Tom’s an idealist when it comes to urban transport, could this electrically assisted hybrid be the perfect tool for BikeRadar’s resident man about town?
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This is an on-going score and could change as I spend more time on the bike over its 12 month test period. The bike is being used frequently as I cycle around Bristol and is my most common mode of transport when at home
Pros: Responsive and amply powerful motor; sit-up position gives good visibility
Cons: The saddle isn’t to my taste and I don’t rate the front light
The ‘600’ is the most up to date version, with a 625Wh PowerTube battery supplying the juice to the fourth-generation Performance CX motor.
On the bars, by the grips, are the mode toggle switches and the main Intuvia display, with all the data I’ll ever need.
The bike comes with a rack and integrated mudguards, as well as front and rear lights that plug straight into the main battery – there’s no chance of forgetting my lights now!
The rear light is bright and can’t be forgotten or stolen.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
Should one wish, the bike is compatible with a piggy-back Bosch battery, for massive trekking ranges, though I doubt I’ll be using one.
While I can guarantee there will be comments telling me I’m lazy, and that I’m cheating, I don’t really care. This bike isn’t about getting fitter or faster, it’s about painless transport around Bristol, dodging the cars that clog the city’s arteries and avoiding getting sweaty in the process.
I do plenty of ‘real’ exercise in my day-to-day activities, this is merely a form of urban transport.
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent long-term review update two
Well, it’s July and the BikeRadar office is still closed, meaning I’m still not commuting on the Bergamont. However, as mentioned in Update One (below), the E-Horizon with its Burley Coho XC trailer (which I now see as one combined vehicle) still gets out and about with increasing frequency.
The Coho XC really has become an extension of the Bergamont.Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
I’ll bet you didn’t think that you’d be reading about suspension tuning and spring rates when opening this review, but here we go.
The trailer has a shock for its rear wheel to keep everything running smoothly. It’s a very simple coil shock, with minimal real-world adjustment, but you can adjust its preload– that’s how much the shock is pre-compressed before any trailer load is put through it.
Adding preload squashes the spring (but not the shock itself, so it retains its travel) meaning it’s effectively stiffer. This is done via a threaded washer-thing that sits on the main body of the shock and pushes the top of the spring.
The stock position of this threaded washer was mid-way down the shock, and with all but the heaviest of loads was probably a little too stiff, leading to a bumpy ride.
While idly hanging around B&Q the other day, I reached in to the shock’s location (it’s not exactly ergonomically well placed, to be honest) and released some tension on the spring. This has had the effect of smoothing the ride a little, and the trailer bounces around a little less.
Tipping it in to a corner there’s no doubt a trailer alters the bike’s handling.Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
The bike itself continues to perform with little complaint. With the trailer fully loaded, the Turbo mode has enough oomph to pull me and my load up Bristol’s steep hills, while the brakes, thus far, have proved strong enough to control the descents.
Without the trailer attached, it’s zippy and efficient, and so far comfortable too. I’ve done a few longer rides (40 to 45km) and while I was definitely happy I’d topped up the battery, there was plenty of juice to go around – despite using Turbo mode, having a lazy pedalling attitude, and plenty of hills along the route.
I even managed to throw in a few dirt roads and cheeky singletrack, thanks to some roadworks that cut off my proposed route. Thank goodness for that suspension fork up front!
Powered by the bike’s battery, I’m unlikely to be left light-less.Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent long-term review update one
More than ever, the Bergamont is showing its useful true colours.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
In these locked-down times, getting out and about is a highly restricted luxury. With the office closed, my daily commute on my Bergamont has disappeared, so the bike’s weekly mileage rates have significantly dropped off a cliff.
However, the Bergamont’s utilitarian abilities are still very much in demand when I’ve got to venture out into the seemingly desolate wild-lands of Bristol once a week or so to pick up supplies.
Given I’ve swapped my pre-pandemic daily shopping trips for much larger supermarket shuffles, the ability to haul a week-or-two’s supplies, with the support of the bike’s Bosch motor, is no bad thing.
Perfect placement for a petite pinger.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
I’ve done little in the way of modifications to the bike so far – just the addition of a bell to help me safely navigate the ever-rammed Bristol to Bath Cycle Path, which I had knocking about in the garage.
This was originally requested for a Cycling Plus magazine feature on living without my van for a week, and comparing it to the RadWagon I’ve already tested. However, with that feature on hold until we can safely get out into the city and photograph it all, the Coho has been doing a sterling job of lugging essential supplies from supermarket to home.
