5000 miles with Orbea Gain

PassoGavia

New Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
I purchased my Orbea Gain M20i in May of 2019, and in 20 months and about 300 rides I’ve put just over 5000 miles on it. Some thoughts and comments:

Overall, I love this bike. I’m a 50+ year old guy who has been riding seriously for more than 30 years and without an assist bike, I don’t know if I would still be riding. After heart surgery I lost about 30% of my power, and some endurance as well. I went from a reasonably strong B rider who could ride all day to a C+ who was wiped out after a 35 mile group ride. I could no longer keep up with the friends I’ve been riding with for years. The Gain allowed me to stay with the pack and ride longer, to not be as exhausted after a ride, and yet to do so while still getting a good workout. And yes, all that on a bike that handled well, looked good, and didn’t overtly look or sound like an e-bike.

What I don’t like about the Gain
I don’t like the 20 mph assist cutoff. Yes, I know that’s the law for a Class 1 bike in the US, but it’s disruptive. Without assist I can pull 17-18mph on a flat road but I can only push over 20mph for short periods. When I’m solo on the bike that’s fine - I either turn the assist off on the flats or cruise at just under 20. But with a group going over 20 I get dropped. I would buy a new Gain tomorrow if they released one that was a Class 3 (28 mph cutoff).

That’s it, that’s the only thing I don’t like about this bike.

What I like about the Gain
Reliability: Boring, I know. But this is a fairly complicated machine, with a motor and gears and batteries and a control unit, and yet it has been 100% reliable for 5000 miles. I charge it, I ride it, and it works. It’s been in the shop once in 20 months, and that was just for regular maintenance (tune-up, chain replacement, etc.). I ride it 12 months per year, I’ve ridden it in the rain, in the heat and cold, never had a bit of trouble.

Smoothness: At one point in my career I programmed industrial robots. Getting a robot arm to move from point A to point B is pretty straightforward, but having it do so in a smooth way (start slow, accelerate, decelerate into position) is the tricky part. The assist in the Gain feels totally natural. Riding this bike you really feel that the eBikeMotion engineers spent a lot of time and really got it sorted.

Appearance, sound and “natural feel”: Most e-bikes look like e-bikes, even the purpose-designed road bikes that are supposed to be more sporting (I’m looking at you, Trek). The Gain looks like a regular road bike, handles like a regular road bike, and is surprisingly quiet. Sure, there is the hub motor, which is pretty conspicuous if you know what you are looking for, but other than that it’s not obvious you are riding an ebike.

Adjustability: The three speed toggle, one-button system works great. I also appreciate that you can adjust the power for each level (I adjusted my assist down so that Level 3, the max level, is at 60%). It’s simple, it works.

Battery resiliency: I charge the battery after every ride, back to 100%. I use a timer and never charge it more than 2 hours in a shot. After 5000 miles and 300 or so charge cycles I cannot detect any reduction in capacity. I’ve taken it down to below 5% fewer than five times (I do not have the supplemental bottle battery).
 

bouncy_rig

New Member
Region
USA
City
Colorado Springs
Great information I haven't noticed the 20Mph cutoff Maybe I am a little older and 20Mph is about as fast as I get on flats. I only have about 5-6 rides so far on my Gain. Bought a handlebar mount for the phone, I noticed E-bikemotion drains phone battery significantly. The best part is a 15 mile loop I come home not whipped just enjoy that distance. Weather permitting I want to do the 30+ city loop.
 

Ready

Member
So...you're moving to Specialized Turbo Creo? 😄

Kidding. Good to hear that it's reliable. Not so sure about the more complex Creo. I too ride regularly, but I need some assist. There are just too many hills in my area. I don't like the class one bikes for the same reason as you.
 

PassoGavia

New Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
>>>So...you're moving to Specialized Turbo Creo?<<<

I admit I have researched it, given that the Creo is a Class 3 with a 28 mph cutoff. Specialized made an interesting number of engineering decisions for the Creo, and I probably just need to ride one. But if it's really noisy (like many reviewers note) that's likely a non-starter for me. There are too many hills where I live for a 1X11 setup, and it appears the Creo cannot take an upgrade of a front derailleur due to the width of the motor assembly.
 

