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GoCycle GX E-Bike Test: fast, fun and foldable

"No compromise" is an assertion that many companies make, but few supply. This is also the slogan for GoCycle, a British manufacturer of premium electric cycle bikes.

Folding bicycles are intended for the first and last mile of multimodal city traffic routes. They drive them to the station, fold them up to get them into a crowded main train, and then cycle the last leg to the office. But what if a folding bike can do more? What if a folding bike was comfortable enough to be sweat-free over long distances, but still flexible enough to take a train in the rain? This is where the fast collapsible GoCycle GX e-bike comes into play.

GoCycle is not a company that you are probably already familiar with. If you think about combining bicycles, you are most likely imagining Brompton. Unlike Brompton, which this year introduced only its first e-bike, GoCycle has been building electric folding devices for ten years. This decades of experience really shows in the GoCycle GX, a smartly designed and elegant e-bike that really delivers … with only a few compromises.

The first GoCycle electric bike, the G1, was released in 2009 Richard Thorpe, a former McLaren car designer, now offers three variations on the same electric theme: the basic GoCycle S, the fast-folding GX, and the full-featured GoCycle G3, and I tested the GoCycle GX, which ran at 3,299 US $ / 3,199 euros / 2,899 GBP starts and is therefore in direct competition with Brompton Electric. This makes it one of the premium categories of mass market e-bikes built for commuters.

I was not a fan of the GoCycle GX design when I saw it for the first time. But I also prefer the shape of a classic Karmann Ghia over a new Lamborghini. However, my mind has changed after it took me 20 minutes to unpack and assemble my test bike, which was delivered directly by the company. These chunky, hub-mounted magnesium wheels, attached to the bike via a single-sided fork and a rear swingarm, are a marvel of technology, while the sleek aluminum frame hides the chain and most of the wiring cleanly. Even with the optional fenders (which are required for commuters), it's an exceptionally sleek and sophisticated looking ride.

My only complaint is the eye-catching GoCycle logo, which is better suited for a bike-sharing fleet than a vehicle that costs three giants. But that's me, I do not want to be anyone's billboard. Few seem to mind: I received more compliments for the appearance of the GoCycle GX than any other bike I drove in Amsterdam – a big compliment to the cycling capital.

The GX benefits from an intuitive folding mechanism, especially in comparison to the fiddly Brompton Electric. I had memorized the steps after a single view of the instructional video and mastered it after just a few wrinkles. By lifting two sturdy, chunky quick-release buckles, the bike can be folded by a third. Then a rather inelegant rubber band needs to be unfavorably tensioned to hold the folded components together (I prefer the GM Ariv's magnetic lock). Once secured, the bike is now in Trolly mode, so you can conveniently slide it into a lift, down the office corridor, or into a train. I can regularly fold the bike in about 10 to 15 seconds.

It gets a bit awkward if you want to completely fold the GX into the smallest package possible. First, the seat post must be removed and maneuvered into a gap in the rubber band. Then a small cap must be opened under the reflector and pushed into the seat tube to secure the seatpost. With the stand up and the pedals down, you can now lift the bike into the trunk of a car or push it under your desk. I need an additional 20 to 30 seconds to fully collapse the bike.

The compact GoCycle GX is relatively heavy at 17.8 kg and weighs only a little less than a full size VanMoof Electrified S2. Nonetheless, the weight is well balanced (Bunny Hops are a breeze!), Because the small 250/500 W GoCycle engine is mounted on the front hub and the removable 300 Wh battery sits in the length of the down tube. The high handlebar contributes to a mostly upright seating position. The wide, muddy handles, fat 20-inch tires and the rear suspension provide a stable ride that really absorbs the vibrations. It drives like a full-size bike, without the nervousness of Brompton Electric. The end result is an exceptionally comfortable and enjoyable ride that makes the GoCycle GX suitable for the longest commutes. My tests included a 30-kilometer daily return trip with a backpack loaded with a laptop, water and accessories. For those who prefer to shift the load onto the bike, GoCycle offers a front pocket that can be quickly attached and removed.

