David MottonSee other accessory reviews written by David Motton
Tow Car Editor
An e-bike can be handy when away on tour, especially in hilly locations; it's even better if it folds for storage. David Motton tests a prime example.
Folding bikes make a lot of sense when you're on tour. Their compact size allows for easy storage, and they're perfect for nipping into the village for a pint of milk.
Unless, that is, the nearest shop is at the top of a steep hill. Then, step forward, the Gocycle GX.
The latest addition to the range from Gocycle, the GX, combines the ultra-modern design and smart looks of the other models with a more compact fold.
While other Gocycles have removable wheels and a folding handlebar stem, the GX is hinged in the middle of the frame and there's no need to remove the wheels.
It will easily fit under a fixed double bed, although you'd need to secure it carefully to prevent damage during the journey.
Folding and unfolding the Gocycle is quick, simple and intuitive. Balance the bike on the kickstand, release the frame hinge and fold the front wheel towards the back wheel. Then you simply lower the handlebar stem and secure it to the frame with a rubber loop.
For a more compact fold, you can flip the pedals or take out the seat post and saddle, which then sit in the rubber loop holding the folded bike together. But essentially, that's it.
If you take the GX on a train, it's worth leaving the saddle in place - this makes it easier to wheel it around.
You will want to wheel it, rather than carry it: although it's not heavy by general e-bike standards, almost 18kg is rather a lot to lift.
You don't notice that heft when riding, though. There's up to 250W of electrical assistance, available up to 15.5mph. Both are the maximum allowed by law.
That assistance builds smoothly, with more help the harder you pedal - hills become ridiculously easy, and it's possible to cover the miles quite quickly without working up a sweat, even on a hot day. The rear suspension and high-volume tyres give you a smooth ride and provide reassuring grip.
To make the most of the GX, you need a smartphone with the free Gocycle app. The bike works without it, but the app lets you connect to the bike via Bluetooth, display a 'dashboard' on the screen, and switch between different modes.
You can choose to have more assistance if you need it, or less electrical help to maximise the range. Gocycle claims that a full charge lasts 40 miles in ideal conditions and we achieved just short of that in practice.
With a price tag of almost £3000, the GX is definitely a premium product - you can buy e-bikes that will do much the same job for less of an outlay.
But they won't have the Gocycle's slick design, composed handling or gadget-geek appeal.
Or, you could try one of these
Brompton Electric M2L
- Price £2595
- Web www.brompton.com
The word 'iconic' is perhaps overused, but it can fairly be applied to the Brompton folding bicycle. The electric version is slightly cheaper than the Gocycle and folds to a smaller size, but the Gocycle is a smoother ride.
Carrera Crosscity Folding Electric Bike
- Price £850
- Web www.halfords.com
Gocycle and Brompton are premium products, but the Carrera Crosscity is around a third of the price. Your money buys a bike with a claimed range of up to 30 miles, with a handy pannier rack for luggage included.
A state-of-the-art folding e-bike, with a price tag to match.
- Smooth ride
- Easy pedalling
- Quite heavy to lift
- Expensive to purchase