Gazelle CityZen C8 HM first ride review£1,999.00

Smooth, electric-powered commuter

For commuting to work or for shopping, the Gazelle CityZen C8 HM can get you there without breaking a sweat. With a powerful Bosch Performance motor providing four levels of electric-power assistance, the CityZen C8 HM has a claimed range of 73mi before needing its battery recharged.

Highlights of the CityZen C8 HM

  • Range between 37-90mi / 60-145km, depending on assistance level
  • Top assisted speed of 20mph
  • Shimano Alfine 8spd internal gears
  • Shimano BR-M355 hydraulic brakes
  • Bosch Performance 250w motor
  • Men's and women's models (women's shown)
  • 11.1 Ah / 400 Wh, Li-ion battery
  • Integrated rack, lights and lock

The gazelle cityzen c8 hm features a bosch motor, powered by this hefty lithium ion battery
The gazelle cityzen c8 hm features a bosch motor, powered by this hefty lithium ion battery

How the Bosch power system works

The Gazelle CityZen C8 HM is a pedal-assist electric bike, which means you only get a boost when you are pedaling. How much of a boost depends on which setting you select, from the low-power ‘eco’ up to the zippy ‘turbo’ setting on the Bosch system.

As you’d probably imagine, the higher the power setting, the shorter your battery life. Gazelle claims a range of 73 miles before needed a recharge, but this is based on using the lowest setting.

The gazelle cityzen cockpit feature tradition gear shifting on the right, electric-power assistance controls on the left, and the dashboard computer in the center: the gazelle cityzen cockpit feature tradition gear shifting on the right, electric-power assistance controls on the left, and the dashboard computer in the center
The gazelle cityzen cockpit feature tradition gear shifting on the right, electric-power assistance controls on the left, and the dashboard computer in the center: the gazelle cityzen cockpit feature tradition gear shifting on the right, electric-power assistance controls on the left, and the dashboard computer in the center

You can also just pedal the bike without any power, but the extra weight of the machine quickly becomes apparent at the slightest rise in the road.

The massive battery also powers front and rear lights, which switch on automatically when the bike is running.

Ride impressions of the CityZen C8 HM

Royal Dutch Gazelle traces its history back to 1892, and the brand’s non-electric city bikes are ubiquitous in Holland and Germany. It’s clear in riding the CityZen that Gazelle understands what’s important in a good city bike: comfort, efficiency, practicality.

The riding position is upright and the tires are wide and thick enough for no-fuss daily use (who wants to change a flat on a commuter bike?), but still relatively fast rolling.

You have a set of controls at each hand. Your right hand controls the 8-speed mechanical shifter, which works like any standard bike to change gears. Your left thumb controls a three-button electric switch that modulates the amount of electrical assistance you receive (+ or -), plus an info button that toggles through information on distance and speed.

As you'd expect, - means less assistance, + means more electric power, and i controls the dashboard information like speed and distance: as you'd expect, - means less assistance, + means more electric power, and i controls the dashboard information like speed and distance
As you'd expect, - means less assistance, + means more electric power, and i controls the dashboard information like speed and distance: as you'd expect, - means less assistance, + means more electric power, and i controls the dashboard information like speed and distance

Motor-maker Bosch and Gazelle share the philosophy that e-bikes should feel like normal bikes, just easier. So, there is no automatic throttle to send you zooming without pedaling. Instead, a quarter-rotation of the cranks activates the motor. In the highest ‘turbo’ setting, you get enough of a boost that it can be startling should you not be expecting it.

Once adjusted to the settings and the feel of electric torque, the quick engagement of the motor is quite welcome when starting from dead stops, especially when on inclines.

As you are riding along, the Bosch motor adds a welcome forward lift, as if all your regular roads are now slightly downhill. Adjusting the amount of assistance is intuitive, and power comes on smoothly.

As with all e-bikes, the CityZen is heavy, so don’t expect to be loading it in and out of your car. Think of it as half electric scooter, half bicycle, in terms of weight and ease of use.

Turbo is the highest assitance setting. the vertical bar at far right indicates how much electric power you're getting while pedaling: turbo is the highest assitance setting. the vertical bar at far right indicates how much electric power you're getting while pedaling
Turbo is the highest assitance setting. the vertical bar at far right indicates how much electric power you're getting while pedaling: turbo is the highest assitance setting. the vertical bar at far right indicates how much electric power you're getting while pedaling

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Age: 40
  • Height: 183cm / 6'
  • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
  • Waist: 84cm / 33in
  • Chest: 99cm / 39in
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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