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Tenways CGO800S Review 2023
Jan 01, 2023
Tenways CGO800S Review: Overview
Tenways is an unusual company; based in Asia, they nevertheless look to produce lightweight and very smoothly designed European style e-bikes, using more sophisticated technology than you might expect on a competitively priced hub motor e-bike coming from the Far East. Think responsive torque sensing power delivery, belt drive and a small, virtually silent hub motor all aimed at making your e-bike journeys as smooth, easy and bike-like as possible.
Another notable thing about Tenways is that on both their e-bikes – the latest step-thru CGO800S and the earlier diamond-framed CGO600 – there is only one gear. EBR has already looked at the overall pros and cons of single speed tech here, so it’s clear that Tenways are aiming at a rider who wants a riding experience that is a step up from most budget e-bikes but doesn’t want to pay a premium price tag.
The company has already very successfully crowdfunded their first e-bike, the diamond-framed CGO600. The CGO800 shares the same bijou Mivice M070 rear hub motor with torque sensor system, the single speed belt drive transmission and also hydraulic disc brakes.
Unlike its predecessor though, the CGO800 has a larger and removable battery, rear rack, mudguards, front and rear hardwired lights and kickstand as standard. It’s also an upright city e-bike in the Dutch style in contrast to the CGO600’s racier frame geometry and riding position.
The CGO600 was initially offered direct to consumer only but just as this review was being written Tenways had begun to roll out their dealer network program which will give the reassurance of ‘local’ backup.
Bike Category:Step-thru, single speed city e-bike with belt drive
Bike Class: Class 1: Pedelec up to 15.5 MPH (European/UK spec) as tested, with US customers ordering 20mph class 1 model.
Tenways CGO800S Review Video Review
Smooth torque sensing power delivery
Comfortable and very safe feeling ride characteristics
Pretty efficient for a single speed so a decent range
Hardwired, powerful lights with rear brake light
Full equipment includes strong metal mudguards and sturdy kickstand
Not the most powerful up steep hills (though all single speed e-bikes have their limits when it comes to gradients…)
Rear indicator lights could be brighter.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 36V 10.4 Ah (374Wh) with Eve 18650 Lithium-ion Cells
Display: Handlebar stem-integrated color LCD with bluetooth capability for Tenways app
Taillights: 36V rear light with brake light and indicator lights, CE compliant
Pedal Assist: Torque sensor integrated into bottom bracket
Range: 43.2 miles switching between power settings to suit conditions. 28.4 miles in power setting five (maximum). Claimed range 62 miles on power setting one (in ‘ideal road conditions’)
Weight & Dimensions
Battery Weight: 5.85lbs / 2.65kg
Claimed bike weight(net weight without mudguards, kickstand and pedals): 41.9lbs / 19kg
Real bike weight: as tested with mudguards, kickstand and pedals: 50lbs / 22.70kg
Maximum rider weight: 264lbs / 120 kg
Maximum load on rear rack: 44lbs / 20kg on test bike (Tenways say this may be lowered in future)
Dimensions: 73” /186cm long x 46” / 117cm high
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disks with 160mm rotors
Fenders: Own brand, front and rear, full length, alu alloy
Fork: SR Suntour, NEX E25,steel sprung
Frame: 6061 Aerospace Aluminium, step-thru with frame-integrated battery. One size for riders 155cm-190cm (5’1”-6’2”)
Gearing: Single speed, 2.73 / 79 gear inches (60:22 gear ratio) with Gates Carbon belt drive
Grips: Leather effect, lock-on, own brand
Saddle: Selle Royal
Handlebar: Own brand alloy, swept-back riser bars
Kickstand: Own brand
Pedals: Own brand
Tires: CST Zeppelin 50×622 (28” x 2”) with puncture protection
Tenways CGO800S Review Performance Review
The CGO800S features torque sensing power delivery and a single gear; this means all there is to do is press the on button, select one of five power levels using the arrow buttons by your left thumb and pedal off. Dead simple.
Power delivery is silkily smooth, no matter what power level you select. There’s clearly some sophisticated electronics at work to sense pedal pressure here and translate it into just the right amount of power so that it marries with your pedal stroke very nicely.
There doesn’t feel to be a huge difference as you toggle up the power levels from one to five, though go straight from to five and you realise the top level does deliver appreciably more power than the bottom one.
