Thinking of maybe getting a Gazelle C380, but I'd like to consider alternatives

What? But ESPECIALLY for high-end bikes with high-tech automatic transmissions, isn't it doubly important to make sure? I understand that it's a lot of money for them, but it's a lot of money for me, too!
It still seems not to be the customer-market now. Probably might never be back. With the traditional distributor-dealer model and before the pandemic, a large store could have many models on the floor. Nowadays, with the introduction of the online sales model, things get harder and harder for the customer. A decent store (such as the one I use) has a fleet of demo bikes and e-bikes that belong to Specialized (the store is owned by Spec), and might be sold cheap after reaching some age and mileage. It is typically a low-end model to reduce the cost and protect the customer in case the e-bike is damaged or stolen during the ride. I could myself rent those e-bikes for a day long demo rides:
  • Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0; the demo ride convinced me to buy the shiny and brand new Vado SL 4.0 that was available on the showroom floor.
  • Specialized Turbo Creo SL E5 (aluminium), a road e-bike; the day long demo ride did not convince me I needed that e-bike
  • Specialized Turbo Tero 3.0, a Cross Country e-bike; the demo ride let me understood what that e-bike was and that if I wanted a Tero, it would have to be the superior Tero 5.0.

On the Creo demo ride. That ride made me understand a road e-bike was not for me.


The Vado SL ride made me want buy that e-bike model immediately! :)

The most expensive Specialized e-bike model I was offered for a demo ride was Specialized Turbo Levo Comp Carbon (a trail e-MTB) worth CAD12,000 at that time, as Specialized believe it is one of the less expensive Levo models! :D

The car market is different.
That looks like an interesting product! Is there any hope I could try it relatively close by before buying? I  do hear a lot that the most important thing is to try the bike before buying, after all. I'm in Chicoutimi, but I'm not expecting that close. Is it possible somewhere within the province of Quebec?

That's very interesting. I never would've thought "impossible to downshift low enough" would be a possibility. Is the disadvantage of interval gear hubs you mentioned something the vast majority of them exhibits or is it only some of them? Like, is a "mountain climbing gear" a thing on some internal gear hubs or not at all?

To be honest, I think my fears on derailleurs were overblown. I tried 4 e-bikes today, and 2 had entirely tolerable shifting, and 1 even had something that mostly felt great to use. Only one felt terrible, which is a pretty good average. It didn't take several pedal rotations to shift, and it should even shift while climbing. I was probably generalizing bad experiences.

I assume if I get a good one and go to the bike shop once or twice a year to get it serviced, it'll probably be fine. So I should probably stop thinking IGH bikes are the only option.

Though what about winter? I would be worried about a bike's chain getting gunked up and rusting because of the winter salt. Are my worries overblown again?

I knew there was an efficiency difference, but I assumed it was minor. Do you have numbers?

Like, 65 Nm? 85 Nm?
In my experience, I would say SM exaggerates the downside of IGH. I have an Ariel Rider C class with a Shimano Nexus IGH (7 speeds, and they also make an 8 speed). I came from a nice Trek hybrid bike with a smooth functioning derailleur, but I like the IGH so much I would not want to go back. Though I still habitually downshift as I come to a stop, I do appreciate that I can shift up or down without having to pedal. You can shift even while at a standstill. Whatever inefficiencies there may be, including the added weight, the motor compensates for very well. I use mine for grocery shopping, errands, and to get to the venues where my Silver Sneakers groups is walking, twice a week. IGH might not be appropriate for hard-core mountain biking, but derailleurs often get knocked out of whack on gnarly single track, so everything has its trade-offs. The IGH wears out chains less often, as the chain doesn't have to climb up and down the stack of sprockets all the time as it does with a derailleur. So it can be a more robust chain. Adjustments are needed far less often with an IGH. Which reminds me, I am due for another adjustment (last was 6 months ago), and it will take me about 2 minutes.

I find the range of gearing with the Nexus 7 to be very adequate. I rarely use the 1st gear or 7th gear. Of course my bike is a class 2, so anything over 20 mph is all on me (with gravity assist). FYI, I am 85 yo, so you should consider the source. At my age, I have found the ebike to be the very best exercise I can do. I pedal quite aggressively (for an old guy), and it gives me a serious cardio workout.
Hi again! I just reserved my bike.

Faced with the impossibility to run more trials, I had to take a somewhat arbitrary decision. I went with the Vado 3.0 IGH Step-through. It was a challenge, but my salesman was able to procure literally one of those. It should arrive in August.

Trying everything was impossible. I just couldn't in good conscience pay a lot of extra for a 5.0 (which are, anyway, extremely hard to find) without extensively trying it first.

I just knew a chain and derailleur, with their possibility for rust and maintenance requirements, would stress me out too much.

My friend who's an engineer had me try his converted bike on hills and it was ridiculously easy to climb them. He says the Vado 3.0 would probably be only a bit weaker, and so it'd probably be fine, and if it isn't, he can introduce me to someone who could alter the ratios, even though it's a hub and a belt. I don't understand, but we'll cross that bridge when we reach the river.

