GoCycle was founded more than a decade ago by engineer Richard Thorpe, whose previous career was at Formula One team McLaren, and this latest GXi model tops GoCycle’s folding range.
Building on the clever design of its GX model, this version has a more integrated design and clever connectivity with its companion app.
GoCycle GXi kit and specifications
The single-sided design is a smart idea, especially for commuters, because the stub-axles that hold the wheels in place mean that punctures can be repaired without the need to remove the wheel at all – not that you’re likely to get a puncture with the toughened 2.25in Vredestein tyres.
The sealed drivetrain is trouser leg friendly and it houses a Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub gear, which is electronically controlled.
This provides a 39.1in gear in first, a 53.3in gear in second and a 72.5in gear in third. That’s the equivalent to a lightest gear similar to a 34/22 on a standard road bike (50/34, 11-32 cassette) or a pretty easy gear for climbs.
Stub axles mean easy puncture repairs without having to remove either wheel. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The middle gear is like being in 50/25, a nice even gear that you can happily spin up most low gradient inclines with ease.
The largest gear is similar to being in 50/19, so a reasonably high gear for holding a decent pace on the flat.
The injection moulded magnesium back-end also integrates 1in of suspension travel for added comfort.
The GXi handlebar integrates a bright front strip light for daytime running. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The GXi handlebar has an LED display that shows, via a series of coloured lights, your effort, motor energy, battery level and gear selected.
The front of the bar incorporates a wide and bright integrated daytime running light, using tech borrowed from the car industry.
The 17.5kg bike houses a large 375Wh battery within its aluminium frame, which powers a minimal, yet powerful front hub motor for up to a claimed range of 50 miles – impressive. The battery is claimed to charge to full from empty in four hours.
GoCycle also includes lights and integrated mudguards in the package for year-round commuting. Both are simple to fit when you need them and GoCycle helpfully includes instructional videos on its website.
There are plenty of other accessories available aftermarket too.
The bike’s integration credentials are completed by the GoCycle app, which can tune the power delivery to match your own power output via a series of tuneable power curves.
The app displays a myriad of information too, including speed, cadence, max speed, average speed, trip distance, odometer, calories burned, pedal power in watts, max pedal power, average power in watts for you and the bike (showing the split) and the equivalent in litres of fuel saved by using the bike.
GoCycle GXi vs GX
At £3,699, the GXi is a big step up in price from the standard GX (£2,899), but the upgrades include that smart handlebar with its rider-facing light display.
On the GX you just get a bank of lights showing battery level, but here the GXi’s display shows battery level in the form of 1 to 10 lights when you stop pedalling. It also shows mode and gear position.
The front of the bar has a full length daytime running light based on automotive ‘light pipe’ technology. It shines ultra-bright white when the bike’s active (on) and is a decent safety feature – but you’ll need to fit the included lights for proper night-time use.
The rear wheel sits on a single-sided spar, with electronically controlled 3-speed Shimano Nexus gearing built in. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The GXi also has a predictive, automatic 3-speed gear shift over the GX’s manual shift.
The auto-shift is on the whole pretty clever, but more experienced riders with a bit more power will use the manual shift override on occasion, especially when accelerating away from a standing start where the shift can lag a little behind leg speed.
Although the auto shifts down to first when you stop, it’s a great feature that ensures you’ll get the jump on most traffic.
The GXi also gets a larger 375Wh battery over the GX’s 300Wh, giving it a further 10 miles of range than the GX’s 40 mile range. The GXi is a little more integrated too, with no external cables on the bike, which makes folding more fuss-free.
Finally, it also gets a new, improved saddle, detachable metal MKS pedals, and overall claimed weight drops by 300g.
The plump Velo saddle is comfortable, but I’d be looking to switch it out for a favourite sooner rather than later. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
GoCycle GXi ride impressions
On the road, the GoCycle is a seriously fun bike to ride. The full-length wheelbase of 1,065mm gives it great stability and the pretty relaxed 70-degree head angle makes for stable handling that’s still swift enough to navigate with ease through traffic.
As for range, I got on average around 47 miles on a single charge using City mode via the app – this limits the assistance available until the rider is putting in the equivalent of 100 watts of their own power and ramps up to full assistance at around 250 watts of rider input.
Eco mode comes in at around 175 watts, and then there’s On Demand mode where the system works out when you need e-assistance and only delivers it then.
You can also set your own custom power band assistance level within the app’s power grid screen, via easy to use sliders.
The GXi folds quickly and simply, though its not as compact as the likes of a Brompton when folded. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The GXi is a folder, but don’t expect Brompton levels of compactness. The folded size is 830mm x 370mm x 750mm with the kickstand down (which means it free stands) and pedals folded.
