Gazelle Electric Bikes
Gazelle Electric Bikes are beautifully designed and manufactured in the Netherlands and have a German motor and battery.
We have Sydney's largest range of Gazelle electric bicycles in stock, available for test-riding. Gazelles are consistently judged the best e-bikes in Choice/Ride On's testing, year after year.
Here's a summary of what's available in the growing range of electric assisted Gazelle bicycles.
Mid-drive or hub-drive?
Previous generations of Gazelle e-bikes used hub-drive systems. These bicycles had the motor (and controller) in the hub of the front wheel. Due to the hilly conditions in many of Australia's cities, current Gazelle e-bikes use Bosch or Impulse mid-drive systems, which offer more torque than the hub-drive systems.
Mid-drive motors are located at the front crank, where you pedal. Effectively they add power assistance at the same place where you are powering the bicycle - through the chain. Because of this, the electric assistance or 'drive' then passes through your bicycle's gears at the back before being transmitted to the back wheel; exactly the same happens to your pedalling force. Thus, the motor is 'enjoying' the benefit of the gears on the back wheel. If you're going up a very steep hill and shift to a low gear, the motor is now also operating in a low gear, allowing it to slowly and smoothly make its way up a steep hill, where some hub motors might have made it up less smoothly or perhaps not at all!
Below: The Bosch mid-drive motor
Gazelle mid-drive bikes use one of two systems: the Bosch or the Impulse. The Impulse system is more powerful than the Bosch, but they're both very powerful systems.
Mid drive systems are often lighter than hub-drive bikes, and more suitable for very hilly areas. Both the front and rear wheels are standard bike wheels, avoiding the need for special purpose front forks and adding the extra weight more centrally on the bike. This weight distribution is better for handling and no heavy hubs in the wheels mean the bike will handle bumps better.
Gazelle e-bikes have two sensors: a pedal rotation sensor (that tells the controller how fast you're spinning the pedals), and a torque sensor (that tells the controller how hard you're pedalling). This is in contrast to most other brands of electric bikes available in Australia, which only have a rotation sensor. This allows more sophisticated control over when the electric power kicks in and how much is provided. In the case of Gazelle electric bicycles, smoothness, safety and a natural 'bicycle-like' feeling is the priority. The dual sensor design is used to achieve a beautifully smooth and intuitive electric bicycles that feels like it's floating on air and easy on the legs!
Hub gears or derailleur gears?
Hub gears, such as the Shimano Nexus system, put all the gears into the hub of the rear wheel. Since there's only a single cog on the outside, the chain can be completely enclosed. This protects both the chain and gears from the elements, and makes for a lower-maintenance system. Hub gears can also be shifted when stationary, making for a more user-friendly bicycle. It is harder to remove the rear wheel on such a bike, therefore we strongly recommend upgrading your tyres to Schwalbe Marathon Plus on any bike with a totally enclosed chain guard, especially electric bikes!
The third hub-gear model is the Orange CX Bosch, which has a NuVinci hub gear system. It's a continuous variable transmission, so there are no discrete gears - it's a totally smooth transition from one 'gear' to another. This model even monitors your cadence, and shifts automatically!
Derailleur gears are lighter, and the steps between gears are smaller. They are more exposed, so you'll need to lubricate and wipe down the chain every month (more often if the bike is rained on) and your chain and cassette will need more regular replacement during major services. A major advantage of the derailleur model is that it is easier to remove your rear wheel.
The Chamonix T10 Bosch has a derailleur gear system.
Left: The enclosed chaincase on the Gazelle Orange Plus X2
Right: The derailleur gears on the Chamonix T10 Bosch
How far will it go?
The size of the battery will determine how far you can ride without recharging. However, it's really hard to provide a range for a given battery! The range will depend on how hard you're pedalling, what assistance level you're using, how hilly the terrain is, and how much weight is on the bike. That's why the figures below (provided by Gazelle) are so vague. Keep in mind that almost nobody experiences the high end of the estimates - to achieve such figures you would pretty much be doing all the work yourself and using the electric system as an occasional morale boost. Most riders in Sydney go around the low range of the estimate (e.g. 35km on a silver battery) in commuting conditions and about 30% further in recreational conditions.
The Bosch bikes come with a 400Wh battery. The Impulse bikes come with either a 416Wh (gold) or 482 (platinum) battery.
Below: The Bosch battery
What's the riding position like?
Most of the Gazelle electric bikes have a comfortable, upright position that's characteristic of Dutch bikes. They have swept-back handlebars, and "switch stems" that allow you to easily adjust the handlebar position without tools. They give you good visibility in the city, and are perfect for city riding (left). The new CityZen C8 has a flat handlebar, and a sportier, more forward riding position (right).
So which bike for me?
There's many pros and cons of each type of bike! It's always best to come in and test ride our fine bicycles before making a decision, but here's some food for thought:
Living in an area with very steep hills? Try the Orange C8 Impulse.
Fancy doing a lot of the pedalling yourself or going touring? Pick a derailleur version bike such as the Chamonix T10 Bosch.
Want the ultimate get-on-and-ride bike? Go with the automatic-shifting Orange CX Bosch.
Prefer a more sporty riding position? The CityZen C8 has flat handlebars and is less upright.
Happy riding and any electric bike queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.