We’re pretty sure we’re past the “e-bikes are cheating” phase in this country. Particularly in the city, e-bikes are a more convenient way of getting around than a car, and no-one insists you have to power one of those Fred Flintstone style. That’s why we always use the highest level of assist on an e-bike – and why we’re most intrigued to hear that one of the headline developments in the fourth generation of Gocycle is a low-speed start capability.
On most e-bikes you have to get the bike moving before electric assistance kicks in – on previous Gocycles you had to hit 4mph – while on some brands’ e-bikes, there’s a speed-limited thumb throttle which can help get you going. On the new G4 range, however, the assist kicks in from a standing start. That’s exceptionally useful if you live in a hilly area and have to make a lot of starts on inclines. (Although Gocycles were already adept at hill starts thanks to the electric gears which meant you could shift to the easiest one even when stationary.) It’s also useful if you’re riding to get from A to B, rather than exercising.
Other notable upgrades on the G4 include a weight saving of 1kg over the previous generation, leaving the G4 at 16.6kg, and a more powerful but quieter motor. The tyres are wider and can take more air for a smoother ride as well. There’s also a USB port which you can use to charge a device off the battery when riding, and a charge time of three hours (or three-and-a-half hours for the more expensive versions which have a greater range).
That’s on top of what was already a refined and upscale folding e-bike, with design and engineering that reflects founder Richard Thorpe’s experience working with the McLaren motor racing team. Unlike many folding bikes, the Gocycle has a wheel base which mirrors that of a traditional bike, helping to avoid that “circus bear on a tiny bike feeling” we’ve occasionally experienced.
The battery is integrated into the body, but can be removed from the housing when the bike is folded for more convenient charging. The range on the standard model goes up to 65km, which is competitive and can be extended to 80km on more expensive options.
It’s also the only folding bike we’ve tried that can be easily wheeled along when folded – particularly useful if you plan to take one through a train station or, as we discovered, when you get a puncture.
The G4 range starts at £3,399. Upgrading to the G4i (£3,999) gets you predictive electronic gear shifting, a daytime light across the handlebars to increase your visibility (although integrated lights for nighttime are still extra), a more detailed LED dashboard and an extra 15km of potential range, among other upgrades.
Pre-order from Gocycle | From £3,399