Gocycle - My First 1000 Miles
We got one of our trusted Fully Charged customers to let us know how he was finding his Gocycle, what makes it stand out and how he thinks it could be improved.
By now if you’ve heard of Gocycle then you know the ins and outs of the design and special features this bike possesses, but many of you may not yet have ridden the bike. As an avid cyclist and daily commuter, I’ve just clocked 1000 miles, and wanted to share my thoughts (stats courtesy of the onboard computer and free smartphone app).
I bought the bike having returned from Paris, a city where no cycle ride at a pedestrian pace is longer than 20 minutes. I knew what I was in for moving to London and since I had left my single speed bike in Paris, I had to find a reliable alternative. I found out about Gocycle by chance; I was on the cusp of upgrading my road bike before the move but I am glad I didn’t. I went for the Matte Black colour scheme, a decision I stick to but there are days when the Metallic Grey looks great to me – brightening up even the dreariest winter morning commute. Keeping the unreliable British weather in mind, I bought it with the integrated lights and mudguards, and a folding leg which is great for keeping the bike steady when quickly folding it.
Once I had paired my phone to the bike, it didn’t take long to adjust the Gocycle power curve to suit my needs and I was on my way. I have used it to cycle to and from work for the last four months, with the exception of a few occasions where I am forced to take the train – which is a drag.
I live in South London, just at the crest of a notoriously long hill. I have ridden this hill on many types of bike and been up it in a bus. It’s right at the end of my journey home at the time when I am most struggling most and just want to get home; in short, I never look forward to it. My journey is 5 and a half miles, following two major roads door to door. It normally takes me between 20-25 minutes. Whilst both the train and the bus services from my house are fantastic, neither are quicker or more enjoyable than me on my Gocycle.
Using the straightforward smartphone app, I have personalised my Gocycle to give me a gradual increasing power according to my pedal input, right up to its maximum output. With that I can get to and from work 5 times, and still have some power left. If I run out of power en-route, I can pedal the Gocycle home like any push bike. I was scared of letting it run out initially but when I learnt more about the maintenance of Lithium Ion batteries, the same battery material inside your mobile phone and other gadgets, I started to run it till it was empty and get the most out of every charge. I wanted to know what happens to the high tech electric gears and integrated lights once the power assist had run out. 50 miles since the bike had told me the assistance was gone, the electronic gears and fully integrated lights are still functioning as normal.
Do I fold the bike daily? The answer is no. Gocycle covers most bases for design perfection but people have raised questions over the folding mechanism. Although the people at Gocycle don’t class the e-bike as a daily folding e-bike, once you get used to the folding mechanism, it can easily be used in this way. I am lucky enough to live in a house of cycle enthusiasts with multiple bicycles in each room, and because of the Gocycle’s narrow handlebars and being able to stand alone, it never gets in anyone’s way and sits very nicely up against the wall in the living room or corridor. I take the train out to the countryside regularly on weekends to visit family and this is another great use of my bike. I can get to any of the major train stations in London with ease and then once I have arrived I don’t need to be collected or take a taxi, I can cycle most distances at the other end. On the occasions where it’s a necessity to fold it, I am capable of doing it in 1 minute, making it look a doddle as it should be.
I have always been somewhat sceptical of folding bikes, thinking that with many moving parts involved in the main structure of the bike, there is bound to be a compromise. I ride a lot of miles and I would never feel that confident knowing the main frame can fold in half. That is where Gocycle wins. I have faith when I want to take it a little faster since it feels as rigid as any other bike I have ridden because of the main frame’s design and sturdy structure.
However, don’t get carried away about the thoughts of reaching Mark Cavendish speeds, because you have to remember that you only have three gears and small wheels, so you’ll never be able to keep up with a peloton of professional riders. Yet, the comfort and ease of reaching the street legal limit of 15.5mph means I never arrive to work all hot and bothered and needing to change clothes.
Recently on Top Gear, the presenters argued that faster cars should be allowed to drive above the current limit, because they have the higher quality components, such as top-end brakes, capable of dealing with high speeds. Based on this logic, the Gocycle should be allowed to hit the average speed of most cars because the front and rear hydraulic brakes never let me down, and I feel confident riding at speed in wet and slippy conditions.
One Gocycle accessory that I wish I’d upgraded to earlier are the Schwalbe Big Ben tyres. I learnt the hard way how inappropriate the Gocycle stock tyres are when I was forced to brake suddenly one day on my way home under rain. The tyres look Formula 1 cool, but it’s rare for Gocycle that they lack in functionality and durability, as even in dry conditions the tyres don’t offer much resistance against punctures. The Big Bens are the best urban tyre on the market because they have great grip and the sufficient air pressure which absorbs most of the pain from potholes. Each time I have the misfortune of failing to avoid a pothole, I take a moment to think about the pain if I was on my road bike or fixed gear bike with super thin tyres.
I have always kept my eyes on Gocycle since the purchase and I have heard about some mechanical problems with the bike. I hadn’t heard of the Gocycle Generation 1 prior to buying my Generation 2, but I know that the company themselves offered to upgrade G1 customers to the G2 for a very good price so that they get them out of the market. I can genuinely report that I have not yet had a single issue with my bike. The closest I came was not having anything like my normal power output from the motor until I realised someone else’s smartphone had accidentally paired to my bike and changed the settings when trying to pair with their bike for the first time. All this took was a very quick visit to my app and set it back to my specifications and save.
I thought it was a shame that Gocycle have discontinued their rear luggage rack. I always carry junk around on a daily basis and there are days when I would like to not wear a backpack and others where I have extra and don’t have the carrying capacity. Unfortunately because of the side arm design there is no way of fitting a standard pannier rack. I have played around with the briefcase mount bar on the front when I had more meetings around different parts of London, and it worked perfectly for carrying my tablet and a folder. I found that I could drape my jacket over the handlebars and it would sit perfectly when it was a bit warmer.
The bike attracts a lot of attention and I regularly get questioned at traffic light and on the train. I love to let people ride my Gocycle, and I can change the saddle for anyone thanks to hidden toolkit under the saddle. I just tell them to pedal and then hit the red button, and they always come back amazed. All walks of people from the super sporty triathletes that I live with to all generations of family and friends, and I am yet to see them arrive back without a beaming smile on their face, completely surprised as to what the Gocycle can do for them and their cycling.
I use the Gocycle to change anyone’s perception of electric transport and I have a long list of smiley happy people.