- A futuristic, lightweight folding electric bike with a relatively powerful motor and high top speed that performs great in an urban setting
- While much more affordable than the G3, the GS doesn't sacrifice quality for price and still retains many features from the higher-end models
- Quick-release levers and pins throughout the GS means you can quickly and easily fold it down to compact and portable size, making transporting the GS incredibly easy, especially with the optional docking station
- The finish and performance is the GS is well worth the money and the bike is brimming with features and positive aspects, though there are still a few negatives like a less-than-desirable range and relatively loud motor
$0 (0 €)$18,000 (16,920 €)
0 lbs (0 kg)175 lbs (79 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 meters160 Nm
After finding success with their original Gocycle, G2 and then G3, Karbon Kinetics Limited is bringing to market a new, more affordable version of their now-iconic electric bicycle: the GS. Priced at $2,499, the GS is about half as much as the G3, which runs for $4,499. But half the price doesn’t necessarily mean half the quality, at least in Gocycle’s case. In 2002, Gocycle creator and former McLaren automotive engineer Richard Thorpe embarked on a quest to “develop the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced electric bicycle,” and it’s clear by the construction and performance of the GS that he didn’t stray too far from that ambition with the company’s latest iteration. While more affordable than the G3, the GS still retains many of the features that Go Cycle has become known for. The frame and rims are still made from injection-molded magnesium, bringing the curb weight of the GS to a manageable 36.3 pounds; the GS still has an integrated app that syncs with your smartphone to display all the pertinent information; the GS keeps the Shimano Nexus hub and three gears; virtually all the wires and cables are still neatly hidden away inside the frame; the same 500 peak watt motor still drives the the GS to the same 20 mph top speed as the G3, the GS still quickly folds up thanks to the many quick-release pins and levers and the geometry of the GS can still accommodate a wide range of riders. However, just like the price, some features had to be cut. Automatic shifting has been replaced with a traditional twist-shift on the right side of the handlebars, the twist-throttle is replaced with a push-button one, the LED light bar that graced the front of the handlebar is gone, the ergonomic grips are replaced with standard (though still comfortable) straight, rubber grips and the front suspension has been abandoned. Still, the GS is a remarkable machine built to impress.
Riding the GS is an exciting experience. Though it doesn’t feel designed for hopping curbs or enduring rough terrain, the GS is a nimble electric bike that feels at home in an urban setting. It likes smooth streets with only occasional pot holes, I’m not sure it would be the best choice for someone looking for an all-terrain electric vehicle. The handlebars and stem are made from T6 aluminum and sport standard rubber grips on either side. On the right side of the handlebars is the three-speed Microshifter, which connects to the Shimano Nexus hub inside the Cleandrive at the rear of the bike. The Microshifter is clearly marked so you can easily and quickly see what gear you’re currently in. Shifting is surprisingly snappy, even under heavy load, and I had no issues shifting from first to third gear and back again. On the left side of the handlebars is the push-button throttle. I like that the GS was able to retain a throttle, but since it’s not a twist-throttle there’s only two available power settings: full speed and off. A light press will activate the motor and it doesn’t take much pressure to keep it pinned, which means thumb fatigue is minimal. Having a push-button throttle isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it would be nice if there was an option to upgrade to the same twist-throttle featured on the G3. Also on the handlebars are the adjustable-reach brake levers, which lead down to the front and rear 140 mm hydraulic disc brakes. The brake levers are well-tuned and there is zero play in the GS I tested. This means I was able to get a good, tactile feel for exactly how hard I was braking. The brakes themselves are also well-tuned, with absolutely zero rattle out of the box. Brake rattle is a huge point of contention for me so I was pleased to see the GS rode without so much as a squeak. The wires for the brakes, throttle and Microshifter feed into the handlebars and then through the frame, with only one point where they actually protrude from the GS. This makes for a clean and minimalistic look – so much so in fact that at a glance it’s not immediately evident that the GS is even electric. Towards the bottom of the stem is the quick-release lever to fold down the handlebars. Actually, “quick” might be the wrong word here. It doesn’t take too long, but in order to fold the handlebars the quick-release lever has to be fully unscrewed and removed, then reinserted once the stem is in the folded position.
