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Gocycle G4 Electric Bike Review 2023
Jan 03, 2023
We review loads of different folding electric bikes here at Electric Bike Report, but few have gotten me more excited than the GoCycle G4.
Arguably one of the highest performing electric fast folders on the planet, this GoCycle G4 review dives into the form and function of the G4 and parses out how good this e-bike really is.
Thought up by a former designer at McLaren Cars, the GoCycle is steeped in automotive engineering and parts of its frame are even manufactured using techniques taken directly from the automotive industry. Among fans of fast folding e-bikes — or just those who like innovation in this space — the GoCycle is iconic. From its front hub motor to its drivetrain, it’s chock-full of innovation and cool tech you won’t see on any other e-bike.
I’ve gotten to spend a brief few hours on the G4’s higher-specced sibling, the G4i+, at an industry show last year and have since been itching to get the thing in for a long-term review. It’s finally happened, so stick around to find out if this fast folder lives up to the hype.
Bike Category: Folding
Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle assist, up to 20 mph
GoCycle G4 Video Review
The folding mechanism is bar-none the best we’ve used. With a little practice the bike folds and unfolds in just seconds.
The 500W front hub motor is remarkably powerful. It’s peppy from the gun and climbs better than you’d think.
The 38 lb weight is very light, making the bike not just easy to manage when folded but better performing.
Despite being small in stature, the GoCycle fits taller people (like me) better than the average folding bike.
The Cleandrive system is a little mysterious but functions very well.
Aside from being aesthetically cool, the single-sided fork and rear swingarm make flat changes exceptionally easy.
The handling is spot-on: Comfortable and predictable while being incredibly agile.
The LED on its own is fairly spartan and nearly requires the use of your smartphone for metrics like speed, PAS level and a more exact read on battery life.
The tires are grippy but a little flat prone. For those that live in areas with thorny plants a flat-resistant tube may be needed.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 36V, 8.1Ah (291.6Wh)
Display: LED gauge and/or GoCycle Connect app
Motor: G4drive 500W front hub motor
Peal Assist: Eco, City+ and On-Demand, torque sensor
Range: Up to 40 miles (claimed)
Throttle: Thumb throttle
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 37.7 lbs
Maximum rider weight: 220 lbs
Maximum load on rear rack: N/A
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Proprietary hydraulic disk brakes
Fork: Single-sided carbon fiber fork
Frame: 6061 alloy front frame, carbon fiber mid-frame and magnesium Cleandrive
Drivetrain: Cleandrive, made of Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub and Microshift twist shifter
Saddle: Velo Sport
Handlebar: GoCycle proprietary
Kickstand: Moped-style kickstand
Pedals: Plastic folding pedals
Tires: GoCycle tires 20×2.25”
GoCycle G4 Review: Bike Overview
I usually like to think of e-bikes as living in one of three separate categories.
There’s the e-bikes that are tools, designed specifically to do a job and do it very, very well; there’s the e-bikes that are built for fun — those are your beach cruisers, minibikes and the like that are made for dinking around your neighborhood or the bike path. Then there are the e-bikes with one foot in each of those worlds.
The GoCycle, in my opinion, fits neatly into that first category. It’s a tool carefully designed to meet the specific needs of a commuter who’s short on space, likely lives in a dense environment and needs an e-bike they can tote with them into an office, onto public transport or can be stored in the smallest of places.
It’s obviously fun, too. With a 500W motor and many of the components built for performance, the thing is quick and handles better than your average folding e-bike. But, by my assessment, it’s real shining attributes are it’s incredibly lightweight of just shy of 38 lbs and it’s very, very well designed fast folding mechanism.
But aside from how it folds, there are just a huge number of parts on this bike that are either entirely proprietary and designed in-house by GoCycle, or use consumer components modified to suit a fast folder’s needs.
The front hub motor, for example, is a proprietary unit designed in-house that GoCycle calls the G4 Drive. This unit makes 500W and is housed inside the hub shell of the front wheel. It’s shockingly small in stature, but despite its physical petiteness it packs an absolute wallop of power.
The wheels are a one-piece spoked job made of magnesium that are, again, proprietary. It’s got a single-sided front fork made of carbon fiber. The mid-body of the bike is made of aluminum, the aft body is made of carbon, which is new on the G4 model, and the rear section of the bike, called the CleanDrive, is made of magnesium. Like the fork, that’s single-sided, too.
Inside the fore section of the frame is a 36V, 8.1Ah (291.6Wh) battery that gives the bikes its solid range.
At the rear of the bike, this swingarm-like section is what GoCycle calles the CleanDrive. Inside this shroud is the bike’s drivetrain, which includes a three-speed Shimano Nexus rear hub built into the rear magnesium wheel and a MicroShift GripShifter at the handlebars.
