- A futuristic folding electric bike with lightweight Magnesium frame, mid-body suspension bumper and enclosed chain and wires for clean transport and storage, the chan is not exposed
- Now available in four color choices, a 25% larger battery pack and improved wheel locking system vs. the older G2 model from Gocycle, three-speed internally geared hub with auto electronic shifting
- A daytime running light "tube" helps keep you seen along with reflective tires and optional Bush & Müller LED Lights, optional fenders, front bag and water-resistant "docking station" for travel
- You get what you pay for and this product costs a pretty penny (especially with accessories), the gearless motor produces some cogging drag when unpowered and whirring noise when operating
Gocycle, or Karbon Kinetics Limited, was created by a former McLaren automotive design engineer named Richard Thorpe in 2002 with the mission “develop the world’s most innovate and technologically advanced electric bicycle” which sounds pretty ambitious to me… and expensive. The G3 is Richard’s third-generation product with refinements to the control interface, a brand new smartphone app and 25% larger battery! Oh, and there’s a new Electric Blue color option, all of the cables are internally routed (not just 95% of them) and the unique quick-release wheels gained a twist-lock feature to visually communicate that YES these wheels are locked!! It’s a fantastic product, folding in on itself vs. folding in half and it’s extremely light, weighing just 36 lbs. The frame and rims consist of light weight but durable extruded magnesium vs. steel, aluminum or carbon fiber and the geometry can accommodate a wide range of riders. This because the stem angles forward in two positions as well as telescoping upwards and the seat tube angle pushes the saddle back away from the handlebar as it goes up. In short, if I had to be stranded on a desert island that just happened to have paved sidewalks and a solar charger of some sort but could only bring along one electric bicycle… yes, it would probably be the Gocycle! And that’s because it’s easy to haul around, the drivetrain is completely enclosed with a maintenance free internally geared hub and the hardware is rust resistant. Yes, rust resistant, and if it was a rainy desert island I’d surely option the fenders to keep me dry, lights to help spot rogue monkeys and leopards and the front-mounting cargo bag to collect coconuts :D The best part is, if I was eventually rescued by a small boat, aircraft or helicopter, the Gocycle would fit so I could bring it back to civilization for a tuneup!
So are three gears enough? In my experience, yes… and they shift automatically as the bike gains speed. When you stop, the Shimano Nexus hub drops back down to first gear to make starting easy. You can hear the servos activating in the video review above (sorry for the wind). And if you want, you can override this electronic auto-shift feature and navigate the gears using the circular grip shifter on the right side of the handlebar. There’s a symmetrical grip shifter on the left that cycles through headlight brightness if you twist forward and activates the throttle if you twist down. But note, the throttle will only work if the bike is moving. And in some geographies, the throttle may be disabled to comply with local law. In the US, the Gocycle G3 can reach 20 mph and can have the throttle mode activated while some European models will only go 15.5 mph. So perhaps you can schedule a boat trip to New York City and visit Greenpath Electric Bikes (where I did this review) to grab the high-speed version for your world travels? Teasing aside, I had a blast riding this bike with some of the shop employees and was impressed when one of them (Johnathan) took it off-road up a medium-sized hill! We were experimenting with the mid-frame suspension and the bike had no problem in the grass or with the hill. The motor on the Gocycle G3 operates at 250 watts nominal but peaks above 500 watts. I believe it’s a gearless canister motor and it turns the front wheel. The rear wheel is reserved for human pedal power so you can effectively get all-wheel-drive operation with this bike. It’s a bit noisier than expected given how compact it is, but I’d rather have a little whirring than a weak electric bicycle. The motor should be very durable because it’s gearless and I would expect the drivetrain to stay in tune and the chain to require little to no maintenance because it’s separate from the motor.
Powering the bike is an upgraded 297 watt hour battery pack consisting of Lithium-ion Panasonic cells. These are best in class batteries that are known for reliability and light weight. The energy density of battery cells has increased over the past several years and it’s cool that Gocycle has taken advantage of this to add range to their bike. The pack is not easily removable but shops can pull it out for service or replacement. This is one area of consideration… many times I’ll store my ebike in one place and bring the battery inside to charge it. Removing the battery would also reduce weight, making it easier to lift and load into a car or other transporter. But that’s the beauty of the Gocycle, at 36 lbs with the battery installed, it’s much lighter than a lot of ebikes are without their batteries. I had no problem lifting it and was impressed with the snap-on wheel design. Each wheel has three quick release levers and there’s a spinning disc that secures the levers. Just behind the seat tube is a little charging plug port with a rubberized on/off button (hold for a couple seconds) and an LED charge level indicator with four dots. These same four dots are replicated on the handlebar dashboard. And this is where we start to see compromises in operation and understanding for simplicity and style. Four dots means 25% increments… which is a lot different than a percentage indicator.
The display interface is very unique. It uses LED dots to communicate charge level, speed, light mode and gear chosen. You can figure it out with a little trial and error but here’s a breakdown: four red dots on the far left side for battery level, four blue dots on the mid left side for headlight (low, bright), three dots on the right hand side for your gears and a bunch of dots in between for how fast you’re going. When you’re not using the bike but it’s still turned on, there’s an interesting dance where the dots go back and forth like a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica and the whole thing reminded me of Hal from Space Odyssey. The thing has personality and accomplishes a lot with dots… I’m guessing they chose red because it’s less distracting in dark conditions? Your pupils won’t dilate as much as with blue, green or white. The real interesting features come with the optional smartphone app and Gocycle offers a basic rubber strap thing to connect it to the handlebar (covering part of the standard display). I’m not sure I’d ever use the smartphone app to be honest. I own a Specialized Turbo Levo electric mountain bike which also has a very minimalist display (with only battery and assist level shown) and I never use the app. The big tradeoff of using an app is that it runs your phone down and may distract you… and without a charging port on this ebike, I’d rather guess how fast I’m going and how much battery was left (or check the app periodically) than use it nonstop. The motor on the Gocycle appears to operate without any assist level choices, it just does its thing unless you use the throttle which appears to be more variable in terms of power output (giving you the option to scoot around slowly or more quickly).