On the flat, into headwinds and up moderate hills there feels to be plenty of power to keep you rolling along near the EU spec assist limit of 16mph; you can almost believe you are doing all the work yourself so quiet is the motor and smooth the power delivery (unless you turn the power off when you realise the motor definitely is assisting you and that this only really a bike for riding without power on the flat, as is the case with most if not all e-bikes).
There is no notable sudden ‘cut out’ of power at around 16mph unless you insist on riding on the flat in the top assist level when you do notice some deceleration at the cut off limit. But get the level right for the conditions and you can bowl along at the assist limit without really noticing that there is a cut off. That’s certainly not a feature of all e-bikes as the cut-off can be annoyingly abrupt on some.
Steep hills are the only real challenge for the motor system; the Mivice M070 rear geared hub motor is little bigger than an eight speed hub gear and clearly at this size there are limits to the power it can deliver on such a city designed e-bike with upright geometry, plenty of ‘extras’ like metal mudguards to add weight and those plush 28” x 2” tyres.
As the gradient steepens the motor starts to slow and eventually runs out of steam at 10% and by this time the test rider was standing on the pedals reasonably hard – in fact a better technique proved to be to keep the pedal pressure light and make steady progress rather than trying to force it.
So perhaps if you live in a very hilly area the CGO800S is not for you. In any event all single speeds will find their limit on steep hills where powerful mid-drives are much the best choice. And as with all single speeds you will find yourself putting more pressure on the pedals in certain situations and maybe standing out of the saddle to leverage your body weight – just to counteract the lack of gears (multi-geared bikes would, of course, have the luxury of dropping down the gears in these situations).
But over our moderately hilly city bike testing ground the CGO800S was a superbly smooth performer, the near silent, smooth motor power making the many hours of test riding a pleasure.
Range Test & Battery Charging
The CGO800S managed 28.4 miles from a full charge using the top power level of five out of five (Boost) on all the time. This was using our city bike / single speed test course which features only moderate hills and is all on tarmac, rather than our trekking test course which features much steeper hills and some off-road tracks. The city bike test course featured 2398 feet of climbing.
Over the same course but switching between power modes the range was 43.2 miles, with much of the time spent in the lower power levels. This featured 3217 feet of climbing.
The climbing power from the motor only declined when the battery capacity meter on the LCD display got to about 4; at 10% it was still giving good performance on the steeper hill climbs on out test course. Below 4% there was still a small amount of power – enough for you to limp home if you get very low on capacity with only a couple of miles to your destination.
The battery capacity meter itself worked fairly well and should be reasonably helpful in letting a rider gauge just how much capacity they really have left – although it does have its own quirks.
It then declines quite quickly to 80% but evens out for much of the rest of the ride until you get to around 10%. This all suggests the meter is measuring the battery voltage as that quick at the start and finish is characteristic of a typical lithium-ion battery discharge cycle.
The meter itself, though, behaves well, so for the middle 70% or so of battery consumption it ticks away steadily and it’s a helpful aid calculating how much battery you really do have left and how far it might take you. There is no range remaining figure on the display, but once you know how far a full charge will take you, the % battery gauge and a bit of simple maths will certainly give a rough idea of the mileage left in the tank.
NB: The range test was conducted in warm but breezy weather. Much colder temperatures can affect range negatively.
The EBR UK test circuit is a 1.25 mile loop with a small hill, four turns and a couple of narrow sections where slowing is required. A test rider does a lap at each pedal assist level starting with the motor off. Not only does this give an idea of average speed at each assistance level, it shows the difference in assist a rider can expect between all the PAS settings.
The most obvious thing that stands out from the test is the huge value of adding electric assist to a single speed. The time without any assistance at all was remarkably slow and up the small hill was incredibly hard work; it felt more like a strength exercise in the gym than actual cycling, as the bike slowed to a crawl and I heaved on the bars as hard as I could to get it up the hill.
This is what would happen with any reasonably high geared single speed as it’s simply a consequence of having one gear. Of course, the times improve markedly as soon as the power is on, though it’s quite obvious that there isn’t a huge difference in power delivered between any of the levels, with only around ten seconds separating level one from level five.
Less levels would be helpful as once you are up to level three the higher levels don’t seem to add a great deal of power.
Despite being a city bike design with a single gear, the CGO800S feels quite sporty due to its sensitive torque sensing
The CGO800S uses one of the smallest and lightest rear hub motors out there
Belt drives are wonderful things; easy to clean and needing virtually no maintenance
All UK tested e-bikes are tested over several runs on a 0.8 mile long constant road climb with plenty of 5% grade sections and a couple of much steeper sections. The CGO800S’s time of 3-minutes and 10-seconds was respectable, though it lagged behind all the mid-drives we’ve tested and also some of the more effective hub motor models. But this is, of course, a single speed model with a small motor so you wouldn’t necessarily expect stellar hillclimbing.
