- The most affordable Gazelle model, still comes with fenders, a nice chain cover, sturdy rear rack with pannier blockers and triple bungee, integrated lights, and a suspension fork
- Premium Schwalbe tires provide puncture resistance and reflective sidewalls for an increased visual footprint at night, the headlight has side windows that also keep you visible and I like the white accents on the shifter cable and bungee
- Sold exclusively through dealers so you can test ride and be fitted properly, available in three frame sizes and three beautiful colors, Gazelle has a reputation for quality and has been around since 1892 in the Netherlands
- The step-thru wave frame is approachable but suffers from a bit of frame flex, the rear-rack battery positions weight high and takes up some of the rack's overall carrying capacity, smaller 400 watt hour battery, slower 2 amp charger, some rattling noise with the fenders and kickstand
This review was created entirely by Court Rye. To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Gazelle North America. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Gazelle products.
The Medeo T9 is a brand new electric bike model from Gazelle, being introduced to the North American market for 2019. The company is aiming for value with this ebike. Priced at $2k, it’s their most affordable product right now, but it still comes with fenders, integrated lights, suspension, puncture resistant tires, and an impressive Shimano Deore 9-speed drivetrain. In order to keep the price low, Gazelle compromised with a lower capacity 400 watt hour rack-mount battery and slower 2 amp charger. Compared to the now-standard 500+ watt hour packs that mostly mount on top of or inside the downtube, this electric bike isn’t quite as balanced and there’s potential for more frame flex and speed wobble. Furthermore, the rear rack capacity of 55lbs (25kg) is reduced by the 5.8lb battery and your cargo will be positioned slightly higher. The spring suspension fork isn’t as overbuilt and doesn’t offer lockout, but it does come with preload adjust. While other Gazelle models offer tool-free adjustable stems, this one comes with a bolt-tightened stem that requires tools… I’ve jumped straight in with the trade-offs, but overall I am very impressed with the Medeo T9 because it feels comfortable and offers a smooth, efficient ride. With three color choices, three frame sizes, a vast network of dealers, and a rich heritage dating back to 1892 with recognition from the royal family of the Netherlands, this bike is a cut above. In my opinion, it’s well suited to neighborhood cruising, riders who want a low easy-approach frame, is capable of hauling light cargo with a trunk bag or panniers for urban errands, and even daily commuting. You could attach a child seat to the rear rack, or you could get a couple of them and ride with your significant other, easily swapping batteries or carrying the spare for extended rides.
Driving this bike is an efficient planetary geared mid-motor from Bosch, called the Active Line Plus. It ranks just above the Active Line, providing a more powerful feel with increased torque (50 newton meters vs. 40nm) and faster motor output capabilities (105 rotations per minute vs. 100 RPM). This translates to zippier starts and consistent support when downshifting for climbs. It’s not nearly as capable as the 75nm meter 120 RPM specced Bosch Performance Line CX, but it’s much quieter, lighter (7.1 pounds vs. 8.8lbs), smaller, and smoother feeling. For a mostly-urban ebike like the Gazelle Medeo T9, I think it’s an excellent choice. Notice how the motor is almost hidden behind the chain cover and blends in with the black plastic. It’s really tucked into the core of the frame where the chains stays, seat tube, and downtube intersect. If you decided to add pannier bags to the rear rack, the battery would disappear and this would almost look like an acoustic bicycle vs. electric. Other notable aspects of the Active Line and Active Line Plus motors are that they can pedal backwards, actually cycling the chain through the cassette. This can be handy for servicing. All current generation Bosch ebike mid-drive systems include an advanced motor controller that measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second. This feedback is used in conjunction with the display panel, and chosen level of assist, to provide natural power output. It measures your pedal stroke pressure, aiming to reduce power surge (the on/off wave feeling often associated with heavy pedaling). And, it measures sudden changes in drivetrain pressure outside of pedal strokes that indicate shifting. This is called shift detection, and the goal is to reduce motor pressure when the derailleur is redirecting the chain. Ultimately, this will reduce gear mashing and keep the teeth on your rear sprockets and chainring in better shape over the long term. In my experience, it’s still a good idea to ease off on your pedal pressure when shifting. With nine gears to shift through and a fancier Shimano Deore derailleur, I’d expect to see less maintenance with this bike and better shifting experiences overall. The trigger shifter near the right grip is easy to reach and activate, there’s even a clear window showing your active gear. There’s a slight trade-off with the high trigger, it doesn’t offer two-way clicking, but you still get three-step low trigger action.
