E-bikes are fast gaining popularity and for good reason. They have come a long way since they first appeared on UK roads. With a greater number of people becoming ever more health conscious, e-bikes are being used for getting fitter, commuting, running errands or simply to have fun on.
Sabi Phagura road tested the Gocycle GS electric bicycle, which sits second in line to the original G1 model, to see how it performs.
This year marks a decade since the launch of Gocycle’s first production model. The ground-breaking, lightweight Gocycle G1 earned its reputation as being the first injection-moulded magnesium alloy bicycle in history.
The brainchild of Richard Thorpe, the entrepreneur left his enviable design job with McLaren Cars, to set about creating the perfect e-bike. He used his experience in designing lightweight racing car components to produce a brand new model for the cycle market.
The GS at a glance
Richard believes that an e-bike should be elegant, desirable and a joy to live with, and above all, it has to be fun. At first glance, the Gocycle GS lives up to this reputation.
The design is fantastically smart, clean, and the drivetrain is completely enclosed so there’s no risk of the oily parts ruining your clothes or hands.
It comes in a range of colours, but the one we tested was bright red so you certainly won’t be camouflaged. Tipping the scales at just 16.5kg (or only 36.3lbs), including the kickstand and folding pedals, the GS is one of the lightest electric bikes around.
However, as I live in a block of apartments down some steps, this felt like a little bit of a weightlifting exercise as I took the GS up and down. Still, my first impression was that all the other details and specs made it an attractive package.
Is it a folding bike?
The bike does indeed fold – but not in the sense that other bikes do. Rather than folding in half, it actually pivots inwards and the Pitstopwheels come off. Therefore, it’s better described as having the ability to be dismantled and stowed away as it has no central folding mechanism. I was slightly apprehensive at having a go at first, but watching the ‘how to’ video on the Gocycle app made me realise that it wasn’t as complicated as I had first imagined. In fact, the whole process took me a mere few minutes. The wheels separate from the frame with the quick release system, and there’s no need for any tools. The bike then folds inwards.
A little tricky at first as I was trying to hold the bike as I went through the motions, but it was nothing I couldn’t get used to over time. Geared towards the commuter, the GS works well with me as a travel writer, because it can be neatly stowed away in my car when I’m on trips or indeed in my flat where storage is limited.
Connecting to the app
Although the Gocycle is quick and easy to use with the push of a button near the charging port, it gets more interesting when connected to the app. Plus without it, you won’t know how fast you’re riding, plus it also allows you to adjust the speed or know how much battery life is remaining. After downloading the app to your phone, you need to activate the Bluetooth connection and your phone will recognise the bike when in close proximity to it.
There’s an additional level of security and control whereby Gocycle can remotely deactivate your bike if it is stolen. You can then customise it to suit, with sections to change the power settings (namely Eco, Sport and Sport Plus) and what you would like to show up on the dashboard. I have a rather large Google Pixel 2 phone so had a little difficulty squeezing it into the rubber band holster. That said, I had peace of mind that it wasn’t going to fall off when I rode it.
The motor on this bike is mounted inside the front hub and is separate to the wheel. And unlike other e-bikes, the GS drives the front wheel. This result is that the motor offers four times the energy density of a regular hub motor. The motor operates at 250 continuous watts which is useful when on a climb. The UK e-bike restrictions mean the motor cannot go above the 250 watts and will cut off at around 16 mph (25 km/h).
I waited so long to take the GS out for a ride because I felt I needed to learn as much as I could about it before venturing out. But the wait was worth it. Riding it was simply pleasurable. The motor provided a good boost to the experience, especially when climbing hills (I live on one) and the seat felt comfortable. I felt I could ride it all day long, and being on the saddle for eight hours on my first attempt wasn’t bad going.
The integrated in-frame lithium-ion battery pack has a range of up to 40 miles (65 km) based on a full seven-hour charge. I rode it along the towpath, on grass and gravel and I felt the bike was responsive to all the terrains and didn’t feel jittery. Some e-bikes can feel a little flimsy, but the GS is certainly sturdy. I particularly liked seeing my progress on the app on my phone and adjusted my speed accordingly and tried to burn as many calories as I possibly could by exerting more power through my legs. I did, however, find the kickstand hard to action when I took a break because the plastic bit to kick down is a tad small. Still, it worked well once I was able to successfully deploy it.
All in all, the GS model is great for anyone, whether an amateur or a pro, or whether it’s for the daily commute, or just to potter around in. And if you’re looking to get fitter, then this is one way of leading a healthier, active and sustainable lifestyle.
Gocycle – Where and How?
The Gocycle GS with the Base Pack costs £2,499.00. For more information about the Gocycle GS and the other models in the range, visit www.gocycle.com.