Richard Thorpe, previously a design engineer at McLaren, aimed high when he decided to create this electric bike. The fourth-generation Gocycle G4i looks like it came right out of the designer’s sketchbook. Inspired by Formula One’s high performance and automotive design, this bike aims to simplify your ride to work in high style.
At first glance, the G4i looks like it’s from the future thanks to the organic curvature of its frame and its five-spoke magnesium mags. This e-bike definitely gets your attention. Everywhere I rode, people were breaking their necks trying to figure out what I was riding.
Inside the frame’s sleek downtube lives a 375Wh (10.4Ah) lithium-ion battery pack, which is removable for in-home or in-office charging. Gocycle says the included charger can top off the pack in 3.5 hours.
The center portion of the frame, underneath the seat, is carbon fiber and other parts of the bike are made from aluminum and magnesium. This helps keep the overall weight of the bike down for improved performance and range. At 37 pounds, the Gocycle G4i is very light compared to other electric bikes, which can weigh upwards of 50 plus pounds. (Believe me, there’s nothing worse than lugging an electric bike up a couple flights of stairs.)
As for folding the G4i, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but you can get the bike origami’d in under 25 seconds. Just watch your fingers, because there are definitely some pinch points! Once folded, the bike can be pushed around using the seat on its wheels. Maneuvering the bike in the folded position does take some practice because of its top-heavy nature, but it’s something you get used to quickly. The combination of the weight and foldability make this bike super manageable for elevator rides or for when you have to jump on public transportation. It also makes storing the bike in car trunks or apartment closets that much easier.
At the bars, on the left grip, you’ll find the bike’s throttle. I find this setup a bit odd, as I come from a motorcycle-riding background where the throttle lives on your right. Instead, on the right grip, Gocycle has fitted an electronic shifter. The feel of both the throttle and shifter are smooth and engaging. In between the hand grips lives a simple LED dash. The dash displays the bike’s battery level, gear position, light status and speed with red and blue dots. Below the LED dash on the right side is a USB charge port, just in case your phone needs an afternoon power bump (unfortunately, it’s only a 1-amp outlet).
On the other side of the LED dash, you’ll find the bike’s sleek headlight array, which stretches the width of the bars. The bike’s front light isn’t the brightest, however. It’s more for the rider to be seen rather than to illuminate the road ahead. Sadly, the G4i doesn’t come with a rear light.
Attached to the front magnesium wheel, you’ll find the bike’s hub motor, good for 500W of power. The combination of the motor and the 375-Wh battery aims to get you a riding range up to 50 miles, but that’s dependent on lots of factors, including the rider’s weight and output (not to mention terrain). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to test the bike’s total range with only a two-hour initial ride, but hopefully I’ll be able to get the bike back for a longer loan at a later date to perform additional testing.
En route to the rear wheel, you’ll find Shimano’s Cleandrive three-speed sequential gearbox. That’s a mouthful! This transmission is really smooth and feels reliable under loaded shifts. Also noteworthy is the G4i’s Electronic Predictive Shifting system. This tech senses a rider’s speed and positions the gearing in the right spot for optimum pedaling, not unlike the automatic transmission in most automobiles. For example, if you’re coming to a red light, the bike will sense your speed slowing and drop the gears for optimum pedaling after the light changes. This system also works after cresting a hill and gaining speed on a downward slope, when the transmission automatically upshifts to coincide with the rider’s speed. Otherwise, it’s up to the rider to manually shift using the right grip.
The Gocycle comes with an IOS- and Android-compatible app called GocycleConnect that connects the bike to your phone via Bluetooth. Inside the app, there are preset ride modes including City, Eco and On-Demand, as well as a custom mode where you can tailor the amount of electric assist you want the motor to provide. The app also features a home screen where you can find information on the battery level, trip distance, equivalent MPG, calories burned, average speed, odometer and average watts.
One significant and convenient 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 the bike’s stats in the app in real time.
On the road — and in a boot because of my broken foot — I was pretty impressed with the G4i’s power output. This is a Class 2 e-bike, meaning it can provide electric pedal assist up to 20 mph and it has a throttle. The latter is especially nice to use from a stop to get up to speed. I did find that the battery and motor can become fatigued after a long hillclimb using a mixture of both the throttle and pedal assist. In fairness, though, San Francisco’s hills are huge and make for a pretty extreme test. This bike should be able to tackle a majority of hills easily.
I found the Vredestein tires (406-60, 20 x 2.25 in) to be nice and cushy on the road. Smaller wheels and tires are generally less stable at higher speeds, but I found the G4i’s to be perfect for the average city commute, delivering easy maneuverability and grip. Better still, these slicks look like rad MotoGP tires. As for stopping power, we have hydraulic disk brakes tucked behind some plastic in the front and rear wheels.
These days, most e-bikes are just slapped together using third-party components. By contrast, the high-quality G4i has been designed from the ground up, and it feels like every element has been selected to enhance your ride.
As for the UK-designed, Polish-built G4i’s price, it’s definitely not cheap. This bike costs $4,999, but I think it’s worth every penny. I don’t usually say that about electric bikes priced over $3,000, but with this model’s quality and design, I think it’s actually a great purchase. If you’re on a tighter budget, Gocycle does offer the lower-cost G4 that’s $3,999. The G4 comes with a different LED display, has a shorter range, 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-pricier G4i+, which adds lighter carbon wheels for $5,999. Baller!
My only worry with the G4i is its electronic shifting system, primarily because I worry about its longevity. One good note is that Gocycle has 180 shops in North America that can help with service and support. The bike also comes with 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 is a standout among foldable bikes like the Brompton Electric andD8. Those bikes are still worth checking out depending on your usage case, of course (I’m a big fan of Tern’s Bosche Drive units and rear rack), but the G4i is something special.
The only things that I think this Gocycle is missing includes some kind of navigation software in its app, as well as the aforementioned taillight. Otherwise, every inch of the G4i is meticulously designed for a better riding experience. This is a standout e-bike that demonstrates the power of great design.