The future is not only foldable for smartphones, but also for e-bikes. The Gocycle GX is a folding bicycle with an electric motor, and a very special one at that. We have a lot of praise to give it following our test, but also a little criticism.
Jump right at it:
- What is the Gocycle GX?
- What's good about the Gocycle GX
- What's not so good about the Gocycle GX
- How much does the Gocycle GX cost?
- The bottom line
This question is quickly answered: a folding bike with an electric motor. The Gocycle GX has an aluminum frame that folds in two places: at the center bar and the handlebar. The 20-inch tires are wide enough not to slip into tramlines and have a tread pattern for roads and paths, but not off-road. The motor support is controlled by a pedal torque sensor.
The engine of the Gocycle GX sits in the hub of the front wheel and has 250 watts - an electric bicycle, which is to pass still as a bicycle, is not allowed to have more in parts of Europe where e-bikes are popular, such as Germany. The drive is developed by Gocycle itself even has traction control, which never had to intervene during our test. Like the disc brakes, the engine is also encapsulated with plastic attachments. This provides additional protection against damage and dirt. The maximum speed of the engine is 25 km/h, which is the legal limit in Europe.
The Gocycle GX weighs 17.8 kilograms, which is relatively light for an e-bike. However, it also has small tires, light rims and no attachments such as a luggage carrier. You can carry the bike folded up quite easily, but for longer distances, you should probably push it, because it is too heavy for that. You can push it along when it's folded up, of course.
First of all, there's the driving performance. The Gocycle moves forward well - assuming the appropriate settings have been activated in the app - and the engine pushes hard despite its compact size. The fact that the motor is located in the front wheel is not usually noticeable when driving. It's only when you hit a steep hill that the front-wheel-drive is at a disadvantage - the wheel becomes lighter and the engine works less efficiently. But here on the streets of Berlin, the Gocycle GX is always in control, you are on the move with the electric folding bike and on the bike paths mostly busy with overtaking.
Folding bikes are often regarded as wobbly and tend to be unstable. This is not the case with the Gogcycle GX. During my tests, the bike, which is excellently finished, convinced me with its stability and maneuverability. I'm not a very light rider and I make good use of the maximum load of 100 kilograms, but with the Gocycle GX I still don't feel as if the bike would collapse under me. The 20-inch tyres make the folding bike pleasantly maneuverable and therefore very suitable for the city.
The Gocycle GX is configured via its own app. Although it doesn't look very modern, it offers interesting statistics and above all the possibility to regulate the engine support yourself. The preinstalled modes are called City and Eco, in Sport mode the engine simply does nothing - you're supposed to do the 'sport' yourself! In the custom mode you can freely control when and how much the engine will support your own pedal-power. What else is practical is that, unlike the Cowboy Bike, you can use the Gocycle GX without the app, because you can switch the bike on and off simply by pressing a button on the side of the frame.
Gocycle promises an average range of 65 kilometers with one battery charge, and that is quite realistic. Of course, it depends on which mode you drive in, how rough the road is, how heavy the rider is and how hot or cold it is. The battery has a capacity of 300 Wh and is normally charged in the frame, but you can also remove it. The charging time of seven hours is quite long, but one working day or one night is enough for the Gocycle GX to have enough juice again.
The Gocycle folding mechanism is excellent. The hinges engage cleanly, are easy to operate and absolutely safe. With a little practice, collapsing it does not take more than ten seconds.
The protection around the drive belt makes the Gocycle GX an extremely clean bike, at least as far as your trouser legs are concerned. You won't have to deal with chain grease or worry about your cotton getting stuck in the gears. This protection, which the manufacturer patented as Cleandrive, is also an all-round success when it comes to folding and carrying. Good thinking, Gocycle!
The saddle and seating position of the Gocycle GX are not particularly comfortable for every rider. The Velo Sport saddle is very hard and uncomfortable, it would be a better fit for a racing bike. With a sporty bike, the seating position is different. Due to the fact that the handlebars of the Gocycle are not adjustable, you are limited in this respect. The saddle is not adjustable in height by means of a quick-release, but with a small inch hex. You have to have it with you if you want to change the height on the fly. In general, the electric folding bike is more suitable for smaller people than for giants.
As much as the power of the engine is pleasing with the small wheels, there is also criticism of the motor in the Gocycle GX. During my tests, the engine noise and the overrun disturbed me a little. The engine is clearly audible with its howling, and it's comparatively loud. If you stop pedaling, the engine still pushes for a good second - this takes getting used to and means that you have to brake more often than necessary.
The Gocycle GX has a small boost button on the left handle. With this, the motor should be able to give you an extra push at any time, no matter which mode was set up in the app. On my test drives, however, the button proved to be unreliable and not always helpful. Especially on hills, it is only useful to push directly as a starting aid instead of providing an extra crank halfway up. If you had forgotten to shift down to first gear before stopping, it would have been a real help.
The tuning of the gears has generally not been very successful. The second gear of the Gripshift shift is almost identical to the first gear, which you can really only use for starting off. The jump to third gear is then quite big, which leads to the fact that it is not particularly suitable for starting. So at every intersection or traffic light, you first have to shift into first gear and immediately after starting up again move up into third gear. It's annoying in the long run.
The stand of the Gocycle GX is quite unique because it sits in the middle under the bottom bracket and folds out to the front instead of to the back. It cannot be comfortably operated with your foot, but is best folded out with your hand - and unnecessary hassle. After all, once it is folded out, the Gocycle GX stands securely if the surface is not too soft.
In short: quite a lot. The Gocycle GX costs a proud £2,899 - and it's even more expensive. The Gocycle G3, which comes with a slightly more powerful battery, a magnesium and carbon frame as well as completely internal cables and pulls, even costs £3,499. The slightly slimmed down version Gocycle GS has a price tag of £2,499. So all three models of the electric bike are expensive. You can see the exact differences between the models at Gocycle.
Gocycle is based in the UK but the company does ship internationally. You can also find them at local dealerships in both the US and Europe.
The bottom line is that the Gocycle GX is a pretty nice and practical bike. The electric folding bike rides like a bigger cycle, looks stable and high quality and is nevertheless quite small to stow away, no matter whether on the train, in the office or in the boot of your car. The engine is strong enough and the whole bicycle works well thought out. You should try one, especially in view of the price, before buying though, to see if the seating position fits your body size - and of course, get saving because the Gocycle GX is not particularly cheap.