Orbea Gain D50 2019 Electric Road Bike Review

I have been wanting to do a review of the Orbea Gain D50 since I had a go on one earlier last year. I had already ridden a Giant Road-E which uses a Yamaha mid-drive, and was eager to try a light weight electric road bike that used a compact hub motor.

The Orbea Gain official promotional video

Mid-Drive vs Hub motor

Although some recent developments by Shimano, Yamaha and Bosch have made their excellent mid-drive motors easy to pedal once the power shuts down at 15mph, there is still a substantial weight penalty with mid-drives due to their relative complexity.

bosch performance line mid drive electric bike motor

Enter ebikemotion with their excellent X35 M1 compact hub motor and integrated lithium battery. This small and lightweight motor fits neatly into the rear wheel and is barely noticeable. But the great thing is the motor and battery combined only add around 3.5kg to the total weight of the bike.

ebikemotion x35 M1 electric hub motor for road bikes

This electric bike system is so good in fact, that it is now used on a whole host of e-road bikes. From the Ribble Endurance SLe, through to the Bianchi Aria E-road and the Focus Paralane.

Battery

The 36v 250wh (watt hour) lithium battery pack is cleverly hidden in the frame. This battery uses the high energy density Panasonic NCR18650GA lithium cells – widely regarded as the best cells available at present.

the ebike motion x35 concealed downtube battery

Providing you only use the pedal assist when you really need it, there is no reason why you can’t get a range of 60-70 miles out of this battery. If, however you rely on the assist being on all the time, I use the calculated 20wh per mile energy consumption – this would drastically reduce you battery range to less than 20 miles.

As far as I am aware, the Orbea Gain was the first e-road bike to use this excellent drive system, and since then many other prestigious bike manufacturers have followed suit.

The Ride

I managed to ride one of these in the Spring of 2018, not long after they had been released, and I have to admit, I was smitten.

The first thing I noticed, was that it felt like a normal road bike. There was no noticeable drag from the motor, and the bike felt nimble and sure-footed. The 700x28c tyres are an excellent choice, and make the bike more usable on rougher terrain, like canal paths etc.

The frame and forks are wide enough to accommodate tyres up to 40c, which would be perfect for touring or gravel track riding.

orbea gain d50 electric road bike multi-colour

The pedal assist works flawlessly and provides a seamless boost of power when you really need it. I am personally a little biased towards the Yamaha system found on the Giant Road-E. Mid-drive motors are more efficient and provide considerably more torque than hub motors, however this would be more relevant in mountain bike applications when climbing very steep trails and not so much of an issue with a road bike.

My ride of this bike took me on a short 10 mile loop of my local area, with a couple of short, but steep climbs. The Gain handled these with ease, and definitely took the sting out of these hills. I was also impressed with the Shimano mechanical disc brakes, they certainly performed on a par with the Avid BB-5’s I had used on a previous road bike.

My only slight disappointment was the entry-level 2×8 Shimano Claris groupset, it would have been nice to at least have Tiagra or 105 at this price, but maybe that is expecting a bit too much!

I was really impressed with the ride quality, and as I have mentioned previously, it didn’t feel like riding an e-bike (until I used the pedal assist).

 

orbea gain d50 in the orange colour scheme

Conclusion

Overall, I was very impressed with the Orbea. An e-bike that doesn’t look, weigh or handle like one! Having ridden the Giant Road-E and the Ribble Endurance SLe, my favourite would have to be the Ribble for an out and out road bike experience. The Giant looks and weighs more like an e-bike with its large lithium battery pack and Yamaha mid-drive motor dominating, but the way that motor makes the power is a revelation!

Taking everything above into account, both the Giant and Ribble are substantially more expensive. The Orbea D50 offers excellent value for money and doesn’t have much in the way of competition at its price, making it the best electric road bike available for under £2000.

