Review by Adam
REV’s Head Mechanic
With 15 years experience as a Bike Mechanic, I have seen many varying opinions about the electric bicycle.
Some players are completely against, and say that it defeats the purpose of having a bicycle, then there are the people that love them and think that they are the best thing ever for broadening the appeal of cycling.
As a very competitive road cyclist, the Orbea Gain’s ‘road-legal’ 25km/h speed limit is well below the average speed I normally travel at, but increasing the top speed is not what these bikes are for… It is really about maintaining speed and stamina on the hills.
When it comes to electric bikes, there are so many models out there on the market now. From Shimano’s Steps, Yamaha, and the very popular Bosch, the one thing all of these have in common is that they are mid drive motors, meaning you run the motor through the bikes chain and gears. They are also very heavy, geared low, and once they hit 25km they are hard to keep pedalling past that speed (you have to work twice as had go faster, as you need to work against the motor to get more speed). Those bikes are not designed to go much beyond 25 really.
Now for the people like myself who want to have some help up the steep hills, and also still want to ride above 25kmh/ without having to work against the motor, this is where the Orbea Gain comes into its own. The Ebikemotion HUB motor is great once you are at 25km/h, the motor just backs off and then you won’t even feel it at all, because it freewheels. So you are not having to fight against it to achieve higher speeds.
I took this bike out on my normal training ride loop, and it was so amazing to see just how much this motor was making it easier to get up the hills (ranged from 8% to 14%) and when I was on the flats, I was still able to sit at my normal riding pace, without working any harder than what I would do on my road bike.
One of the big difference was my heart rate was any where from 5% to 15% lower on some of the hills thanks to the 250w Ebikemotion motor discretely placed in the rear wheel.
I think this bike/motor set up is for the riders who want to contribute most of the power themselves, and don’t mind getting that little bit of a boost up hills.
One of the best things about the Orbea Gain is that it is very hard to even tell that it is a ebike. When I took it out with my 2 riding mates, it was not until half way through the ride that they caught on, it was an ebike.. Being that I am a mechanic, they just thought that I was just riding another road bike.
With the battery internally mounted inside the down tube, no bulky motor at the bottom bracket, and all the wires hidden in the frame, you have to really look hard at the bike to see that it is a ebike.
The handlebars are clear of electrickery if you want them to be. The Ebikemotion system has an optional (free) phone app, from which you can control the motors power levels, see battery state of charge, distance travelled, altitude, average speed, RPM, weather, and even local maps!
The best thing about this bike is that it rides just like any other bike until you get to some hills, and then you get that little bit of a boost up the hill, so you don’t have to work quite as hard, thanks to that barely visable motor. You may start thinking that you’re not as tired, so might go for a bit of a longer ride, or takle those more challenging routes. Anything that gets people outdoors and riding their bike more is a big win for anyone!
So to all the cyclists who say that ebikes are not really riding, take this bike for a spin and you will see that it will give you help when you need it (even when you think you don’t), and I bet you’ll enjoy discovering that your rides can be that little bit longer, maybe even more enjoyable too.