The time alone of course doesn’t tell the whole story; the bike whizzed up most of the extended hill climb and it was only on the two steeper sections – around 10% grade – where the bike slowed from around 15mph to around ten mph. You then had a choice to stand harder on the pedals to get a little extra speed for quite a bit more physical effort or keeping the pedal pressure reasonably light and letting the motor do most of the work at a slower speed.
The test really demonstrated how good the CGO800S was at breezing over moderate hills but how it slowed on rather steeper ones. Of course if you live in a very hilly area then an electric single speed probably isn’t for you anyway. The CGO800S would be really at home in flatter areas where you need the motor power to make mincemeat of headwinds and less steep hills. It will tackle slightly steeper hills at a reduced speed but you’ll most likely crawl to a stop on very steep hills unless you have bionic legs. None of this is a criticism of the CGO800S as such – it’s just the natural limits of a single speed with a small motor.
Brakes and the Brake Test
I put the Tenways CGO800S through the new UK standard brake test – the average of five full-power stops from 20 mph.
Its average stopping distance was 15-feet 10-inches – I don’t have any previous data for this particular setup in UK conditions but it’s certainly a solid result compared to the US test which aims to use similar metrics.
The CGO800S is a city bike first and foremost; it has a classic sit-up-straight riding position, swept-back riser handlebars, wide comfortable seat and 28” wheels with 2” wide tyres on them.
All this means it gives a comfortable, stable and confidence-inspiring ride. The head up riding position means it’s easy to glance about you in busy traffic whilst the plush saddle, large volume tyres and front suspension mean it’s no big deal if you hit a pothole, should your eyes be on your surroundings rather than the road ahead.
Cornering was predictable and easy, whether at speed or during slower manoeuvres, again all helped by that upright position and the fact there’s plenty of rubber in contact with the road surface for good traction.
My only quibble was very occasionally over lots of repeated bumps and at speed the Suntour suspension fork would bounce a little and lose a bit of traction, though the road conditions would have to be quite bad for this to happen and speed and angle of attack combine in the just the wrong way.
Overall the Suntour Nex e25 front suspension fork did a good job of helping me corner as fast as I wanted, even on roads in less than perfect condition. Whilst it’s not adjustable (it has no lockout or compression / camping adjustments) it was soft enough for my 150lb weight to be responsive and iron out most bumps whilst not bottoming out on larger ones.
Similarly the Tektro hydraulic disk brakes were smooth and powerful and helped inspire confidence to ride positively and at speed on road – or just to have a blast on traffic-free paths…
The overall package of balanced frame geometry and nicely performing components gives great handling
A strong looking downtube and well-integrated 374Wh battery
Rear rack is supported by a strong metal mudguard which also houses rear light wiring
Tenways CGO800S Review Specs/Features Review: Electric Components
Tenways describe the Mivice M070 rear geared hub motor as ‘stealthy, silent and smooth’ and I found that to ring true throughout my time testing the bike.
It’s little bigger than a Shimano 8-speed rear hub gear so few people would probably be able to point to where the motor was on the bike and it’s near silent too, so most people certainly won’t hear it. In busy traffic I didn’t hear it at all and in quiet country surroundings there was only a quiet hum when it was working hard.
One very nice touch is the power cable entry that is tucked away behind the kickstand and feeds straight into the body of the motor, rather than through a hole in the axle as can be the case on more downmarket motors. This not only looks neater but it means the cable – which contains small and rather fragile sensor wires – is less susceptible to damage as it’s not near the axle nuts which create an obvious stress point when removing the rear wheel.
Power delivery was extremely smooth, thanks to the sensitive double sided torque sensor that means that almost as soon as you touch the pedals the motor eases into action.
My test bike was rated at the Euro-legal spec of 250W and 15.5mph assist limit as the testing took place in the UK and there is also a 20mph US version available.
Given its size and light weight (Tenways say the bare motor weighs 3.75lbs / 1.7kg) it’s a very decent performer. A small motor this size is never going to be the most powerful out there, but the delightfully smooth and intuitive torque sensing means and single speed simplicity means we didn’t find any hills we couldn’t get up during out test ride (max gradients were around 10%) and over moderately hilly terrain it’s just a joy to use.
