The Bike Sharing OFO arrived in Milan, a few weeks after the first bike sharing free floating Mobike of which I had already told you my impressions.
So here I am to tell you how my road test of this new service went!
Bike Sharing free floating OFO
Who hasn't read my article on Mobike It is on continuous flow (or free floating) bike sharing I remember that, unlike the Bike-MI service offered by the Municipality of Milan, the Mobike and OFO bikes can be picked up and left anywhere in our city. Simply sign up for the service by downloading the appropriate App (iOS or Android) and enter your credit card details to start your first rental in seconds, identifying the closest bike via the map accessible from the App itself.
Bike Sharing OFO: how to start the rental
To start the rental you must proceed in a completely similar way to Mobike:
- Download the OFO App
- Enter your details credit card
- Find the bike closest to you on the map of the App
- Book the bike so you have 15 minutes to reach it
- Once you get to the bike, click on "UNLOCK" in the OFO application and scan the barcode located on the handlebar and on the back of the bike with your smartphone. The bike lock will be unlocked in seconds and you can start your rental.
All simple and immediate, just like for Mobike.
The App is also very similar to that of Mobike. I found the map at the end of the rental more accurate and better the sharing process. However, identical functionality.
Bike Sharing OFO: the characteristics and impressions of the bikes
We come to the characteristics of the bike, perhaps the most important aspect for choosing one operator instead of another.
The bikes OFO they are colored straw yellow, frame structure similar to that of Mobike bike (I also found the OFO chassis "a little more creaky"). Frontal basket completely analogous.
Discreet brakes. Adjustable and comfortable saddle. Up to here the comparison would end on a par.
Instead THERE IS A BIG AND PERHAPS DECISIVE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OFO AND MOBIKE! It is about presence on OFO bikes of a Shimano three-speed gearbox!
3 gears selectable via the right handlebar knob that make a big difference in ease of use!
Gear 2 is my favorite and allows you to go at a "decent" speed with a little more effort but consequently decreasing the number of rides per minute.
This is how that sense of "i'm pedaling like crazy but i'm riding like a turtle”:-) that can be felt on the Mobike single speed bike!
… And here it is with bikes OFO they become "realistically practicable without sweating" and in a shorter time longer routes: in my 50 minute test I ran 7.4 Km in about 30 minutes (the rest of the time passed between stops for received phone calls and time dedicated to taking some photos).
It was also useful to "climb on the first gear" on the occasion of a couple of climbs, and take me to third in a couple of slightly downhill sections.
OFO's right knob that allows you to select a 3-speed Shimano gearbox
Bike Sharing OFO: aesthetics
The aesthetic factor is absolutely personal and perhaps of almost exclusive interest to female customers. As for me, I prefer the Mobike shocking orange + silver + black color. Other friends prefer the OFO straw yellow.
The OFO bike in the stretch of the test route along the Martesana
OFO bikes DO NOT integrate the transmission into the frame as happens in Mobike bikes but limit themselves to offering a traditional “chain cover”.
The black chain guard of the OFO bikes
Bike Sharing OFO: comfort
Although the saddle of the OFO bikes is comfortable, like that of the Mobikes, even in this case, the fact that the bikes are totally devoid of any cushioning system and that they are extremely rigid leads to a rather low level of comfort.
Let's say that as long as you ride on asphalt you go serene but as soon as you go to the pavé or even just the Martesana tiles the vibrations skyrocket and the comfort is completely INSUFFICIENT.
Okay, they're city bikes. But in Milan there are many sections with cobblestones, tiles or bumpy asphalt and I am sure that this "inconvenience factor" will be a not insignificant deterrent in relation to the frequency of use.
OFO Bike Sharing: costs
Until October 31st 2017 it is possible to use OFO bikes for free (!). Starting from November 1, 20 cents will be paid for the first half hour, 30 cents for the second half hour and then 50 cents every half hour up to a maximum of 5 euros for the whole day.
The bike sharing offered by Mobike instead has a cost of 30 Eurocent every half hour of use. However, I expect promotions and offers from both operators when both services are fully operational because the price could play an important role in the choice of users.
Bike Sharing OFO vs. Bike Sharing Mobike: my final judgment
As you have probably already understood from the above "The secret weapon" of the OFO is the change that alone is enough in my opinion to definitely make it the use of OFOs is preferable to Mobikes, especially for longer routes.
Both bikes are postponed to September for use on cobblestones, tiles or other bumpy paths or in any case different from asphalt.
A last important factor will also be linked to solidity and resistance to bad weather and vandalism.
At this juncture, my feeling is that Mobike has more cards to play: the OFO change could break or create problems, as well as the chain protected only by a "chain cover".
The pedals also feel firmer on the Mobikes than the OFOs and in general Mobike felt firmer to me.
Is it possible that manufacturers will release "upgrades" of bikes in the future that can improve the comfort or effectiveness of pedaling? We'll see and update you in case!
That's all for now and I just have to wish you… a good ride! :-)