Ready

Member
>>>So...you're moving to Specialized Turbo Creo?<<<

I admit I have researched it, given that the Creo is a Class 3 with a 28 mph cutoff. Specialized made an interesting number of engineering decisions for the Creo, and I probably just need to ride one. But if it's really noisy (like many reviewers note) that's likely a non-starter for me. There are too many hills where I live for a 1X11 setup, and it appears the Creo cannot take an upgrade of a front derailleur due to the width of the motor assembly.
I've tried the Creo and didn't think the sound was loud. I've not yet tried Ebikemotion's hub motor yet however... The Brose motor didn't appear to be any louder than the Fazua in the Domane+ LT. Great point about the Creo's lack of gears. I have mostly hills around my place and that could be an issue. I think I'm ruling out class 1 ebikes. I guess the only ones I'm interested in are either Brose or Bosch. I would really like to try Cannnondale's Neo series (carbon).
 

MikeDee

Active Member
On the 20 mph cutoff, the fact is the hub motor doesn't make as much power over 20 mph anyway, so if the cutoff were raised to a higher mph, it wouldn't do much. Someone came out with one of those dongle things to raise the cutoff, and the consensus was it wasn't worth it. I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to have a higher or no cutoff, but most of us don't ride over 20 mph much anyway, except downhill. That's one advantage of a bottom bracket motor over a hub motor. If you want to do fast paceline group rides, the Gain isn't the bike for that.
 

PassoGavia

New Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
On the 20 mph cutoff, the fact is the hub motor doesn't make as much power over 20 mph anyway, so if the cutoff were raised to a higher mph, it wouldn't do much. Someone came out with one of those dongle things to raise the cutoff, and the consensus was it wasn't worth it. I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to have a higher or no cutoff, but most of us don't ride over 20 mph much anyway, except downhill. That's one advantage of a bottom bracket motor over a hub motor. If you want to do fast paceline group rides, the Gain isn't the bike for that.
The hub motor would make as much power at 21 mph as it does at 20 mph. Power is not a function of speed - the cutoff (from the motor's perspective) is arbitrary. It might not feel like as much power to a rider, because at higher speeds the amount of energy to go an additional 1 mph is not linear.

Electric motors can see reduction in power at RPMs beyond their operating range due to hysteresis and eddy current losses, and heat. There is some speed at which this would happen on an eBikemotion-equipped bike. By my calculations, at 20MPH the hub motor is spinning at just over 3500 RPM. It is possible that this motor's upper operating range is 4000 RPM (that's not an uncommon limit) which would be around 23 MPH. Of course stepping outside the operating range by 10% will not necessarily lead to a motor melting. And a change in the gear ratio of the motor drive would lower the motor RPMs at higher speeds (but also reduce torque at lower speeds). eBikemotion has clearly optimized their design for lower speeds (and I do understand why).
 

Phil Agur

New Member
On the 20 mph cutoff, the fact is the hub motor doesn't make as much power over 20 mph anyway, so if the cutoff were raised to a higher mph, it wouldn't do much. Someone came out with one of those dongle things to raise the cutoff, and the consensus was it wasn't worth it. I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to have a higher or no cutoff, but most of us don't ride over 20 mph much anyway, except downhill. That's one advantage of a bottom bracket motor over a hub motor. If you want to do fast paceline group rides, the Gain isn't the bike for that.
There's a large range difference between the original 25 KPH (15.5 MPH) and the 31 KPH (20 MPH). My US purchased F30 wasn't labeled as 20 MPH but it was 😒. Orbea has declined to deliver a 25 KPH fix about ten times now. I live near a world class 25 mile multi-use bike trail, and like all multi-use trails it was designed with 15 MPH limit. 15 MPH or 25 KPH limit is a common civil engineering standard that crosses the pond.

