The new quick folding Model GX from electric bicycle manufacturer Gocycle is a commuter’s dream.
When it comes to pure pedal power, it is probably true that the folding bicycle market continues to be dominated by Brompton. But add in the electric factor and it is easy to see why Gocycle is becoming arguably the brand to beat.
Richard Thorpe, a former design engineer with McLaren Cars, has been creating compact electric fold-up bicycles for more than a decade and with the new GX he has created the ultimate in personal commuter transport.
The eye-catching design of the all-new Gocycle GX is, from a distance almost identical in appearance to all of its predecessors, from the entry level GS to the flagship G3. The frame features a single bar running diagonally up from the pedals. The absence of a cross bar allows the rider to walk up, swing a leg over and start riding.
Because it folds so easily to become a push along trolley the size of a carry-on suitcase, it fits neatly into the boot of most family cars It can be easily taken on a train, or bus for the longer parts of a commute. Then all the rider needs do is disembark from that conveyance and pedal to their final destination.
This rather clever machine is so neat and tidy when folded down it can also be stowed under a desk in an office, negating the need for hefty locks or location tracking devices.
We have owned the GS model for a year now and are among the very first private owners of the new GX having driven to Gocycle HQ to take delivery from them directly.
The two machines are not dissimilar in size or weight but looking closer, it is easy to notice a clasp in the centre of the frame. Gocycle has redesigned the folding mechanism so that unlike the GS, you don’t have to take the wheels off before you fold.
Undo the main frame clasp and fold the bike in half so that both wheels are facing each other. A second clasp brings the handlebars down to the side, next to the front wheel. Hold the saddle with one hand to propel the bike forward along like a suitcase.
To make the package even smaller the seat post can be removed entirely. Once that is done it can be slipped through a rubber loop like device that keeps the folded frame together.
Having watched Richard Thorpe fold and unfold the bike in less than 10 seconds each way we decided to try and emulate that speed. First attempt took 20 seconds but now after a day or so, we are confidently and consistently achieving times sub 12 seconds.
On the road, the GX performs like many other electric bicycles. The 20-inch wheels somewhat smaller than a traditional road bike but that does not seem to detract from its performance. It has a 500W motor and a top speed, which by law in Europe is capped at 15.5mph.
A traditional twist-grip on the right-hand side allows the user to switch through three gears. The newly shaped handlebar grips are a huge improvement over the ones fitted to our previous bikes and sit nicely in the hand. The new grips can be fitted retrospectively to earlier models and it would make sense to do so from a comfort point of view.
The GX like all other Gocycle models has various levels of assist that you can set inside the GocycleConnect app. The app is available for Android and Apple devices and works well on our iPhones.
Pre-loaded profiles, such as “City” and “Eco,” are self-explanatory modes while a “Custom” tab, allows the rider to build and edit a profile from scratch. Doing so allows the rider to decide how much power needs to be generated from the pedals and when the motor needs to kick in to keep the speed up.
Gocycles are not meant to be used off road, yet we frequently use them on cycle tracks, bridle ways and footpaths near where we live in East Sussex. The riding position is fairly upright thanks to the straight handlebars and we confess we have changed the saddles supplied to ones that feature memory foam.
We like the rear ‘Lockhock’ suspension when we bounce along rougher tracks and the new design of tyre tread copes much better than the smoother wheels found on the earlier Gocycle models. We have subsequently invested in front and rear mudguards. Like the bikes, they are not cheap but are we feel a wise investment.
The removable 300Wh lithium-ion battery is located inside the frame. Gocycle suggest it will carry a rider up to 40 miles on a single charge, depending on the terrain and how the assistive motor has been configured. From flat, we find the e-bike takes seven hours to recharge or four with an optional fast charger. We always charge our bikes up after use and never seem to charge them for more than an hour. Spare batteries are available at around £600.
The bike is available to order now for £2,899. It sits in-between the entry-level GS at £2,499 and top-tier flagship G3 at £3,499, both of which use the slower method of folding.
Gocycle bikes are expensive but are competitively priced when compared to other high-end electric bikes. Think of them as car replacements, factor in the costs of road tax and fuel to say nothing of parking and congestion charges and then we think you will agree with us, that it is easy to justify the asking price.
When it comes to tech, travel journalists Frances and Michael Howorth are early adopters and that attitude has flowed down into their motoring. They own and drive Zero Emission saloons and even have electric bikes.
Photographs courtesy of Gocycle