E-bikes are changing the way we get around cities, but they are usually bulky, heavy affairs that are even less friendly to trains and cabs than a regular bike. Worse, their high prices make them a target for thieves, making owners extra wary about locking them up outside. That’s where folding e-bikes come in – allowing you to reshape them into a compact form that you can take almost anywhere.
While most folding e-bikes are basically an amalgam of pre-made frames and components, GoCycle’s bikes are purpose-built, unified constructions – the company’s founder was an ex-McLaren designer. Today the company announced the GXi, its most powerful model yet.
The GXi sports a 500W front hub motor (250W in the EU) and promises a 20 mph top assist speed (25 km/h speed limit in Europe) and up 80 miles (50 km) of range. As always your range will vary depending on your weight, terrain, and how much you’re actually pedaling.
Those specs are on the high end for folding e-bikes, which usually come with small motors and batteries relative to their non-folding brethren. Moreover, since the motor was designed specifically for this bike, you should get better performance than you might from similar power on another bike.
That’s really what makes the GXi stand out: while you can get similar basic specs from competing folding bikes, the GoCycle design sets it apart. Some highlights:
- Borrowing the fast-folding mechanism of the earlier GX, the GXi is able to pack flat in about 10 seconds.
- In its most compact form, the bike is only 32.7 inches(380mm) long and 14.6 inches wide.
- It’s one the few folding bikes with full suspension, despite its single-sided arms.
- The single-sided arms and unique ‘PitstopWheels’ make it easy to take the wheel off to repair flats
- The battery is hidden within the frame for aesthetics and security, but still removable for charging
- 3-speed Shimano Nexus gears downshift automatically so you easily get going from a stop
- Fully enclosed chain
- Daytime running lights for visibility
- “Streamlined’ LED dashboard can display battery, speed, assist level, and gear.
- You can connect to GoCycle’s app for more detailed ride information
- Torque-sensing motor sensor for responsiveness (as opposed to the more common and sluggish cadence sensors)
- 38.6lb (17.5kg)
And while 38.6 lb would be heavy for a regular bike, it’s quite light for an e-bike (the RadRunnner I recently reviewed weighs 65lb), especially one with dual suspension. It shouldn’t be too difficult to maneuver around your building or use as a regular bike should the battery run out.
The GoCycle GXi is available to pre-order now, but you have to pay up for that design; the GXi will retail for $4,799 before adding accessories like mudguards or racks. If you can live with less power, you can check out the cheaper GoCycle GX or the slower-folding GS instead.
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