I’ve tried to joke around a bit with this review becaue the Gocycle is such a precision high-end product on paper and in marketing but the reality is, it’s just fun. You get out there with your SO or some friends, cruise around a new city and do it in style, without getting messy and in comfort. The suspension is basic but it does make a difference and the fatter tires give you stability and cushion. I rode the bike with no hands for quite a while and did not feel unsteady. That’s a great accomplishment for any 20″ folding ebike. And really, this bike tucks, it doesn’t fold. It feels sturdy and the vented saddle and ergonomic grips give you a solid but comfortable point of contact. The official Gocycle website is very well done with lots of wonderful videos demonstrating how the product works. The wheels on this bike won’t need truing the way spoked wheels would and apparently they were used on a bike that set a speed record. Perhaps this is one of the “world’s most innovate and technologically advanced electric bicycles”, it’s definitely at the top of the list for folding ebikes. Richard and his team have been doing a wonderful job with this product, working out of the UK for over a decade now. I got to meet him at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas a couple years back and he was very patient, I could tell he was smart and dedicated. I’d highly recommend the Gocycle for its reliability, comfort and utility. It’s expensive because it’s the best.
- This bike has electronic auto-shifting so you don’t even need to think about changing gears! for those who prefer manual, you can override using the right grip shifter
- The body and wheels are Magnesium which is known for being rigid and light weight, apparently it’s more environmentally friendly than Carbon fiber and also more resilient
- The chain is completely enclosed in the rear portion of the frame so you won’t get your pants dirty or snagged when pedaling AND you won’t get greasy when folding and lifting the bike
- The stem can be angled forward as well as telescoped upwards… it’s a unique design that can accommodate shorter and taller riders alike and it did not feel loose or wiggly during my test rides
- Gocycle introduced an “always on” daytime running light just like a lot of automobiles have, it’s quite large and visible from the front and front sides of the bike which should improve safety
- The hydraulic disc brakes on this bike work as expected, easy to actuate and quite powerful, they have adjustable reach levers to fit large and small hands (or those who ride with gloves)
- Mid-suspension design balances weight and simplicity with comfort and foldability, the bike doesn’t feel flexy but you do get a cushioned feel because of the bumper shock and medium-width tires
- Clever wheel attachment makes changing flats a breeze and removes the challenge of alignment and over-tightening that standard quick release presents, the Gocycle Pitstop lock system is very cool
- I love the optional docking station bag, it secures the bike, protects it from rain and dust and makes it very easy to lift and carry… I think it’s the coolest bicycle bag I have ever seen
- The G3 has a cleaner cockpit than the G2 with ergonomic grips that blend right into the twist-selectors and LED display section, you have the option of downloading an app for more features but I was just fine without and appreciated that it wasn’t distracting
- The G3 introduced a new color, Electric Blue, which replaces the So Grey on the G2 and you can still get black or white… I like the white best in terms of visibility for night riding
- The wheels have a sliding ring that shows a lock icon in the locked or unlocked position so you can quickly tell if the bike is ready to ride… and there’s a threaded hole for adding a screw to secure the wheel if you don’t plan on removing them frequently
- Because the Gocycle G3 uses a torque and cadence sensor combination it feels both smooth and responsive, not jerky and surprising like cadence only or finicky like some cadence-only designs
- The wheelbase is longer so the bike feels steady and can accommodate taller riders (as the seat post angles up and back), many other folding ebikes with 20″ wheels feel more squirrely when riding, especially at higher speeds
- The wires are all internally routed, this is one area where the Gocycle has improved over the G2 which had a bit more wiring exposed that could snag and just didn’t look as nice
- The battery is not easily removable, so you pretty much have to bring the bike inside or lean it near a power outlet to charge it… and that’s not terrible given the size and weight of the bike but might be inconvenient if you have to park at a bike rack
- I love the daytime running light and reflective tires but wish you got integrated lights stock instead of spending extra to add them, I can see why fenders, bags and locks aren’t included but lights would be nice considering the hefty price of the bike
- The motor surprised me a little by how loud it was, nothing excessive compared to other electric bikes but given how small it is (and being gearless) it was noticeable, I think the G3 is quieter overall than the G2
- The motor is likely a canister drive and I was told it’s gearless which produces a bit of cogging but apparently they also have a freewheel system in there, the bearings are said to be higher quality with tight rubber seals and can produce some drag when new (as shown in the video review)
- It sounds like some of the first G3 models have a 2 Amp charger while most of the newer ones will have a 4 Amp charger which will fill the bike faster
- You don’t get speed, odometer and other trip stats by default with this e-bike, you need to download the app and use your smartphone but there isn’t a charging port on the bike (and the bike’s battery isn’t especially large at 300 watt hours) so your phone will drain
- The front-folding kickstand stays out of the way and holds the bike well but is also a little tricky to get down with your foot… I noticed that one of the plastic caps had come off on our demo bike during the review just from using the kickstand a few times