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Orbea’s Gain offers a glimpse of an e-bike future

Could Orbea’s Gain offer a glimpse of an e-bike future?

The Focus Project Y shocked many with a concept bike that was visually indistinguishable from a regular road bike, but the bold new Orbea Gain takes the deception to another level. The aim has been to conceal all the electric features inside a bike that resembles a regular bike. And by god have they achieved that: I had to do a double take when I first saw it.

“We’re at the doorstep of a new era,” reckons Orbea. That's a bold claim indeed. However, the company says it focused on designing an e-bike that enhances the ride, rather than dominates it. It’s for those people that want a better adventure or want some assistance on a commute, those people getting into cycling for the first time or after time away from the bike, or would-be cyclists daunted by the fitness barrier, of helping people switch from other forms of transport to a bicycle.

At the heart of the new Gain road bike is a 250wh battery in the downtube powering a 250w motor housed inside the rear hub manufactured by fellow Spanish firm ebikemotion. It's claimed to be good for a range of 75km, though external batteries can extend that to 250km. The motor delivers up to 40 Nm of torque and it’s been tuned to offer the best performance between 15 and 25kph.

Much of the focus of attention with the latest generation of e-bikes has been on bottom bracket-based power units like those from Bosch and Shimano. The ebikemotion X-35 system takes a different approach and houses the motor inside the rear hub. Not only does this offer better integration potential, as highlighted by how much the new Orbea Gain looks like a normal road bike, but also less weight as the motor, battery and associated gubbins weigh 3.5kg.

Claimed weight for the Orbea Gain, even with the aluminium frame and fork, is around 13kg, so lighter is definitely possible with a move to carbon fibre. The battery has all the necessary controls neatly integrated into it, with an on/off control button on the top tube also providing battery and assist level. There’s also a smartphone app providing control over the system along with ride tracking and route planning.

orbea gain motor system.png

orbea gain motor system.png

The motor is hidden in the rear hub with a magnetic cassette lock ring and sensor integrated into the dropout monitoring pedalling input and feeding in power assist as it’s needed. Moving the motor to the freehub allows a bike manufacturer to use any bottom bracket and crankset they want, but ebikemotion adds that this system offers lower friction, which could be useful when surpassing the 25kph speed limit that all e-bikes must adhere to by law. You can learn more about the motor system here

app.jpg

app.jpg

How much is the Gain?

Orbea is offering five Gain bikes, three road bikes and two adventure models.

The Gain D40 (€1,799) uses an aluminium frame with a Shimano Claris groupset and RS305 mechanical disc brakes with an 11-32t 8-speed cassette. https://www.orbea.com/gb-en/ebikes/gain-d40

Move up to the Gain D30 (€2,299) and you get an upgrade to a Shimano Tiagra 4700 drivetrain with RS405 hydraulic disc brakes and an FSA Omega Compact chainset.

The top-end Gain D10 (€2,999) is equipped with Shimano Ultegra R8000 parts with hydraulic disc brakes and an FSA Gossamer chainset.

orbea gain adventure.jpg

orbea gain adventure.jpg

Moving onto the adventure bikes, the Gain D20 (€2,899) is specced with a SRAM Rival 1x11 groupset with a FSA Omega Compact chainset and Schwalbe G-One Allround 40mm wide tyres.

The Gain D15 (€3,899) keeps the same SRAM Rival parts as the D20 but upgrades the crankset and cassette to SRAM Force and has upgraded contact points.

More info at www.orbea.com/ie-en/ebikes/brands-road

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

51 comments

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wellsprop [507 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I'm all for these ebikes, think they are a fantastic idea.

I would happily own one in a few years for longer/faster commuting if it weren't for the fact that my average commute speed is 17+ mph.

I wouldn't want the penalty of a heavy bike just for the improvement it would make on the 1 or 2 steep parts of my commute.

They look SO much better than old ebikes too.

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StoopidUserName [373 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Pure, unadulterated evil....BURN TILL DEAD!!

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Rich_cb [487 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

The popularity of e-bikes is going to hit another level now that they have got the aesthetics sorted.

There's a strong argument for increasing the cycle to work scheme threshold in order to accommodate them.

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alansmurphy [1242 posts] 3 months ago
9 likes

I'm all for making them look better but there should be some sort of identifier so I know I'm not getting sh!tter...