All in all it’s one of the most bike-like systems I have tried, so responsive is the motor to your pedal strokes. Even at lower power levels (there are five), you get even power delivery all the way up to the max assisted speed of around 16mph, meaning you don’t have to wastefully dial up the power to go fast as you do on less sophisticated systems.
The neat little motor and associated control electronics make for a ride that those who love to ride bikes will really appreciate – it keeps the essentials of being able to ride a reasonably light bike with just enough assistance to help you as and when you need it.
Tenways have already produced one e-bike, the CGO600 which used the same motor drive system as the CGO800S but featured a smaller, non-removable battery integrated into the frame.
The CGO800S answers those who wanted a larger battery that could be removed for charging. The 36V, 374Wh battery is quick and easy to remove and weighs some 5.85lbs / 2.65kg which is about par for the course on a battery this capacity. The Reention battery casing is largely alloy and looks very solidly built.
Once the battery is removed for charging you’ll notice a small button that activates a light once pressed – the light is a very useful indicator of how much charge you have left, being red when low, green for between one and two thirds and blue between two thirds and full.
That’s useful if the battery is away from the bike and you just want a quick check to see if it might need a top up.
A full charge took around 4 hours – a decent time given the 3 amp charger that comes as standard (most e-bikes have slower 2 amp chargers). If you are in a rush the battery will have around 85% capacity after three hours from when the charge rate slows.
Display and App
The large LCD is centrally located, integrated into the handlebar stem itself which seems to be a recent trend on e-bikes. On the plus side this gives a real clean look and leaves the handlebars clear if you want to mount other items on them. If you wanted to change the stem for any reason – perhaps to put one on with a different angle or an adjustable one it won’t be possible.
The main readouts of speed and pedal assist level are very large and legible with smaller figures used for the alterable data field in the middle of the display where you can toggle through the usual suspects of info in the form of odometer, trip distance and time plus max and average speeds.
The M for mode button by your left thumb also gives access to background settings including the kmh/mph option and battery info (cycles, voltage and range). Usefully, you can also change the brightness setting of the display as on full power it’s rather too garish for night use. Whilst the display is pretty bright and legible in sunny conditions it would be nice to have it just a bit brighter for when there is lots of sun and reflections about (though in bright sunlight it’s a problem to at least some degree with just about every display I have tried).
The control buttons themselves by your left thumb are quite large and easy to use and manageable to operate by feel, even with gloves on.
There is also an app though it should be considered an ‘add on’ rather than being vital to the operation of the bike. It’s split into two main parts, a speedo screen with range and battery capacity showing and a navigation screen using Mapbox mapping software to choose a route for you (though like many such apps this didn’t seem to be aware of the existence of all the local traffic-free cycle routes).
Central display is excellent in low light and not bad even in sunny conditions
Swept back riser bars make for a comfortable riding position
Powerful hydraulic disk brakes
Tektro are a recognised and respected brand
Tenways CGO800S Review: Components and Accessories
We found the overall spec of the components and accessories on the CGO800 excellent, especially given the attractive price point of £1799 / $1999. Tektro hydraulic disk brakes, a Gates Carbon Drive belt transmission, SR Suntour steep sprung suspension and wide profile CST road tires are all at least in the mid-market category whilst the bike remains at the low end of the mid-range price spectrum, with plenty of pricier e-bikes featuring similar components.
The Tektro hydraulic disk brakes were powerful yet easy to control, with plenty of stopping power from high speed should you be in need of an emergency stop – as confirmed by the brake test above. They also allowed delicate braking for low speed manoeuvres as well.
The frame has mostly virtually invisible welds, the only visible ones being at the ends of the chainstay. Lighting and display cables and the rear brake cable enter the frame through the headtube and exit almost invisibly through the chainstays, giving a very clean and sleek look.
The battery is nicely integrated into the single oversized downtube and removes easily and quickly with a key. There was no rattle at all and it felt to be very securely locked in place whilst riding. The frame itself also felt very rigid and strong during riding.
It’s a one size frame of a middling size – about 19 inches. However, this is less important than on a crossbar frame as just about any size of person can step over the CGO800 frame and there is plenty of height adjustment on the seatpost, making it suitable for a wide range of rider heights (Tenways say 5’1”-6’2′).
A bit of extra weight seems a necessary consequence of this design of step-through, integrated frame; the downtube needs to be extra strong to maintain strength with the battery removed and also because it’s the sole connecting member between the front and rear of the bike. Still, 50lbs / 22.70kg is quite reasonable for this design of e-bike and one featuring large wheels, large volume tyres and full equipment.
