Published on June 28th, 2018 | by Kyle Field0
The Gazelle Easyflow Makes Commuting By Bike A Breeze (CleanTechnica Review)
June 28th, 2018 by Kyle Field
Electric bikes are transforming cities around the world as biking culture meshes with the global trend towards sustainable urbanization. The transition is not a single threaded experience, as companies around the world innovate to create their interpretation of the future. Solutions like electric skateboards, electric scooters, ebikes and even a handful of electric unicycles aspire to solve electrified personal transportation for millions around the world.
The Gazelle Easyflow sprung from the biking culture of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where the flat landscape and dense city have made bicycles an indispensable thread of the fabric of the city. In a visit to Amsterdam in 2016 to meet with startup Viriciti, I found bicycles to be a convenient, safe, healthy solution to the traffic congestion that so often clogs Amsterdam’s narrow streets.
The Gazelle team reached out to CleanTechnica with one of their Gazelle Easyflow ebikes for us to run through the paces for a couple weeks so we could share the experience. After spending some time – and several hundred kilometers – with the bike, we’re back to share our experience with you.
The Gazelle Easyflow eBike is a step-through frame bike that on the surface looks a lot like a normal European bike. It would blend in seamlessly with the bikes littering the streets of Amsterdam, and even includes a built in U-lock that prevents the rear wheel from rolling.
A closer look reveals a Shimano STEPS mid-motor that also houses the 8-speed gearbox that is controlled by the grip shifter integrated into the right grip. The motor’s 50Nm torque pulls power from the 504Wh removable brick battery mounted underneath the gear rack mounted above the rear wheel.
The frame was built with comfort in mind, with a small shock built into the front fork and another shock integrated into the seat that work together to take the edge off of potholes, uneven paving, and the like. Don’t read too far into the shocks and assume this bike can head off-road, as it is very much a road bike. If anything, it’s a purpose-built commuter bike aimed to bring full-featured ebiking to the masses.
The center-mounted Shimano STEPS computer displays all of the important information about the bike, including current speed, assist set point, battery charge, and a variety of user-selectable options on the lower portion of the screen. Trip distance, odometer, range remaining and a host of other display options can be displayed with a tap of a button on the switch unit.
The Shimano STEPS switch unit lives just inside of the left grip and hosts three buttons that give the rider the ability to switch to a lower mode, a higher mode, and to change the display. A lighting kit rounds out the package with a Busch & Muller Upp Premium front light that’s complemented by a beautiful Gazelle X-Vision rear light array that helps increase rider visibility in day to day traffic.
The Gazelle Easyflow is built for the long haul. Its robust frame, comfortable ride, rack and lights make it the ideal commuter. We took it on rides with the family at the beach and found that the combination of its 8 mechanical gears and 4 different electric assist modes – off, eco, normal, and high – made it easy to stay with the pack while also providing a nice boost of power when needed.
The Easyflow electrifies the ride in such a way that it feels very natural and integrated with the normal riding experience. In the Eco riding mode, it makes the rider feel a bit stronger and completely does away with the sensation of laboring to pull the bike along. Stepping up to Normal and High riding modes, the Easyflow adds extra power to the ride, allowing for a higher top speed and assistance up hills or on long rides.
We took it out for a short 11-kilometer commute to a local coffee shop and found that in High mode, it performed well and allowed this out of shape rider to maintain a consistent 30 kilometers per hour across flat terrain for the duration of the ride. I loved that it helped me to ride at a speed that made quick work of the commute while also allowing me to get a workout. Again, the ability to change mechanical gears and the amount of pedal assist provided a consistent riding experience with an estimated 80 miles | 129 kilometers of pedal-assisted range.
The locking removable battery makes it easy to keep the bike charged without having to bring the whole bike over to the charger. The lock on the battery shares the same key with the integrated bike lock, which makes the whole process work a bit more smoothly.
The Gazelle Easyflow is as at home around town as it is on longer commutes, but given its $2,999 price point, it is definitely geared towards those who are looking for a full-featured commuting bike. That’s where customers will get the most value and be able to justify the price.
We put the Easyflow through the paces with a gear bag on the handlebars, a large pack strapped onto the rack and even a few things hanging off the sides and it performed admirably in all cases. Its 80 mile | 129 kilometer range gives the rider enough headroom to have enough confidence to take it anywhere that’s practical from a time standpoint, while the detachable battery provides flexibility to charge conveniently with the same convenience as you would charge a laptop.
For those looking to share the bike, the suspension seat has quite a long stem, which does limit the travel, but we were easily able to work around that with a separate seat with a shorter tube. The bike seems built for flexibility as the quick adjust stem also allows for riders to adjust it without tools. Just flip up the built-in lever and set it to your desired position.
The Gazelle Easyflow is a purpose-built commuter with the comfort and range to make quick work of most trips without breaking a sweat. Its racks allow riders to haul an impressive amount of cargo with the confidence that the integrated motor and battery take the edge off.
To haul all that gear, the Easyflow is necessarily heavy but again, the battery and motor make this a non-issue from a riding standpoint. The Gazelle Easyflow is available at any Gazelle retailer or you can find more information about it at the Gazelle Easyflow website.