Gocycle’s new electric folder is the most practical e-bike you can buy right now
- Very comfortable
- Fully foldable design
- Multiple riding modes
- Mudguards and lights not included
- Bike doesn’t save ride data
Gocycle has a strong heritage when it comes to electric bikes but the GX is its first truly foldable model. It can be folded in a matter of seconds and stashed in your car boot or taken on a busy commuter train.
Unlike some folding e-bikes, the GX makes very few compromises, least of all in terms of ride quality, with its 20in wheels and fat tyres delivering plenty of stability and armchair-like comfort. Consider that it offers the refined, smooth pedal assistance of previous Gocycle models and a solid 40-mile range and it’s difficult to think of another everyday e-bike that’s more appealing right now.
Gocycle GX review: What you need to know
Besides the difference in their folding mechanisms, the Gocycle GX’s core specifications aren’t so different to its predecessor, the GS. Both use Gocycle’s proprietary front hub motor, which has traction control and delivers up to 500W of power, although EU customers are limited to 250W. Crucially, both also have the same 40-mile range and seven-hour charging time although there’s an optional fast charger that brings this down to just four hours.
The main distinction, then, is that the older GS is made from magnesium, while the GX has an aluminium frame. And because the GX folds in half, there’s no need to remove the wheels as you do with the GS when you want to transport it.
The trade-off is that it weighs 1.3kg more than its predecessor at 17.8kg. But whichever model you pick, you get three-speed Shimano hub gears, hydraulic disc brakes and Gocycle’s trademark minimalist design, single-sided fork and concealed drivetrain.
Gocycle GX review: Price and competition
Buying the Gocycle GX will set you back £2,900. That’s £400 more than the GS (£2500) but not as much as the company’s premium model, the Gocycle G3 (£3,500), which counts daytime running lights, adjustable handlebars and a 50-mile range among its features.
Although that sounds like an awful lot of money, the GX is actually quite reasonably priced when you consider its premium rivals, the Brompton Electric and the Hummingbird Electric cost £2700 and £4,500, respectively. Both of these fold down smaller and are more lightweight than the GX, but the Gocycle GX holds the trump cards when it comes to both comfort and performance.
As for cheaper options, Decathlon’s Tilt 500 Electric is in a price category of its own at just £650, while the Volt Metro will set you back £1,400.
Gocycle GX review: Setup and smartphone app
Before you take the GX for a spin, you’ll need to set it up, which is performed via the Gocycle smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). After pressing the bike’s power button, you pair it with your phone via Bluetooth and the app then takes you through a number of steps, showing you helpful tips and instructional videos along the way. Depending on how many you watch, the whole process needn’t take more than five minutes.
Once that’s done, you can see the app’s home screen, which displays useful stats such as average speed, trip distance and power output and lets you change riding modes. Usefully, a smartphone mount on the handlebars lets you view this information on the go, too, although it’s worth pointing out that, after the initial setup, you don’t need to mess around with the app each time you use the bike if you don’t want to. Simply press the power button on the bike’s left side, turn the pedals and you’re ready to go.
Gocycle GX review: Design and features
Where the Gocycle GS stretched the definition of a folding bike to its very limit – it’s more dismantlable than foldable, with quick release wheels – the GX is truly a bike that you can take anywhere with you. And what better way for me to test this than to take it with me on a busy train commute to and from work?
I was keen to master the GX’s folding method at home before risking public embarrassment, but, in fact, there’s very little to learn. After you’ve pulled the bike’s double-leg kickstand down, you simply unclip the main frame-clamp and fold the bike in half before doing the same with the stem clamp and steerer tube. Finally, a small rubber band holds the whole assembly snugly together and, if you want, you can fold the pedals and dock the seatpost to save more space.
It’s not as elegant a design as the Brompton Electric but, crucially, it takes only a matter of seconds, which is vital when you’re about to jump aboard a train before it pulls away. The kickstand is useful, too, because it means that the full weight of the bike is supported during the folding process and it also helps to keep it stable and upright in its folded state.
Perhaps the most surprising and useful design feature, though, is that you can wheel the bike around in its folded state using the saddle as a handle. Carrying any bike, electric or otherwise, is not an enjoyable task, so having this option means that, with the exception of going up and down stairs, there’s scarcely a need to lift the GX’s full 17.8kg weight.
