An improved motor and carbon fibre design makes the GoCycle G4 an upgrade on the company’s previous folding bikes. With its long range and plenty of power, this electric bike can help you cycle faster with less effort on any type of terrain. Its high price and lack of bundled accessories (you don’t even get mudguards) could make it a hard purchase to justify.
- Folds beautifully
- Powerful motor
- Torque sensor
- Excellent range
- Mudguards not included
- UKRRP: £3399
- USARRP: $4399
FoldingThis e-bike folds in half, with the handlebars folding down, so you can take it on public transport.
SpeedThis bike can do 20mph but is limited to 15.5mph in the UK.
GoCycle has proved its credentials before with its classy range of folding electric bikes that can handle a full commute, not just last-mile riding.
Today, the company is back with the GoCycle G4, which keeps a lot of the features that I loved about the previous model but has a refined electric drive.
Design and features
- Firmware installation option
- Folds smoothly
- Controls where you need them
Externally, the G4 doesn’t look that different to the previous model, the GoCycle GX. That is, the bike still maintains the company’s futuristic design, and this model is built to be electric, rather than a converted conventional frame.
That means there’s barely a cable to be seen, and even the drive train is hidden so there’s no danger of getting oily stains on your clothes as you power around. It’s available in Black, Blue and White, too.
For this model, there’s a new carbon fibre front fork, which houses the new G4drive electric motor, plus a new lighter carbon fibre mid-frame. That makes this bike 200g lighter than its predecessor, although at 17.6kg it’s still quite heavy as far as folding bikes go.
Folding this bike is easy. First, you kick out the stand to get the bike free-standing, then you undo the central clip and the bike folds in half. Finally, you fold down the handlebars and use the little rubber strap to hold it all together.
It’s pretty slick, but opt for a standard folding bike, such as a Dahon, and you’ll see a few neater features, including clips and magnets to keep the two halves of the bike together without fiddling about with the small rubber band used here.
In particular, you need to be careful to stow that band (there are clips on the bike): if you lose it, then the bike tends to swing open when you tilt it back and wheel it by the saddle.
Talking of the saddle, this doesn’t slide down into the frame when not in use; if you want to make a smaller package, say to put the G4 in a boot, you need to take this off and sit it between the folded parts. Still, given the 20-inch wheels here, the G4 does fold down impressively small.
Here, GoCycle has used folding pedals. Just grab and squeeze to fold, and they move neatly out of the way. All-in-all, the folding is impressive and, with that robust stand, the G4 stood up perfectly on the train journey I took it on.
What’s a little frustrating, particularly at this price, is that you don’t get mudguards or lights as standard. Add the official GoCyle options and you’ll need to pay an extra £244 – it feels as though at least the mudguards should come as standard. And, the lights are really useful, as they turn on when the bike does.
When the G4 is folded in half, you can undo the central clip to get access to the battery, which slides out, letting you charge without having the frame nearby. Given how fiddly this is, it’s usually easier just to charge the bike in situ.
Controls are what you’d expect from a bike, with a twist-shift gear changer, letting you effortlessly select between the three gears. Front and back breaks are where you’d expect them, operating the hydraulic disc breaks.
On the front of the bike is a simple display, which shows four LEDs. As the battery is drained, these turn off one at a time. Alternatively, you can clip your phone into the two rubber rings, and use the GoCycle app to show more information, including your current speed, the gear you’re in, trip distance, charge remaining and the average pedal/motor power.
Handily, there’s a USB-C port on the handlebar, so you can keep your phone topped up while you cycle, either for the GoCycle app or for navigation.
It’s been refined since I last used the app, which is a good thing as you’ll need this to set up the bike. You see, there’s a 500W motor and 20mph limit, which is beyond the limit of what you’re legally allowed to have in the UK. So, when you first set up the G4 you have to tell it which country you’re in so that the correct firmware is downloaded.
Here in the UK, that means that the bike is limited to 250W of power and a maximum speed of 15.5mph. It also means that you have to pedal continuously to make the motor work.
With the app, you can select the mode you want to be in. City mode gives a good balance between assistance and range, but you can opt for Eco if you want to cut motor assistance and pedal harder. There’s a custom mode, too.
- Super smooth to ride
- Feels like an extra gear would help
- Long range
I tested the GoCycle G4 on my usual commute, a 16-mile round trip that takes in some poor-quality back roads, a few longer stretches and some hills that kill on a normal unpowered bike.
What’s clear about the GoCycle G4 is how easy it makes everything. You just tap the button on the side to turn the bike on, and then start peddling. GoCycle has used a torque sensor on this model, which means that the motor only kicks in when you’re peddling hard enough.
Compared to a bike with a pedal sensor, when the motor will kick in hard and fast no matter how slowly you’re going, the G4 offers a more refined start. As you start to move, you’re on your own, and then the motor gently kicks in, taking you up to the bike’s limit of 15.5mph.
Acceleration is rapid, too. At lights, it’s pretty easy to beat a regular car, zooming off in front. Given that a lot of accidents happen from a standing start, the GoCycle G4 lets you take more control and avoid dangerous situations.
There are times when the mode you’ve selected doesn’t feel enough. For me, it was going up the long hill outside of Epping Station on the Tube. Fortunately, the bike has a trick: there’s a boost button on the handlebar, which kicks the full power of the motor in permanently (until you hit 15.5mph). This made a huge difference on difficult terrain, keeping the G4 running at maximum speed. And, the new motor is seriously impressive, dealing with tough hills far better than the older GX.
On the flat or with gentle hills, I didn’t need the boost button at all, and could quite comfortably power along at the bike’s maximum speed. My only real complaint is that once you hit 15.5mph, you feel as though you could pedal a bit more to exceed this speed, using leg power alone. Yet, the three gears mean that going faster, other than rolling down a hill, is very hard in practice. A few more gears would help a little.
That said, what you do get here is the ability to constantly ride