Having been very impressed with Gocycle’s electric folder the GX, I jumped at the chance to try out one of the very latest models for 2021, the G4i, boasting a higher torque Gocycle designed hub motor, additional weight-reducing carbon parts and automatic and electronic gear changing.
I was keen to see just how the G4drive electric motor, which has apparently been in development for a number of years, performed. The firm says it delivers more torque and improved low-speed start capability compared to its predecessor. My test model was actually a pre-production model assembled at Gocycle HQ in Chessington but G4 production models should start arriving in the UK from the EU from next month.
GoCycle G4i - first impressions
The G4 has retained its funky looks and at an initial glance isn’t terribly different from previous models, the giveaway G4 trademarks being the carbon fibre mid-frame section and the lack of a rubber gait just above the front fork crown.
It retains many classic features that led the original iteration to be dubbed the iPhone of ebikes on its first appearance back in 2009. There are single-sided forks front and rear for easy puncture repairs, maintenance free magnesium mag-style Pitstop wheels and a fully enclosed drive train. It also retains the quick-fold characteristics of the previous GXi model and its neat frame-integrated 375Wh battery.
Beneath the skin however, much is different on the G4 models compared to the previous G3 with several performance related improvements. The new G4drive motor is bigger - though it doesn’t look that big - there is the aforementioned weight saving carbon-fibre mid-frame section and a carbon front fork, giving a stated weight range across the three G4 models of 16.3-16.6kg. There are smaller but equally practical changes too, such as a new, more rigid seatpost retention fitting for when the bike is folded (the seatpost is completely removed and needs securing to the folded package).
It’s also notable all G4 models are folding. Gocycle say this is largely because the weight of the folded versions is creeping down towards that of the traditional demountable designs (the folding version of the Gocycle only being introduced in 2019). It seems likely that the existing non-folding G3 versions won’t be for sale for much longer than 2021.
So with a 16.5kg-ish e-folder Gocycle now finds itself firmly in the mix with the likes of Brompton (around 17-18kg) and FLIT (around 15.5kg), as the race appears to be well and truly on to reduce the weight of e-folders further.
The Ultimate Hill Climb Test
As luck would have it I was able to meet up with one of Gocycle’s Sales Managers, Conor Murphy, who happened to be staying in my area at Holmfirth. If you were going to pick a location for an e-bike hill climb test this area of the South Pennines would be about as hard as you can get.
The bike stormed up a 20% hill climb (Gocycle’s graph showing how much low speed torque is available on the new motor explains this impressive performance). Equally notable was the fact it took off from a standing start on such a steep hill – the predecessor GX model needed the rider to pedal up to 4mph before power kicked in. Even better, I sensed a small amount of wheelspin on setting off on the slightly loose surface of the very minor road, only for Gocycle’s traction control to kick in and back off the power for a smooth yet steep take off. No doubt the wider, grippier tyres new to the G4 helped too.
I hadn’t previously experienced another of the Gocycle’s features available on the higher spec ‘i’ versions, so-called predictive (automatic, electronically changing) gearing. Sensing that a higher or lower gear was in order I simply needed to back off the pedals briefly and the array of LCD lights on the Cockpit handlebar-integrated display showed the 3-speed hub gear had indeed changed. Initial impressions were that Gocycle’s system is far more in keeping with my own gear changing preferences compared to the Shimano system I had previously tried, which changed too late for my liking, though it’s difficult to say if that really is the case without a side-by-side comparison.
There is still a manual control if you want to override the auto-changing at any point or just prefer to do it that way. The auto feature looks particularly useful for Le Mans traffic-light type starts should you have forgotten to change down. The Cockpit lights also indicate battery level, driving mode, speed and gear position.
The high-tech handlebars on the 'i' version not only feature the Cockpit display but integrate daytime running lights as a welcome safety feature, but you will need an extra front light to illuminate unlit roads if you plan on night riding away from city streets.
The much-loved ‘Boost’ feature is retained but moves from a push button to a throttle style control (and to comply with UK and EU law will not work unless you are pedalling). This is super useful for extra fast hill climbing and also for effectively and safely negotiating busier town traffic. A new feature across all G4 models is the handlebar-integrated USB charging port.
Handling remains lively and manoeuvrable with plenty of stopping power from the hydraulic disc brakes (now with slightly lighter rotors).
Here’s a summary of the new range:
Gocycle G4 MSRP: £3,399
Gocycle G4i MSRP: £3,999 (features Cockpit display, larger battery and predictive gear changing)
Gocycle G4i+ MSRP £4,999 (the + is a limited edition version with carbon wheels)
For a detailed spec comparison of all current Gocycle production models see here.
Gocycle G4i - the next level
Initial impressions are that the G4’s new features really do take the Gocycle to an improved level of performance and it’s refreshing to see a company both driving down weight whilst upping performance.