Beneath the stem rests a single-sided fork, the 20″ Pitstop wheels and the proprietary 500 peak watt motor that drives the GS to a top speed of 20 mph. The Pitstop wheels are truly a thing of beauty – they can be installed and removed in just a few seconds thanks to three levers and a rotating lock that keeps them securely in place. This is hugely helpful for anyone looking to utilize the GS’ portability factor. The rims themselves are made from injection-molded magnesium, just like the frame, and have five spokes; the tires are smooth and reminiscent of racing slicks. The motor is relatively responsive when it comes to spool-up times. In my experience, motor activation took anywhere from 1/4 of a second to 1/2 of a second from the time I pressed the throttle. This is close to what I was expecting since I’ve found that hub motors often have a slight delay from the time you give it to power to the time the motor actually spools up and propels you forward. When it comes to noise, the motor is a little louder than I expected. In my opinion, one of the best attributes of a hub motor is their stealthy nature. I’ve ridden electric scooters and bikes with hub motors that were so quiet I couldn’t even hear them running. But that wasn’t my experience with the GS. The motor isn’t terribly loud, but I could certainly hear it whirring and humming as I rode along. On the other hand, the 500 peak watt motor may not sound like much of a powerhouse, but I found that it was actually more than enough to carry me up every hill I could find in my city. Compared to hub motors that are built into wider wheels, the GoCycle’s compact 20″ wheels offer a nice mechanical advantage. At some points the motor did bog down and I had to give it some good ol’ traditional pedal power to reach the top, but that’s okay! The GS doesn’t seem like it’s built to be a performance bicycle – it feels like it’s built to be an urban commuter that can carry a rider up and down moderate hills in style and comfort while being durable and lightweight.
The frame, like the rims, is made from injection-molded magnesium, giving the GS a curb weight of 36.3 pounds and a maximum carrying capacity of 220 pounds. I love the finish and look of the frame, and the fact that it comes in a variety of color schemes, but the fact that the GS can only carry 220 pounds is somewhat of a downside for a rider like me who weighs 200 pounds (Brent is writing this review vs. Court who weighs 135 lbs). Anyway, this means that if I want to ride within the specifications of the GS that I can only carry minimal gear with me. It also means that if I want to use the optional $225 rear luggage rack that bolts onto the rear of the frame or optional $180 front pannier bag that latches onto the handlebars that I have to be overly conscientious of exactly what I put in them. Kind of a bummer since I’d love to carry my camera gear and also take the GS to the grocery store to grab some groceries. Looks like I’ll have to choose one or the other. That being said, the frame itself is indeed aesthetically beautiful, and inside are stored some of the technical components as well as the Panasonic 22v, 13.5ah, 300wh batteries, which, according to Gocycle, are good for around 1,000 charge cycles. Gocycle also estimates the pedal-assist range to be around 40 miles. However, I found the real-world pedal-assist range on the maximum setting to be closer to 17 miles. Again, I’m a 200-pound rider and I was on the highest pedal-assist level the entire time, so I’d venture a guess that a lighter rider, or one that was willing to ride on a lower pedal-assist setting, would be able to travel much further on a charge. I also conducted a separate throttle-only range test and was able to travel for 13 miles before power failure, which was much further than I anticipated. A 17-mile real world pedal-assist range isn’t necessarily terrible, but I would have liked to seen a higher number here since Gocycle’s estimate was a whopping 40 miles. Charging the battery takes about seven hours with the standard charger, or if you opt for the fast charger, that time gets cut in half to approximately three and-a-half hours. On the back of the frame is the power button and charging port. The power button has four, red LEDs that illuminate briefly when the bike is powered on. While the bike is powered on, this can be used as a quick way to check the battery level without syncing with the app. Four red LEDs means you’ve got 100% battery or left, three red LEDS means 75% or less and so on. The charging port has a rubberized grommet that pressure-fits into the port to keep it closed when it’s not in use. And surprisingly, the protective grommet actually stays in place until you want to remove it! It’s a small detail, but one I greatly appreciate – too often do I find that these protective covers come loose during use or are difficult to fit into place. On the left side of the frame is a quick release screw to remove the seat post. A few turns and voila! The seat easily separates from the frame. The only downside? In order to actually adjust the seat height, you have to use a tool. Thankfully it’s stored beneath the seat itself, but still, it would be great if there was a quick adjust for that as well.
