- A premium folding electric bike with an internally geared three speed hub in the rear and a 500 watt geared hub motor in the front for "all wheel drive" pedaling + motor support
- Extremely light weight at ~36 lbs, unique quick-release wheels, lots of upgrade options for added utility (fenders, locks, panniers, travel bags and lights)
- Mini rear suspension offers 1" travel for improved comfort, available in three colors, Bluetooth smartphone app for advanced controls and ride feedback, solid two year warranty, fairly expensive starting at $5k
$0 (0 €)$18,000 (16,920 €)
0 lbs (0 kg)220 lbs (100 kg)
0 mph (0.0 km/hr)50 mph (80.5 km/hr)
0 watt3,000 watt
0 in (0.00 cm)22 in (55.88 cm)
0 Newton meters250 Nm
The Gocycle is an extremely high quality, compact, folding electric bike. Instead of aluminum, the frame and rear swing arm are made from injection molded Magnesium which is extremely strong but also light weight. The body of the bike is hollow and this is where the controller, battery and wires are stowed creating a very clean and sleek aesthetic. It’s the kind of ebike that blends in as the motor and battery as seamlessly integrated… bystanders might not even realize it’s electric as long as the motor isn’t running. In my time testing the bike I did notice some whirring sounds coming from the geared motor when riding at higher power levels but I was still impressed with how small and discrete it was. Given the custom nature of this ebike, it does cost more than similarly specced bikes I’ve reviewed from other companies. Starting at $4,999 you get the base model which weighs about 35.5 lbs and from here each accessory adds to the price and weight (including kickstand, folded stand, folding pedals, integrated lights, fenders, pannier racks and locks). It’s great that these options are available but it’s not difficult to add another $500 so keep that in mind. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a great solution for transporting water bottles (no bosses on the frame or rack adapters) but on the other hand… I have seen bottle cages get broken off or bent on folding bikes so maybe carrying a pack or using a CamelBak here is a good option if you plan on riding long-distance or in hot dry conditions. My favorite part about this bike is the rear suspension arm which delivers ~1″ travel to soften bumps and cracks. The Gocycle is capable of ~25 mph top speeds when unlocked for “speed pedelec” riding using their Bluetooth app (Android and iOS compatible) but the throttle mode maxes out at 20 mph in the US which is fine. If you’re in Europe, the bike goes ~15.5 mph and you have to pedal along in order to activate the throttle legally. Considering that this is a folding electric bike it felt very solid and comfortable to me, even at higher speeds. I should mention, the model I tested was a G2 or “second generation” build which comes in white, black or gray. The original G1 Gocycle launched in 2009 and was updated to G2 in 2012.
Driving the Gocycle is a 500 watt planetary geared motor integrated neatly into the front hub. Because this electric bike offers quick release wheels, the motor is not built into the wheelset like most other ebikes I see. It’s extremely satisfying (and clean) to remove both the front and rear wheels, just click three quick-release style levers and the wheel slides off to the side. Both the fork and rear arm of the bike are single-sided but feel sturdy… the fork is aluminum alloy. Instead of using stainless steel spokes, the wheels on the Gocycle are made from magnesium which won’t go out of true and may support heavier loads… that being said, keep in mind the maximum recommended weight for this bike at ~220 pounds. Okay, back to the motor! Given the power rating, this is one of the smallest designs I’ve ever seen and the integrated heat sink blades matched the high-quality custom feel of the frame and other parts. The motor and controller were custom designed by Gocycle and it felt zippy and was powerful enough to pull me up moderate inclines around the parking lot where I did my test riding. I only weigh ~135 lbs but I watched other heavier individuals ride around without issue. As mentioned earlier, the motor did produce more noise than I was expecting but most of my time with the bike was at high power and high speed so that lower settings are probably quieter. Given the smaller 20″ wheel diameter, the motor benefits from a mechanical advantage over a 24″ or 26″ wheel on more traditionally sized bikes. This is indeed a compact bike but one that feels comfortable for a wider range of heights and leg/arm length. The seat post angle is set at 68° so reach (the length your arms have to go to get to the handlebars) increases as seat height is adjusted. The idea is that if you’re a taller person with longer legs you probably also have longer arms and the Gocycle will accommodate these needs proportionately.
Powering the bike is a premium Lithium-ion battery pack using Panasonic cells. These are known for being light weight, long lasting and having a higher C-Rating which means they charge fast and can also send energy more quickly for high-power applications. This is great considering the pack is rated at a lower ~22 volts and the motor offers 500 watts of nominal power output. Many other ebikes I see with similar sized motors use 48 volt packs but their amp draw may be less (in part due to lower C-Ratings and lower quality cells). One of the big features of the Gocycle is how compact and light weight it is so using a smaller sized pack with ~10 amp hours (~232 watt hours total) is a compromise that works in my mind. The pack is completely contained in the downtube/top tube of the frame and not meant to be removable for charging. Ideally, you just take the whole bike inside and sit it near a wall outlet. I’ve asked around about Lithium battery care and it seems that extreme cold and heat can prematurely wear the cells so avoid those sorts of conditions. Also, if you plan on leaving the bike unused for several months, it’s best to do so at 50% capacity as overly full or completely discharged can strain the cells. Note that the pack can be removed with tools and replacements are available through Gocycle so this product can last many many years if cared for.
