The GoCycle G4i Made Me a Folding E-Bike Believer

This compact e-bike is agile, fast, and smooth

  • The GoCycle G4 is a folding electric bike that can easily replace a conventional, non-folding bicycle. 
  • Its 36-pound weight is less than full-sized bikes like the Specialized Turbo Como SL.
  • The GoCycle G4 is fun to ride and can easily handle potholes or gravel.
The GoCycle G4i folded

LIfewire / Matthew S. Smith

I rode the future of electric bikes, and it’s foldable. 

The GoCycle G4i, the latest from the veteran folding electric bike maker, has a lot to prove. Compact and light (for an electric bike, at least), it works hard to resist being pigeonholed into the folding bike category. 

Yes, it folds. But after taking it for a spin around my neighborhood, I find myself asking an unexpected question: why don’t all electric bikes fold? 

The Future Is Now

The GoCycle G4 is the most futuristic, forward-looking, future proof bike I’ve ever straddled. 

Unlike the automotive industry, which embraced futuristic design to distinguish electric vehicles, most electric bikes look like bikes with a battery strapped to the downtube. There are exceptions, like Specialized’s Turbo bikes, but they try to pass as a conventional bike.

GoCycle G4i unfolded

LIfewire / Matthew S. Smith

The GoCycle G4 can collapse to under half its normal size. It’s also light (for an electric bike) at 36 pounds. This is useful if your bike commute includes public transit and handy for taking the bike on a weekend trip.

The GoCycle G4i and G4i+ have a slick LED headlamp, while an LED tail light can be found around the back. There’s also an “F1 inspired” interface with  LEDs that shows gear position, speed, and battery charge. It’s like the LED grid found on a Vanmoof, though it can display more information.

GoCycle G4i's battery display

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

The interface looks straight out of Tron, but the moving, flashing dots make sense. I’m disappointed the interface is not available on the base G4, which only has a battery gauge, as it adds a lot to the bike’s futuristic style. Still, I’ll take it over the black-and-white LCDs on most electric bikes. 

Keeping it Clean

Bikes are messy. Gears slip. Cables fray. And chain grease gets everywhere. Most electric bikes use a drive system similar to a conventional bike and retain these issues as a result.

GoCycle's CleanDrive chain enclosure

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

The GoCycle G4 has a chain, but it's encased in the Cleandrive enclosure. Wires and cables are internally routed. That changes how the bike is used. You don’t have to slap on Spandex to take the GoCycle G4 for a spin. You don’t even need to roll up your pant leg to keep it out of the chain.

What about maintenance? Richie Gitler, GoCycle’s head of North American business development, says Cleandrive protects the chain and reduces the need for regular chain cleaning or greasing. “We cracked open a Cleandrive at 5,000 miles, and it looked fine,” said Gitler during my hands-on demo. 

Easy Rider

Folding bikes face comfort challenges. Smaller tires, a shorter wheelbase, and more moving parts conspire to give them a reputation for being fidgety, finicky, and jarring.

GoCycle solves this problem. The carbon fiber mid-frame dampens small pavement imperfections while a shock absorber on the rear wheel handles potholes. It’s an effective setup that’s more comfortable than the steel bike I ride every day.

The G4i also leans into the perks of electric power. Just look at those tires! They’re wider and thicker than most gravel bikes. This could make the bike feel sluggish from a stop, but the electric motor’s torque eliminates the issue.

"The G4 is not just a great folding electric bike. It’s a great electric bike, period."

And the torque is truly impressive. I pointed the bike at a short but steep hill that normally has me shifting into my lowest gear, then laid on the throttle. It scampered forward like a spider climbing a wall. 

The electric motor is on the front wheel, which keeps the bike’s center of gravity low and balanced. I once popped an unintended wheelie on a rear-heavy electric bike and nearly ate asphalt. A front-wheel-drive motor makes that impossible. 

There is one potential downside: speed. The GoCycle G4 has electric assist up to 20 miles per hour. Your legs can add more go, but anything beyond the mid-20s is unlikely. Most high-end bikes assist up to 28 mph.

Not Just a Folding Bike

The GoCycle G4 starts at $3,999. The G4i adds the LED interface, ups battery range from 60 to 80 miles, and includes height-adjustable handlebars for $4,999. The $5,999 G4+ throws on carbon fiber wheels. These prices might seem high, but they’re mid-range for a modern electric bike. 

You’ll pay as much for an alternative from Gazelle, Giant, Specialized, or Trek. And while I’d need more seat time to know for sure, I might prefer the GoCycle G4i to conventional electric bikes like the Specialized Turbo Como and Gazelle Ultimate T10. That’s a compliment, as both those bikes are outstanding.

The G4 is not just a great folding electric bike. It’s a great electric bike, period.

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