Of course, no bike design is uncompromising, regardless of the GoCycle slogan. There must be a choice in terms of performance, size, weight and cost. In the case of the GX, the most notable disadvantage is how the pedals are powered from a standstill. GoCycle chose a very small front hub motor that rests on your legs for the first acceleration kick. "The human leg is one of the most efficient things for low-torque torques," GoCycle's Thorpe told me over the phone. (GoCycle does not list the torque output for its engine and refuses to specify a number on request.) This means that the engine will not start unless you're already moving at walking pace, or running about one or two full revolutions of the pedal, as appropriate how hard you drive. And no, the throttle does not save you, as it remains inactive only after your move. Shifting to first gear made it easy for me to lift my legs, but I still prefer the immediate pedal assist of Cowboy's new e-bike or the zero-to-fast boost from the throttle of the VanMoof Electrified X2.

] The GoCycle app includes some preset driver profiles with the option to override them with custom settings. My bike comes with the EU firmware that disables the throttle and limits the bike's power to 250 W and 25 km / h. I overwrote them by wiping out an EULA to install the US firmware. My tests were then performed exclusively in this mode, allowing me to access 500 W of power and a top speed of 32 km / h.

I rode in a custom mode based on the City + profile. It delivered the maximum power as fast as possible, but with a top speed of 29 km / h – faster and my legs had problems keeping up in third gear as well. As soon as the engine started up, thanks to the torque sensor of the GoCycle, power was transmitted smoothly at each stroke. The gas gave a nice little boost when it was needed on hills or if I just wanted to romp around without having to kick. From a standstill like the gas pedal of the VanMoof X2 it has unfortunately not brought anything. If you drive in this mode while pedaling and occasionally accelerating, the battery will be depleted after an average of 40-45 km or 25-28 miles.

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  • If you divide the GX between family members, you will need an Allen key to adjust the seat height regularly. Fortunately, GoCycle includes one in a special slot under the saddle.
  • The LED battery indicator on the handlebar is very simple, but readable in direct sunlight.
  • The charger is small enough to carry on the way to the store at home or in the office.
  • The GocycleConnect app turns into a Bluetooth-connected dashboard when the phone is mounted in landscape mode on the handlebars. In my opinion, it tries to do too much, but it provides a lot of feedback and opportunities for customization, if you wish. After the initial setup, I never used the app again, as there is a special on / off switch that allows you to turn the bike on and off.
  • To remove the battery, release the frame latch and remove the battery in accordance with the "Robust" instructions. It can then be charged with the same charger that comes with the bike. Of course it can also be charged via a weatherproof opening on the frame while the bike is folded or unfolded.
  • The position of the bell takes some getting used to. It's simple, but it emits a loud and pleasant sound .
  • The Velo Sport saddle was fine, not the best, not the worst.
  • The phone holder is also very simple, but works for phones of all sizes.
  • Engine noise is average: not too loud, but not quiet. Nearby people know that you are traveling with an e-bike when you zip around them.
  • The engine shuts off as soon as you reach 10 percent of the remaining power and assists you every 100 meters, but only for a few seconds. I've learned to treat 10 percent (one LED on the handlebars) as a dead battery.
  • GoCycle offers two options for running lights that run on the bike's battery: a Busch & Mueller Avy E-Kit (130,00 €) and a Supernova V1260-Kit (299,99 €).

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The GoCycle GX is an excellent folding electric bike that radiates sophistication and thoughtful modern design. Have you made any compromises? Yes, but the resulting product shows intelligent decision making in the name of flexibility, convenience and comfort. The GX is suitable for long distances or to turn off the first and last mile of a multimodal shuttle.

Yes, the GX is expensive, especially after you've overlaid the options, some of which are required for regular commuters. But like most things, you get what you pay for. Some commuters in the city may charge the base price of $ 3,299 / 3,199 EUR / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP / 2,899 GBP Others justify the cost of health benefits and less impact on the environment.

If size and weight are your primary buying criteria, look at Brompton Electric for a similar price. The Brompton Electric is a very good foldable e-bike, while the GoCycle GX is one of the best e-bikes you can buy, whether foldable or not.

Photograph by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

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