While ebikes are much derided in some cycling circles, they are not without their place in the cycling commuter’s stable. So, when my husband decided he wanted to commute by bike to work, along the Fernleigh Track at night, an ebike was called for. We chose the Gazelle Innergy XT, a new but superseded model that we got a good deal on and which was, for us, a significant investment in a bike.
The ride is powered by both the pedals and the motor, with the motor matching the effort from the pedals. This makes riding easy but still requires some effort. With the motor cutting out at 25kph, a legal requirement, the bike doesn’t allow for speedy riders terrorising pedestrians and slower riders on shared paths, but does make passing others on uphills an easy feat, something my husband finds to be one of the highlights of his trip home in the mornings. I have had my only experience of needing to brake on an uphill on this bike.
The appearance is typical of the modern style Gazelle ranges with a futuristic look about it, with its flattened tubing, silver powdercoated finish and geometric decals.
The battery is integrated with the rear light, under the rear rack, making it unobtrusive. The front light is beautifully integrated into the front mudguard. The additional weight of the battery and motor makes the total weight of the bike 26 kg approximately. While this seems excessive, the bike rides very well when not using the motor and the additional weight is unnoticeable to me.
Gearing is via an internal Shimano 7 Speed Nexus hub, also adding weight to the rear wheel. This has worked flawlessly.
The upright seating position is easily adjusted to suit any rider with the innovative and easy to use handlebar adjusting system.
But is an ebike worth the extra money? And why not just toughen up and ride? Petrol savings alone mean that this bike will have paid for itself in two years maximum. Where the ebike comes into its own is when you have a ride that is long or hilly or both. So that meeting on the other side of town suddenly doesn’t seem so far away and a 35 minute trip becomes a 25 minute one, arriving sweat free and energised, but not enervated, by the trip.
So far, after 13 months of ownership, he has ridden around seven thousand kilometres on this bike and is more than happy with it. He recharges the battery after nearly every commute as one charge would not quite do two commutes. The cost of electricity has not been noticeable on our electricity bills.
So far, there have been a few problems, mostly fixed under warranty. Additional to those mechanical problems there has also been a worn out back tyre which needed to be replaced, brake pads and brake cable and three broken spokes. The total cost of these repairs has been around $200.
The problems that occurred as warranty issues have been the motor failing (the whole wheel was replaced), problems with water in the electricals and the lights stopping working.
The water problem occurred earlier this year in January when we had very heavy rain causing local flooding, and he insisted on riding to work. Riding through moderately heavy rain has not proven to be a problem however.
The complexity of the front wheel where the motor is housed makes a change of tyre very challenging, something that requires a trip to the bike shop. Servicing of the motor is also done by computer at the bike shop.
He did find that, on Fernleigh Track, riding at night, the lights were not adequate in the total darkness there and we purchased an additional much brighter light. The standard lights are quite acceptable for use in street light conditions, however. Hazards on the track at night are mainly wildlife and striking a rabbit or wallaby at night could cause a crash, miles from nowhere. Thankfully, the only brushes he has had with wildlife have been twice with small owls, and have caused no problems other than large frights!
Many thanks to Metro Cycles for their excellent service and the great deal on this bike.
I know it has been a long time since I’ve blogged here, due to my parents going into aged care, but I now have a Facebook page which is quite active, so please join in the discussion there. The link is on the sidebar.