Using the Lexus CT 200h as inspiration, our search for products that focus on quality, craftsmanship and space-efficiency initially took us to the doorstep of the Hivehaus modular living space concept.
Our second instalment recognises that away from home, there are occasions when compact two-wheel transport is preferable to four. And just as the Lexus CT 200h uses its hybrid petrol-electric powerplant to deliver clean, efficient performance, the adoption of battery and electric motor technology as an additional power source has allowed e-bike manufacturer Gocycle to rethink our concept of the bicycle.
GOCYCLE – FOLDAWAY ELECTRIC BICYCLE
The Gocycle e-bike is the brainchild of ex-McLaren designer Richard Thorpe, and displays a passion for lightweight components and innovative engineering.
From its single-sided forks and predictive shifting gears to its powerful micro motor built into the front hub, the design of Gocycle is elegant and deceptively simple given the complexity of the machinery concealed within the streamline chassis.
Unlike a traditional bicycle, there are no visible cables, chains, gears or sprockets to maintain, and therefore no oily components to accidentally scuff against your clothes. Similarly, Lexus Hybrid Drive at the heart of the Lexus CT 200h does not need owner maintenance, and indeed is designed to reduce wear and tear on the petrol engine and brakes to increase their longevity.
We can already appreciate that in terms of style, integration and specification the Gocycle elevates itself over other e-bikes. But that is before you consider the additional design and engineering work that allows the bicycle to be partially dismantled, folded and stowed in the boot of the Lexus CT 200h with plenty of room to spare.
The Lexus CT 200h offers a variety of on-demand driving modes from the rotary selector and EV switch on the centre console. Likewise, the level of motor assistance in the Gocycle can be remotely switched between three preset modes on a proprietary Apple or Android application, which links to the bike wirelessly via Bluetooth.
The Gocycle Connect app also includes a custom mode that allows the rider to fine-tune the balance between motor assistance and pedal effort, as well as put a limit on the maximum speed the motor can pull you along at. Many of these functions are visualised on a simple LED light bar display across the handlebars and can be manually altered via selector buttons by the grips.
In much the same way, Lexus has equipped the CT 200h with an upper display zone in the dashboard that clearly visualises the hybrid system’s status. Intuitive and ergonomically positioned controls are also integrated so mobile phone calls can be made and digital audio files accessed without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
With the gear selector in drive, the continuously variable transmission in the Lexus CT 200h ensures the petrol engine is always in the correct gear ratio to suit the prevailing circumstances. Similarly, the Gocycle’s predictive electronic gear shift means pedal effort through the three-speed transmission is appropriate to the rider’s surroundings, while the gearless hub drive motor is always spinning at a rate that coordinates with the road speed.
Both the Lexus CT 200h and Gocycle were developed with a low centre of gravity for agile, fun handling, while a broad range of adjustment in contact points with the human body ensure the driver or rider is comfortable and engaged in the experience. Which effectively means that despite being compact in size, the products are engineered to suit a wide range of body sizes.
As you may have noticed, our examination of compact quality products has gone from a home to a bicycle. In the following three instalments the downsizing continues to items that are more handheld, affordable and address other spheres of interest.
Lexus CT 200h and the search for compact quality: Part 1
Lexus CT 200h and the search for compact quality: Part 3
Lexus CT 200h and the search for compact quality: Part 4
Lexus CT 200h and the search for compact quality: Part 5
Click the following link to see the full selection of images from this photoshoot on our Lexus UK Flickr album