- Aug 6, 2018
Reviewer: Paul Wrighton
Purchased From: Fully Charged
Purchase Price: £3,999 + £447.96 for accessories (Lights, mudguards, rear pannier rack)
Time Owned: 2 weeks.
Local Terrain: Very Hilly
Design, form and function are par excellence
Punchy tiny front motor*
Sophisticated app:- smartphone console (custom modes)
Can run USA legal with override
Dealer maintenance (if you want bike shop to do it all for you)
Integral battery cannot be stolen separately
Price (ESPECIALLY for proprietary accessories)
Insurance required (looks+price=thief magnet!)
No satisfactory security system to lock and leave
Slightly noisy front motor *
Non standard pannier sizing
Rider weight limited to 100Kg (15st 10lb)
Range, esp. combined with non removable battery
Dealer maintenance (if you want to do it all yourself)
Integral battery cannot be charged separately
First impressions; You could be forgiven for thinking the bike was a Brompton derivative, but you’d better look more closely. There are mono forks combined with a special release mechanism, the bars perhaps rise a little more, the wheels are 20” (not 16), and the overall look is a very sleek one, but maybe slightly marred by the enormous font size both of the Gocycle logo and of the bikes frame number (these combined might lead the unaware to think this was a hire bike!). Taking a test ride, which is likely to be set on “city mode” will reveal a get up and go performance that might surprise given the tiny front wheel motor., and initially the red and blue LED display across the bars might not be intuitively clear,
Unless you are very well to do you will need to plan to save or sell other bikes to raise the £3 to £4 thousand for a new Gocycle, Second hand they still command £1 to £2.5 thousand.
On taking ownership; Although the bike is new to me and is my first compact bike I am finding it surprisingly fun. I have had a couple of Ebikes before this; a Cyclotricity kit on a Btwin and a purpose built EMtb KTM Macina 29. a big beast with a Bosch motor and 29” wheelset, both of these very different to a Gocycle.
The design is so very sleek and considered with good consideration to no compromise on function for looks, it grows on you and you appreciate it as you become more practised with assembly and break down and more acclimatised to riding. The bike can weigh in as light as 16.5Kg, which is very very impressive for an Ebike. The achievement of this weight lies in part with a new material, magnesium oxide for the frame and, on the G3+ limited edition only, carbon fibre wheels. I clear disassembly is shown to you by red tint on levers, and the wheels are a pleasure using a propriety system (“Pitlock”) of three levers and a lock rim combined with the mono forks that mean there’s zero fuss with brake discs, chain, or anything else, all of which stay on the bike in special protective housings. Speaking of housings the chain and sprockets are completely enclosed which keeps things clean for folding and extends the life of the transmission massively.
You have to Bluetooth pair your smartphone with the Gocycle and download their app. Then your phone can be mounted on the bars quickly and easily to provide you with a customisable view that shows you speed and power input along with your selected mode and gear and trip mileage (or km if chosen). The app is only really useable whilst paired with the bike. There are dire cautions against changing mode whilst riding because Gocycle believe you won’t want to switch modes without stopping. Your riding position is adjustable, not just in saddle height but also the bars have scope for adjustment. Personally I found the settings out of the box fine for me.
About accessories; As mentioned I took lights, mudguards, and pannier rack. You really do have to buy these from Gocycle and they are not cheap, just like the bike. But what do you get? Well the lights are fairly satisfying, it's nice to have them integrated with the bicycle battery. There's an option for ta brighter headlamp (nova something) if wanted. The supplied standard lights seem fine for riding on city roads at night, especially combined with the DRL on the front bars. The mudguards are a couple of well engineered plastics, but with rubber ends, they're quick enough to release for disassembly - one thumb screw and a couple of Allen keys for the front. Having seen the front bar bag (ugly) I didn't hesitate to choose the rear pannier rack. This is interesting, incorporating a rear light and with a funky tubular design. You may have to adapt the luggage to the non-standard dimensions and shape, but it definitely manages to keep the good looks of the bike overall (unlike the front bag).
I'm not sure if tyres rank as an accessory, but I wanted to mention that when I removed the stock tyre on the rear wheel to fit my preferred schwalbe marathon then I discovered a sticker on the inside of the rim. This read "only gocycle tyres" or words to that effect! I have yet to return for my 100 mile service, be interesting to hear what they have to say at the dealership. The manual, which is online and pretty good at being straightforward doesn't tell me anything about voiding warranty or the like, so we'll have to see.
Speaking of warranty, within the first 15 miles riding a defect appeared on my front wheel in the form of white scratches to hub and rim. Again we'll have to see how the dealership handles this, watch for updating post to the thread!
