Like most of our M2 readers, I love my car. I also love to drive around town and I love a spin in the country. In conversations with friends and colleagues since returning from the holiday season, the subject inevitably turns to the traffic nightmare that Auckland has become in the short space of 24 months. Having spent time over Christmas with friends in the South Island, it seems like this is not only an Auckland problem.
With the plethora of bus and cycle lanes, red left turning arrows, disruptive roadworks and motorway entrance traffic lights appearing monthly, it seems that our transport authorities are dead set on removing us motorists from our cities as quickly as possible. So get ready to ditch the car if you are city bound.
If you can’t beat ‘em you might as well join ‘em and with all these traffic woes in mind, I decided to research electric bikes.
Being a dedicated follower of design and style, I quickly dismissed the clunky options available locally and looked to the internet where I found an interesting London based company building stylish, stunningly designed e-bikes with an interesting array of breakthrough technologies.
I learned that the owner of the company was Formula One engineer, Richard Thorpe, who previously spent his days designing 300 Kph cars for McLaren. Thorpe left his dream job as a design engineer for McLaren with another passion in mind – how to build an affordable 30 Kph folding electric bicycle.
After many years of refining and development, Thorpe’s Gocycle hit the roads of England with more than twelve international patents and eight design registrations granted and pending. With his experience in designing lightweight racing car components and enthusiasm for design and innovative engineering excellence, Richard believed that an e-bike should be elegant, desirable, a joy to live with and fun.
I had to meet him, the Gocycle was the greatest piece of bicycle design I had found in my comprehensive research, it was electric and I wanted one.
I had been planning a holiday in the South of France for summer 2015 and thought that I’d pick one up and try it out. My first ride was in Biot near Antibes where local dealer René let me borrow one to test. I was blown away – the first thing that struck me was the balance and agility with or without the motor assist. It was pure magic, like riding on the wind.
The other incredible feature for me was the lightweight structure (16Kg) which meant I could easily jump on a train or bus with it, and if required, instantly fold up the frame which also allowed me to place it in the corner of my rental car boot.
A friend of mine emailed me from London last week and had this to say about his… “I travelled to Paris a couple of weeks ago where I took the Eurostar and my Gocycle. The cost of a taxi from the station to my hotel was 40 Euro for 2km and it took 40 minutes. I subsequently dropped my stuff off and proceeded to travel by Gocycle around the city to visit customers. I went back past the station in 7 minutes and the longest trip I had was 6 km and 22 minutes travelling in Paris traffic and having to stop to check my map. Over 3 days, I travelled more than 50km, visited 7 customers and had more enjoyment than I could have imagined. I cycled past the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, and Arc de Triomphe amongst many other sites and saw far more than most tourists.”
When I eventually met Richard in August last year, I realized he’d thought of everything, even down to ergonomics (a passion of mine from my office furniture days). The VgonomicTM designed seat-post and frame geometry, combined with height and reach adjustable handlebars, provides adaptable fitting and superior comfort for a wide range of body shapes and types.
This powerful micro motor with more than two times the power-to-weight ratio of conventional e-bikes will rapidly kick in at traffic lights to provide fast acceleration, smooth hill climbing and head wind propulsion.
And then there is the technology. A bespoke front-hub motor separates the powered drive from the back wheel pedal drive. This powerful micro motor with more than two times the power-to-weight ratio of conventional e-bikes will rapidly kick in at traffic lights to provide fast acceleration, smooth hill climbing and head wind propulsion.
Conventional e-bikes use derailleur gears which can leave even experienced cyclists in the wrong gear at traffic lights, however the Gocycle’s electronically predictive three speed Shimano Nexus gear shift ensures you are never in the wrong gear and makes sure you always make a clean getaway. And if you want to stop, the hydraulic disc brakes are a dream, ensuring full control in all scenarios.
When in motion, all the information the rider needs is presented in a streamlined, simple dash showing battery level, driving mode, speed and gear position. The long-life Lithium battery will take you over 60 Kilometres without requiring a re charge which can be done overnight at home in just 5-6 hours.
And here’s the best bit. When you register your Gocycle on their Smartphone App, it links you to Gocycle where you can select from three pre-set travel modes or set up your own custom mode. If you want a good workout, set it to ECO mode where the bike lets you provide more of the energy and assists you when the going gets tough or it gets hilly or the wind gets up. CITY mode is the one I like. If I’m travelling around town visiting clients and do not want to build up a sweat, this is perfect. The Gocycle motor does most of the work and you arrive at your client fresh and exhilarated.
And don’t worry about trouser cuffs. The Cleandrive is completely encased, so no more dirt and grease, no chains, no gears, sprockets or oil to interfere with clothing. The Gocycle is so clean I personally like to ride mine into a building, take it up the lift and physically ride into my client’s office. Customers won’t forget you and before you know it, you’ll quickly congregate a gathering of fans everywhere you go.
So imagine this – you have a finite number of hours in the day in which to make a difference in your job and derive personal enjoyment.
So imagine this – you have a finite number of hours in the day in which to make a difference in your job and derive personal enjoyment. Why start your day with a frustrating and unnecessarily time consuming commute that impacts negatively on your overall mood and therefore your productivity, when you can achieve enjoyment, some exercise and set yourself off on the right trajectory by commuting on a Gocycle.
They say you can’t re-invent the wheel or improve the design of the bicycle. Gocycle clearly did both, from the clip-on pitstop wheels to the impeccable attention to design detail, Richard Thorpe has changed the way we will live in the future and has given us all, from boat owners, commuters to travel fanatics the opportunity to beat the traffic and get places quickly, efficiently and safely.
Gocycle is available in New Zealand from GoElectric.co.nz
Matisse International Design