Gazelle Medeo T9 HMB
Royal Dutch Gazelle celebrated its 100th anniversary of making bikes in 1992. The title “Royal” was awarded to them by Princess Margriet that year. After 127 years, they now employ 350 people in their factory in Dieren, Netherlands, and they make over 250,000 bikes a year.
Gazelle doesn’t sell direct-to-consumer, but their website has a way to find your best bike shop, where you can buy one or have it shipped there for assembly with a requisite two-month checkup.
The Medeo follows fairly traditional design lines. This model is only available in a low step-through version, with classic lines, an SR SunTour suspension fork, a full chain guard to keep your clothes clean and internally routed cables all around. There are three sizes to fit most riders, and three rich color options—Ivory, Georgia Peach and the one we had, Jeans Blue.
Gazelle has gone with Magura hydraulic rim brakes. These are known for great stopping power and very low maintenance. There’s no cable to stretch over time, and these provide ample control and modulation. The sturdy rear rack encloses the battery for protection and comes with an elastic strap system that we found very useful.
A cafe lock is attached to the rear triangle, making it easy to quickly lock your bike when you have to run into a store or while you’re lingering at a coffee shop. While not bulletproof, it’s enough to keep someone from easily rolling it away with the bike.
“Consider it flair, some bit of extra style put in by Gazelle.”
The well-padded Selle Royal Herz saddle is part of the overall ergonomics of the bike. The handlebars have a nice, relaxed sweep back, with ergonomic grips and an adjustable stem that allow you to vary your ride position from fully upright to slightly more aggressive.
Going into the details, the double-wall rims have eyelets for the spoke nipples and 14-gauge spokes to handle the extra forces of an e-bike, plus allow for carrying cargo on the bike. Included SKS fenders are a nice touch, which, like the chain guard, help keep you and the bike clean.
A Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive motor powers this bike. Bosch has been continually working on this motor, and it is powerful enough for a commuter at 50 N/m of torque, but also one of the quietest of the Bosch mid-drives. It uses a full-size front sprocket for the Shimano Deore 1×9 drivetrain. The Bosch system detects shifts and almost imperceptibly cuts power for a split second to reduce stress on the drivetrain.
The 400-Wh battery is nestled inside the rear rack to keep it out of the step-through frame. They went with a 400-Wh battery over a 500-Wh version to keep the bike priced under $2500. Conveniently, the battery uses the same key as the cafe lock.
A Bosch Purion display was selected for simplicity, as the display sits on the left side of the bars and the mode controls are integrated into the display. It’s a monochrome display and offers Walk mode to help walk the bike up hills if needed.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
The Medeo is aimed squarely at commuters, but it’s also a good bet for people who run errands and just plain ride for fun. It has enough power to flatten most hills, so if you live in a hilly area (even one as extreme as San Francisco), this definitely fits the bill.
Adjusting the bike to fit you takes just a few minutes with a set of hex keys. Once dialed, we did notice that to get proper leg extension, you really have to have the seat high enough to make standing on the ground a tip-toes-only situation. Some of our test riders exclaimed that they preferred stepping off the seat altogether at stoplights.
The Bosch Active Line Plus motor is smooth, quiet and powerful, offering plenty of support at all levels, and topping off at 275-percent max in Turbo mode. With the 1.6-inch tires and proper inflation (50-60 psi), there’s little rolling resistance.
That same high pressure in the tires equates to a lot of energy from bumps being transferred to your body, up through the frame and the seat. The seat does have elastomer shock absorbers, but some riders will enjoy the ride more if they add a suspension seatpost to take out the bumps like the short-travel fork does.
The frame has a downtube and a top tube that parallels it tightly, and as such there’s a fair amount of flex in the frame. It’s noticeable while riding. Some compromises had to be made, considering where the weight of the battery is, and not putting it in the way of the low-step frame.
The Magura hydraulic rim brakes offer good control, and because they’re on the rim, they have a large diameter to work with, which offers a leverage advantage, but less surface area than comparable disc brakes. You can also feel every imperfection in your rims as you go. The levers are really nice. They’re big enough to use four fingers on, but also responsive enough to use one finger or two, and they have adjustable throw that can be adjusted without tools.
Overall ergonomics are good. The bars offer a very comfortable riding position and a very light touch for steering. The slight rake of the fork keeps your toes from hitting the fender flare at the bottom when steering.
We put in miles on all types of terrain, in windy conditions and not, with plenty of climbs. The 400-Wh battery offers surprising range, and we didn’t use Eco mode at all. If you want to do any touring with this bike, there is a 500-Wh version of this battery, and we could easily see riding with one of those strapped on the top of the rack to swap out when the other battery was run down.
One thing that is a pain is that the battery must be fully removed to charge. You’ll always have the key handy, as one is required in the cafe lock, but it cannot be removed unless the rear wheel is locked. If you decide to charge the battery while you go run other errands, you’ll have to lock the rear wheel, unlock and remove the battery, then replace the key, and unlock the lock.
At $2500, this bike is fun to ride whether you’re an experienced rider or this is your first e-bike. The build quality and components point to this bike lasting for many years, especially with good maintenance. It could be a good workhorse for commuters and/or a great bike to go on long rides to get some wind in your hair.
GAZELLE MEDEO T9 HMB
Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus 3.0 (50 N/m)
Battery: Bosch, 400Wh
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Top speed: 20 mph
Range: 25–50 miles (tested)
Drive: Shimano Deore 9-speed
Brakes: Magura hydraulic rim brakes
Controls: Bosch Purion LCD
Fork: SR SunTour CR7 w/ 40mm travel
Tires: Continental Ride City, 28×1.6”
Weight: 49.3 lb.
Color choice: Ivory, Georgia Peach, Jeans Blue
Sizes: 46cm, 53cm, 57cm
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