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Ebike vs Road bike: Should you go electric?

evan kypreos



I’ve been cycling in London for years and I like it. I’ve never been one of the lycra brigade though – given my age it would make me a proper MAMIL (middle age man in lycra).

Aside from the fact I’d look like a hairy bag of particularly lumpy spuds I just don’t have the time.

The hour or so it’ll take getting into skin-tight lycra, cycling to work, showering and changing simply isn’t an option for me.

No, I tend to cycle the six miles to work in whatever I’ll be wearing for the rest of the day. As editor this sometimes means I need to look reasonably professional – shirt, shoes, trousers.

This has led me to cycle less and less over the past two years. Instead I get a train and bus in. The added bonus is that I get to catch up on emails, or the latest tech gossip, although it does cost me £7 a day.

Aside from getting hot and sweaty (or wet) the other major drawback of a bike is grease. I’ve scarred a fair few threads from oily chains. Not a good look when you’re about to head into an important meeting.

That's why when I was offered a chain-less electric bike to review I thought “this could be the answer to my problems”.

Gtech eBike

E bikes haven’t really taken off in the UK like they have on continental Europe. In Germany and Holland you see them being ridden by all sorts, even though the roads tend to be flatter than in the UK. Perhaps we're unsure of a load of tech in a transportation device that hasn't evolved much, in essence, over the past hundred-odd years.

The bike, a Gtech eBike Sport, arrived and I was a little disappointed. It looks like a normal bike, albeit with a carbon fibre belt as opposed to a chain. There’s not a hint of the Starship Enterprise about it.

I was expecting a bunch of buttons, dials, twisty handgrips and screens, but the Gtech eBike is actually dead simple – it doesn’t even have gears.

There’s a chunky, removable battery with a single, big button and four LEDs. It looks a little like a water bottle attached to the frame. Most people I’ve shown the Gtech eBike to don’t even realise it’s electric.

Over the past few weeks I’ve come to appreciate its simplicity and non-threatening nature, though. You really don’t have to be a tech-head to use this e bike.

The battery button has three simple settings, off, on and electric-assist. The latter gives you just a little support when the going gets really tough – for example when climbing a steep hill.

What’s it like to ride an electric bike?

My only previous experience with an “e bike” was around twenty years ago. It had a small motor with a two rubber wheels you could clip onto the front wheel to power it.

It was awful. Battery life lasted a couple of hills rather than a few dozen miles and it was either fully off or fully on. It was as dangerous as it was horrible to ride.

Thankfully things have advanced enormously. The Gtech eBike provides power as you pedal which is, at first, an odd sensation.

Start pedalling and there’s a slight whirl and a boost of power to the rear wheel. It’s smooth enough that it feels manageable even if you’ve never ridden a motorbike or scooter. This is still very much a bicycle.

Gtech Ebike motor

The real benefits in a city come from the nature of the stop/start cycling. Traffic, zebra crossing and stop lights mean that (if you’re a conscientious cyclist) you get to cruising speed only to stop a hundred yards down the line. And then you do it again, and again, and again.

Getting back up to speed is a doddle with an e bike. Without have to expend a lot of energy I’m back up to 15mph – the limit for electrically-assisted bikes in the UK.

Of course you can go faster than that, but you need to use your own steam to do so. Since the Gtech eBike only has one, medium, gear and hybrid tyres I found myself not quite getting the speed I normally would on my high-gear, single speed, road bike.

Having a motor and battery means e bikes are often heavier than their unassisted counterparts. For example the Gtech is 16kgs whereas my normal road bike is just over 10kgs. It’s still lighter than I expected, though, thanks to an aluminium frame.

With power on the extra weight has no impact at all, unless you’re carrying it upstairs, but when I ran out of juice I found myself having to pedal faster and harder to get to cruising speed than I was used to.

gtech ebike battery

The battery has a claimed 30 mile range. 12 miles of cycling a day meant the Gtech lasted me three and a half journeys on a single charge. This can be a lot lower if you let the eBike do most of the work, or higher if you do more pedalling – the battery only takes three hours to charge fully once depleted.

On mornings I felt particularly lazy I’d hardly tax myself at all, letting the eBike pootle along cheerfully at 15mph. I found myself using the motor less when returning home, when I don’t care as much if I get hot and sweaty. My wife is blessed to have me.

