Do you remember that feeling you had as a kid, riding your bike around with your friends on a warm summer day? Now, do you remember the feeling you had Monday morning as you trudged to work, hemmed in by slow-moving traffic or tourists?
The Gocycle GX can't bring back your idyllic youth on your daily commute, but it sure comes close. This $3,200 pedal-assist electric bike not only looks the part, but it also makes pedaling up hills effortless. And it folds up easily and neatly, so you can stow it in a closet, your office or even on public transit, which is why it's one of the best electric bikes for commuters. You'll just really need to save your allowance to afford it.
GoCycle GX: Specs
|Size (folded)||34.6 x 24.2 x 15.3 inches|
|Wheel diameter||20 inches|
|Max rider weight||220 pounds|
|Max speed||20 mph|
|Max range||40 miles|
|Motor||500-watt, front-wheel drive|
|Battery||13.7-Ah, 22-V, approx. 300-Wh lithium-ion|
|Charging time||7 hours|
Gocycle GX: Design
This is what a bike from the future should look like. The Gocycle GX's frame has a sleek, minimalist design that not only looks awesome, but is also incredibly sturdy. The main part of the frame is made of an aluminum alloy and sits low to the ground; the handlebars and seat post project up. The GX's battery is housed inside the frame and can be pulled out when the bike is folded. There are no visible chains and only two short, protruding wires, near the base of the handlebar post.
Both of the GX's 20-inch, five-spoke, magnesium wheels are mounted on one side only, which looks a little unnerving at first but makes for a much more compact design.
Still, for a $3,000 electric bike, the Gocycle GX is missing a few things. Between the handlebars sits a row of five red LEDs that let you know how much of a charge remains in the battery.
If you want any more-detailed information, such as your speed, you'll have to connect the bike via Bluetooth to a smartphone app (Android and iOS) and then attach your phone to the bike using a pair of rubber straps. While these straps held my phone securely, this setup seems a bit chintzy for an otherwise-premium design.
Still, a smartphone app could be considered extraneous. A more egregious omission is the lack of headlights and taillights, which you can find on electric scooters costing a tenth as much as this bike. The Gocycle GXi ($4,500) has a daytime headlight (as well as a larger battery) but no tail light.
Folding and unfolding the GoCycle GX
Beefy locking hinges near the bottom of the seat post and the handlebars allow you to fold this electric bike into travel mode. In order to keep the Gocycle GX from unfolding, you have to attach a rubber clip between the two halves. I wish there were a better way to do this, but it took me on average less than a minute to unfold the bike and get on my way.
You don't want to carry this 40-pound electric bike too far, but in its folded form, it was fairly easy to simply hold on to the seat and push the bike along on its two wheels. I didn't have much trouble taking the bike through Penn Station in New York and stowing it next to me on a New Jersey Transit train. It definitely takes up more room than an electric scooter; I had to fold up a seat next to me to keep the aisle clear.
When I brought the Gocycle GX to my office, the security guards barely looked in my direction as I wheeled the bike through the gate and into the elevator. Try doing that with a regular bike.
Gocycle GX: Performance
Whether I was pedaling through the suburbs of New Jersey or the streets of New York, the Gocycle made biking easy and fun. The GX's 500-watt front-wheel-drive motor kicks in once the bike reaches about 4 mph, and you're suddenly cruising — fast. I was surprised at how quickly the bike accelerated, enough for me to keep up with, and even pass, gridlocked traffic in Manhattan.
Once in Central Park, this electric bike zipped along effortlessly. I barely broke a sweat as I passed other bikers struggling to make it up steep hills, and I couldn't help but crack a smile as I zoomed past horse-drawn carriages.
The Gocycle GX has three gears, which you have to treat as if you're driving a car with a manual transmission, shifting into a higher gear as your speed increases. Because the electric bike's motor is so powerful, pedaling in first gear while the bike is traveling at 15-20 mph accomplishes nothing.
Still, unlike the Trek Allant, the Gocycle GX isn't built for speed. Unless I was going down a steep hill, I rarely exceeded 20 mph.
Gocycle GX: Battery life
Gocycle estimates that the GX's 13.7-Ah, 22-V battery should last for up to 40 miles (65 kilometers). As they say, your mileage may vary. I rode the bike for 13 miles (which took roughly an hour), traveling from our office by Bryant Park, making two loops of Central Park and then returning to our office. At the end of the ride, the Gocycle GX had about 40% battery life remaining.
Gocycle GX vs. the competition
At $3,200, the Gocycle GX is not cheap, even for an electric bike, so you'll want to shop around. While we haven't reviewed them ourselves, here are some other models to consider.
The similarly priced Brompton Electric ($3,400) is roughly 4 pounds lighter, has 16-inch tires and sports a 350-W motor. Its 300-Wh battery is good for between 20 and 45 miles, according to the company.
The retro-styled Blix Vika+ is $1,599, has a 500-Watt rear hub motor and a 672-Wh battery that the company says should last up to 45 miles. The Vika+ has 20-inch tires, integrated lights and a seven-speed gear shift. It also has a rack over the rear tire, making it easier to carry additional items.
MORE: Bicycles from the Future
The Swagtron EB7 Plus ($699) has a shorter, 19-mile range than the other bikes mentioned here, but it also has a fairly powerful 350-W motor. Like the Brompton Electric, this bike has 16-inch tires, seven-speed Shimano gears and a removable battery. It also weighs about 43 pounds.
GoCycle GX: Verdict
There's a simple bliss to riding a bike. It can evoke those carefree days of youth when you had nothing else to do. Commuting back and forth to work is the polar opposite. The $3,200 Gocycle GX makes for an expensive nostalgia trip, but its pedal-assist technology makes for an effortless ride.
Because of the price of this electric bike, I'd recommend it only for those with the means, as well as a long-enough commute that the cost of the Gocycle GX outweighs the long-term cost of public transportation or using your car regularly. But man, is this thing fun to ride.