The Burley Coho XC tracks the bike’s rear wheel and makes carry loads nice and easy – the kickstand is useful for loading it up!Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
It attaches to the bike via a specific QR axle for the rear wheel – thank goodness the Bergamont still has a QR back-end!
It has a secure fitment that, while unloaded is a little rattly, doesn’t go anywhere despite pinging it through the biggest potholes Bristol has to offer.
The shock keeps loads comfortable over rough roads.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
The walled storage space can be a little limiting if you have big shopping bags to put in there, but, at the same time, it does make securing everything in there far less susceptible to poor bungee-cord placement than a more open rack does on a traditional cargo bike.
It has a capacity of 32kg, which I’ve almost reached a couple of times, and at this point the rear shock does a great job of smoothing out the ride. There is noticeable twist between the combined three wheels, but that’s to be expected.
Handling is, obviously, a little different with a trailer being dragged behind, but I see this bike as a tool rather than a play-thing. I’m willing to take those compromises if it means I can treat myself to a crate of beer and enough tins of baked beans to keep me fuelled for as long as this blasted lockdown continues.
Loaded with a good few supplies from the shops!Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
The original story continues below
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent specification and details
Bergamont’s aluminium frame houses the PowerTube 625Wh battery in the down tube, and there’s potential to add a range-extending battery along the top of the down tube, plugging straight into the charge port that’s sat above the motor and protected by a rubber flap.
The motor itself has an extra plastic shroud that’s built as part of the Bergamont frame. The down tube and motor mount are common across Bergamont’s e-bike ranges, so it makes sense for the motor to have a touch extra protection, given that it also appears on its mountain bikes.
Cables and hoses run within the frame and there are two sets of bottle cage bosses – handy for hydration and, potentially, lock brackets.
An air sprung fork adds adjustability for different rider weights.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
The front of the bike has an SR Suntour NCX-E suspension fork with 63mm of travel to take a bit of the buzz from your hands. It also has a lockout to boost pedal efficiency, should you wish.
The bike’s motor helps drive the Shimano SLX 1×11-speed drivetrain, which is also protected from the elements, this time by a drivetrain cover – handily this means no trouser clips are required either.
Shimano also provides basic MT200 hydraulic disc brakes, along with the hubs for the wheels. These are built into 20mm rims and shrouded in e-bike-ready Energizer Active Plus tyres from Schwalbe, with a reflective strip around the sidewall.
The bike is completed with a number of handy accessories: there are sturdy-feeling front and rear mudguards, which integrate structurally with the rear rack, a set of B&M lights that plug straight into the bike’s battery and are controlled by the Bosch display and buttons, and there’s also a kickstand.
Finishing kit is all basic alloy equipment, with a very adjustable stem, and there are spacers with the bike that will make fitting a normal stem easy.
Without pedals, it weighs 24.5kg.
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent full specification
Sizes (*tested): 48cm, 52cm, 56cm*, 60cm
Weight: 24.5kg (54.0lb), L size without pedals
Frame: 6061 T6 ‘ultra lite’ aluminium
Fork: SR Suntour NCX E 63mm (2.48in) travel
Shifters: Shimano SLX 11spd
Derailleurs: Shimano SLX 11spd
Cranks: FSA CK-320, 38t
Wheelset: Mach 1 rims on Shimano M4050 hubs
Tyres: Schwalbe Energizer Active Plus, 47mm
Brakes: Shimano M200 180mm/160mm rotors
Bar: BGM Pro riser
Stem: BGM Pro Adjustable
Seatpost: BGM Pro
Saddle: Ergon ST10
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent geometry
Head angle: 70.5 degrees
Seat angle: 72.5 degrees
Chainstay: 473mm / 18.61in
Seat tube: 535cm / 21.1in
Top tube: 615mm / 24.17in
Head tube: 170mm / 7.04in
Bottom bracket drop: 60mm / 2.36in
Wheelbase: 1,135mm / 44.69in
Stack: 646mm / 25.43in
Reach: 405cm / 15.94in
Why did I choose this bike?
I’m a long-time convert to the urban e-bike, especially ones that can haul a bit of luggage. However, cargo bikes are just a bit too bulky for everyday use and can be difficult to lock up at bike racks or in crowded bike lockups, and to fit into my occasionally crowded garage.