Now on to the suspension and Cleandrive. The GS only has suspension in the rear, and even then it’s negligible. The rear suspension has only 25 mm of travel and nearly bottoms out just from me sitting on it. Having the ability to adjust the suspension to compensate for various rider weights would be great, but even as is, it does the job well enough given the paradigm of the bike – it’s meant as an urban commuter, not an off-road trail blazer. There’s also a quick-release pin in the suspension and with a quick yank it can be disassembled, allowing for the Cleandrive to be folded down. Just like the rest of the GS, the Cleandrive is aesthetically perfect. In fact, it’s pretty much perfect in every respect in my opinion. Inside is housed the Shimano Nexus internally geared hub, three gears and the chain. Not only does the Cleandrive look, well, clean, it also serves to protect your pants and legs from chain grease. Given that this is a folding electric bike, it’s nice to have a drivetrain that won’t easily drop the chain, there’s one sprocket up front and one in the rear and they are both completely enclosed.
Overall, the GS exceeded my expectations in virtually every aspect. It’s a fun, nimble urban electric bicycle that has a relatively powerful motor and relatively high top speed. It looks great and performs just as well. If I was only able to ride one electric bike for the rest of my life, it would without a question be the Gocycle GS. But again, with all the aforementioned positive aspects, there’s still a handful of things I’d like to see improved in future models. The motor is too noisy for my liking, the seat deserves a quick-adjust lever, the range could stand to be increased (or the estimation changed to better reflect real-world riding) and the price is still a lot higher than many folks are willing to pay for an electric bike. But for those who are looking to commute around the city in style and aren’t afraid to open their wallet and pay top dollar, the GS more than fits the bill.
- The option of pedal assist and a push-button throttle makes for a versatile electric bike that can be traditionally pedaled or ridden more like a moped or scooter with the throttle
- The body and wheels are magnesium, which is known for being rigid and lightweight, apparently it’s more environmentally friendly than carbon fiber and also more resilient
- The Cleandrive not only looks great, but serves as fully closed container that stores the Shimano Nexus hub, gears and chain so your pants never get dirty or caught up while pedaling
- The various quick-release levers and pins allow for the GS to be quickly folded up and since it weighs only 36.3 pounds it’s relatively easy to lug around, especially with the optional docking station
- The hydraulic disc brakes work well and there’s no brake rattle whatsoever
- 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
- Pitstop wheels allow for quick and easy installation and disassembly of the wheels and the three levers and rotating lock removes the challenge of alignment and over-tightening that standard quick release presents
- Integrated app serves as a great HUD that offers all the information I like to see… top speed, current speed, odometer, tripometer, battery level and more
- Because the Gocycle GS 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
- Almost all the wires are all internally routed, making for a clean and sleek look
- At 17 miles, the pedal-assist range isn’t quite as far as I’d like to see, especially since Gocycle’s estimation is 40 miles
- The motor is noisier than I prefer, and the whirring can be heard even under light strain
- The push-button throttle only offers two settings: full power and off, it would be great if there was an option for a twist throttle like on the G3
- There doesn’t seem to be a sleep mode with the GS, so if you forget to turn the bike off after using it you could potentially run down the battery
- 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
- While there’s a quick-release screw to take out the seat post, you must use a tool adjust to actually raise and lower the seat height
- Even at $2,499, the GS is priced much higher than many people are looking to spend on an electric bike
- In order to run this electric bike, you need to have a smartphone and there aren’t any USB charging points to keep it full while you ride like some other e-bikes now offer