This story was the opening course, but you can now read my Gocycle G4 hands on review – or should that be 'body on'? That'll give you a fuller explanation of why this is one of the best electric bikes you can buy. Possibly the best, in fact.
A lot of people are shopping for the best ebikes right now. The weather is fine, petrol costs a fortune, and there's also a rail strike. The latter 2 of those are making everyone very cross – with the exception of anyone who's got an ebike, or is in the business of making and selling them. For them, it's happy days. Of course, if your commute is an hour each way on the train, an electric bike is probably not the answer, unless you really like cycling, but plenty of people have shorter rail – or London Underground – commutes that could be done away with via an ebike. It'll help you get fit, out in the fresh (ish) air, and away from all those awful people you have to share your train with every day. What's not to like?
Right now, possibly the most attractive ebike option I can think of is the Gocycle G4. This is a slightly less fancy version of the Gocycle G4i, which I absolutely love, and which just won the T3 Award for best ebike, no less. It lacks only a small number of the G4i's bells and whistles but is a lot cheaper, as you can see when you peruse Gocycle's website (opens in new tab). The standard G4 is £3,299 and has recently had a price cut, whereas the extra letter 'i' in G4i pushes the price to a more testing £4,999.
Some other great examples of the commuter-friendly electric bikes include anything by Canyon but particularly the Canyon Roadlite:ON, the thief-resistant Volt London which I told you about last week, and VanMoof S3 – although watch out for the new and improved VanMoof S5 coming soon – or the BirdBike, which is like a slightly cheaper 'homage' to the VanMoof. Or of course, take a look at our guide to the best electric bikes; there's something for every budget.
Personally though, I like the look of this one the best for commuting…
Gocycle's ebikes have a very striking appearance. You might not realise at a glance that the G4 is a folding bike, but you can see that it's not your standard two-wheeler. What I found really impressive about the G4i is that the ride position and feel were closer to a standard bike than any other folder I've tried, including Brompton's.
The G4 doesn't fold down as small, nor quite as quickly, as a Brompton but the transformation is still pretty radical. It's easily small enough to take on most commuter trains – when they're running – and then secrete under your desk when you hit work. The folded Gocycle also fits in car boots and small storage areas at home. At 17.6kg it's also pretty light by ebike standards although not light by bicycle standards overall.
That weight is explained, of course, by the inclusion of a battery and motor. The latter is a Gocycle proprietary design, and housed in the front hub, which is still very unusual for ebikes. This front-wheel drive has traction control. Power output is 500 watts in the US and 250 in the UK and EU. That's for legal reasons.
The 300Wh battery is good for up to 40 miles but it would be wise to plan for about 20 or so, if you intend to use the highest power setting all the time, or there are hills on your commute. The great news here is that a full recharge is possible in just 3 hours.
The G4's exotic design is based around a hydro-formed 6061 T6 alloy front frame, injection moulded composite mid-frame and injection moulded magnesium 'Cleandrive' system. The wheels are also magnesium and the front fork is one-sided. Very flash.
Another nifty feature of this and all GoCycles is that you can adapt the electric drive performance via an iOS and Android phone app. This also lets you know essential speed and distance stats, and can be handlebar-mounted to serve as a basic bike computer, if you wish. However, if you don't want to muck about with settings, Gocycles ride extremely well straight out of the box.
So what's it like to ride? Judging by all the Gocycle I've tried to date, I expect the G4 to ride like a dream, to the extent that I will feel annoyed about moving on to the next ebike to arrive, probably later this week. I've just taken delivery of a G4 so I'll be able to give you a fuller version of my thoughts very soon, so watch this space. Even before riding it, given its heritage and comparatively affordable price, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Gocycle G4. It looks like the perfect ride for anyone wanting to escape public transport and take up ebiking instead, without having to pay an exorbitant amount.
Gocycle G4: price and availability
Gocycle G4 is available at Gocycle.com for £3,299. There's also a more expensive model which replaces the composite mid-frame with a swanky carbon fibre one. The Gocycle G4 is also available at selected retailers in the USA and worldwide.