"No compromises" is a claim that many companies make, but few live up to. It is also the slogan for GoCycle, a British maker of premium folding electric bikes.
Folding bicycles are intended for the first and last miles of multimodal urban commuting. You drive them to the station, fold them to take them on a busy rush-hour train and then cycle the last part to the office. But what if a folding bike could do more? What if a folding bike was comfortable enough to ride sweat-free over long distances, yet flexible enough to take a train when it rains? That is where the quickly foldable GoCycle GX e-bike comes in handy.
GoCycle is not a company that you are probably already familiar with. When you think of folding bikes, you probably think of Brompton. But unlike Brompton, which only introduced its first e-bike this year, GoCycle has been building electric folding parts for ten years. That decade of experience is really visible in the GoCycle GX, a smartly designed and stylish e-bike that truly delivers … with just a few compromises.
The first GoCycle electric bike, the G1, was launched in 2009 by Richard Thorpe, a former design engineer for McLaren cars. The company now offers three variations on the same electrical theme: the basic GoCycle S, the quickly foldable GX and the full GoCycle G3. I tested the GoCycle GX starting at $ 3,299 / € 3,199 / £ 2,899, making it directly in competition with the Brompton Electric. That places it in the premium category mass market e-bikes built for commuters.
I wasn't a fan of the GoCycle GX design when I first saw it on photos. But I also prefer the shape of a classic Karmann Ghia to a new Lamborghini. However, my opinion changed, after taking the 20 minutes it took to unpack and assemble my review bike, sent directly from the company. Those thick, hub-mounted magnesium wheels that are attached to the bike via a single-sided fork and rear rear fork are technical wonders, while the sleek aluminum frame neatly hides the chain and most cables. It is an exceptionally slender and sophisticated looking ride, even when equipped with the optional fenders (which are required kit for commuters).
My only complaint is the attention-seeking GoCycle logo that is more suitable for a bicycle sharing fleet than a vehicle that costs three thousand to own. But that's me, I don't want to be someone's billboard. Few others seem to mind: I received more compliments about the look of the GoCycle GX than any other bike I rode in Amsterdam – a lot of praise from the capital of cycling.
The GX benefits from an intuitive folding mechanism, especially when compared to the clumsy Brompton Electric. I had memorized the steps after a single display of the instructional video and managed after just a few folds. By lifting two reassuring sturdy quick fasteners, the bike can be folded for a third. Next, a rather inelegant rubber band must be uncomfortably stretched in place to hold the collapsed components together (I prefer the GM Ariv's magnetic lock). Once secured, the bike is now in trolly mode, making it easy to push it with the saddle in an elevator, through the office corridor or on a train. I can fold the bike regularly in about 10 to 15 seconds.
Things get a bit tricky if you want to fully collapse the GX to the smallest possible package. The seat post must first be removed and maneuvered into an opening in the rubber tire. Next, a small cap must be unfolded under the rear reflector and inserted into the seat tube to secure the seat post. With the stand up and the pedals folded down, you are now ready to lift the bike into the trunk of a car or to slide it under your desk. It takes me 20 to 30 extra seconds to fully fold the bike.
The compact GoCycle GX is relatively heavy at 17.8 kg (39.2 pounds) and weighs just a little less than a full VanMoof Electrified S2. Nevertheless, the weight is nicely balanced (bunny hop is a go!) With the reducing 250 / 500W GoCycle motor mounted on the front hub and the 300Wh removable battery in the length of the lower tube. The high handlebar contributes to a predominantly upright driving position. The wide squishy handles, thick 20-inch tires and rear suspension ensure a stable ride that really absorbs the vibrations. He rides like a full-sized bike, without the tension that the Brompton Electric feels. The end result is an exceptionally comfortable and enjoyable ride that makes the GoCycle GX suitable for even the longest commute. My tests included a daily shuttle service of 30 km / 18.6 miles while I carried a backpack with a laptop, water and accessories. For those who prefer to move the load to the bike, GoCycle offers a bike bag on the front quickly confirmed and deleted.
