Published on August 11th, 2020 |
by Kyle Field
August 11th, 2020 by Kyle Field
The Netherlands has embraced bicycles more than any other country, boasting more bicycles than people. The transition to a bicycle-powered transportation model was no accident, but rather, the result of an intentional effort to integrate bicycles into the fabric of the country over several decades.
With bicycles at the center of the country’s transportation model, it should come as no surprise that many of the finest bicycles in the world come from the Netherlands. Founded in 1892, Gazelle is at the top of that list, producing more than 275,000 bicycles per year in the Netherlands. Electric bicycles are the natural evolution of the bicycle and are increasing in popularity around the world. Gazelle reached out to us to review the Gazelle Ultimate T10+. The T10+ is a beast of an electric bike that melds Gazelle’s decades of experience building bikes with Bosch’s Performance Line Speed powertrain in an impressive package. Let’s dive in.
With much of the world sheltering at home and finding new use cases for bicycles in their lives, it felt like the right time to review another electric bike. Gazelle sent us an Ultimate T10+ HMB in a bright red for a few weeks to run through the paces around Southern California and we gladly obliged.
Right off the bat, the build quality, the thought, the design, and components on the bike make it clear the Gazelle Ultimate T10+ is a premium bike. The Selle Royal Essenza saddle is plush without being overly burdensome or heavy. The Schwalbe Energizer Plus tires provide stability and puncture resistance without being bulky.
Taking off down the road for the first ride, the bike handled extremely well, even without the Bosch powertrain turned on. The rear Shimano XT derailleur snapped through the 10 gears with surprising alacrity, leaving no room for doubt about the gear change, even when under a load. A trigger shifter made easy work of shifting, putting everything in easy reach with nary a thought required to fly through the gears.
When it was time to throttle down, the front and rear hydraulic brakes were more than up to the task, bringing the bike down from any speed with control and precision. Hydraulic brakes eliminate any squishy braking that is common in mechanical braking systems where cables can flex under heavy loads. A larger 180 mm Shimano rotor up front provide maximum stopping power while the smaller 160mm Shimano kit out back rounds out the package.
The T10+ looks like a normal bike, with only a few giveaways that signal its true nature. An oversized drop tube hides the 500Wh battery battery that provides powers to the motor. The seamless integration of the battery into the frame not only makes the bike look cleaner, it leverages the mass and rigidity of the battery for supplemental structural strength.
Up front, a Suntour Moby 45 fork provides just enough shock absorption for a comfortable ride on the occasional jaunt off-road without adding unnecessary weight or bulk. Up top, the adjustable stem makes it easy to adjust the height of the handlebars to suit multiple riders without the need for tools. A quick release seat post would be a nice complement to allow taller and shorter riders to swap out without tools, but as it comes from the factory, an Allen key is required to adjust the height of the seat.
A sturdy set of aluminum fenders and a plastic chain guard make commuting a breeze on the T10+, though they were not required during our review in sunny Southern California where rain is a rare sight. In its home country of the Netherlands, cyclists hit the road in any weather, making weather-ready bikes a necessity for market acceptance.
Out back, a solid rack with an integrated bungee strap makes it easy to quickly clip on a jacket or small bag, with capability for more permanent add-ons like baskets, platforms, and panniers. Just under the rack, an integrated AXA ring lock is a great way to immobilize the rear wheel of the bike, especially with the capability to add on an optional chain lock to strap the whole assembly to a fixed post or bike rack.
The Gazelle Ultimate T10+ is available in a bright red high-step frame in 53 and 57 cm sizes. A smaller mid-step frame is also available in a modern looking dust grey in 46 and 53 cm sizes. We tested the high-step frame and it was tight. The posture of the T10+ is in line with speed bikes, sporting an aggressive, forward leaning posture.
The swept back bars with Ergon grips make for a comfortable ride, while the Selle Royal Essenza saddle successfully strikes a balance between sport and comfort. At 50.7 pounds, the T10+ is on the lighter side of the range of electric bikes and it shows when you’re riding it. Hauling around less weight means more bang for the buck when it comes to the motor and batteries, not to mention a lighter feel for the bike itself.
The comparably light weight of the Gazelle Ultimate T10+ is nice for daily handling, but it becomes even more impactful when looking at the electric powertrain. Every pound pulled off of the bike is one less pound the motor or your legs have to get moving.
About that powertrain, the T10+ sports a Bosch mid-drive powertrain that puts the motor down at the bottom of the cranks. It’s a more efficient setup for the bike, but means it can only power the bike when the pedals are moving. The motor can put out up to 75 Nm of torque at four different levels of support, each providing supplemental power as a percentage of the power contributed by the rider. Eco provides 60% assistance, tour kicks it up to 140%, sport goes crazy with 240% assistance, and turbo, as the name implies, contributes a staggering 340% assistance.
The Bosch powertrain is smart, leveraging an array of three sensors to determine power input from the rider. A cadence sensor detects how fast the pedals are moving, a torque sensor communicates the amount of power from the pedals, and a sensor on the wheels tells the system how fast the wheels are moving.
Depending on the rider’s weight, the level of assistance, and the terrain, the onboard 500 Wh battery provides assistance for 20 to 60 miles of riding per charge. Because the built in battery is removable, it can be charged on the bike via the frame-integrated connector or when removed from the bike.
- Weight: 50.7 lbs
- Maximum range: 55 mi
- Watt-hours: 500 Wh
- Capacity: 13.4 Ah
- Eco range: 55 mi
- Tour range: 35 mi
- Sport range: 25 mi
- Turbo range: 25 mi
- Motor assistance level: 28 mph
- Engine model: Bosch Performance Line Speed
- Motor torque: 75 Nm
- Tires: Schwalbe Energizer Plus
- Saddle: Selle Royal Essenza
- Price: $3,999 USD
The Gazelle Ultimate T10+ is an exciting entrant into the world of electric speed bikes. The hybrid build, tires, and posture make it well suited to commuting or recreational use, while its durable, lightweight build make it a breeze to use. The powerful Bosch powertrain and battery seamlessly integrate electrification into the riding experience perfected by Gazelle over the years.
At $3,999, the Gazelle Ultimate T10+ is not cheap, but delivers a solid vehicle replacement to the world of electric commuter bikes. If you’re going to go electric as a lifestyle change, the vehicle tasked with replacing your car, or offsetting the need for one must be up to the task. Gazelle has definitely set a new high bar for quality electric bikes with the Ultimate T10+.
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