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1961BikiE [392 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I could see something like the D20 or 30 in my future. Would help to reduce fatigue over a weeks commuting. Alternate e-bike and push bike to reduce workload, so I'd be fresh for weekend rides under my own steam and know if I felt ropey on Monday I could use the e-bike to help out. A few more years yet though. Touch wood.

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Timsen [77 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I think this is a retrograde & unecessary step as an assisted bike and a "normal " bike are 2 different things and there should be no need to disguise the former to look like the latter. You can also say goodbye to any meaningful comparison with other riders on Strava etc. when these become common place.

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henryb [12 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

With e-bike reviews, I'd be interested in how maintainble or replaceable the drive components are, as they might not be expected to last the lifetime of the bike. E.g. if the battery or motor need replacing, how easy is this?

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Timsen [77 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Helping an old timer with creaky knees get his/her shopping home is fine but encouraging inexperienced riders to go faster (& possibly race) on the road is dangerous. This development will lead to calls for compulsory registration, insurance and ultimately the death of cycling as we know it ! 

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Rich_cb [487 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
Timsen wrote:

Helping an old timer with creaky knees get his/her shopping home is fine but encouraging inexperienced riders to go faster (& possibly race) on the road is dangerous. This development will lead to calls for compulsory registration, insurance and ultimately the death of cycling as we know it ! 

They're limited to 25kph.

Above that you're on your own with an extra 3.5kg dead weight.

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Twowheelsaregreat [89 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Twice recently I've had people say to their cycling buddies that I'm probably on an e-bike as I overtook them up a climb. I took it as a compliment and didn't attempt to disprove their comment but gone are the days when cyclists said hey you're strong or good going.  No more compliments anymore : (

Anyway this is where motors belong in my opinion. On road bikes which will be a massive boon for commuters. Even I may purchase one if my next job is further away. 

For off road. Sorry I'm not in favour of them. I think the countryside is under enough pressure as it is without potentially de-restricted (and yes I've encountered a couple already) motorised bicycles scaring horses which struggle with the lack of connected bridleways as it is. It's hard to prove these e-bikes are de-restricted until they go burning past and there's never anybody to police them. Some of their owners know they won't get caught.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Laws of unintended consequence will undoubtedly apply, but for now I consider eBikes to be the renaissance of cycling as round town transport for the modern, slightly lazy, masses and a godsend to otherwise keen riders who suffer old age or other disability that would otherwise see them not cycling at all. If I owned one, and I could see that being a reality one day, then personally I'd have "e-Bike" emblazoned on the downtube and be proud of the fact.

 

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1961BikiE [392 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I only use Strava to look at my performance. Yes, I share and follow other riders but that's purely social. Oh dear I won't be able to beat strangers on Strava. Shame it's already been shown people using cars etc to look Strava good. Ha haw!

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Jimnm [269 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Don't think they are right. Just another way of extracting money from the masses. They'll flood the market with them and then insist they be taxed.

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Ush [1015 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Twowheelsaregreat wrote:

Anyway this is where motors belong in my opinion. On road bikes which will be a massive boon for commuters. Even I may purchase one if my next job is further away. 

For off road. Sorry I'm not in favour of them. I think the countryside is under enough pressure as it is

 

Agree on these points, although I don't care about the horses at all.   Electric MTBs just make it too easy for the scarce resource to be consumed and destroyed.

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ashliejay [72 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

gimme, this can replace my recently bought folding E-bike for my commute, and it looks comfy enough to do the whole 10 miles, so i can ditch the bus half.

 If it wasn't for awkward laws, a 250w E-bike can comfortably do 32KPH, which while it doesn't sound like much of an increase of the 25-26KPH limit, it makes a huge difference.

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ashliejay [72 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

I'm all for making them look better but there should be some sort of identifier so I know I'm not getting sh!tter...

read up on the motors and controllers, although these days unless you get a really cheap E-BSO you can't go wrong, like halfords stocks a bunch with SR suntour E-bike systems which are pretty good, and even if you bought a conversion kit from the likes of panda E-bikes(i've got one) they are still pretty good and and neat for adding to an old beater you've got in the shed, and the trans-X systems raleigh uses are still pretty good but still not as good as bosch or shimano, although if you don't want to research, as long as it's got a system by a brand you recognise it'll do you well until the battery dies in 5-6 years.

