I’ve spent the last month with the Gazelle CityZen T9 Class 1 electric bike with Bosch Performance powertrain and in-tube battery but it only took my wife a few seconds to realize this bike was for her. Let me explain…
First, some background. Royal Dutch Gazelle (est. 1892) makes a variety of true Dutch street legal, category 1 bikes powered by Bosch powertrains. So that means you get the incredibly reliable but expensive and unexciting powertrain integrated into to a beautiful city bike. The Bosch Powertube battery is 500 Wh and the motor throws out 250 W of power at 63 NM of torque. So you get very solid pedal assistance and longevity.
But where this bike really excels is in the integration of all of its components, not just the powertrain. Here, you get all the bells and whistles including front and rear integrated bright lighting that works with the Purion display. For security it includes an AXA integrated lock, which is keyed-alike to the battery as well. It also includes a strong rear rack with integrated bungie cables (panniers sold separately).
The $3,500 aluminum bike weighs in under 49 lb (22 kg, lighter than a typical steel frame Dutch non electric bike) so it is relatively agile and its thin treaded tires effortlessly propel you around town. The Shimano Deore 9-speed gear array goes from granny to downhill with ease. The saddle is comfortable and the large disc brakes are incredibly apt at quietly stopping.
Overall this bike is solidly built with a rigid fork, aluminum frame and quality of components you can truly feel throughout the bike. This feels like the kind of bike that could last 20 years of everyday riding.
CityZen but Suburban burden
Sadly however, this bike isn’t my jam for two major reasons. The 20 mph (32 km/h) power cutoff and thin Continental tires didn’t work well with my commute and lifestyle. I usually spend most of my e-bike ride in the mid-upper 20s (upper 30s in km/h) on flat ground (slower on uphill, faster downhill obviously). Also the roads in my area aren’t smooth at all and in fact can be quite bumpy.
The 2017 class 3 Raleigh Redux IE I currently use daily have Schwalbe Big Ben tires and the Brose motor which quietly gets me up close to 28 mph (45 km/h) before softly removing assistance.
So I took the CityZen on my morning commute a few times as part of the review. It had absolutely no problems climbing the hills with the Bosch Performance line putting out about as much assist as the quieter 3-year-old Brose motor that I am used to. Maybe more assist.
The flat ground was disappointing however with the pedal assist cutting me off at close to 20 mph (32 km/h), which was pretty painful and in my case (I drive on 30-35 mph or 48-56 km/h roads) didn’t allow me to keep up with traffic and forced people to have to pass me more often.
Additionally, I didn’t find the thin tires apt when hitting the various street terrains I cover on my way to work. One pothole in particular, which I’ve unceremoniously hit a few times with the Schwalbes, almost ended me on the T9. I will say that the bigger tread and splash guards on the CityZen did make a rainy day commute a lot more grippy and a lot less soggy. Trade-offs.
Gazelle CityZen T10
I should have opted for the $500 more expensive version of the CityZen bike dubbed the T10, which would have solved my 2 issues above. The Class 3 T10 upgrades the thin Continental tires for the more appropriate Schwalbe tires and its Bosch Performance “Speed” goes all the way to 28 mph (45 km/h) before cutoff. Additionally, it adds a small bit of suspension to the front fork for pothole resistance, a better Bosch display and a bunch of other niceties –– not the least of which is a more aesthetically pleasing (to me) black paint job compared to the Ivory gloss frame of the T9.
Wife loves it
As I was taking some photos of the bike, my wife noticed and said “finally I’m riding a good looking bike”. I asked her if she wanted to try it (which she usually declines) and she hopped right on. Her bike riding habits are considerably different than mine. She doesn’t feel comfortable over 20 mph (32 km/h) and doesn’t usually veer off well-paved streets. So this bike is perfect for her…and folks like her.
If 20 mph (32 km/h) is a limit you or your jurisdiction allows you to use, and the streets are paved well, I can wholeheartedly recommend the CityZen T9. It is an incredibly well built, fully loaded bike that will last forever.
If you are like me and prefer to go a little faster and on roads that are less manicured, then I would seriously consider spending the extra $500 on the T10.
WEIGHT IN LB.
FRAME SIZE CM
46, 53, 57
TRANSMISSION & BRAKES
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