Gtech’s e-bike is a pretty good way to spend a grand, if that’s what you have to spend. The motor is pretty powerful and the bike is simple, but works well. The Gates Carbon belt drive is unusual at this price point and offers quiet, low-maintenance riding. Overall it’s a better package if you add the mudguards and kickstand, and the single gear won’t suit all riders, but as a relatively cheap geatbout it’s very likeable and worthy of your attention.
“The Gtech eBike will let you fall in love with cycling again,” says the company of its latest creation. “Ride it like a normal bike, but as soon as you pedal, you’ll feel the difference as a powerful lithium-ion battery and motor give you a boost whenever you need it. Hills will feel flatter, you’ll be able to explore further and arrive fresher with our electric bike.”
Gtech haven’t tried to do anything particularly clever here, just make a simple e-bike that’s not too expensive. So a standard-looking hub motor is what drives you, powered by a bottle-shaped 200Wh battery on the down tube (or top tube of the low-step City version of the bike). There’s two modes which you can alternate between by clicking the big button on the battery, and a digital readout of the battery state which heads from 99 down to zero as you use up the juice.
The first thing to note about the motor is that it feels pretty powerful. Hub motors vary in their output and this one feels more sprightly than many, continuing to provide good assistance even pushing the relatively big single gear uphill. Okay it’s not the equivalent of a good mid motor but it puts in a decent performance, especially for the money. On my benchmark hill (1.5km at 5% average with a 12% section) it never really struggled, in spite of my cadence dropping pretty low on the slow bit.
The Gates Carbon belt does a great job of transferring the power you’re putting in with your legs. It’s a high quality bit of kit, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one on a sub-£1000 bike, let alone an e-bike. So Kudos to Gtech for managing to squeeze it into the spec. It’s not like they’ve obviously cut corners elsewhere, either: the frame and fork are basic alloy but well made and finished, and the wheels, Tektro V-brakes and finishing kit are all a decent standard, nothing that’s obviously cheap or badly made. Overall the bike is simple but effective. The CST tyres are okay, doing a decent job of adding a bit of comfort, and they’re tough enough for a bit of unsurfaced riding if your commute takes you away from the asphalt.
It’s a decent ride, too: the Sport version we tested has a riding position that’s akin to a standard hybrid bike so it does feel relatively sporty. That’s tempered somewhat by the fact the motor cuts out early, leaving you on your own at about 22km/h. It’s not a bad bike to ride without power, and at just over 16kg it’s certainly not heavy, but it’s a shame you don’t get the assistance up to the legal limit. The two assistance modes are well-spaced; It’s good to see a bike have a sensible number of modes when many cheaper bikes boast five or six, three of which are generally indistinguishable.
The battery isn’t particularly big, at 200Wh, so don’t expect to riding for hours and hours on one charge. Gtech claim a range of 48km, which is pretty optimistic; I was managing a couple of hilly 9km commutes before I was sticking the battery bottle on its base station to charge. On the plus side, it’s super-easy to remove the battery with the handle incorporating a button to release it, and you can have the base station on your desk at work so you’ll never forget to charge the bike up.
Charging takes about 3-4 hours to full, so easily done in a working day. Bear in mind that the battery isn’t locked to the bike, so anyone can remove it. The battery weighs about 1.5kg and you can get a spare for £299 when you buy the bike, so it’s easy to extend your range by slinging another battery in your backpack if you want to. One thing to note about the charge indicator is that it’s a long way from linear, with the battery depleting much more quickly the lower the charge. So if your commute in takes you from 99 to 50, don’t assume you’ll have enough left to get home. Because you won’t.
The bike sneaks under the £1,000 mark by stripping out some things I’d consider essential on a city bike. You’re definitely going to want mudguards, and also a kickstand; adding those puts an extra £40 on the overall price. Our bike didn’t come fitted with Gtech’s mudguards or stand so we can’t comment on the quality but the price seems reasonable.
Overall the Gtech Sport e-bike is pretty easy to get on with, really. Given that the motor isn’t keen to help you over 22km/h it doesn’t really feel that sporty, but it’s easy to ride and the motor is a useful helping hand. The single gear won’t be to everyone’s taste, especially in hillier locales, but it’ll work for a good range of people with the addition of the motor, and the carbon belt drive is a real coup at this price point. If your budget is limited and you want something simple, it’s certainly one to look at.
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