Avatar
shay cycles [402 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes
Timsen wrote:

I think this is a retrograde & unecessary step as an assisted bike and a "normal " bike are 2 different things and there should be no need to disguise the former to look like the latter. You can also say goodbye to any meaningful comparison with other riders on Strava etc. when these become common place.

"Strava etc." has never been the place to look for any "meaningful comparison".

A bike is a bike. What's the difference between someone on a 13kg touring bike and a 8kg road bike, or a MTB or a Dutch bike? It just doesn't matter what it looks like. Ride whatever bike you choose, wherever you choose and it is always better than not riding.

If you want a "meaningful comparison" then enter a race, time trial or maybe even a triathlon where the rules make that possible.

Avatar
reliablemeatloaf [106 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

In the movie "wall-E", the inhabitants of a spaceship spend their days riding hoverscooters, while they sip giant sweetened drinks while looking at screens. All of them are obese and know nothing of the outside world.

This is the world we are headed for, and e-bikes, in my opinion, are hastening this future. They do this by tolerating, and promoting, weakness and frailty, instead of  health, strength and independence. All this blather about how e-bikes will permit those who cannot cycle regularly to enjoy a bike are just  a convienient excuse for these types to perpetuate their infirmities (and to sell more e-bikes).

Strength is the most basic human quality, and others derive from it - balance, power, speed. People that cannot ride a bike need to get stronger, and whatever infirmity they have that prevents them from riding a regular bike will be improved or eliminated, enabling them to ride normally. 

Getting stronger involves a putting forth of effort, in the form of strength training. I guess this is not the place to go into detail about the methods of training, so I will just say that there is hardly a physical, or healthy attribute that cannot be improved through strength training. I think anyone able enough to ride a bike can engage in strength training.

A stronger populace would render e-bikes unnecessary, but as long as they exist, people will bypass methods to improve their physical condition, because they will always have a motor to fall back on, when their condition deteriorates even further, which it most certainly will. Soon the "bike" part of "e-bike" will be forgotten, and it will be all "e", just another powered vehicle to compete with on the roads and paths.

All those bike lanes and paths that are being built throughout the world for regular bikes? Soon they will be "E-bike highways and expressways", and regular cyclists will be shut out once again.

A weaker future lies ahead, which is why I have said, and will continue to say, that e-bikes suck.

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Krazyfrenchkanuck [26 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Watch out !
The Mamils (Middle Age Man In Lycra) will become eonXLs (Electrified Old Narcicist In Xtrasupportive Lycra)
I'm sure Sir Chris Hoy will agree !

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Rich_cb [487 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

. People that cannot ride a bike need to get stronger, and whatever infirmity they have that prevents them from riding a regular bike will be improved or eliminated, enabling them to ride normally. 

If only someone would invent a device that could help people build up their cycling strength.

Maybe a bicycle with adjustable levels of assistance so you could gradually taper it down until you can ride unassisted?

E-bikes can actually help people get in to cycling and enjoy all the health benefits associated with it.

Also, not all conditions will respond to training, there are many people who will never be able to ride a bicycle unassisted, e-bikes will also allow them to enjoy our sport.

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hsiaolc [367 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I think its great. 

But

My next bike will be a eMTB to commute and to MTB.  Kill all birds with one stone. 

I can't wait for super plush ride to work. 

Avatar
fenix [837 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
Jimnm wrote:

Don't think they are right. Just another way of extracting money from the masses. They'll flood the market with them and then insist they be taxed.

Brilliant. More people on the roads. Less motorists. Tax can pay for better cycling provisions.

Avatar
Simon E [3154 posts] 3 months ago
9 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

A weaker future lies ahead, which is why I have said, and will continue to say, that e-bikes suck.

This, and the rest of your post, is pompous nonsense.

E-bikes will not make people fat or weak.

The decline in activity in general, including the abandonment of manual labour in many developed countries, has been accompanied by the mass production of cars, TVs etc, the rise in availability of very cheap, calorie-dense factory food, among other things. Even before the internet became the time-swallowing behemoth it is now many people lived quite sedentary lives.

