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Gtech eBike (2020) review: The best value commuter hybrid

Jonathan Bray
19 Jun 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
995

Simple and yet elegant – the Gtech eBike is a great value set of wheels

Pros 
Silent and clean belt drive
Looks like a normal bike
Very light
Cons 
Range isn’t brilliant
Not particularly speedy
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Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of e-bikes are experiencing a boom at the moment and bikes like the Gtech eBike are poised to take full advantage. Where most ebikes cost upwards of £1,500, the elegantly simple Gtech will set you back a fiver short of a grand, and it doesn’t even look like the clunker that low price tag might suggest.

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Gtech eBike (2020): What do you get for your money?

The Gtech eBike is available in two variants: the Sport model, which I was sent for this review, and the smaller City model, which has a step-through frame. There’s only one size available in each – 20in for the sports and a smaller 17in for the City – so if you’re shorter than around 5ft 10in you’re best off opting for the City model.

Whichever model you go for, though, the features are the same. Both bikes weigh 16kg including the battery (which is impressively light for an ebike, let alone one this cheap) and offer pretty basic features.

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There are only two pedal-assisted speeds – Eco and Max – and comes with a 36V 6.4ah lithium-ion bottle battery mounted on the down tube. This supplies power to a rear-wheel hub motor.

There’s no display on the handlebars or any form of mode select, either. Instead, there’s a large, backlit LCD display on the battery indicating capacity as a percentage and which mode you’re riding in. You can switch between modes by pressing once on the battery’s big rubber button or hold it to turn the bike off.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Gtech is the fact that it uses a Gates carbon-belt drive instead of the usual chain and sprocket drive train you get with most bikes. This means no oily marks on your legs or your trousers (the belt drive requires no lubrication) and it runs completely silently, too. The downside is that the bike is single speed only. With the assistance of the motor, though, that isn’t too much of a problem, even if you’re tackling relatively steep hills.

The rest of the bike is as basic as it gets, though. For stopping you get V-brakes on at the front and rear, which do the job effectively, if not as well as a set of hydraulic disc brakes. The wheels are equipped with large 700c rims and chunky, e-bike approved 38c tyres. The saddle is a firm but not-too-wide Gtech-branded model and it comes with standard alloy flat pedals.

No mudguards are fitted as standard but there are mounts for these on the frame and eyelets for a pannier rack if you prefer to carry your luggage on the bike instead of your back.

Gtech eBike (2020): What’s the range like?

The biggest weakness of the Gtech eBike is its limited range. With only a small 6.4ah battery, the most you’ll get is 30 miles in Eco mode, with Max mode returning less than this – I found I was able to get around 16 to 17 miles before the battery ran dry with the motor doing most of the work. 

That’s not amazing but good enough for most short commutes without the need to top up charge before you set off home again. Even if you do need to do that, though, you won’t be waiting too long for the battery to charge – it only takes three to four hours from empty.

One problem you’ll encounter if you do want to charge the battery at work, however, is that the charger is a cradle rather than a regular mains adapter. Although this makes it easy to simply drop in the battery for a recharge, when you’re at home, it is heavy and quite bulky, making it awkward to transport in a backpack.

Rather frustratingly, there’s also no way to lock the battery to the frame, meaning you’ll have to get used to lugging its 1.4kg weight around in your bag once you get to wherever it is you’re going.

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Gtech eBike (2020): What’s the ride like?

As with all street-legal e-bikes, the Gtech is a pedal-assist model, which means power is only supplied to the rear wheel when you turn the pedals. Never fear, though. If you don’t want to put in much effort, you don’t have to. Simply turning the cranks quite slowly and gently gets the motor going.

Power delivery isn’t particularly sophisticated. It gives you a good shove when you’re accelerating away from a standing start and a subtle helping hand while riding but it’s a bit on and off – you don’t get the smooth power assistance you do with the best mid-drive bikes and it doesn’t seem to provide power right up to the 15.5mph UK ebike speed limit, either, falling off around 13.5mph.

Having said that, the great thing about the Gtech is that, when you do hit that limit, the bike’s 16kg weight means it doesn’t feel like a drag to ride like other, heavier ebikes can do. Even with no power assistance at all – if you run out of battery, for instance – you’ll be able to get home without having to put in too much extra effort, assuming you don’t have to climb the Alpe d’Huez along the way.

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Gtech eBike (2020): Should I buy one?

Overall, the Gtech eBike is a fantastically good value for money ebike. It might not have the sophistication or the range of more expensive machines and it’s a bit basic when it comes to features.

However, it’s an elegantly designed and very well thought out ride that feels great on the road and looks smarter than most cheap ebikes. If funds absolutely can’t stretch any further than £1,000 and you’re desperate for a little extra assistance on your ride to work, it is as good a place to start as any.

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