DT Editor’s Choice Tech For Change Product
Gazelle Ultimate T10 review: The best commuter ebike
“The Gazelle Ultimate T10 is the ultimate electric bike for commuters.”
- Award-winning design
- Comfortable ride
- Smooth power delivery
- Excellent brakes
- Includes lights, fenders, and more
- Modest LCD screen
- No smart connectivity
Most electric bikes look a mess, but not the Gazelle Ultimate T10. It’s a stunner, and the best commuter bike I’ve seen yet.
Available in white or red, the Ultimate T10 ebike takes an unexpected road towards beauty. Instead of obscuring bulk with elegant lines, as does the Specialized Como, Gazelle built a bike that turns warts into beauty marks. Don’t just take my word for it. The bike is a 2020 iF Design Award winner.
It starts with the shape. Step-through frames don’t get hearts racing, but this bike uses its hefty, utilitarian downtube to ground the entire design. The blacked-out battery pack, smack in the center of the bike, contrasts with the frame’s bright red or white paint. It reminds me of the covers that dress up engine bays in modern sports cars. The same blacked-out look extends to the front fork, chain guard, and rear rack, tying the whole design together.
Still, it’s hard to argue with results. The Ultimate T10’s retail price of $3,799 is expensive, but not quite enough to guarantee a gorgeous bike. Even the most premium Pedgeo City Commuter looks a bore next to the Ultimate T10, while price competitive bikes from Trek and Giant have battery bumps that look like alien eggs growing from the frame.
Only Specialized can hope to compete on looks within this budget, but I still give Gazelle’s new bike the edge.
Here’s the real trick; the bike’s design is functional. The Ultimate T10 looks amazing yet doesn’t ditch features essential for a commuter. It comes standard with both lights and fenders front and rear, a rear rack, and a chain guard. The gang’s all here.
As a bonus, the Ultimate T10 has an integrated Axa Defender ring lock. It’s mounted to the frame and can be used to lock out the rear wheel, making the bike impossible to ride. You’ll still want a lock that secures the bike to a rack or another study object, but the integrated lock is a nice backup.
The standard equipment list, along with the step-through design, make this bike’s purpose clear. The Gazelle Ultimate T10 is a commuter, and it makes no apologies for that.
That means a relaxed, upright seating posture. It’s so upright that I found it uncomfortable at first. My instincts told me to lean forward, which meant the handlebars were too close. Eventually, I learned to lean back and enjoy the ride.
And it’s a superb ride. A lot of credit goes to the front fork’s integrated suspension. The bike’s design hides it, but it’s there, lending some cushion between you and the road.
This isn’t mountain bike suspension, so it’s not going to save your wrists if you drop off a curb. Still, it’s enough to absorb most bumps you’ll find. My usual route to the Digital Trends office has several tracts of rough pavement that can deliver bone-rattling impacts. The Ultimate T10 smoothed over those potholes with ease.
I even loved the saddle, a word of praise I rarely offer. It felt perfect for this bike. Wide enough to offer a lot of support, but not wide enough to interfere when it came time to crank out some watts. It’s the most comfortable stock saddle on any electric bike I’ve reviewed.
Don’t crush it, just cruise
A Bosch Performance Line Cruise motor powers the Gazelle Ultimate T10 up to 20 miles per hour, after which it cuts out. It does indeed cruise. The motor’s power delivery is balanced and gradual even at the highest of three power assist levels.
Want to go fast? This isn’t the bike for you. The motor isn’t for speed freaks looking to mix it up with city traffic, something that’s possible on a Specialized Como or Vado. It’s for commuters biking across town at a reasonable pace.
It works for that purpose. I preferred Eco Mode, the least powerful assist setting. The power’s just enough to provide a boost, but not so much that I didn’t get a workout. Eco Mode also makes the most of the integrated PowerTube 500 battery which, in my experience, lasted about 60 miles on a charge. Switching to Sport Mode, the most aggressive, dropped range to about 35 miles.
Power is delivered through 10-speed Shimano XT hardware. It felt adequate to the task. Shifts were occasionally clunky, but ultimately reliable. I had no problem with missed shifts, or shifts occurring when I hadn’t asked for them.
The groupset also includes front and rear hydraulic disc brakes that swiftly bring the bike to a stop. I was also impressed by the brake handles. They always felt right underhand and actuated with great tactile feedback. It’s a small thing that made me more comfortable bombing down Portland’s steepest hills.
I was less impressed by the black-and-white LCD that displays speed and battery life. It’s backlit, but not as large as I’d like, a problem that’s all too common on modern electric bikes. There’s also no support for an app to track miles, speed, or battery status.
The $3,799 Gazelle Ultimate T10 is pricey, but a solid value. This is a complete, all-in-one solution to daily commuting, and the best commuter ebike I’ve tested. Range, power, ride, lights, fenders, rack, even an integrated lock – this bike has it all right out of the box. Plus, it looks fantastic, which helps justify the price to your friends.
Is there a better alternative?
Every major brand offers a competitor. Specialized has the Como, Trek offers the Quick E+, and Trek has the Super Commuter. All three are solid bikes you’d likely enjoy, but the Gazelle is the most complete package for commuters.
How long will it last?
Gazelle offers a strong 10-year warranty on the frame, while the front fork is covered by a five-year warranty. There’s also a five-year warranty on paint for the frame and front fork. Other parts are covered by a two-year warranty.
Electric bikes require regular maintenance, though that shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars per year. The battery will eventually degrade after three to five years, and a replacement will be your most significant cost. Otherwise, the bike should last a decade or more.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Gazelle Ultimate T10 is the ultimate commuter ebike.