- A feature-complete city style electric bike that's lighter than competing models and more sporty, the narrow handlebars let you squeeze through traffic and doorways easily
- Premium alloy coated fenders are tough and quiet, plastic chain guard keeps your pants clean, integrated lights and reflective tires help you be seen in low light
- Available in three frame sizes and an approachable but stiff mid-step mixte frame style, Bosch Performance Line motor is sporty and powerful, upgraded Powerpack 500 battery extends range
- Not as forgiving on bumpy terrain because there's no suspension fork or seat post, even the grips and saddle are more firm and active feeling, large display is easy to read and removable, also has a Micro USB port
The Gazelle CityZen T10 model improves over the 2016 CityZen C8 in a number of interesting and thoughtful ways, without raising the price. This is a sporty urban electric bike that makes for efficient commuting and allows you to pass through narrow spaces (between cars or through doors) easily because of its narrow handlebar, relatively lightweight build, and excellent weight distribution – with the battery and motor low and center. At just under 50 lbs, it’s going to be easier to lift up steps or into elevators, whether you remove the 5.7 lb battery pack and quick release wheels or not. It’s actually one pound lighter than the prior year model despite having a 100 watt hour higher capacity battery pack. This is because it uses a traditional 10-speed cassette + derailleur setup vs. an internally geared eight speed hub. To me, this change is the most meaningful update because it actually changes how the bike rides and responds. The Shimano Deore derailleur shifts faster, allowing for multi-shift, and feels more like a road bike or mountain bike than a leisurely cruiser. With no suspension fork or seat post suspension, the bike feels responsive and solid, power transfer is very good but comfort goes down a notch when the going gets rough. The trail where we tested this e-bike, a relatively new bike path in Marin California, was perfectly smooth and felt great. For those who appreciate the sleek bladed fork, skinnier 700c wheelset with deep dish v rims and narrower rack, it’s perfect. For someone like myself who has a sensitive back and neck, there’s the potential to swap out the rigid 27.2 mm seat post for something like a high-performance BodyFloat spring post to dampen vibration. And, the sturdy adjustable angle stem goes a long way towards making the bike feel forward aggressive or upright relaxed.
Driving this bike is one of the most widely used and proven Bosch mid-motors on the market right now. It’s the Performance Line Cruise model, offering 250 to 500+ watts of peak power and up to 63 Newton meters of peak torque. Compared to the Active Line motors, it kicks on faster and feels zippier but also uses energy faster. And, compared to the Performance Line CX mountain bike motor motor, it is slightly smoother and and more efficient. To me, it’s perfect for this sort of application, you can still adjust how quickly it accelerates and ultimately how fast it will go by arrowing up and down through four levels of assist, but it should have no problem climbing hills as long as you shift gears thoughtfully. Shifting is another area where Bosch excels, because their controller measures a combination of wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque 1,000+ times per second and has a shift detection software feature to reduce mashing. As long as you ease off of how hard you are pedaling for a moment as you shift, there will be reduced mashing and strain put on your chain, cassette, and derailleur. This is unique to Bosch in the space. Visually, the motor casing blends in with the black frame color but hasn’t been changed much. It’s the same oval shape that we have seen for several years now. Instead of turning a traditional sized chainring, the Bosch Performance Line motor spins a 15 tooth sprocket 2.5 times for every crank arm revolution. There’s a gearbox built in to make this possible, and I was told by Bosch that the smaller chainring offers better chain grab and a shorter overall chain. Two considerations about this design are that the gearbox adds some resistance when pedaling without assist, and the motor produces a high pitched whine when operating at higher power and RPM. However, you do get excellent support in the higher pedaling speeds, it doesn’t drop out the way that some competing models do (requiring you to shift more actively). As someone who likes to spin, this motor is one of my favorites.
