The demand in the market is for an ebike that can be used for a spot of commuting and heading down to the cafe for a coffee and a croissant, and can also do a light bit of trail riding. Oh, and can you make it step through because I don’t like swing my leg over. Easy right? No so much: battery placement can be tricky as it interferes with the low step (or goes on the rear rack which creates weight distribution problems); and getting adequate rigidity in the frame is a challenge with true step through frames. Then there is geometry choice – upright or agressive? Luckily for potential buyers, there is a whole range of choices coming along and the Gepida Berig is one of them that has taken a stand and will suit some of that demand.
ElectricMeg rode the Berig and awarded it 8/10 overall. She loved the handling and power up hills. It is a good step-through and everything worked well. Power comes from a Generation 3 Bosch Performance Line motor with 500Wh of battery and Purion display, a great combo. One of the pluses of this style of Bosch battery is that you can potentially fly with this bike having left the battery at home and rent one at your destination. It’s the configuration that has been around for several years and well proven. The Gen3 motor has regular sized chainrings and is rid of the draggy effect of earlier Bosch motors.
The geometry is MTB-like, meaning a bit more forward than your average step-through ebike. It’s something to consider, and suggests more bias towards ‘trail’ than ‘commute’. We didn’t test offroad on anything other than gravel tracks which it handled confidently. Our main test ride was 65km on bike paths. ElectricMeg rode mostly on ‘TOUR’ and the last 20km or so on TURBO. The Bosch range estimator (which is a great feature by the way) said she had 10 km left on TURBO and 20km on TOUR. Not bad at all when my Magnum had almost run flat.
The main reason for ElectricMeg only awarding 8/10 comes down to the placement of the battery. Design involves compromise and for smaller riders the battery sometimes interferes a little. The ideal placement would be a ‘Powertube’ integrated into the downtube. I’m sure the designers considered that and went ahead with this placement anyway.
The other reason was that the rear rack isn’t as practical as could be. It is quite small although very robust, and will only take some rear pannier bags. Hers wasn’t one of those due to the very thick tubing.
Another note from me is the charging port. The battery can be charged on or off the bike, but the rubber dust and rain cover for on the bike charging was an awkward affair. Awkward to get off, awkward to get back on again and easy to lose. Gepida, you can do better.
Tyres are Schwalbe Smart Sam which are at home on offroad trails. It has a centre ridge to promote fast rolling and enough tread to promote traction offroad. There is some puncture protection but not like say a Marathon Plus. Suspension is typical Suntour XCM stuff, shifting is Shimano Deore and brakes are Tektro hydraulic. We’ve all seen this combo before because it works and is simple to maintain. Do check seat comfort before you leave the store – this being advice for every bike.
Who should buy this bike?
- Riders who want something that can do urban duties but trail features strongly in the mix
- A stepthrough without interruptions features strongly on the must-have list
- Quality is important, and Bosch Performance Line is up there
Who should give it a miss?
- Upright comfort features more strongly than trail geometry. Give it a try first though before you scratch it off the list.
- You can’t live with the Beluga-whale styling. Again, you might get over this as it’s a great little package.
What else is there to consider?
This is becoming a busy segment. Any of these cross-overs fits the bill depending on budget and requirements:
- Black ATB
- SmartMotion X-City (watch for a new model due soon with integrated downtube battery)
- Moustache XRoad Open (has the Bosch Powertube battery)
- Merida eSpresso
- Riese & Müller Nevo GT
- Electrify and their distributors. RRP is $4999. Link here.