The eBike also comes into its own on windy days – it’s a mighty boon over a normal pedal bicycle. The torquey motor just powers through wind resistance leaving me in much less of a puff.

Of course the other major cycling obstacle is the incline. If you live in a hilly location cycling can feel like a grind. The Gtech leaves you smiling where you’d normally be grimacing.

The one instance I found the electric motor to be more of hindrance than a help was in heavy traffic.

Weaving through the slim gaps between virtually stationary cars, taxis and buses in central London requires precision and close control, and I found the Gtech eBike’s motor provided a little too much boost.

After a couple of days of finding myself overshooting gaps or powering a little too closely to other cyclists or motorists I found turning off the motor until the road opened up the most sensible course of action.

Which is faster?

Journeys to my office take about the same time with an ebike as they do on my normal bike – between 25-30 minutes depending on traffic and my luck (or lack thereof) with red lights.

As I've already mentioned I manage to get a better top speed on my road bike compared to the Gtech, but the electric motor helps me accelerate far more quickly from stationary starts.

I do find myself taking fewer risks when riding an ebike. Accelerating to get through amber lights or to squeeze ahead of a bus so as to minimise stopping and starting isn't as necessary when getting back up to speed doesn't require copious amounts of thigh pumping.

Unless your journey has a lot of inclines you shouldn't see a significant improvement in journey times using an e bike.

Should you give up my road bike and buy an electric bike?

E bikes provide a balance between exercise and convenience. I have certainly found myself cycling more since I’ve been using the Gtech over the past three weeks.

However, if you’re more of a hardcore cyclist, if neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays you, then an ebike isn’t for you.

Then there’s the cost to consider. In the grand scheme of cycling the £1,095 the Gtech eBike is priced at isn’t too expensive. However, you can get good commuter bikes for half that amount. It should be noted that there are plenty of cheaper e bikes around too, but we’ve not tried them yet. We will be testing some out before we fully review the Gtech.

Buy Now: Gtech eBike at Gtech.co.uk from £1,095

What about if you don’t cycle as much as you should because you don't want to get too sweaty? What about if your knees are a bit weak and you want a gradual reintroduction to cycling? What if your commute comes with a bunch of hills?

In those cases an e bike makes a lot of sense. It gives you just enough support, makes it just that bit easier, to get you rolling when you’re not really feeling up to the task.

The Gtech eBike is available in Sport and City configurations and can be bought directly via the Gtech website. There’s even a 14 day home trial where you can use the bike and return it if it’s not for you, as long as it’s still in good nick.


October 9, 2015, 9:33 pm

Wow, definite contender for Most Obnoxious Post of the Week there, well done!


October 9, 2015, 11:35 pm

No that doesn't. Repeatedly suggesting that someone must be an idiot for not realising something you realised straight away, that's obnoxious.

True genius does not need to shout its name.


October 10, 2015, 5:07 am

Or...you can save yourself £1,000 and convert that old mountain bike with a 1000W kit for ~£500 - Such as this one http://dillengerelectricbik... (no affiliation or endorsement)


October 10, 2015, 1:55 pm

Oh that doesn't; common sense is fine. Addressing someone as if they're a moron because it took them longer to realise something than you think it should have taken, that's obnoxious.


October 10, 2015, 7:02 pm

@Gareth Jones So you think I was referring to your common sense do you?

Hamish Campbell

October 11, 2015, 8:57 am

Here in Denmark they have become pretty popular lately, especially for those of advancing years. I'm not sure about in the big smoke, as I do all my cycling in a commuter town, however I have been overtaken a few times by a granny off to the shops. She will smile as she effortlessly whizzes by, as I struggle up the hill, or into the headwind.

I console myself that the sweat and toil is character building.


October 12, 2015, 9:45 am

I was trying to see if it was something I could manage as I got more accustomed to the acceleration, but a few too many hairy moments lead me to stop trying. It wasn't dangerous, more embarrassing having to stop pedalling and scooting along with my legs instead.


October 12, 2015, 8:59 pm

Hmm, so my replies did actually show up then; every time I wrote one it disappeared. Oh well, it kept me occupied.

