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With an e-bike that folds this small, your ride can go wherever you do

When it's folded the GoCycle G4 e-bike can rest on the center stand - the pedals also fold in.
GoCycle G4
MSRP $3,500.00
“Lightweight, compact, and easy to fold, the GoCycle G4 is the ultimate e-bike for space-conscious city dwellers.”
  • Lightweight portability
  • Folds compactly to save space
  • Extraordinary build quality for strength and durability
  • Elegant, functional design
  • App-based performance features
  • High price
  • Speed limited to 20 mph maximum
GoCycle G4 parked on the sidewalk at Long Sands Beach in York, Maine, with the ocean in the background.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

For packed city streets with limited parking, an e-bike can be the ultimate transportation option. But where do you put it when you’ve reached your destination? Theft and vandalism can make locking a bike up unappealing, but storing it inside means gobbling up valuable square footage. Folding e-bikes solve this problem by conveniently packing down, and GoCycle is one of the oldest names in the space.

When I reviewed the GoCycle GX folding e-bike in 2019, we praised it for many of the same features we admire in the updated G4. More recently, we tagged the latest generation GoCycle G4 as the best folding e-bike overall of the best electric bikes for 2023. The G4 is an especially sound choice if you live in a city.

A performance pedigree

A front three-quarter view of the left side of a GoCycle G4 folding e-bike parked on a high school campus with an athletic stadium in the background.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

The rapidly expanding e-bike market is drawing plenty of lookalikes in popular categories, including folding e-bikes. You won’t see other brands that resemble the GoCycle G4, primarily due to the GoCycle’s origin. Karbon Kinetics Ltd., the company that manufactures GoCycle folding e-bikes, was founded in 2002 by Richard Thorpe, a former design engineer with McLaren Automotive. McLaren manufactures supercars and builds Formula One race cars, both types of vehicles with strong, lightweight materials and a focus on performance.

When Thorp’s company launched its first folding e-bike in 2009, the GoCycle G1 won praise for its design and functional performance. The G4, officially called Generation Four, is the seventh iteration of the original design. The GoCycle’s physical appearance has not changed in 14 years. The improvements in the subsequent folding e-bike generations have included Bluetooth connectivity, ease and speed of folding and unfolding, daytime running lights (DRL), and enhanced app security and personalization features.

Know when to fold and when to walk away

When you fold the GoCycle G4 you can hold the seat and roll the e-bike around on both wheels.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

Not all folding e-bikes save space. The 90-pound Engwe X24 is an admirable on- and off-road powerhouse, and it technically folds up, but no way would most buyers even be able to lug it up a full flight of stairs, especially when folded. Even more typical folding e-bikes such as the Rad Power Bikes Rad Mini and the Engwe EP-2 Pro weigh in at 67 pounds and 68 pounds, respectively. Fortunately, the GoCycle G4 weighs just 38 pounds as tested.

GoCycle claims that folding it takes under 10 seconds, and with just a bit of practice, we were able to match or beat that time. You release two latches: one on the right side of the frame, and the second latch at the base of the handlebar stem. After you unfold the frame latch, you can actually pull the front around and it will glide on the front wheel. Next, unlatch and fold down the handlebar stem.

The GoCycle G4 is a beautifully designed machine that draws positive comments wherever it takes you.

When folded, a sturdy rubber loop holds the e-bike’s sections together, lending confidence that the bike will stay folded when you carry or roll it.

Yes, roll it. One of the GoCycle G4’s most convenient features is its ability to roll when folded. After you fold the bike and attach the rubber loop, you can roll it on both wheels like a golf bag cart, using the seat as a handle. Leaving the center stand extended even lets you store it upright without leaning it on anything. Adjusting the seat height to its lowest position and folding the pedals crunches the GoCycle down to just 34.6 inches long, 15.30 inches wide, and 24.2 inches high.

Going and stopping

A GoCycle G4 folding e-bike parked next to a football field.
So, the GoCycle G4’s design, dimensions, weight, and folding mechanism are top-flight, but how about riding it?

The G4 uses a 36-volt, 8.1Ah battery to power its 250-watt continuous-use, 500-watt peak electric front hub motor. You can cycle through three gears using a shift on the right grip, and the e-bike’s chain drive and Shimano gears are totally enclosed to minimize maintenance.

You start the G4 by pressing a power button on the lower left side of the frame, but there’s no screen to power on. Instead, it offers rubber loops to mount your phone on the handlebars and uses the GoCycle app to monitor speed, battery level, distance travel, and more. If you’re just taking a short ride, or don’t care about these numbers, you can always skip it.

The G4 uses its battery for pedal power assistance, with no throttle option. A torque sensor means that when you push the pedals harder, the system supplies more power assistance. We prefer this setup to cadence sensors, which require you to pedal faster for more power. A tiny boost button near the left handgrip can supply a bit more power for short durations, but only if you’re already pedaling.

The G4’s maximum speed is limited to 20 miles per hour, and the company claims the G4’s range per charge is up to 40 miles depending on pedal input. As usual, rider weight, road surface and incline, air temperature, and many other factors can drastically affect range. If you plan on no more than 10 to 15 miles per charge, you’ll likely never run out of battery power no matter how hard you push it.

If you use the GoCycle G4 as intended, for bopping around town or campus, speed isn’t as important as light weight, convenience, and comfort. I found the GoCycle ideal for short, brisk rides to carry me from point to point. Disc brakes front and rear stop the bike quickly with no drama. Its folding design means you’ll never really need to lock it up since you can take it with you everywhere from coffee shops to classrooms.

You don’t have to live in a city

The GoCycle G4 folding e-bike parked by the Atlantic Ocean
If you don’t live in a city, small town, or on a college campus, there are still plenty of attractive alternate use cases for the GoCycle G4. It may not be the best e-bike for touring, but the G4 is an excellent choice to take on trips when you want a convenient way to get around without moving your vehicle after you reach your destination. With its minimal storage requirements, it’s not much of a challenge to carry the GoCycle G4 in RVs, trucks, or SUVs. You could probably carry two G4s in the trunk of most cars, Miatas and their ilk excluded.

The ultimate city ride

When it's folded the GoCycle G4 e-bike can rest on the center stand - the pedals also fold in.
You can certainly spend less for a fine folding e-bike than the GoCycle G4’s $3,500 price, but if your budget can handle it, you won’t find a better folding e-bike, especially for use in a city. I enthusiastically recommend the G4 for anyone who needs lightweight, easy-to-store personal transport, in or out of a city. The GoCycle G4 gets the highest marks on function alone, but it doesn’t hurt that it’s also a beautifully designed machine that attracts attention and positive comments wherever you take it.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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