The brakes are hydraulic discs, which are again proprietary. The tires have been redesigned for the G4 model, are MotoGp inspired and are, again, proprietary. And lastly there is a small rear shock in the back that gives the bike 25mm of travel.
One notable thing that’s missing from the actual bike is a traditional LCD display. Instead, you get this LED-based system that vaguely tells you battery life and a real-time readout of how much power the motor is coughing up.
Instead of building-in a display GoCycle has built a nice app called GoCycle Connect. In addition to being able to customize settings, the app can also be used as a pretty nice display should you choose to get a handlebar mount.
The app also allows you to choose from one of three preset pedal assist settings — eco, city+ and on-demand — and it also allows you to create custom settings that best suit your riding style.
Compact and remarkably easy to fold, the GoCycle G4 is a tool specifically designed for commuters low on space or who need to tote their bike with them throughout the day.
The drivetrain — made of a Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub and Microshift twist shifter — is almost entirely housed inside a shroud, which GoCycle calls the Cleandrive.
The one piece spoked wheels are made of magnesium and are very, very cool.
GoCycle G4 Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
We did much of our testing using GoCycle’s stock power settings, ECO, CITY+ and On-Demand, though you can customize how the bike delivers power using the app.
The GoCycles proprietary 500w front hub motor comes in a seriously small package. But while riding, that small in stature motor can produce quite a whollop of power, especially on hills and while accelerating. It’s also surprisingly stable and controlled for a front hub driven ebike. Many front drive e-bikes I’ve ridden suffer from some sort of torque steer under acceleration, but the GoCycle does not. It tracks straight no matter what, including while accelerating through corners, which in my opinion is the ultimate handling test for a front hub driven ebike.
Between the three stock power settings, I couldn’t feel a humongous difference, especially on flat ground. Across all the settings the bike tended to cruise at about 15-16 mph, but in the higher setting it did feel like the gearing was limiting me more than power, whereas in the lower setting 15 mph felt near the top of what the motor wanted to do.
My perception was backed up by the results of our circuit test, where we sample the bike’s power and speed in each PAS level and with the motor turned off. The GoCycle’s average speed changed only slightly as we toggled through the PAS levels from most mellow to most powerful.
The higher assist levels did yield some more aggressive acceleration and I could access more of the motor’s power with less effort.
The gist of the GoCycle is it’s an ebike made for pedaling. The motor power in any setting is a supplement to what your legs do. It gives you a nice cushion of power to surf on while riding flats, and if you turn uphill or need to pick up speed the motor instantaneously kicks on the juice and helps you do what you need to do.
The GoCycle’s 500W front hub motor is small in stature but packs a good punch of power. It feels exactly right for city commuting and navigating tight spaces.
Really all that’s obvious about the front hub motor is a radiator-like shield on the drive side with a warning that it might be hot.
The 36V, 8.1Ah (291.6Wh) battery is housed inside the front section of the folding frame.
GoCycle G4 Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
To get an idea of how the GoCycle’s 36V, 8.1Ah (291.6Wh) battery performs in the real world, we put it through two range tests where we rode the bike from a full charge to empty in a single sitting.
What we found was a bike with solid range that’ll likely outlast even the most ambitious commutes.
In the G4’s Eco mode, its lowest pedal assist level, the bike lasted for 32.7 miles with an average speed of 13.5 mph. In City+, it lasted for 21.81 miles at an average speed of 16.2 mph.
Those are both really solid battery ranges. Especially when compared to other e-bikes that have similar sized batteries.
GoCycle G4 Review: Hill Test
The GoCycle is a city-dweller, and outside of an urban area like San Francisco, big hills are not really a thing most bikes like this are going to need to contend with.
But nonetheless, hill climbing capability is one of the most important yardsticks we use to measure e-bike performance. Even in cities, hills happen. And on a bike like this power can mean the difference between sweating through a suit jacket and not.
So like all the other e-bikes we test, the GoCycle was put up against our test hill Hell Hole. at 12 percent on average and a third-of-a-mile length, it’s probably steeper and larger than most hills you’d find in this bike’s natural habitat. But nonetheless, the Gocycle was put through the same treatment all our review bikes get.
We put the bike through two timed tests on Hell Hole, the first using just the throttle and the second on PAS 5. The test panned out about as expected, with the GoCycle not clearing the hill using just the throttle and it easily making it on max assist.
