Posted 09.04.2015 in Articles
Riding the Gocycle G2 was one of the most eagerly anticipated test rides I’ve ever done. I have been searching for a small and light folding electric bike for years. Everything was too big, too heavy or both. I wanted a bike I could carry inside my car, so that when I went to the beach or a local park, I could take it with me without the hassle of a bike rack, both on the trip and when I wanted to lock it up. A lightweight folding bike is also great to use for trips on the trolley, can be more easily checked on commercial flights and can be easily stowed on a boat. The most stringent size and weight limitation was trying to find a bike that would fit into the very small cargo space of my two seat Diamond DA20 airplane.
When I finally talked to Karbon Kinetics founder and designer Richard Thorpe about testing out the second generation of his Gocycle G2, I thought I may have finally found what I was looking for.
The Gocycle is super light weight; just 35 lbs as tested. My full-size folding Wavecrest Tidalforce is twice as heavy at 70 lbs. The Gocycle is also very easy to fold and stow – much easier than any other folding bike I’ve ever used. Although I didn’t get a chance to try it, Gocycle makes a lightweight soft shell case.
The Gocycle is very good looking. There are no exposed wires or cables, everything is routed through the frame. The chain and three-gear shifter is inside a very well designed fully enclosed swing arm case. Both seat and handlebars adjust easily, allowing the rider to set not only height, but distance between them by tilting the handlebars forward, then locking the quick release lever into place, a feature Karbon Kinetics calls Vgonomic.
The Gocycle can be fitted with a front pannier and a rear luggage rack which are built to the same high standard as the rest of the bicycle.
The Gocycle’s hub motor is in the front wheel. Although I’ve owned and ridden dozens of electric bikes, I had never ridden one with front wheel drive and wondered how it would handle. Like a dream, it turns out. No torque steer at all. I couldn’t even tell where the gentle pedal assist was coming from actually. It just made riding, even up the steep hills where I live, very easy. The same hills I have to zig zag back and forth to get up in a conventional bike were conquered straight up with the push of the red boost button on the left handlebar and normal pedal pressure. This made steep grades feel instead like a very mild incline. That’s my favorite thing about electric bikes. They just level out the hills, so instead of getting somewhere red faced and out of breath, you arrive refreshed, having had a nice workout but not a battle. The Gocycle’s designer refers to the bike’s drive as two wheel drive because the electric motor powers the front wheel while your legs pedal-power the rear wheel. The combination of all-wheel drive and a very low center of gravity results in remarkably agile, sure-footed handling.
The Gocycle has very attractive side mounted magnesium wheels with incredibly easy quick mount hubs. It is no exaggeration to say that either front or rear wheel can be removed and mounted again in under ten seconds. That includes the time to bend over for a close look, although it’s understandable if you take your time down there marveling at the genius of the locking arm design.
There is a battery charge status LED at back of the downtube where the charger gets plugged in.
The Bluetooth-capable Gocycle can be extensively configured from a smart phone and can send diagnostic info back to the factory when connected.
The one-piece monocoque magnesium frame is pretty much the kind of design you’d expect from someone whose resume includes a stint as designer at McLaren. Beautiful, strong and very lightweight.
The components are top notch too. Hydraulic disk brakes, Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub gear and an extremely compact 500 watt hub motor. Gocycle designer Thorpe says the motor has double the power-to-weight ratio of conventional ebike motors. The motor is tiny, but has plenty of pull for its size.
The bike’s in-frame 22V lithium power pack is 10.75Ah, 236Wh.
I was able to go about twelve miles on flat ground with mild pedaling before the battery was depleted. Unlike every other electric bike
I own, because it is so light, the Gocycle can actually be ridden much like a normal bike without electric assist. The battery takes about 5 and a half hours to recharge from empty.
The maximum carrying capacity of the Gocycle G2 is 220 lbs. The bike’s top speed is 25 miles per hour, which was very easy to achieve, especially after hitting the boost button. That’s plenty fast for the kind of riding the bike is designed for. The torque sensing pedals and Gocycle’s electronic predictive shifting make riding the bike effortless. The Gocycle G2 is perfect for the kind of lightweight, transportable “last mile” transportation and daily leisure riding I’ve been looking for.