The Gocycle Ebike weighs in at 16.3kg thanks to its super-light magnesium frame and is the brainchild of a former McLaren Design Engineer, Richard Thorpe. Adam from Charged Electric Bike Store in Bury St Edmunds, went through some of the finer points of the Gocycle with me before I had a lovely sun-blessed blast around the test track at the NEC Birmingham.
From a practical point of view, the first thing I notice is the centre stand it’s propped up on. It hides away rather pleasingly when not in use, so well that I hadn’t realised it was there when I watched the previous test pilot bring it back to ‘the pits’. It’s a well integrated and useful addition and beats leaning this £3299* bike against a wall (*cheapest package at recommended price).
The other thing that really stands out, not only aesthetically but also compared to other bikes, is the single sided front and rear wheels and the complete absence of cables or a visible drive system. Because you can’t see it you won’t know that there’s actually a chain hidden away in there with a Shimano Nexus three speed hub gear. It also has hydraulic brake discs front and rear.
The Nexus gearing is computer controlled, but can be overridden by the twist grip on the handlebar. When you stop it will select the best gear to move off in, so you’ll never be in too high a gear. I did get a bit caught out speeding down the straight as I pedaled faster and faster expecting the gear to change. You have to stop pedalling briefly for the gear to change!
Out of the sixty plus improvements on the outgoing G2 model the main ones are the Hexlocks and the portable docking station. Other improvements have been made to enable easier servicing and to provide more reliability in components. Hexlocks are a security device for securing the quick release wheels. The problem with having wheels that are so easy to remove, and they really are F1 pit stop quick, is that other people might remove them when you’re not looking. Hexlocks stop this from happening.
The portable docking station is genius. Adam has a Gocycle stored on its docking station on display in his store as a feature. The bike disassembles with ease and slots into the docking station which can be covered if you want to wheel it somewhere or can be left uncovered if you just want to sit and look at it, like Adam clearly does.
Sitting on the bike, the Gocycle’s contact points are in the same place as they would be on a regular sized bike. The Vgonomic design means that the Gocycle comes in one size. By adjusting the handlebars and seat height you should get a comfortable fit for anyone. This was inspired by the designer’s automotive background.
The centralisation of mass and putting the electric motor in the front hub keeps the front and rear balanced and the weight low, which ensures the handling is good. The 25mm travel suspension is just enough to take the judder out of a poor road surface without affecting the quick steering of the twenty inch wheels. The bike felt great on the tight corners of the NEC test track, which caught a few people out as I squeezed underneath them.
The dash is very simple to use, with a selection of red LEDs to indicate battery level, which gear you’re in and how fast you’re travelling. The daytime running light on the front of the handlebar is another feature that takes its cue from the automotive world. It doesn’t remove the need for ‘proper’ lights at night, but does ensure that even during the day other road users are more likely to see you.
Another feature that caught me out is that the Gocycle was set to use power assistance only once it was going more than 3mph. I stopped on the hill on the test course expecting to get an electric boost as soon as I moved the pedal as per some other ebikes I’ve ridden but it didn’t happen. The Gocycle is so light it doesn’t really need help to get moving and I was quickly underway despite the lack of help. The power not wasted on that initial shove up to 3mph helps extend battery life, and is something that can be adjusted with the Gocycle app.
The Gocycle app can monitor your battery as well as providing trip odometer and calories burned information. You can set your riding mode and customise the level of assistance. The app can also provide troubleshooting help if there’s a problem. Incidentally, the battery can keep you going for up to fifty miles and takes seven hours for a full charge.
Security-wise, you wouldn’t want to leave it chained up in a communal parking bay but with it being quite portable it does fit nicely under a desk or behind the sofa. For when you do need to leave it unattended for a short time the wheels are lockable with the optional Hexlock bolts and there’s also a combination operated ‘shocklock’ and a foldable ‘Gocycle lock’ available which is Sold Secure Silver Rated and has it’s own holster to attach to the bike.
Even though I had a fairly short test ride on the Gocycle its clear that it’s a pretty good bike for the type of urban riding I’m doing at the moment. I could take the kids to school on our bikes and still have energy to go out for a ride on the road bike when I get home after dropping them off. The couple of days a week that I have to commute would be a breeze as my commute is now a three mile flat ride across Cambridge. Sometimes I meet my wife at her college for lunch or dinner with the kids in the car and then she has to cycle home, but with the Gocycle she could easily pop it in the boot in seconds. It’s not quite as portable as a proper folding bike but considering the extra weight of a battery it’s fairly manageable as long as you don’t need to carry it far or on a regular basis.
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