Powering the bike is an upgraded Powerpack 500 batter from Bosch. It’s the same physical size as before, and in fact, the mounting interface allows for Powerpack 400 batteries to interface and is backwards compatible. Instead of an all-black plastic case as was used before, now the battery is half black with a light grey top portion that adds a bit of style. I like how Gazelle engineered the frame of the CityZen T10 to be lower than a diamond high step, but still stiff and sporty. There’s enough room under the top tube to seat this battery pack down, and they formed the downtube to have a slight indentation where the battery mount is, bringing it lower and visually blending it into the tube. The positioning of the battery pack is slightly lower and more centered on this frame than some competing Bosch powered electric bicycles which offers a slight improvement in handling and balance, and I think it just looks good. The battery can be charged on or off the frame and will fill quickly with the included 4 Amp charger. Most electric bikes seem to offer 2 Amp chargers and they often weigh as much or more than this one and are just as big. You don’t need any special adapters or dongles to use this charger but the plug end is a proprietary design, meant to keep clear separation between pins and reduce any mixup in chargers which could damage the battery. There’s so much you can do with the energy from this pack, including run the front and rear LED lights, and the larger backlit display, which has an integrated Micro USB port to power accessories. I have tested it with an iPhone and found that it maintained and slowly filled my battery which would be handy if I were to use it as a GPS while riding. Note that the headlight is aimable but also has windows on the sides to improve your visual footprint. The classy dark-grey / black frame is timeless and helps to hide wires and blend with battery / motor boxes but it isn’t as visible as a white or silver frame might be, so the lights and reflective tires are welcome additions.
Operating this bike is intuitive and fast, because there is just one power button and the display boots up at more than twice the speed of many others. Once the battery has been charged and mounted properly, and the display is clicked into place (if you removed it for any reason), just press the power key at the lower left corner and it blinks on. This is a monochrome greyscale display with clear separation of the battery level, speed readout, and assist chart from the less important trip stats below. At any time, you can press the little i button on the display or remote button pad to cycle through stats like trip distance, average speed, timer, and range estimate. This last readout is especially useful because the battery infographic does not show percentage and only offers five bars (20% increments). With range, you can get a feel for how far the bike might go with the remaining battery, based on your own use over the past mile, and with the chosen level of assist all taken into account in real time. It’s fun to click + and – to change assist levels assist and watch the range estimate jump from a low of 25 miles to upwards of 100 miles. Everyone is different, terrain has an impact, but this truly is one of the most efficient and long-range capable electric bike systems… which is furthered by the efficient e-bike specific tires and rigid design of the bike. To me, it’s like a more utilitarian, more comfortable road bike for use in a city environment.
Gazelle is a solid company, and you don’t have to take my word for it, they have received the Royal Dutch designation. It’s an honorary title given to certain companies and non-profit organizations in Belgium and the Netherlands based on being a leader in a specific industry or field of expertise, having national importance, and having been in business for over 100 years. I have been told that they go to extreme lengths when testing frame integrity and paint quality, exposing them to extreme UV tests and salt water baths. The Royal Dutch title is reviewed every five or ten years, so these companies tend to go above and beyond to keep it, it’s neat to benefit from such scrutiny and historical momentum here in the USA, with Gazelle only having been available now for a couple of years from premium dealers like the New Wheel, where I filmed this. Other thoughts I wanted to share include how well the kickstand performed and how easy it was to adjust. That the triple-bungee and rack setup use standard sizing and appeared to be sturdy and quiet when riding over bumpy sections of terrain. I love the fender choice here, they are made from thin lightweight strips of plastic with Aluminum alloy coating for strength. I mentioned how easy it would be to take the wheels off of this ebike because of the quick release setup before, but if you do so and try to turn the front bars to lay the bike flat, the front fender would still protrude and could get bent up, so keep that in mind. I like the locking grips because they are sturdy and allow for cycling gloves but some riders may wish to swap them for thicker, softer ergonomic grips like the Ergon GS1 which come in two sizes. I also want to call out the nice flick bell and adjustable hydraulic brake levers which can be brought back for people with smaller hands or those wearing gloves. You get 160 mm rotors on this bike, which should perform well in urban environments and be less vulnerable to getting bumped and bent when parking at bike racks than a 180 mm configuration. In my opinion, this electric bike should be reliable and more performant than a lot of similarly priced offerings. True, it’s not the most affordable product out there, but you get a solid warranty, excellent dealer support, and a range of accessories that were scrutinized for performance, style, and durability. Big thanks to Gazelle for partnering with me on this post and Brett Thurber from the New Wheel for taking the time to share his own expertise as a shop owner. If you’re in San Francisco or Marin, you can test ride this bike at one of their stores and he has experience with the older C8 (which has the internally geared hub) and can speak to the differences as that was a popular model for them in 2016.