That’s compact enough to fit into the boot of a small car, but it won’t slide under a desk like a Brompton can. That said, I wouldn’t be taking an electric Brompton on the sort of terrain and length of ride that the GXi can achieve.
The gear range is ideal for extra-urban riding and the low 39.1in bottom gear along with e-assist means the GoCycle has an impressive climbing ability.
On one of my test rides I took on a local hill that’s a kilometre long with 95 metres of elevation gain and an average gradient of 10 per cent with a max of 16.8 per cent, and the GXi handled it without a hitch. There aren’t many folding ebikes (if any) that I would feel comfortable on attempting a climb like this.
The central folding hinge has a locking mechanism for additional safety. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The ride quality is impressively smooth thanks to the combination of the soft-tail back-end and the massively voluminous tyres. In fact, the combination of the handling and ride quality encouraged me to try the GXi way out of its comfort zone on one of my favourite gravel excursions.
With the bike running in Eco mode, but with a tweak to the assist coming in at the 200 watt mark, it achieved an impressive 38.05mi/61.236km with 1,373.8ft/418.75m of elevation at an average speed of 15.57mph/25.07kph on a route that took in everything from long road climbs to real gravel (nearly 30km of it).
What impressed more, though, was just how well the bike coped with a myriad of different terrain. The motor may be tiny compared to most of the GoCycle’s rivals but it in no way does it seem underpowered in comparison.
The front and rear disc brakes are shielded from the elements and work superbly well, offering loads of feel, plenty of power and noise-free operation.
The fit of the GXi is well considered, and the relaxed 68-degree seat angle means that as you extend the telescopic seatpost it also significantly increases the reach to the bars, so, unlike some folders, taller riders like me at 6ft 2in don’t feel cramped – which is good, considering this is a one-size only bike.
GoCycle does offer two lengths of seatpost extension, which means that with a quick switch of post the GXi will work for both me at over 6 feet and my partner who is just 5 feet tall. You can alter the bar height too, which all adds value because it means the GXi can be used by both of us.
This opens up the possibility of the bike being a ‘family’ bike with this range of fit, or even an office run-around.
The front single-side fork holds the front wheel on a stub axle, while the motor is integrated into the wheel’s hub. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The system configuration is set for EU regs, which means the standard 250w motor output offers assistance of up to 25kph / 15.5mph within 10 per cent. Thankfully, GoCycle’s setting is at the upper level of the 10 per cent, and power delivery is a smooth curve.
It has great pick up from the front wheel motor from a standing start and traction control has been engineered in, and constantly monitors how fast both of the wheels are going so it can bring in traction control when needed. This improves the handling on loose terrain and when cornering.
The traction control system automatically varies the motor power to the front wheel if it detects that it’s losing grip, which reduces the likelihood of the front wheel spinning out under motor drive.
For US owners, you can set the motor output to 500w with a 20mph limit on power and also assign the left-hand grip-shift (which usually switches modes) into an on-demand throttle. Using this you’ll be first away from stop signs or have a handy boost on tap for steep hills.
GoCycle GXi overall
So, is the £800 upcharge over the GX worth it? Well it depends on your needs.
If you are never going to exceed 40 miles in a single ride then the GX’s range should be plenty.
The GXi’s drivetrain is completely enclosed, so you won’t get grime on your clothes. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
Charging time is also a consideration, with the GXi charging to 100 per cent in four hours with the fast charger – it’s seven hours with the standard charger.
The GXi’s bar has vertical adjustment unlike the GX, which is great if more than one rider will be using it.
The smart-bar is nice to have too, because it’s got full cable integration. However, the app is the same across both models, so you could just use a phone mount and the app’s dashboard display instead – which offers more information than the smart-bar alone (and you can adjust settings as you ride too).
The Lockshock offers an inch of rear wheel travel. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
The GXi’s metal pedals are a big improvement over the GX’s folding plastic MKS units for a solid platform. The Velo D2 comfort saddle is also an improvement, but I would switch out the saddle for a favourite almost immediately because it would save some significant weight too.
The auto shift function is great for commuters, but experienced cyclists aren’t going to be sold by auto-shifts.
So would I spend the extra? Actually, yes, but only just, and that’s down to the bigger range more than anything else.
Ideally, I’d like a GX with extended battery for a smaller upcharge, but then there’s the lightweight (15kg) G3C GoCycle in the range. I’s not a fast-folder but can be stowed small and shares all of the GXi’s tech.
It’s more expensive at £4,499, but I’d like to try it out over some terrain where a commuter bike shouldn’t be seen.
GoCycle GXi geometry
GoCycle’s GXI folding ebike. Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media
Head angle: 70 degrees
Seat angle: 68 degrees
Bottom bracket height: 27.5cm