Full Specification Below:

  • 6000 Series hydroformed aluminium alloy with rack and mudguard mounts
  • Carbon fork for a smoother ride
  • Shimano Claris 2×8 speed drivetrain with wide range 11-32 cassette
  • Shimano mechanical disc brakes for consistent all-weather stopping
  • 700c wheels with 28mm tyres (clearance for up to 40mm)
  • Sizes: X Small, Small, Medium, Large, X Large
  • Colours: Anthracite, Grey/White/Red, Orange/Black
  • The Orbea Gain D50 is available with 0% APR finance

Drive Information:

  • Motor: Ebikemotion X35, rear hub drive, 40Nm
  • Battery: Ebikemotion 36v downtube integrated battery pack
  • User interface/remote: iWoc One top tube button & smartphone app
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

The Gain was designed to enhance your ride, not dominate it. The Enough Power and Enough Energy concepts result in an exceptionally lightweight, sportive and rideable bike – a machine that heeds the call of the open road. Gain embraces your sweat and hard work and works in unison with your efforts to tick off the miles. System interfaces are modern, integrated and sleek. There are no bulky components to reduce the riding experience, distractions have been minimised so it’s just you, Gain and the hours ahead.

 

 

orbea gain d50 in the anthracite colour scheme

Mode Button – Save space on your handlebar for a GPS if you wish, or ride without clutter. Gain’s control centre is an attractive and discreet button on the top tube. With the simple iWoc ONE interface, you can power the system on or off, check motor assist level and view the remaining battery charge. Coloured LED lighting puts all the information you need right at your fingertips.

Internal Battery – The battery is usually one of the most noticeable components of an e-Bike system, so every step has been taken to find the lightest, smallest and most discreet unit. Gain’s Enough Energy concept provides you with enough battery power, not more. It eliminates the need for a bulky, high-output battery that needs to be removed from the bike.

Drive System – The heart of the Gain, the rear hub motor is the key to Gain’s Enough Power concept. The sophisticated drive system provides enough smooth and reliable assistance at levels designed to enhance your ride, not dominate it. And since the motor is at the hub, you’ll experience drag-free pedalling when Gain is not providing a push

C.A.N Integration – Gain doesn’t require a multitude of wires, ports or accessories. The CAN (Controller Area Network) bus port provides a single interface for charging, system diagnosis or attaching the external backup battery.

PAS Sensor – Gain’s smooth and balanced assist requires an advanced sensor. Blending perfectly with our effort to create a sleek and discrete system, the cassette lockring holds 20 magnets that are detected by the integrated dropout sensor. The system monitors your pedalling input and adjusts power accordingly

App – A smartphone and smartwatch compatible app enable deeper control of the iWoc system used by Gain. Ride tracking, activity and GPS route uploading and other functions are available from your mobile device, making Gain an even more valuable tool.

Versatile – The new carbon frame includes the same integration features other Orbea Carbon frames have, plus the complexity of also fully integrating the motor power cable and the P.A.S sensor.

Mavic – In order to bring the best quality built, we’ve teamed up with Mavic and brought their bestsellers into the Gain family; the Aksium Elite and Cosmic Carbon Wheels.

Tyre Clearance – The move to wider tyres is happening everywhere, with even road racers opting for the comfort and lower rolling resistance of 25c or 28c tyres. To make Gain even more versatile it is possible to mount most 40c tyres, either with clincher or tubeless.

Specification

Frame: Orbea Gain
Fork: Speed 400mm Carbon Flat mount
Headset: 1-1/8″ Semi-Integrated
Bars: Orbea OC-II
Front Brake: Shimano BR-RS305 Mechanical Disc
Rear Brake: Shimano BR-RS305 Mechanical Disc
Front Mech: Shimano Claris FD-R2000-F
Rear Mech: Shimano Claris RD-R2000-GS
Shifters: Shimano Claris ST-R2000
Rims: Ready GR
Front Tyre: Hutchinson Fusion 5 All SeasonTLR 700×28
Rear Tyre: Hutchinson Fusion 5 All SeasonTLR 700×28
Seat Post: Orbea OC-I 27.2x350mm
Chain: KMC X8
Cassette: Shimano HG50 11-32t 8-Speed
Battery (Wh): 250 Wh
Motor: Ebikemotion
User Interface: Ebikemotion iWoc ONE

My preferred bike supplier currently has an excellent offer on all new e-bikes – click on the image below.

E-bike promotion - save up to £350 on a new electric bike

£1799
8.8

Value for Money

9.0/10

Build Quality

10.0/10

Efficiency

8.0/10

Reliability

9.0/10

Performance

8.0/10

Pros

  • The cheapest e-road bike available
  • The X35 motor is great - you won't even notice it's there!
  • Relatively light for an e-bike
  • Versatile design
  • Looks like a normal road bike

Cons

  • I would have been nice to have at least 105 at this price

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