Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Gocycle G4 review: A futuristic folding e-bike inspired by automotive design

Duncan Moore
25 Mar 2022
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
3,999
inc VAT

A folding electric bike with performance that matches its futuristic styling

Pros 
Stylish design
Almost endlessly tuneable ride modes
Quick and easy folding mechanism
Cons 
Very few options for securing a lock
Slightly under-geared
Advertisement

Folding bikes are a great idea in principle, but all too often they’re unattractive and uncomfortable to ride. However, the G4 from Gocycle turns all of these preconceptions on their head.

There’s no denying that, at close to £4,000, the G4 is an expensive option. So just how does Gocycle justify the hefty price tag?

Buy now from Gocycle


Gocycle G4 review: What do you get for the money?

It seems that most of the budget has gone on the frame and build, which is exotic, and comprises a mix of carbon fibre, composite material and aluminium.

The fork is a single-sided, carbon-fibre affair, which has been designed specifically for this model of Gocycle. Next up is the hydroformed aluminium mid-section that also carries the battery. In the middle, by the main frame pivot that allows the bike to fold down, is a moulded composite section. This has changed from the carbon fibre previously used and has allowed Gocycle to reduce the price of the 2022 G4.

Finally, at the rear, there’s Gocycle’s patented magnesium “Cleandrive” system. This is an enclosed chain drive, just like you’ll find on a regular bike, but here it’s completely hidden from view and even less likely to cover your trousers in oil. Also tucked inside the rear wheel is a neat Microshift three-speed hub gear. The matching twist grip on the handlebars allows you to easily move through gears whether you’re pedalling or at a standstill.

But what about the electrics? After all, that’s the reason to buy an e-bike, right? Power is delivered on the road by a proprietary G4drive 250W motor that’s built into the front wheel hub and it’s supplied with energy by a 36V, 294Wh lithium-ion battery that lives inside the front aluminium frame section. This can be charged in place via a small socket on the side of the frame or removed when the bike is folded and charged away from the bike.

Just how much mileage you can get between charges will depend on your riding style, which of the modes you use and how much you make use of the boost button, but don’t expect to get much more than 40 miles between charges.

What is nice to see on a bike that costs this much is the inclusion of both mudguards and integral lights as standard. This is new for the 2022 model; previously, these were add-on extras that would have pushed the price up by more than £200 if you wanted them fitted. Even better is the fact that the front light is powerful enough to see with rather than just be seen by.

READ NEXT: These are the best e-bikes to buy today

Gocycle G4 review: What’s it like to ride?

The G4 really is a simple bike to ride. If you want to, you can get on, turn the power on and just go. However, to get the most from the G4 you need the Gocycle app. Once this is installed on your phone, not only can you spend endless hours tweaking and tuning the characteristics of the power delivery from the motor but you can also use your phone as a digital dashboard.

Here’s just one example of how much thought has gone into the design of the Gocycle G4. As you’ll be using your phone as a digital dash, Gocycle includes a pair of nifty rubber straps to secure your phone to the handlebars, while underneath the bars is a USB port. Oddly, though, this will only charge your phone while the bike is not in use.

What the app is most useful for, aside from turning your phone into a dashboard, is switching the ride modes between City, Eco and On Demand. Most of the time I simply left it in City mode and only switched to Eco when the battery indicator started to get low.

In City mode, the bike’s torque sensor senses how hard you’re pedalling and adjusts the level of assistance; the harder you pedal, the more power the bike supplies. Switch to Eco and it’s a similar operation, the difference being the motor doesn’t come in until the bike is registering 250 watts of power at the pedals, whereas only 100 watts is needed in City mode to activate the G4drive.

The On Demand option is for using the Boost button only so you can decide, on the fly, when power assistance is applied. You can even create your own custom modes, defining power levels for when the power kicks in and how hard you need to be pedalling to reach maximum power.

After trying the different configurations, I stuck with Gocycle’s recommendation of City mode and found it worked just fine for my purposes. As the motor started to work, the power progression was extremely smooth and it simply felt as though I was not having to pedal as hard to achieve the speed I was riding at.

On the odd occasion, when I felt like I needed a bit more power, I simply used the boost button under the left grip, by my thumb. This applies full power instantly and is useful if you need a bit of extra power when riding up hills or if you need to clear traffic when pulling away from the lights. It’s also handy for those times when you forget to change down from top gear when you stop; a quick press of the boost button provides just enough of a nudge to get the bike rolling away quickly.

I often felt the bike was a little under-geared but that’s just a personal thing. I’m sure the average Gocycle rider will be just fine with the three hub gears as is.

The real surprise with the Gocycle G4 is just how pleasant it was to ride. All too often I’ve found small-wheeled bikes to be uncomfortable. While the small wheels mean a compact package when the bike is folded, they also tend to transfer all the undulations of rough roads. Thanks to its large volume tyres, that’s not the case with the G4. Gocycle describes them as having a Moto GP-inspired tread and, while I never reached motorcycle speeds, the tyres felt secure no matter the terrain.

Buy now from Gocycle


Gocycle G4 review: Is there anything it could do better?

The G4 is a very capable bike and the latest 2022 models represent much better value than previous versions. The the inclusion of lights and mudguards as standard is very welcome, and the model I rode came with the accessory front pannier, which is a great addition but is a costly extra at £150.

My real concern with the G4 was security. I know the whole idea of a folding bike is that you can take it indoors with you rather than leaving it locked up outside. However, for a quick trip to the shops that isn’t practical. Due to the design of the G4, there’s nowhere you can pass a lock through the frame and I had to resort to securing it to a bike rack by one of the wheels. That’s not ideal.

READ NEXT: Cycle safely with our pick of the best bike lights

Gocycle G4 review: Should you buy one?

If you live in a flat or a small house and want a bike you can keep indoors, then a folding bike is simply the best option. If you want one of the best folding bike options that’s also electric, then the G4 from Gocycle has to be right at the top of your shortlist. When it’s folded it’s small enough to fit under the average desk and, at just under 17kg, it’s just about light enough to be carried short distances.

The G4 is also easy to use and ride, and the internal hub gears are simple to operate and virtually maintenance-free. There’s no messy chain either, and the disc brakes are reassuringly powerful.

Other options are cheaper or lighter or both; the entry-level Brompton Electric, for instance, is over £1,000 cheaper and is even more compact when folded. However the Brompton has an inferior specification compared to the Gocycle G4, with fewer gears, mechanical rim brakes rather than hydraulic disc and smaller wheels that can create a harsh ride.

Buy now from Gocycle


Read more

Reviews