So you're going for the double, trying to score the Most Pompous Post of the Week as well? Good luck; I reckon you have a great chance! Technically a different week though...

It wasn't political correctness that made failure and idiocy 'ok', it was reality TV shows featuring morons who weren't the least ashamed to be know-nothing idiots. This country needs to rediscover shame.

However your initial comment was uncalled for. It was also unproductive; whatever point you were trying to make was undone by the tone.


October 13, 2015, 7:06 pm

LOL, I love it when people do the online equivalent of quickly shouting a comeback, slamming the door and running away to make sure they get the last word.

I wasn't talking about education, rather the attitude to failure and idiocy.

But you're still wrong about education; that was doomed as soon as it became politically essential for exam results to improve every single year. Political yes, but not correct.

By the way you're back to obnoxious. Variety is the spice of life don'tcha know.


January 13, 2016, 7:16 am

Lovely post, thank you. I think it really captures all the SENSIBLE reasons why one would use an ebike. Still it does attract what is (IMHO) really stupid criticism from such. I was very happy today to read a post that puts it all in an abundance mentality perspective - I'm not biking, I'm commuting! https://averagejoecyclist.c...

Adam Smith

April 5, 2016, 7:07 am

Nice post

Jonathan Harston

April 11, 2016, 2:16 pm

£1695 ???? Are you sure there's not a missing decimal point in there somewhere? I paid £20 for my bicycle, there is no way this technology is going to penetrate the market until it it priced at more than a whole magnitude lower, and certainly at least half of the £400 I paid for my car - which can carry eight times the amount my bicycle can.


April 20, 2016, 8:48 pm

The Gtech is down to £995 now, but that's not the point. You might have bought a cheap car for £400, but how much does it cost per year to tax, insure, pay for petrol and servicing, plus parking fees? I agree that e-bikes are still expensive, but they're an emerging technology and, I believe, the future of commuter transport.

Tony Wilson

May 30, 2016, 3:39 pm

Not obnoxious at all! On the contrary, having just bought two Gtechs,I know EXACTLY what Evan means.You (or One) is not going very fast,but too fast to require pedalling,so do you stop pedalling,or just pretend,mmm! The bikes are good with lots of pros, but there are quite a few cons,( and I don't mean the price .) The battery is very hard to reach to "toggle" between the two settings, and also difficult to read when outside,especially in traffic; also not very "touch sensitive".The handlebars are fixed and therefore not adjustable, which must be a big let down for many people. As for comfortability, my "sports" version is like riding on VERY sold tyres,most uncomfortable when going fast, (say downhill).If I do decide to keep it I will deflate the rear tyre somewhat. Given the choice,I would have liked gears,but all in all ,I do like the looks, weight and performance of the bike.I've only had it a couple of days and at 70 years of age,it has rekindled my love of cycling.I will most likely keep it after the 14 day "trial period".


May 30, 2016, 4:24 pm

I didn't mean the article, I meant the comment I was replying to (which has since been deleted).

Juicy Bike

June 8, 2016, 4:02 pm

GTech have really had an impact on the electric bike market with their big advertising spend over the last few months. We're constantly being asked how ours compare with the one on the telly? It wouldn't be fair to give our reply here!
Good on you GTech - keep it up.

Tony Wilson

June 20, 2016, 2:14 pm

The ebike is fine,if like me you are advanced in years(71) and no longer enjoy pedalling up steep hills.If you want speed it's not for you,as there are no gears on the bike and it's limited to 15mph.. It's main, (and HUGE) drawback is the extremely badly placed control button on the battery,especially on the Sport model.You can't see it for the crossbar and have to really bend down and "feel" for it;not very safe in the midst of traffic,and the green lights that "show" the ON OFF,LOW and HIGH assistance are impossible to see in daylight.( this is the opinion of all 4 of us that have just bought the bikes). Those are the cons,which I hope will be adressed before too long. The pros are that it is UNDOUBTABLY the best looking pedelec bike on the market,and the 3 hour battery charge costing, a mere 4p. and giving 30 miles of riding is great,as is the "gentle push" you get going up even steep hills.I myself have literally sailed up all the steep hills in my area - no trouble whatsoever.I think that on the running costs comparison site,(car to bike),mention should be made as to the £300 battery that I am told will generally last 3 yrs.before replacement. All in all,I really am pleased with my bike and it has got me back on the road and enjoying cycling again,despite the "battery issue" !!