On riding; A nippy little bike, the assistance kicks in at 4mph, depending on your cadence and the torque (those pedals house sensors!) and you can definitely feel the help the power is giving you. Depending ion the selected mode you can very much up your average non-electric speed average by perhaps five mph. The electronic three speeds will mostly shift predictively very well going up, just get your cadence nice and rapid, freewheel a second, and on resuming pedalling you’ll be up a gear. The gears are fine for coverage all the way up to about 21mph, beyond that you’ll be pedalling very fast!
The ride will definitely be far superior to a Brompton. Although I've never ridden one, there are a couple of places where the clever design has extended to providing some form of suspension. There is a gatorred part of the handlebar stem which hides a primitive suspension, and part of the seat post geometry encompasses a hard rubber shock absorber that gives about 5 cm travel on the hardest bumps. Combined with the semi-fat tyres and the running pressures of 30 PSI front and 60 rear the ride feels pretty good - there are places I have found it superior to my old Macina eMTB, so that's pretty good!
The hydraulic disc brakes take the standard Shimano front pads for both wheels and provide adequate stopping power. There are twist grips left and right to be used in various combinations for gear change, DRL (daytime running light), throttle (N.America), and service acknowledgement/calibration. When you come to a stop there’s an elegant centre stand tucked into the frame (which means you have to wheel bike BACK, not forwards to fold away stand).
The ride is what I'd describe as "perky" straight out the gate, and given the motor is 250kw and I had experience of 500kw I can say it is a match for the bigger bikes. No doubt a lot of that is down to the way they have kept the weight of the magnesium oxide frame down. They make much of the formula 1 design pedigree, and is shows most in the wheels and folding. Range was initially disappointing, but having accessed the customised modes in the apps to create my own “EcoPlus” mode I am stretching it further and that’s a work in progress, I also learned that charging the bike outside in cold temperatures is never going to give a full charge, This was a consequence of integral battery that I did not anticipate. When the battery is down to the last ten percent the motor will be shut down. This is to keep the electronic shifting, lights, etc. running for the rest of the ride. In common with many Ebikes the capacity may drop ten or twenty percent under full load and then if the battery gets a “rest” it might pick up ten or twenty percent again.
Should you want to adjust or finesse any of the programmed modes (eco or city) then you can readily do so to your hearts content with the custom mode programming option in the app. I have used this to extend range and to increase speed, and both of my custom modes were highly effective at what I wanted - a definite plus point to the overall design, but this time in the app!
Anomalies: The electronic shift can take a bit of getting used to in predictive mode. Shifting up is fairly straightforward - just pause your pedalling when the cadence/speed are high enough and when you resume pedalling you'll find you've shifted up a gear (remember there are only three). For some reason there is a quarter pedal or so needed on third before it engages, I suspect a mechanical limitation. Shifting down is another matter, it's not so easy to freewheel for a moment to shift, plus I've also definitely found myself "fighting" the gears when I try to manually shift down to first and perhaps the predictive gears are also... then it feels like I get stuck in second. Hopefully experience will help me overcome this issue.
There are some app anomalies that are probably common to all E bike computers. Primarily around battery capacity, which can drop from, say, 70% to as low as 40% on arrival at destination, only to later read as high as 60% when the battery has "recovered". I don't pretend to understand this phenomena, but I suspect other forum members do! Perhaps it is for this reason that the app does not even attempt to give you a "range" readout. Thanks to the power sensors it WILL give you readouts of power inpot, pedal and motor, which makes for interesting reading.
Drawbacks and thoughts; The overshadowing thing is the price, not just purchase but also cost of ownership. Gocycles are so expensive that insurance feels like an essential add-on. Time will tell me just ow expensive the servicing comes out when it is all done by the shop, the positive is hassle free and the negative could be cost. On the subject of accessories they are pricey. I elected for mudguards, lights, and a rear pannier and the combined price was about £465. An unwanted consequence of the high value and good looks is this bike can be a thief magnet. This is not helped by the difficulty of security for a compact/folding bike. Range could easily be an issue, especially if you had a longer commute. The bike is really meant to be a runaround, but on a busy day in city mode you could easily find you needed to somehow fit in a second or top up charge.
But all said and done I am pretty happy with my purchase. One thing remains to discover – how long does a Gocycle last!
Overall Rating (out of 10) : 8.5
Explanation; If I wanted maintenance done by the dealership and if I was happy with the range and did not weigh top limit then I would score the bike a 10.
On the other hand if all those points counted against the bike I would score a 7.
Hence the average I have given as the score – 8.5.