Thanks to its larger 20in wheels, there’s no surprise that the GX has a bigger footprint than the Brompton Electric when folded – it measures 390mm x 750mm x 830mm with the kickstand down – but I had no problem parking it alongside the glass partition that separates the standing and seated areas of a train carriage. Also, unlike the Brompton, there are no other parts to worry about, since the battery is concealed within the Gocycle GX’s pared-down design.
Stashing the GX in my Ford Focus boot was similarly straightforward; it fitted even with the parcel shelf installed. If you own a smaller car, it’s worth getting out a tape measure and checking if it’ll fit, though, because it’s considerably larger than the Brompton.
Gocycle GX review: Comfort, performance and battery life
Crucially, any trade-off in terms of compactness is made up for by the GX’s superb ride quality and performance. Unlike some of its rivals, this is not a last-mile solution but a bike you’ll be eager to explore with. Indeed, thanks to its large wheels and chunky 2.25in tyres – not to mention its 25mm Lockshock rear suspension – I found it cut out the majority of vibrations even when tested on Sussex’s less-than-perfectly-smooth backroads.
Shifting gears is simple, too, thanks to the mechanical twist shifter built into the right grip, although you’ll find highest gear inadequate if you want to pedal at speeds beyond 20mph. The presence of front and rear hydraulic disc brakes means there’s also plenty of stopping power regardless of weather conditions, which is great if you want to use the bike all year round. Thanks to the concealed drivetrain, there’s no need to clean the chain, either, although it’s a shame that the GX doesn’t come with mudguards as standard. These ought to be at the top of your list to buy if you’re using the GX as your commuter bike. Lights, too, are an optional extra.
As for pedalling assistance, all you need to do before setting off is press the bike’s power button and, when its torque sensor detects pressure on the pedals, the front hub motor gives you up to 250W of assistance up to speeds of 15.5mph, as prescribed by EU law. There are four different modes to choose from in the Gocycle mobile app, which give you different amounts of assistance at different power outputs and, although most users will be happy with the City mode, which offers a healthy dose of assistance after you’re putting out 100W of power, there’s also the option to add your own custom configurations.
One of my favourite things about all Gocycle e-bikes is that, irrespective of the mode you use, there’s a boost button below the left handlebar grip that you can use to deliver maximum assistance from the hub motor at any time. That’s hugely useful if you’re in Eco mode and want help getting up the last long, steep hill on your ride home without fiddling with the mobile app.
The flipside to this is that being too trigger happy can have significant consequences for the bike’s range. In the week I had the Gocycle GX, I covered around 25 miles before plugging it in for a charge, at which point the app showed around 10% of battery remaining.
Considering I used the boost button quite excessively (more through excitement than laziness) and tested some custom modes with generous amounts of pedal assist, there’s no reason to believe the GX won’t achieve its advertised 40 miles when using more conservative presets. Just don’t expect a full 250W of assistance for the entire distance.
The Gocycle mobile app’s other features are handy, too. Providing you’ve opened the app before riding, it logs trip distance, average speed and average power among other data. And, if you ever need convincing of the savings an e-bike delivers in the long run compared to driving, a quick glance at the app’s Equivalent MPG reading gives you a rough idea of how much it’s costing you in fuel terms.
Frustratingly, though, there’s no way to store ride data on the bike itself, so when I forgot to open the app on my smartphone, the miles I covered weren’t added to the odometer the next time I opened it. Nor is there an option to link the app with Strava or other online communities at the moment so, if you’ve mounted your phone on your handlebar using the provided rubber bands, you’ll have to flick between two or more apps.
Gocycle GX review: Verdict
Those are pretty small complaints for what is otherwise a superb bike. There are other e-bikes that are lighter and fold down smaller than the Gocycle GX but I’ve not yet seen one that offers such a tantalising combination of performance and features as Gocycle’s latest model.
Sure, £2,900 is a considerable investment but if you want a folding electric bike that you can use on your daily commute and that you’ll also be itching to take out at the weekend, it’s a price that, I’d say, is fully justified.