Injured ebike owner

July 2, 2016, 11:48 pm

The bike is just ok, no gears, limited speed, but it does look good. Problem is realibility and safety. I had a component failure after just 30 minutes leading to a road accident. Unfortunately customer service is non existent, just not interested in dealing with problems.

Tony Wilson

July 4, 2016, 12:06 pm

I am amazed that no-one who has bought the Sport version in particular,has not said anything about the battery and it's multiplicity of faults!!
I, at the moment am trying a variety of ways of improving the selectioning between assistance levels whilst riding.I am baffled that it's ludicrous positioning and mode of operation, was not addressed prior to marketing.
I think that much more thought was given to making the battery look as much like a water bottle as possible;(one of,if not THE most important selling point of the Gtech Ebike)..It's bad enough on a quiet country lane trying to do the "toggling" between assistance levels,- as for attempting it in the midst of London ( or ANY) traffic, I think you would have to have a death wish!
The sooner this issue is remedied ,on an otherwise very pleasing Ebike, - the better.

Tony Wilson

July 18, 2016, 10:25 pm

I am still waiting for one of the Gtech designers to challenge my comments or even to defend their battery design. I have now managed to modify the battery operation and can now change between assistance levels or even to turn the battery off or on whilst pedaling along; I can now perform the operation without having to take my eyes off the road,or bending down to "feel" where the button is; a VAST improvement on G tech's concept! As I have said before,I do still enjoy my ebike, but now it's MUCH easier and FAR safer! I can now even change assistance levels halfway up a steep hill ,which is virtually impossible to do without this modification.( On a recent trip out ,I was the only one out of the 4 riders able to do this.) Another small point ; whilst wiping my bike down today, - I noticed the small writing on the bike saying "Made in Taiwan". We really DID think that we were buying British when we placed the order !

Tony Wilson

August 1, 2016, 5:07 pm

What actually happened and which component was it ? -I'm guessing that it was the battery? - Also, are you still able to ride your bike, and is the bike rideable?

Tony Wilson

August 1, 2016, 5:53 pm

Whilst we are discussing education,P.C. etc., rather than the Ebike, correct me if I am wrong but SHOULD we be starting a sentence with the conjunction "but", (i.e.- a 'joining word')? I think not! I know that this is a popular trend both in the media and in some contemporary literature ,(Stephen Booth is grand master of the art !),but is this decline in our erstwhile glorious language acceptable?

I await your comments.
Kind regards,


August 1, 2016, 10:20 pm

Wow, 10 months and that's it? I'd have thought my use of the corruption "don'tcha" would have worried you more.

In formal writing I'd use 'however' rather than 'but', but this isn't formal writing; it's a comment on a website. Context is important, and writing a comment as if you're writing a letter just comes across as odd.

And yes, I used a comma before a but even though it wasn't needed. That's just how I roll.

By the way the missing spaces in your comment make it a little jarring to read. Just sayin' :o)

But at least you accept that you think not.


August 3, 2016, 11:15 am

I took delivery of an ebike at 8.15 am today. After unpacking it I discovered the front brakes were damaged - a problem with the metal clip that joins the two sides together - the right hand side one appears to be bent! I am not impressed. I am even less impressed that I now have to wait to see how quickly this can be collected. In the meantime I have to live with not just the bike, but the huge amount of packaging that comes with in. Given the nature of the damage to the brake, I do not feel that I can trust the manufacturing standards of this bike. Very sad about this. Add to this the fact I am told they will hang on to my money for 30 days after the bike is returned, I think this company has an absolute cheek! It does not take 30 days to make a refund on a credit card payment, a payment I must add that they took as soon as I placed the order, a good ten days before the bike was shipped. Most companies do not process payment until the order is shipped.

Tony Wilson

August 4, 2016, 11:37 pm

By "missing spaces",I assume you mean "paragraphing",of which ,in my opinion,YOU are rather over fond of. As my short missal was all upon the same theme,there was no need to start a new paragraph.
In the words of that well known Pompous Pilot, "Wot eye av ritten,- eye av ritten." So "On yer ebike!"
Kind regards,


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