Orbea was one of the first brands to adopt ebikemotion and we’ve looked at both the alloy road and gravel versions of the Gain in the past year or so. Now, we’ve had a chance to get to grips with the higher-grade carbon version of one of our favourite e-road machines.
This is a more expensive build than we’ve looked at before, but you can customise the look and spec free of charge, so the blue fade paint and understated graphics were our idea.
I also opted to switch in some higher-grade wheels: Mavic’s latest Cosmic Pro carbon USTs cost an extra £719, but on an e-bike with a hub motor I’d suggest going for the best wheels you can afford (upgrading later is complicated).
Orbea Gain Carbon M20 MyO ride impressions
On my first outing on the Gain, in the midst of March’s storm Gareth, I spent the first 20 miles riding into a soul-destroying headwind.
I relied on the Gain’s assistance just to hold onto any available speed, which did have a detrimental effect on the expected range.
At the end of the battery’s life I’d managed 58 miles / 93.3km and 1,086m / 3,563ft of ascent at 16.7mph / 26.9kph. On a much calmer day, I extended that to 68.3 miles / 109.9km with 1,198m / 3,930ft of ascent.
After testing quite a few ebikemotion bikes, I think you can expect an average range of about 50 miles, factoring in weather conditions, weight, and the amount of assistance you use on an average ride.
You need to learn to ride smart with any e-bike system: use the power when you need it and turn it off when you don’t. The Gain rides beautifully even when it’s in off mode.
Yes, you can feel the extra mass of the rear hub, but the chassis feels composed and the weight distribution gives a sweet balance to the bike’s handling. Steering is stable, yet light, making the Gain the most nimble of electric road bikes.
It’s also the most adaptable. Orbea has cleverly built plenty of tyre clearance into the Gain’s fork and rear stays. I’ve already been impressed by the alloy Gain in gravel trim so I’m in no doubt that the carbon model would make a formidable bike for when you’re off the beaten track.
The Ultegra drivetrain with its 50/34 chainset and 11-32 cassette is pretty much the ideal road setup and offers a wide enough range for rougher excursions. I took advantage of the supple tubeless 28c tyres and rode the Gain on some lighter gravel roads around Salisbury Plain and it coped admirably.
The Gain chassis cleverly balances the extra mass and strength required to carry the 3.7kg of e-assistance, while still retaining plenty of compliance.
The Orbea doesn’t compromise geometry just because it’s an e-bike. My XL test bike is pretty slammed with a stack of 579.5mm and a long reach of 407.6mm. The parallel angles (72.5 degrees) are pretty aggressive, yet the wheelbase is long (1,051mm), which helps with the gravel-sized tyre clearances.
It’s a bike with snappy handling that still feels stable on descents. The clever chassis doesn’t get unsettled by rough surfaces and I was impressed with how well Mavic’s new Cosmic rims coped in 40mph winds.
On one of my test loops, there’s a climb that starts with a 20 per cent gradient, evens out to around 7 to 10 per cent in its mid-section then kicks you in the teeth in the final few hundred metres with a 25 per cent wall. I usually attack the first hump and get into the red, breathe out through the eyes in the mid-section and then desperately try to recover before getting back in the red for the final part.
Riding the Gain, I attacked the first section with only the iWoc button in the red (indicating its highest power output), pushed through the mid-section at 15mph and then attacked the final section. I still got my heart rate in the red zone, but I maintained speed and the result was a PB for this climb, which obviously has to be discounted from my personal records.
Orbea Gain Carbon M20 MyO overall
Overall, the Gain feels like a very ‘complete’ e-assisted bike. Compared to its peers, it’s certainly the least compromised by the extra mass that a motor and battery inevitably bring.
The Gain was designed as an e-bike from the ground up, borne out by its balance, handling and all-round road manners, and it really shows.
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Shimano Ultegra 11-32|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra 50/35|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Tyres||Mavic Yksion Pro 28c tyre|
|Wheels||Mavic Cosmic carbon pro UST with ebikemotion rear hub|