12 Jun Gazelle CityZen Is the Sweetest High-Tech Retro Bike Around
Weight: 55 LB (53cm)
Style: Class 3 electric city bike
Drivetrain: Bosch 2.0 Performance
The right bike for: City riders who want an e-bike that does it all
Gazelle CityZen T10 HMB Speed Detail Gallery
All the Gearing You Need
Shimano Deore 10-speed shifting provides ample gear range for everything from cruising in eco mode to crushing it in turbo.
Bosch Performance Line Motor
Bosch performance line motor with 63Nm of torque provides pedal assist in four modes with a maximum speed of 28mph
Perhaps no company has more experience designing city bikes than 125-year-old Gazelle. Its models look wonderfully Dutch—practical, chic, timeless. The new CityZen T10 HMB Speed is all of that, but also radically modern.
There are a lot of good electric bikes, but this is one of the first e-bikes to include Bosch’s newest electric-assist system with a battery that slips into the down tube, helping preserve the bike’s classic lines. The motor is a strong one—boosting you up to 28 mph and promising up to an 100-mile range.
The CityZen has a suspension fork, which isn’t that great, but it does take the oof out of bumps. And there are all the accessories you need for daily life on busy city streets: front and rear lights, a bell, an integrated lock, and even a sturdy kickstand.
The Gazelle CityZen Family
For riders who don’t need that much pep in the pedals, the $2,999 CityZen T10 HMB offers most of the same great features as the HMB Speed but reduces pedal assist to a maximum of 20mph. The integrated battery is left out in favor of an external battery mounted on the downtube and the suspension fork is also omitted.
Classic Design with Modern Tech
The CityZen has a classic step-through design with some swooping lines that make it appear as if the bike would fit into pre-war Amsterdam. The design also makes it easy to get on and off the bike, especially if you have a coffee in one hand.
The bike’s integrated battery system makes this one of the sleekest electric bikes out there. Bosch’s new 500Wh in-tube battery is barely noticeable—it slips into the down tube and locks in place, helping this e-bike maintain it classic lines.
The battery powers a Bosch motor that kicks out 63Nm of torque. That’s about average for an e-bike and gives the CityZen some zip. The class 3 design means the motor will assist you up to 28mph, which is pretty fast for a city bike. With four boost modes and a Shimano 1×10 drivetrain, we had no problem powering up an 18 percent grade wearing jeans and without sweating much. Shimano disc brakes help bring that speed under control.
This version of the CityZen also has its suspension built into the fork’s steerer tube. It works, but in the way 25-year-old suspension forks did. It softens the blow, but with a coil spring and little damping it feels jerky and detracts from the otherwise smooth ride.
CityZen Features and Fun Functionality
The Gazelle CityZen T10 HMB Speed features a sharp-looking, matte-black, aluminum frame. Like all electric bikes, it’s heavy—55 pounds with battery. Some of that weight comes from the Bosch motor and battery, and some of it from all the features the CityZen packs on the frame. While it has retro style, this isn’t a bike for minimalists—it’s for city riders who want every feature possible to make riding easier. And the motor makes the weight almost disappear once you’re riding.
This version comes with front and rear integrated lights that pull their charge from the battery, so you never have to worry about running out of juice. The rear rack is simple and elegant—three integrated elastic straps help you secure your load, whether you’re carrying a pile of books or takeout pad thai. (If you need more carrying capacity, check out our favorite cargo bikes.)
The AXA integrated lock means you’ll never lack security. The key stays in place when you ride, which can rattle some, but you simply have to squeeze the lock to engage it when you park. The design secures the rear wheel to the frame, making the bike immobile, though thieves with a strong back and getaway vehicle could still swipe it.
The fenders are relatively quiet, haven’t rubbed the tire on any of our test rides, and seem like they’ll hold up for a long time. The kickstand is strong enough to support the weight of the bike and there’s a chain guide to keep grease off your pants, but it feels a little flimsy and rattles a bit on bumpy ground.
You also get Ergon grips, which have a wide flat spot to rest your hands (a lot of people like these, but some don’t) and some really nice pedals. They’re relatively thin with grippy rubber on them, which helps keep your foot from sliding when you’re in sneakers or shoes with leather soles.
Overal Ride Impressions
The CityZen has the style and features that make it a good everyday commuter. The powerful motor and long-lasting battery make it a great one. The upright geometry is ideal for riding on crowded streets and bike lanes—with your head up, you can more clearly see traffic and and other riders.
For a bike with some retro style, it’s surprising how well it handles at speed. The CityZen doesn’t compare to a bike with drop bars when it comes to aggressive cornering or stability, but testers felt comfortable cruising at 20 to 25 mph on it.
The battery has enough juice for round trip commutes of at least 15 miles at full power (which is what we tested it at) and several times that if you use a lower level of boost.
The features make this bike easy to ride—you don’t have to worry about charging lights or remembering your lock. The rack is simple and functional, we just wish the straps came in brighter options—the bike could use a splash of color.
The suspension fork’s performance was disappointing, but thankfully the bike’s 44-millimeter wide tires softened the blow of potholes and other road obstacles. However, on bumpier roads all those accessories attached to the frame will rattle noisily.
But overall its a good riding bike with a great motor, cool features, and a battery that integrates into the frame better than most. It’s a bike made for everyday city riding, and it brings to that task a little bit of style and a lot of practicality.