Operating the Gocycle was a bit intimidating for me at first because the display interface is so unique… It uses LED lights that are integrated into the handlebar to give you feedback on battery charge level, energy use as the motor kicks in, pedaling gear and speed. In short, you’ve got three pedal-speeds that can be changed with electronic shifting paired with a motor offering both pedal assist and throttle operation. The internally geared hub at the rear is a custom designed and patented version of Shimano’s Nexus hub. I’ve seen the standard version of this hub on other ebikes and it has a reputation for being durable. Since both the front and rear wheels get power (from you and the motor) they refer to the drivetrain as being “all wheel drive” which is cute, but only the front wheel actually has a motor. As mentioned earlier, there is a throttle mode that this bike can operate with but it won’t work unless you’ve enabled it in the app and are pedaling at 4+ mph (for safety reasons). The app is fairly easy to understand and basically allows you to choose from an eco mode (where you push harder before the motor kicks in) or a city mode (where less effort is required but your range will be more limited) and a manual mode where you refine the settings and power curve. Because the bike uses a torque sensor vs. a cadence sensor, you do have to push more to get the motor going and this is part of what allows you to achieve greater distances even though the battery is more modest in size. In addition to controlling power levels and providing more feedback about the ride, the app also locks the bike electronically which may help with recovery if it gets stolen. It does not physically lock the wheels, it’s more of a software thing that can use GPS to support recovery efforts.
I haven’t had the opportunity to see and test a Gocycle G1 but the G2 product is extremely refined and purpose built, it’s hard not to be impressed. I don’t think this is a product that’s well suited to everyone (especially if you’re on a budget) but it’s superb for city commuters, travelers and boaters. It’s one of the more comfortable compact ebikes I’ve tried but even with the fat tires and suspension you do feel the bumps more than you would with a larger wheel size and spokes. Three speed drivetrain is just enough for managing hills and hitting that 20 mph speed but I was actually surprised and delighted by the ~25 mph speed pedelec mode (and how well it worked given the small wheels). This high-speed mode would be perfect for commuters who might need to cover more ground and make it to work on time. I love that you get hydraulic disc brakes here because they are very easy to pull and that the chain is fully contained and kept clean. The automated downshifting feature (which returns you to the lowest gear after a two second stop) is neat but it’s great that you can also override it with manual shifting using the button on the right (press quickly to go up and hold for two seconds to go down). The accessories are all top-notch in terms of quality and thoughtfully adapted to the frame and I like the integrated reflectors (especially on the custom tires). As one of the lightest weight, highest quality ebikes around, the Gocycle is an impressive product with a comprehensive warranty that I’d expect to hold up over time. I’ve only seen it at a few shops in the US but I’d expect that number to grow in 2016 and beyond.
- Extremely light weight and portable, the injection molded Magnesium body pivots in the middle and both wheels detach quickly with three tool-free levers, the optional carry bag is small and easy to use
- Most folding or compact electric bikes can start to feel uncomfortable because the smaller wheels fall into cracks instead of spanning them and city tires aren’t as forgiving as trail or cruiser options… but the Gocycle felt pretty good in large part due to the rear suspension arm offering ~1 inch of travel
- Magnesium wheels don’t go out of true or require tightening the same way that spokes do over time, they may also support more weight but can feel stiffer, the quick release “pitstop” feature allows the wheels to be taken off quickly and easily without getting greasy hands and fingers
- While it’s only available in one frame size the Vgonomic® seat post/frame design provides greater height and reach simultaneously
- Available in three professional colors (gray, black and white), wires and cables are all integrated so it looks clean and won’t snag
- The chain is completely enclosed to reduce grease contact and rubbing on pants and the three speed hub and front motor are both small and nearly concealed, no derailleurs or other sensitive bits exposed
- The integrated lights option is cool because they run off of the main battery, you get reflectors on the pedals and reflective sidewall stripes on the tires free which increase the visual footprint of the ebike
- Hydraulic disc brakes offer excellent stopping power and are easy to actuate with just a finger or two vs. mechanical which require more strength
- I like that many of the seals and connection points on the bike are covered by rubber cuffs (like near the fork and on the stem), at first I thought the bike had a front shock but the rubber is mostly for aesthetic purposes and to keep water and dirt out
- The internally geared three speed hub uses an electronic auto-shifting mechanism that returns it to first gear when you stop, this makes starting from rest easier
- The LED readout on the handlebar is easy to understand without being too distracted and probably uses a lot less energy than an LCD computer (it’s Formula 1 inspired), I like that you’ve still got the option to use your smart phone for more advanced settings and to lock the bike for security and retrieval
- The battery can be removed for replacement but isn’t designed to come off after each ride, the electronics are well hidden and this is one of the more “stealth” electric bikes I’ve tested
- The Gocycle is extremely purpose built meaning that the frame, wheels, tires, electronics, batteries and motor were hand picked or custom designed to work together for optimal performance, the founder Richard Thorpe used to work for McLaren Cars and has worked to bring this “automotive” level of quality to the bike
- Rather than just using a chain cover that protects your pants, the Gocycle has a “Cleandrive®” complete cover to keep water and dirt off of the chain and sprockets as well
- Fairly expensive… and the accessories definitely add up, but it’s well made and comes with a solid two year warranty
- No bottle cage mounts, even as an accessory… consider a saddle rail adapter or something like a Camelbak which could also add cargo capacity
- Gocycle used to have a rear carry rack available but discontinued it, the front pannier bar and bag seem like good options but could impact steering… Overall there’s just limited space and the maximum weight of 220 pounds might also come into play for some larger riders
- At the time of this review there was limited US availability so taking a test ride or getting post-purchase support could be difficult
- Being geared, this motor produces more noise than gearless and in my experience with 8Fun and some other larger planetary geared motors this one seemed a bit louder than average but it’s also much smaller than those motors
- Not exactly a con but worth noting, the trigger throttle will not activate until the bike is moving ~4 mph, this is a safety feature to avoid accidents when moving the bike or getting seated