Though unsuccessful in the throttle-only test, the bike did spectacularly well on max assist, clearing Hell Hole in 1:15.00 with an average speed of 14.5 mph
That result puts it in the top half of all the e-bikes we’ve tested on max assist up Hell Hole, which is remarkable for a small folding bike. A Lot of factors contributed to this result, ranging from the bike’s low sub-38 lb weight to its really nice pedaling position. But, to me, the standout is that 500W front hub motor. It’s so grunty on climbs and showed no sign of wavering, even on the upper portions of the hill where you’ve got almost no momentum going into some of the steepest pitches.
Now, before you readers over analyze its throttle-only result, let me add some context: While we often see 500W e-bikes not clear Hell Hole without at least a little help from the rider’s legs, I wouldn’t qualify the GoCycle’s result as an all-out motor failure.
Instead, the motor simply turned itself off. On well designed e-bikes we often see built in safety mechanisms designed to protect the electrical componentry from high heat or excessive strain that could otherwise cause lasting damage on sensitive and expensive parts. That’s what seems to have happened here.
Instead of straining the motor to a degree that it was risking damage, the bike simply turned off. This is important, and honestly refreshing to see, especially considering we’ve seen cheaper 500W e-bikes arguably do damage to themselves in the name of clearing Hell Hole using just the throttle.
I chalk the GoCycle’s throttle-only result up as a good thing. Instead of a failure, I think we may have actually seen some good engineering in action.
A city dweller at heart, but it’ll still climb hills pretty darn quick.
The MicroShift twist shifter controls the three-speed drivetrain.
A small rear shock helps absorb bumps in the road.
GoCycle G4 Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
The GoCycle G4 is specced with a set of proprietary hydraulic disk brakes. We don’t know a ton about this setup, but it has performed very well in our testing.
To get a feel for how well they stop we put the bike through five full-power stops from 20 mph to get an average stopping distance. For the G4, it came to a stop on average in 12-feet 5-inches, which is substantially better than the current all-time braking average of 15-feet 8-inches.
That’s a solid result, especially from an e-bike designed to tackle crowded environments where quick stopping may be crucial to avoiding vehicles and pedestrians.
GoCycle G4 Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
Based on its looks, small wheels and generally overengineered personality, you might expect the GoCycle G4 to be quick, snappy and predictable.
And you’d be right.
Like just about everything else on this e-bike, quite a lot of thought has gone into how it handles. Though small in stature, the bike had no problem fitting my lanky 6’1” frame thanks to a very long seatpost. I usually have a bit of trouble getting a full leg extension on many of the folding bikes I’ve reviewed, but not the G4.
GoCycle took inspiration from MotoGP for its semi-slick tires, which handle very well but are a little flat prone. Flats are a thing we deal with often in our desert locale, as most plants present with some sort of hypodermic needle-like thorns, but we got a higher-than-average number of flats on the G4.
The tires are light and don’t have the thickest tread, which likely contributed to our flatting issue. This bike is likely a good candidate for some sort of sealant, tire liner or thicker tube. One thing I will say, though, is the single-sided front fork and rear swingarm made flat fixing exceedingly easy because you don’t have to remove the wheel. Simply pop off the tire on the open side of the frame, fix the punctured tube and viola — you’re rolling again.
GoCycle’s hydraulic disk brake lever.
The LED display works, but I’d highly recommend getting a phone mount to take advantage of the app’s more detailed display.
The folding clamp looks simple and tucks neatly against the frame.
The front light is bright and operates off the main battery power.
GoCycle G4 Review: Summary / Where to Buy
As I mentioned before, this wasn’t my first rodeo reviewing one of GoCycle’s e-bikes. I rode the more blinged-out version of the G4 (with carbon wheels and electric shifting) at the Big Gear Show in Park City last year.
That first impression was one of awe — the huge hills of Park City are hardly friendly to most hub-driven folding bikes, but the G4 handled them with ease. Of the (many) e-bikes I rode that week, the GoCycle was my favorite. I loved its quirky look, I loved its extremely functional folding mechanism and I loved how well it handled.
But that first impression was fleeting, only lasting a few hours before the bike had to be returned to the nice people manning the GoCycle booth. I wanted to see how this bike actually integrated into daily life; how it stood up to the rigors of commuting and what it was like to actually fold it up and tote it around. So we brought the bike in for a full review and did just that.
If you’ve made it this far in the review, I think it goes without saying that the GoCycle G4 only continues to live up to the hype. Of the many electric folding bikes I’ve ridden, this is my personal favorite. It’s fast, handles supremely well and the folding mechanism is bar-none the best designed. Granted it is pricey, but for those that need the convenience of a folding bike or just appreciate good design, I’d argue the price is more than worth it.
The GoCycle G4 can be bought online and shipped directly to your door.
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the GoCycle G4.