(Pocket-lint) - Electric bikes are really taking off, appealing to a wide-range of users. At one end of the scale are those looking for a commuting solution that lets them ditch the emissions and congestion of a car. At the other end of the scale are those who want the mobility and ease that an electric bike offers.
The Gocycle GX has emerged into a popular model for Gocycle, adding folding to its existing electric bike proposition. And a very good bike it is too.
The hallmarks of Gocycle are features like the Cleandrive - which means there are no parts to catch the hem of your suit or leave an oily chain mark on your leg - through to that small wheel, low frame design. All that remains in the GX - in the move to become folding those features haven't been sacrificed.
That means that riding the Gocycle GX is very much like riding other Gocycle bikes, with this model broadly aligned with the Gocycle GS. The major difference is the frame material, allowing for a design that means you basically fold this bike in half.
So what you get is a bike that's as solid as the non-folding equivalent, but a lot more practical when it comes to storing it in your hallway or putting it into the boot of your car.
How easy is it to fold the Gocycle GX?
Most people will be interested in just how easy it is to fold this bike. The answer is really easy. There's technique to it, of course, but it only takes a few attempts to get it happening quickly.
The folding action involves two major steps: one is releasing the catch that lets the handlebars fold down; the other is releasing the catch that lets you fold the bike in half.
With those two steps done, there's a small strap you pass through to keep things together and it's just a case of releasing the saddle, slipping the long seatpost into the centre of the bike and slotting the plug on the underside of the saddle into the top of the seat tube. You can fold the pedals to make it more compact too.
One of the advantages that Gocycle has is that Cleandrive we mentioned before: as the gears, chain and everything else is encased, there's nothing to get tangled or messy. Additionally, because you're folding the frame, the drive mechanism all stays in place and in line.
So, it's all nice and efficient, but it's not quite as simple as that. As we said there's a strap to pass through the middle of the bike to hold it together when it's folded. But it does not lock it in the folded position, it merely keeps it together, so you need to take some care when lifting to make sure you're grabbing the bike by solid parts.
Does it fold as quickly as the Brompton Electric? It's not quite as dramatic as the Brompton''s folding action, but that bike has two parts - the bike itself and the battery pack. You detach the battery when you fold it and the Brompton does end up smaller than the Gocycle as a result - but you do then have to then carry battery too.
In the saddle
Hop into the saddle and the experience riding the Gocycle GX is very much the same as Gocycle G3 we reviewed previously. On the GX, however, you get a manual three-speed hub rather than the automatic gearing of the G3. If you want automatic gearing there's an enhanced version of the GX called the GXi - although with each step up the price also rises.
The Gocycle adds its electric power when you pedal the bike, drawing from the internal battery that's in the frame. You simply start pedalling and after a few rotations you'll feel the motor's input, easing you up to the bike's top speed. That's restricted based on your country, in the UK that's 15.5mph (25kph).
You can get the bike to go faster than that thanks to the gearing, but at that point it's not the motor doing a lot of that work, it's your legs. The real advantage is that as headwind picks up or you hit uphills then you'll have that support from motor to keep you moving smoothly on without having to break into a sweat.
With small wheels the Gocycle accelerates quickly and it has a nippy and responsive ride, ideal for urban commutes. The narrow handlebars make it great for nipping in and out of traffic and about the only thing you'll have to remember is to drop a gear when you have to stop at the lights.
There's disc brakes to bring you to a quick stop, too.
The Gocycle is best designed for urban roads as there's no suspension, so when on rougher tracks you will feel those vibrations coming through your arms.
The battery is good for about 40 miles (60km) of range, although this depends on how you ride and how much pedal input you put in. The battery takes seven hours to charge, which is rather slow - especially as the Gocycle GXi offers faster charging - so you'll have to remember to charge overnight if you have a long commute.
Generally we found the experience of riding the Gocycle GX to be very smooth. It's a great bike to ride, although if you do run out of battery then you're left riding a 17.8kg bike with only three gears - while a typical non-electric hybrid would give lighter weight, a greater range of gears and cost half the price.
The tech cherry on top
Although Gocycle doesn't have all the features of the G3 or the GXi - like the daytime running light in the handlebars - it does offer Bluetooth for device connectivity.
This will let you connect the bike to your smartphone app and allow you to keep track of various features. It can monitor the distance you've cycled and your averages, it will let you change some of the behaviour of how the bike rides, while also allowing you to update the bike's firmware.
Beyond that, you can also use your smartphone as a live speedo, when attached to your handlebars.
That's a useful addition, but it's not the most sophisticated app around and things could be cleaned up a little for better presentation. Whether you'd use that app or switch over to something like Google Maps or Waze for navigation will depend on your circumstances, but we always like to be able to get data easily.
You only have to look at the bikes being offered by "traditional" cycle manufacturers to know that electric bikes are in demand right now. Gocycle is distinctive and original: this isn't just a conventional bike that's been adapted for this new electric world - it was designed for this very purpose.
The Gocycle GX will likely become Gocycle's most popular model because it's clean, nice to ride and easy to store. It manages to offer that folding convenience without looking like some sort of Frankenstein bike, while the range of accessories that Gocycle offers will make it easy to live with too.
If you're looking for a folding electric bike, then you have to look at the Gocycle GX. But there's no denying that these bikes have a premium price attached to them.
Alternatives to consider
The Brompton is probably the best known folding bike out there. The adaption to take it electric doesn't compromise the ride, the fold or the bike itself - with the battery in a separate caddy, you can ride it with or without the electric side of things.