I could have chosen a regular ‘analogue’ commuter bike for 2020, however, in all honesty, getting to and from work is a chore, rather than a way of fitting in some exercise, so an e-hybrid makes sense for me.
It should offer sweat-free transport around town, and with a pair of pannier bags, enough load-carrying capability to do my weekly shopping.
Bosch’s CX Performance motor is one of the most common motors around.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
The Bergamont itself has a nice upright position, which is fairly comfortable, and Bosch’s motor is a proven piece of equipment.
It was important for me that the bike came with mudguards, racks and integrated lighting too. I also wanted a bike that hovered below the radar because this bike will be locked up all over town, so I don’t want one that attracts too much attention.
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent initial setup
The E-Horizon was very easy to set up out of the box. The suspension fork needed minimal tweaking (and, if I’m honest, the biggest thing I’ll be sending it off is a curb) and the tyres have been inflated to around 40psi – enough to give a bit of comfort, without being too sluggish.
The stem’s adjustability meant I could drop it a little to lower the bars a touch, and I’ve angled the ‘paddles’ of the Ergon grips down too for cruisy-comfort.
The saddle is half an inch lower than it might have been, to make waiting at traffic lights a little less wobbly with a loaded pannier, and with the motor assisting, I don’t need my legs to be at their absolute optimum pedalling performance anyway.
As this is a bike for getting to and from work it’s not going to be pushed anywhere near its theoretical limits, and it’s not a bike that’s going to hold me back in any way either. As such, it’s been a very painless and relatively enjoyable introduction.
The Bosch motor is good, and having used it plenty of times before was a known quantity. I like the neat integration of battery, lights and Intuvia controllers into the bike, which make it feel like a very finished system.
So far I’ve left it in Turbo – might as well make the most of the motor, right?! – and I’ve had just over 60km range from each charge, which is perfectly acceptable in my eyes.
I do need to remember though, that when the battery indicator gets towards the bottom there’s little notice of the battery actually cutting out, and it’s like riding through treacle when it does!
The Schwalbe Energizer tyres have sipes for clearing water, but roll fast.Tom Marvin / Immediate Media
Riding the bike is comfortable, for the most part. The tyres are wide enough to give just enough compliance while maintaining decent rolling resistance, and I’ve had no grip issues either.
The brakes and drivetrain also perform as expected. One niggle is the saddle, though, which I haven’t got on with at all, it’s just the wrong shape for my bum.
The accessories are all acceptable too; the mudguards have kept me fairly dry and my Ortlieb panniers clip on with little issue (though I’d like the overall length of the rack to be a touch longer for future, bigger-load carrying options).
I have had an issue with getting the position of the front light correct. The beam has a very defined cut-off and only really has a strong pool of light in a limited area. This means it’s difficult to get it to throw enough light forward to spot pedestrians in dark clothing in un-lit areas and have a strong enough pool of light closer to me so I can dodge puddles/mud/dog eggs.
It’s frustrating to say the least because on my commute I cover a range of different paths and roads where I need a bit of everything.
Bergamont E-Horizon Expert 600 Gent upgrades
Going forward I’d like to keep it as stock as possible because this is a bike that should be spot on from the get-go, and one I don’t feel many other owners will be chopping and changing components on. The E-Horizon is more of a tool than a ‘hobby’ bike.
That said, the saddle has to go, and I’d like to explore lighting options too because I don’t feel the front light suits my needs.
The other project on the boil is security. Having had bikes stolen in the past, it’s something I’m keen to avoid. I’m working on a plan for a set of nicely integrable locks, but more on that next time.
BikeRadar’s 2020 long-term test bikes
At the start of the year, every member of the BikeRadar team selects a long-term test bike to ride over the course of the following 12 months. Some choose a bike from their favoured discipline and ride it hard for a year, others opt for a bike that takes them outside of their comfort zone.
Our long-term test gives us the opportunity to truly get to grips with these machines, so we can tell you how they perform through different seasons and on ever-changing terrain.
We also use them as test beds for the latest kit, chopping and changing parts to see what really makes the difference – and help you decide which upgrades are worth spending your money on.
Riding since the age of 13, Technical Editor Tom has ridden hundreds of bikes over the past few years, from aero race bikes to EWS-ready enduro rigs, with a fair few others in between. Most likely found in the woods practicing his scandi-flicks.