Richard Thorpe, previously a design engineer at McLaren, was aiming high when he set out to create this electric bike. The fourth-generation Gocycle G4i looks like it came straight out of the designer’s sketchbook. Inspired by the high performance and automotive design of Formula 1, this bike aims to simplify your ride so you can work in style.
At first glance, the G4i looks like it’s coming from the future thanks to the organic curvature of its frame and five-spoke magnesium mags. This electric bike definitely catches your eye. Everywhere I rode people were breaking their necks trying to figure out what I was riding.
Inside the frame’s sleek down tube is a 375 Wh (10.4 Ah) lithium-ion battery, which is removable for charging at home or in the office. Gocycle says the included charger can recharge the pack in 3.5 hours.
The middle part of the frame, under the saddle, is carbon fiber and the other parts of the bike are aluminum and magnesium. This helps reduce the overall weight of the bike for improved performance and range. At 37 pounds, the Gocycle G4i is very light compared to other e-bikes, which can weigh over 50 pounds. (Believe me, there is nothing worse than lugging an e-bike up and down a few stairs.)
When it comes to folding the G4i, there is a bit of a learning curve, but you can get the origami bike in under 25 seconds. Just watch your fingers, because there are definitely some pinch points! Once folded, the bike can be moved using the seat on its wheels. Maneuvering the bike in the folded position takes a bit of practice due to its very heavy nature, but it’s something you get used to quickly. The combination of weight and foldability makes this bike super manoeuvrable for elevator rides or when you need to jump on public transport. It also makes it easier to store the bike in car trunks or apartment cupboards.
At the bars, on the left handle, you will find the accelerator of the bike. I find this setup a bit odd, as I come from a motorcycle background where the throttle lives on your right. Instead, on the right grip, Gocycle installed an electronic shifter. The feel of the throttle and shifter is smooth and engaging. Between the handles lives a simple LED dashboard. The dashboard displays the bike’s battery level, gear position, light status and speed with red and blue dots. Underneath the LED dashboard on the right side is a USB charging port, just in case your phone needs a power outlet in the afternoon (unfortunately it’s only a socket of 1 ampere).
On the other side of the LED dashboard you’ll find the bike’s sleek row of headlights, which spans the width of the bars. The front light of the motorcycle, however, is not the brightest. It is more for the pilot to be seen than to light the road in front of him. Unfortunately, the G4i does not come with a tail light.
Attached to the magnesium front wheel you will find the bike’s hub motor, good for 500W of power. The 375 Wh motor and battery combination aims to give you a range of up to 50 miles, but that depends on many factors including the weight and horsepower of the rider (not to mention the terrain). Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to test the full range of the bike with only an initial two hour trip, but I hope to be able to get the bike back for a longer loan at a later date in order to perform additional tests.
En route to the rear wheel you’ll find Shimano’s Cleandrive three-speed sequential gearbox. It’s a mouthful! This drivetrain is really smooth and feels reliable under loaded gear changes. Also noteworthy is the G4i’s electronic predictive shifting system. This technology senses the speed of the rider and positions the gear in the right place for optimal pedaling, much like the automatic transmission of most automobiles. For example, if you come to a red light, the bike will feel your speed slowing down and shift gears for optimal pedaling after the light change. This system also works after going up a hill and gaining speed on a downhill slope, when the transmission automatically increases gears to match the speed of the rider. Otherwise, it is up to the pilot to manually change gears using the correct grip.
The Gocycle comes with an IOS and Android compatible app called GocycleConnect which connects the bike to your phone via Bluetooth. Inside the app, there are preset driving modes including City, Eco and On-Demand, as well as a Custom mode where you can tailor how much electric assistance you want the engine to provide. The app also has a home screen where you can find information about battery level, distance traveled, equivalent MPG, calories burned, average speed, odometer, and average watts.
An important and practical design element that you don’t see very often is the elastic phone holder that sits atop the G4i’s LED display. The elastic phone holder attaches your phone relatively quickly and makes it easy to see bike stats in the app in real time.
On the road – and in a boot because of my broken foot – I was quite impressed with the power output of the G4i. This is a Class 2 electric bike which means it can provide electric pedal assistance up to 20mph and has a throttle. The latter is particularly pleasant to use from a stop to gain speed. I have found that the battery and motor can tire out after a long climb using a mixture of throttle and pedal assist. In all fairness, however, the San Francisco Hills are huge and a pretty extreme test. This bike should be able to tackle most hills with ease.
I found the Vredestein (406-60, 20 x 2.25 inch) tires to be nice and soft on the road. Smaller wheels and tires are generally less stable at higher speeds, but I’ve found the G4i to be great for medium city trips, offering easy handling and grip. Best of all, these slicks look like MotoGP rad tires. When it comes to stopping power, we have hydraulic disc brakes hidden behind plastic in the front and rear wheels.
Most electric bikes these days are simply put together using third-party components. In contrast, the high-quality G4i has been designed from the ground up, and it feels like every element has been selected to improve your ride.
As for the price of the UK designed and built in Poland G4i, it certainly doesn’t come cheap. This bike costs $ 4,999, but I think it’s worth every penny. I don’t usually say this about e-bikes priced over $ 3,000, but with the quality and design of this model, I think it’s actually a great buy. If you’re on a tighter budget, Gocycle offers the G4 for less, at $ 3,999. The G4 comes with a different LED display, has a shorter reach, a different saddle, different pedals, and a power boost button instead of a throttle. If you’re not on a tighter budget, there’s also the even more expensive G4i +, which adds lighter carbon wheels for $ 5,999. Baller!
My only concern with the G4i is its electronic shifting system, mainly because I am concerned about its longevity. A good note is that Gocycle has 180 stores in North America that can help you with service and support. The bike also has a one-year warranty for the battery, two years for the components and three years for the frame.
The Gocycle G4i comes with just about everything a rider needs and stands out among foldable bikes like the Brompton Electric andD8. These bikes are always worth checking out depending on your use case, of course (I’m a big fan of the Bosche Drive units and Tern’s rear rack), but the G4i is something special.
The only things that I think this Gocycle is missing include some sort of navigation software in its app, as well as the aforementioned taillight. Otherwise, every inch of the G4i is meticulously crafted for a better driving experience. This is a remarkable electric bike that demonstrates the power of great design.