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cyclisto [331 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes

Every locked internal combustion vehicle in a garage is win for me. Take bicycle, e-bicycle, public transport, walk do whatever you want. As long as city's air is clean, everybody will win

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alansmurphy [1242 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
ashliejay wrote:
alansmurphy wrote:

I'm all for making them look better but there should be some sort of identifier so I know I'm not getting sh!tter...

read up on the motors and controllers, although these days unless you get a really cheap E-BSO you can't go wrong, like halfords stocks a bunch with SR suntour E-bike systems which are pretty good, and even if you bought a conversion kit from the likes of panda E-bikes(i've got one) they are still pretty good and and neat for adding to an old beater you've got in the shed, and the trans-X systems raleigh uses are still pretty good but still not as good as bosch or shimano, although if you don't want to research, as long as it's got a system by a brand you recognise it'll do you well until the battery dies in 5-6 years.

Hey Ashleigh,

My point was that it looks so much like a standard road bike, I don't want to see someone twice my weight flying by me looking casual and not knowing they're on an e-bike.

A year or two ago a friend and I were on an uphill drag in Anglesey and failed to close a gap on a lady with a shopping basket looking casual. As we finally got their she told us not to worry as she had special powers.

I have looked at a few options for the wife to commute the few miles to work and also help her get on board with myself and the kids on weekend jaunts. I do actually love these and it will be a consideration at some point, and with potential debilitating issues this kind of addition to a recumbent would be epic!

Avatar
alansmurphy [1242 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

*sorry auto fill on your name...

Avatar
Leviathan [2868 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

In the movie "wall-E", the inhabitants of a spaceship spend their days riding hoverscooters, while they sip giant sweetened drinks while looking at screens. All of them are obese and know nothing of the outside world.

Say what you want about cycling on this site (it's subjective) but get your movie facts right: in Wall-E they did not use scooters, the humans sat in hoverchairs, there was no scooting. Blue is the new red.

Avatar
Mungecrundle [866 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
alansmurphy wrote:
ashliejay wrote:
alansmurphy wrote:

I'm all for making them look better but there should be some sort of identifier so I know I'm not getting sh!tter...

read up on the motors and controllers, although these days unless you get a really cheap E-BSO you can't go wrong, like halfords stocks a bunch with SR suntour E-bike systems which are pretty good, and even if you bought a conversion kit from the likes of panda E-bikes(i've got one) they are still pretty good and and neat for adding to an old beater you've got in the shed, and the trans-X systems raleigh uses are still pretty good but still not as good as bosch or shimano, although if you don't want to research, as long as it's got a system by a brand you recognise it'll do you well until the battery dies in 5-6 years.

Hey Ashleigh,

My point was that it looks so much like a standard road bike, I don't want to see someone twice my weight flying by me looking casual and not knowing they're on an e-bike.

A year or two ago a friend and I were on an uphill drag in Anglesey and failed to close a gap on a lady with a shopping basket looking casual. As we finally got their she told us not to worry as she had special powers.

I have looked at a few options for the wife to commute the few miles to work and also help her get on board with myself and the kids on weekend jaunts. I do actually love these and it will be a consideration at some point, and with potential debilitating issues this kind of addition to a recumbent would be epic!

So your tiny male cycling ego requires that you are able to go faster than a little old lady taking her shopping home?

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [1574 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

So your tiny male cycling ego requires that you are able to go faster than a little old lady taking her shopping home?

I should hope so! Bloody pensioners needing putting in their place, cheap houses, big pensions, 6w/kg!!!

Avatar
kitkat [480 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

A weaker future lies ahead, which is why I have said, and will continue to say, that e-bikes suck.

This, and the rest of your post, is pompous nonsense.

E-bikes will not make people fat or weak.

The decline in activity in general, including the abandonment of manual labour in many developed countries, has been accompanied by the mass production of cars, TVs etc, the rise in availability of very cheap, calorie-dense factory food, among other things. Even before the internet became the time-swallowing behemoth it is now many people lived quite sedentary lives.

You're both correct, from my sample group of one an e-(motor)bike user has said they've lost fitness/condition and rarely goes out on their non-motor bikes. On the other hand those who adopt e-(motor)bikes will see a rise in fitness although it's debatable how much that will be. In the long run engines & batteries will get better & much like the Yamaha Fizzy, the pedals will be for show and really it's an electric scooter

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