Powering the bike is rack-mounted rechargeable ebike battery from Bosch. It’s called the PowerPack 400, which references the roughly 400 watt hour capacity. Inside are high quality lithium-ion cells arranged to provide 36 volts and 11 amp hours. Most current generation packs offer 36 volts and 13.4 or more amp hours, so this is one of the trade-offs that allows for a lower price point. You might not be able to go quite as far as an ebike with the same motor and larger battery, but I’d still expect great range here because the Bosch Active Line Plus motor is extremely efficient. Both the motor and battery pack weigh less than their upgraded alternatives, and the display panel provides great feedback about range, so you can plan to make it home without running low. This battery pack can be charged on or off the bike frame, and has a built in 5-LED charge level indicator. It’s a handy feature if you haven’t been riding for a while… and I would recommend checking the charge level from time to time, aiming for 50% or three bars during times of prolonged disuse. Most lithium-ion batteries are temperature sensitive, so keep the pack in a cool dry location. The plastic casing is durable and well protected when mounted inside the rear rack on the bike. You’ll need to unlock it before sliding it out, and there’s a large handle molded into the back end, so it’s very comfortable to carry. Note that the locking core on the battery dock is keyed alike to the AXA Defender frame lock. This is nice because it reduces clutter! However, the key cannot be removed from the frame lock until you’ve locked it. In my experience, this creates a trade-off in how you store and keep track of the key. If you’ve got it connected to a keychain, all of your keys will be dangling and rattling as you ride… but if you don’t, then the single key could be easily lost when you lock the bike and take it with you. Not all frame locks are built with this “locked in” design, and I would love to see Gazelle move away from this to provide more choices for how users interact with their bikes in the future. One quick solution would be to use a small carabiner to keep track of the key when you’ve locked your bike… but again, that means more weight and a larger keychain.
When you’re ready to ride and the battery has been charged and mounted properly, simply press the power button on the top edge fo the Bosch Purion control panel. This display is mounted within reach of the left grip and features two main buttons: plus and minus, for raising and lowering the power level of pedal assist. It boots up in Off, so pedaling is just like a traditional, albeit heavy, bicycle. From here, you can navigate up through Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo for increased power and speed. To truly maximize your ride speed, you’ll also need to shift up into higher gears. On the LCD screen, a five bar battery infographic communicates charge level in 20% increments but there’s actually a range estimator menu that is much more precise. To navigate to this menu, simply hold the minus key for a couple of seconds. If you hold it again, you’ll find the Trip Distance and Total Distance (odometer) readouts. Note that you can reset Trip Distance by holding the plus and minus buttons simultaneously. There’s one more button at the bottom edge of the Purion control unit, and that’s walk mode. To use this feature, navigate up into any of the four levels of assist, press the walk mode button, then hold the plus button. The bike will propel itself forward at a gentle ~4mph (6km/h) speed which can be handy if you get a flat tire or decide to walk across grass or step hills. Maybe you’ve got the rear rack loaded with gear and would rather walk than ride? Anyway, the 1.7″ LCD display is constantly backlit with a faint white glow, provides good contrast with monochrome readouts, and shows your current speed at all times. You can cycle units from miles per hour to kilometers per hour by holding minus and tapping the power button when the display is turned on. All of the critical readouts are present with this display and I’d count Range as a useful bonus. However, as cool as it is, there are some compromises with the Bosch Purion. It’s not as large as the Bosch Intuvia display, and it’s not removable. You may be able to swivel the display to reduce glare, but it could take weather damage and scratches at public racks more easily. Also, despite the inclusion of a Micro USB port built in to the right edge of the unit, you cannot charge portable electronics with this display, the port is merely for diagnostics and software updates. Compared to the Intuvia, the Purion does not show your average speed, max speed, trip time, clock, motor power output, or shift recommendation. I have found that the plus and minus buttons are also a bit less consistent to press (aim for the right edge vs. the lower left or center because they pivot in towards the right). Some shops have told me that they will upgrade to Intuvia for $200 by customer request, which is nice if you’re near sighted or very set on one of the additional features I mentioned.
I really enjoyed test riding this electric bicycle because it fits my ride style, relaxed and comfortable. Gazelle is bringing an authentic Dutch cycling culture to the US, Canada, and Australia with their line of ebikes, and it’s nice to see one priced lower for a mainstream audience. As much as I communicated the trade-offs and considerations here, this is definitely a more premium electric bike with long-lasting high quality parts. The ability to find and test ride one at a local shop, get the perfect frame size and color, and rely on the two year comprehensive warranty means a lot to people who might want to rely on it for daily transportation. In the video, I talked about frame flex and showed speed wobble, but this isn’t usually an issue for under 20mph riding if you’ve got your hands on the bar. I love that they didn’t go cheap with the tires, and that the headlight has side windows to keep you visible at night. The hydraulic rim brakes are easy to use, requiring much less hand effort than mechanical, and the flick bell is really nice looking and sounding compared to many afterthought bells that are included with cheaper products. The branding and graphics are subtle and beautiful… internally routed cables, the all-black wheel setup (hub, spokes, rims), and that white accent cable and bungee strap all add up to something special. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback below and invite you to connect with others and share your accessory choices, pictures, and adventures in the Gazelle electric bike forum.
