anyone not wanting to plop a lot of money down to own a bike, this is a pretty economical way to get around town.