If light weight is vital check out Tenways’ debut model, the CGO600 which is around 12lbs lighter. This is partly because it uses a more conventional diamond frame without the very oversized downtube necessary to have the strength to accommodate a removable battery (it features a frame integrated, non-removable battery). It also has a smaller capacity battery and lacks the rack and beefy metal mudguards and kickstand of the CGO 800.
The SR Suntour NEX e25 front fork uses a steel spring and has no adjustment for lockout or compression and damping so you simply use it as is and can’t really adjust it to take account of road conditions or rider weight. The e means it’s e-bike specific and these forks tend to have a bit beefier construction than ‘regular’ forks on non-e-bikes to take account of the extra stresses and strains.
As mentioned in Handling, the steel spring used was soft enough for my 150lb weight to be responsive and iron out most bumps whilst not bottoming out on larger ones. SR Suntour are one of the largest manufacturers of reasonable quality yet budget priced forks in the world (if not the largest) so they should certainly give reasonable service life. If they have a particularly hard life, being used in all weathers and on unsealed paths where they get covered in gloop, then a regular service, regrease and even seal replacement may be necessary – but the good news is that as Suntour are such a big company service spares should be readily available.
Drivetrain / Shifting
Being a single speed this is a very short section! The Gates Carbon Drive belt transmission performed well with no problems during the testing and as it’s maintenance free and there are no gears on a single speed this should be, literally, a fit and forget system. It really is the ideal choice for city e-bikes like this. If it gets mucky it’s easy to slosh down with water and is great for storing inside your house without the risk of oil or grease damage that accompanies a conventional chain.
There are several grades of Gates transmission and the CGO800S uses the CDN option which is designed for smaller, relatively low torque hub motors like the Mivice.
The CGO800S’s single speed drivetrain and small motor can handle moderately hilly terrain like this.
Very easy to use power level buttons
Just two buttons for main lighting and indicators
Contact Points / Comfortability
The CGO800S is a very comfortable e-bike to ride. The lock-on grips in faux leather are very tactile and the seat was well padded and plenty comfortable and together with the upright riding position gave a very relaxed-feeling ride.
The CST 28” x 2” (50-622) large volume semi-slick tyres also added to the comfort of the ride and felt fairly free rolling with the added reassurance of puncture protection. I’m a big fan of large volume tires; not only are they comfortable but modern tire technology means they don’t need to be super heavy and the strength of their construction can be run at fairly low pressures for extra comfort.
Extras / Accessories
The hardwired lights on the CGO800S appear to be unbranded but performed excellently with loads of illumination to make you seen in poor light and plenty of power at the front to light up otherwise unlit roads at night.
The rear light cluster also has a brake light which was pretty visible and turn indicators which were easy to operate and indicators certainly are nice potential safety feature. However I felt they needed to be a lot brighter to be sure of being picked up by following traffic, so whilst I did use them in town traffic they were only as a backup to hand signals and not a replacement. To be truly effective they need to stand out a lot more and also need to be present on the front of the bike as well as the rear.
The rear rack, full length metal mudguards and beefy kickstand were all well constructed and look more than up to the task of regular daily use.
Powerful front LED whose angle can easily be altered
Highly visible rear light cluster though the indicators could be brighter
The CGO800S is a simple to use, comfortable city e-bike
Tenways CGO800S Review: Summary / Where to Buy
Of all the e-bikes I’ve ridden the Tenways CGO800 is most like the much pricier Cowboy ST4 – a small, modestly-powered rear hub motor, step-thru frame and single speed belt transmission all being similarities in spec.
It’s also a strikingly clean and simple looking e-bike and in the age of Apple-inspired minimalist design that will no doubt prove popular with many.
It’s in regular use though where its real strengths come out; like all single speeds, the steeper the hills the more active the riding style you will need. But if you live anywhere that’s not overly hilly the CGO800S should provide a daily ride that’s safe, comfortable and super-smooth with the added benefit of no real maintenance tasks on the bike to worry about. The wide tyres and front suspension mean it will also be at home on some unsealed trails too.
The current competition for e-bikes of this design and spec will be either more expensive or heavier – or both. The fact that Tenways are rolling out a dealer network too makes it even better value; in short there’s lots to like about the CGO800S. I’m already imagining myself gliding along the smooth wide bike paths of Amsterdam and London where it would feel utterly at home…
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the Tenways CGO800S.