- It’s available in three frame sizes so you can dial in fit and be comfortable, note the adjustable angle stem for a more aggressive or relaxed body position, the mixte “mid-step” frame is also more accessible because it lowers the stand-over height of the bike but remains stiff and sturdy like a high-step
- To me, this electric bike is an incredible value because it comes with premium integrated lights, high-quality fenders, and uses the Bosch Performance Line 63 Nm motor along with the new high capacity Bosch Powerpack 500 and costs just under $3k
- In addition to the integrated LED Lights that run directly off the main battery pack and a good quality flick bell, you also get reflective tires that offer good puncture protection, so there’s a lot of safety and durability built into this bike
- Weighing in at just under 50 lbs, I would consider this bike on the lighter end of the spectrum considering all of the accessories it offers, I think the lack of suspension fork is part of what makes it weigh less than competing products
- This would be a great bike for replacing your car for short trips, it would do well as a commuter because of the fenders and long chain cover to keep you dry and clean as well as the rack with integrated bungee straps and standard gauge tubing that works well with clip-on panniers
- Many European electric bicycles come with keyed-alike locks and that’s the case here with the Gazelle CityZen T10 which has an AXA Defender cafe lock for quick stops, to immobilize the bike
- I’m a big fan of hydraulic disc brakes and this bike comes with Shimano hardware that has adjustable-reach levers so they can be brought in if you have small hands or wear gloves a lot when riding
- Great 10-speed drivetrain with Shimano Deore hardware that offers multi-shifting and crisp performance that won’t require as frequent of tuneups, I think it offers plenty of range for 0 to 20+ mph comfortable pedaling
- One of the cool benefits of a mid-drive electric bike is that both wheels can be serviced more easily, and both wheels on the CityZen T10 offer quick release which aids in flat fixes and portability of the bike
- I love how the display panel has a built-in Micro USB charging port and that you can remove the display for safe keeping off the bike when parking, the battery pack is also easy to remove and is standardized so it’s easier to replace or borrow another pack (and is backward compatible to the Powerpack 400)
- Gazelle is a Royal Dutch recognized company which is an award given to 100+ year old brands that deliver premium products and service with an emphasis on ethics and stewardship, this is a big deal because only one company gets the award in each industry, they have a good warranty and sell through top rated shops in the USA
- The bike is really well balanced, notice the battery and motor are both positioned low and towards the center of the bike for stability and improved handling
- Given the high capacity battery and efficient centerdrive motor, I sort of wish this thing had a suspension fork, the 1.4″ tires aren’t especially fat and forgiving and the saddle is more active too, I would probably buy a 27.2 mm suspension seat post to smooth out the ride, and SR Suntour makes a good value one or you could get an adjustable BodyFloat
- Mid-drive motors like the one this bike uses pull on the same chain, sprockets, and derailleur that you do while pedaling and that can add some strain and wear them more quickly, but at least the Bosch motors use a combination of signals including torque so you can ease off when shifting and have it reduce the pressure and it also has software-driven shift detection which is not perfect but better than nothing
- Bosch has used a smaller sprocket for their chainring design which spins at a 2.5 revolutions per single crank arm revolution and I noticed that it just makes more noise than some of the alternatives, you can hear a faint whining noise that becomes increasingly audible with high power and higher speeds, one upside is that it grabs the chain really well which reduces drops