- Great price value for a feature-complete Bosch powered electric bike with name brand accessories, Gazelle is widely recognized for their attention to detail and quality
- Three unique color choices to choose from, I like the white accents they threw in with the shifter cable and triple bungee strap at the rear, internally routed cables stay out of the way and make the frame look clean
- Three frame sizes provide optimal fit, the step-thru frame is extremely easy to mount and comfortable to stand over, this is an approachable and comfortable ebike
- Excellent safety features, you get reflective puncture resistant tires, nice LED lights that are powered by the rechargeable ebike battery, the headlight has side windows to keep you visible from more angles, and there’s a durable flick bell to signal fellow riders and pedestrians
- Hydraulic rim brakes are easier to pull than mechanical, the Magura HS22 levers offer tool-free adjustable reach, and they won’t get damaged at bike racks as easily as disc brakes because of the high position
- Very comfortable saddle, ergonomic grips, and swept back handlebar, the adjustable angle stem allows for a more upright body position if you wish, and the basic suspension fork cushions cracks and potholes
- Plastic fenders keep you dry and clean, both have flexible rubber flaps at the end, and the front fender is extra long to shield your shoes, the plastic chain cover protects your pant legs and dress ends
- Very nice Shimano Deore derailleur with 9-speed drivetrain, you should have no problem climbing or hitting and maintaining the maximum supported top speed of 20mph (32km/h) as long as you switch gears effectively
- The Bosch motor controller is incredibly fast and smart, it detects pedaling motion and can even back off when it senses shifting which protects the chain and sprockets on the drivetrain
- By opting for a cassette and derailleur drivetrain vs. internally geared hub, this ebike is lighter and shifts faster, but may require more maintenance and be a little vulnerable in the event of a crash, tip, or crowded bike rack parking
- The suspension fork is raked out a bit to relax steering and keep the fender from being in the path of your feet while pedaling, this reduces toe strikes
- The cargo rack is positioned well, it’s out of the way for the saddle to be put down into the lowest position, I’d probably swap the rigid seat post for a 27.2mm suspension seat post for comfort since this ebike has narrower tires and a more upright body position
- The spring suspension fork doesn’t offer lockout and uses narrower 25mm stanchions vs. 30mm or larger, but it does come with preload adjust to help reduce bobbing and dive, and shouldn’t require much maintenance
- Smaller 400 watt hour battery pack won’t go as far as the now-standard 500+ watt hours on more expensive ebikes, but it does weigh less
- Because the battery is positioned high up and at the rear, it reduces stability and contributes to frame flex and speed wobble, it also takes up some of the racks maximum weight capacity and positions cargo or child seats even higher
- The Bosch Purion display panel is effective and easy to reach, but it isn’t removable and some menus have been removed as compared to the larger Bosch Intuvia, remember to hold plus to activate or de-activate the lights and hold minus to cycle through menus, the Micro-USB port is only for diagnostics and not charging
- To save money, Gazelle stocks the slower 2-amp Bosch travel charger with this model vs. faster 4-amp that comes with most of their other electric bicycles
- I love that the battery lock core and frame lock use the same key, but discovered that the key gets locked into place when the cafe lock is disengaged, this means that you basically have to lock the bike every time you stop or someone could lock it and steal the key and battery… if you’ve got the key attached to a keychain, it will rattle as you ride, but if you do not have it on a keychain, it could get lost easily when you take it off… I just wish they let you remove the key from the AXA Defender frame lock when unlocked as well as locked so this wouldn’t be an issue
- There’s plenty of room for bottle cage bosses on the downtube and seat tube but they didn’t include any, you could always get a trunk bag and panniers for cargo and accessories, but it’s nice to have a bottle within reach and because the seat tube is oval shaped (because of the cable routing design) it may not work properly with aftermarket clamp style bottle cages
- The Bosch Active Line motors have a bit of “clunk” feeling when you stop pedaling, I think this relates to the gearing inside that produces friction when you pedal backwards… there’s some momentum built up that doesn’t stop as smoothly, but at least it freewheels efficiently without any reduction gearing drag
- Official Site: https://www.gazellebikes.com/en-us/gazelle-medeo-t9-hmb
- More Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yJEvSx9S9YZuPU896