71 now, I died in 69 and luckily got a jump start in the nick of time. Four months later I'd shed the oxygen tanks and was back on my bike. Six months later it became clear I was significantly slower and not improving.

The 20 MPH cutoff makes it a pain to ride. The bike uses notched power levels so when I'm club riding the speed nuances come at my expense and bike keeps pushing unless I stop just having fun and adjust it. It's a lot more fun riding above it cutoff but that's not doable on any multi-use use bike trail.
 

Dave the panda

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
I purchased my Orbea Gain M20i in May of 2019, and in 20 months and about 300 rides I’ve put just over 5000 miles on it. Some thoughts and comments:

Overall, I love this bike. I’m a 50+ year old guy who has been riding seriously for more than 30 years and without an assist bike, I don’t know if I would still be riding. After heart surgery I lost about 30% of my power, and some endurance as well. I went from a reasonably strong B rider who could ride all day to a C+ who was wiped out after a 35 mile group ride. I could no longer keep up with the friends I’ve been riding with for years. The Gain allowed me to stay with the pack and ride longer, to not be as exhausted after a ride, and yet to do so while still getting a good workout. And yes, all that on a bike that handled well, looked good, and didn’t overtly look or sound like an e-bike.

What I don’t like about the Gain
I don’t like the 20 mph assist cutoff. Yes, I know that’s the law for a Class 1 bike in the US, but it’s disruptive. Without assist I can pull 17-18mph on a flat road but I can only push over 20mph for short periods. When I’m solo on the bike that’s fine - I either turn the assist off on the flats or cruise at just under 20. But with a group going over 20 I get dropped. I would buy a new Gain tomorrow if they released one that was a Class 3 (28 mph cutoff).

That’s it, that’s the only thing I don’t like about this bike.

What I like about the Gain
Reliability: Boring, I know. But this is a fairly complicated machine, with a motor and gears and batteries and a control unit, and yet it has been 100% reliable for 5000 miles. I charge it, I ride it, and it works. It’s been in the shop once in 20 months, and that was just for regular maintenance (tune-up, chain replacement, etc.). I ride it 12 months per year, I’ve ridden it in the rain, in the heat and cold, never had a bit of trouble.

Smoothness: At one point in my career I programmed industrial robots. Getting a robot arm to move from point A to point B is pretty straightforward, but having it do so in a smooth way (start slow, accelerate, decelerate into position) is the tricky part. The assist in the Gain feels totally natural. Riding this bike you really feel that the eBikeMotion engineers spent a lot of time and really got it sorted.

Appearance, sound and “natural feel”: Most e-bikes look like e-bikes, even the purpose-designed road bikes that are supposed to be more sporting (I’m looking at you, Trek). The Gain looks like a regular road bike, handles like a regular road bike, and is surprisingly quiet. Sure, there is the hub motor, which is pretty conspicuous if you know what you are looking for, but other than that it’s not obvious you are riding an ebike.

Adjustability: The three speed toggle, one-button system works great. I also appreciate that you can adjust the power for each level (I adjusted my assist down so that Level 3, the max level, is at 60%). It’s simple, it works.

Battery resiliency: I charge the battery after every ride, back to 100%. I use a timer and never charge it more than 2 hours in a shot. After 5000 miles and 300 or so charge cycles I cannot detect any reduction in capacity. I’ve taken it down to below 5% fewer than five times (I do not have the supplemental bottle battery).
I have done the same 5000 miles in 1 year across 2 bikes D50 and M20
It’s a 15.5 mph in the uk so we are worse off
As for motor cut off definitely less notable on the M20 compared to the D50, D50 4kg heavier thats why
 

PassoGavia

New Member
Region
USA
City
Roswell, Georgia
I've ridden 2500 miles this year, so I'm up to 7500 miles on my M20i. Still love the bike. I also bought a supplemental battery recently and have been able to do 50+ mile rides in the hills and mountains which is great.

Still wish for an increase in the cutoff speed. I purchased a dongle, but had very limited success with it (see my writeup here).