Of course no bicycle design is uncompromising, regardless of the GoCycle slogan. Choices have to be made regarding performance, size, weight and costs. In the case of the GX, the most striking consideration is how power is supplied to the pedals from a standstill. GoCycle chose a very small engine with front hub that relies on your legs for that first gear. "The human leg is one of the most efficient things for low-speed torque," ThCycle from GoCycle explained to me on the phone. (GoCycle does not list the torque output for its engine and refuses to give a number on request.) That means the engine will not start until you are already running at speed or about one or two full revolutions of the pedals depending on how hard you are. drives. And no, the gas button does not save you, because it remains inactive until you move. Switching to first gear made this an easy lift for my legs, but I still prefer the immediate pedal assistance of the new e-bike from Cowboy or the zero-to-fast boost through the gas button on the VanMoof Electrified X2.
The GoCycle app comes with a few pre-set rider profiles with an option to replace those with custom settings. My bike comes with the EU firmware that turns off the gas button and limits the bike to 250 W and 25 km / h (16 mph). I overwritten it by wiping out an EULA to install the American firmware. My tests then only took place in this mode, giving me access to 500 W of power and a maximum speed of 32 km / h (20 mph).
I drove in a custom mode based on the City + profile. It delivered max. Power as quickly as possible, but with the speed topped at 29 km / h – faster and my legs struggled to keep up, even in third gear. After the engine was started, power was supplied smoothly with every stroke thanks to the GoCycle torque sensor. The throttle gave a nice little boost when needed on hills or when I just wanted to drive around without pedaling. Unfortunately, it still didn't offer help from a standstill such as the accelerator pedal on VanMoof X2, for example. Driving in this mode while pedaling and occasionally using the accelerator pedal, the battery has exhausted after about 40-45 km or about 25-28 miles on average.
- If you share the GX with family members, you will need an Allen key to adjust the seat height regularly. Fortunately, GoCycle contains one in a special slot under the saddle.
- The LED battery display on the handlebars is very basic, but it is readable in direct sunlight.
- The charger is small enough to take on your commute to charge at home or at the office.
- The GocycleConnect app changes to a Bluetooth-connected dashboard when the phone is mounted on the handlebar in landscape mode. In my opinion it tries to do too much, but offers a lot of feedback and possibilities for adjustment if that is your thing. After the first installation, I never used the app again, because there is a special on / off button that you can use to turn the bike on and off.
- To remove the battery, you must release the frame lock and pull the battery out "robust" according to the instructions. It can then be brought in to charge with the same charger that comes with the bike. It can also be charged while mounted on the bike, of course through a weatherproof gate on the frame, while the bike is folded or unfolded.
- It takes some getting used to the position of the bell. It's simple, but it sounds loud and pleasant thing.
- The Velo Sport saddle was fine, not the best, not the worst.
- The phone holder is also very basic, but works great for phones of all sizes.
- Engine noise is average: not too loud, but not quiet either. People in the neighborhood know that you ride an e-bike while you ride around them.
- The engine switches off as soon as you have 10 percent left and offers support every 100 meters, but only for a few seconds at a time. I have learned to treat 10 percent (one LED on the handlebar) as an empty battery.
- GoCycle offers two options for running lights that are powered by the bike's battery: Busch & Mueller Avy E Kit ($ 159.99 / € 130.00 / £ 109.99) and one Supernova V1260 set ($ 299.99 / € 264.98 / £ 229.98).
The GoCycle GX is an excellent folding electric bicycle that exudes refinement and sophisticated modern design. Have compromises been reached? Yes, but the resulting product shows a number of intelligent decisions in the name of flexibility, convenience and comfort. The GX is suitable for long distances or for switching off the first and last miles of a multimodal commuting.
Yes, the GX is expensive, especially after you have chosen the options, some of which are needed for regular commuters. But, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Some city commuters will be able to justify the basic price of $ 3,299 / € 3,199 / £ 2,899 by replacing expensive commuting by car, or by saving on surcharges when taking public transportation (folding bikes are usually free, unlike to full-sized bicycles). Others will justify the costs through health benefits and a reduced impact on the environment.
If size and weight are your primary purchasing criteria, check out the comparably priced Brompton Electric. The Brompton Electric is a very good foldable e-bike, while the GoCycle GX is one of the very best e-bikes that you can buy, fold or not.
Photography by Thomas Ricker / The Verge
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