For the front basket, the kind salesman who's helping me out is confident he'll be able to put something together by attaching a basket to the first-party front carrier when he has it to try something out.

For the back carrier, since saddlebags would render the wheel aixle annoying to reach and stuff, the more I think about it, the more I want to go with a top trunk/bag thing for light cargo and a Burley Nomad for groceries. I like the mix of modularity and capacity it'll afford me.
Have they released more info than what you linked me to? It's not much to go off of.

How would that one compare to the Gazelle? It's even tough to even know how to compare them. They seem really similar.

Phew. That estimation indeed seemed really pessimistic.

Sorry, I tremble at the sight of the dérailleur. Maybe I'm unreasonably scared of them, but dang have they made me hate bikes in the past.
I'm with you on the derailleur, even though the last one i had (on a Trek hybrid) was smooth and reliable. My Ariel Rider C class has an IGH, and I hope never to go back to derailleurs. I can shift while at a standstill, can shift several gears up or down at one twist of the handgrip, and it requires extremely little maintenance. My next ebike will have an IGH for sure. There are those on this forum who will try to discourage you from IGH (heavier than a derailleur, for example), but having a motor makes that a non-issue.
@Kayakguy: just buy yourself a Vado 5.0 IGH with Enviolo AutomatiQ Heavy Duty and tell us if that e-bike is good or bad. I would trust you.
Not going to happen, as I don't want an automatic shifter. My Nexus 7 is quick, easy, reliable, and I don't mind using the manual twist shifter at all. But I will give Specialized a close look when I'm going for my next ebike. I don't like auto transmissions in cages, either, but we don't have much choice nowadays.
Have they released more info than what you linked me to? It's not much to go off of.

How would that one compare to the Gazelle? It's even tough to even know how to compare them. They seem really similar.

Phew. That estimation indeed seemed really pessimistic.

Sorry, I tremble at the sight of the dérailleur. Maybe I'm unreasonably scared of them, but dang have they made me hate bikes in the past.
Don’t even consider a Dost. Read Dost reviews in these EBR forums. They may have once been a good bike, but now will take your money, deliver nothing, and run.
Oh, I never gave news of my purchase. Dorothy's message reminded me.

So I ended up going with a Vado 3.0 IGH Step-through.

The delivery/initial warranty issues were horrible. It took about 6 months to receive at the store, I had a communication issue with the store salesman that made me believe delivery to my home was included, but actually I had to pay $300 to get it shipped to me*, and I also had to to go to an actual Specialized dealer to receive my bike. There's none in my city, so I had to find someone to go half an hour's drive away to go get it for me. They couldn't bring me along, so I couldn't check it on the spot.

Then I receive it, and go to remove the battery because it was getting cold and you really shouldn't leave the battery outside when it's cold... It wouldn't come out.

I contacted the Specialized dealer, Specialized's customer service, and they said I absolutely had to bring my bike back to a dealer to fix that. I tried local bike shops, and they were all afraid to even touch the issue. Specialized has special batteries and motors etc. which they have no way to gain access to, so they don't want to do anything even remotely related to that.

All this time, not only am I leaving my battery in the cold, but I'm also unable to charge my bike. It's not like I have an outlet in my shed, after all.

So I found someone else who was willing to go there with me. Turns out the issue was... A few Torx screws to adjust. The tech even told me "if it ever happens, just get a Torx 20 and adjust these screws". Oh my god. They could have told me on the phone and saved everyone so much time.

Also the front brakes were noisy at first. Thankfully, a local bike shop was able to fix that for me.

Also, setup with the phone app is kinda dumb. You have to do it while you have your bike next to you (within Bluetooth range) AND your proof of purchase, in paper form, on hand. Because the app will only take pictures with the camera. Can't give it a downloaded document. Also the QR code is unscannable. I learned later that you can do it on the website, which mostly works fine (unless you're using Firefox mobile), but damn, talk about needlessly complicated.

Also having to take out your phone, while the bike is still turned on, to engage the motor lock is a little inconvenient. But well

Now on to the good news. The bike itself has been fantastic to use. I hadn't understood that from the website, but turns out the IGH it comes with is the Enviolo 380 one, which really scared me because it was super hard to rotate on the Gazelle and R&M bikes I tried in on. But those worries were unfounded. Mine is only a little stiff to turn. Nothing catastrophic. It's fine and gear changes work great even when stopped.

Some people worried that the motor's power would be insufficient. I haven't challenged the absolute killer hills yet, but so far the motor has no issues taking me up normal, steep-ish hills with almost absolutely no effort from me if I'm feeling lazy.

I haven't been able to get a trailer yet because, well... My shed's door is a lot narrower than it looks. I already have to put my bike's handlebars in an awkward diagonal to get it in. A trailer would be a nightmare. So, well, groceries *work* with my Thule Pack 'n Pedal, but I can't buy too much at a time.

The front basket works and is sturdier than it looks, but the design is really dumb in actual use. It's completely opaque and it (needlessly) had a "beak" that extends pretty far forward, which blocks a lot of your view of the road. If there were a nail on the ground, I'd have much lower chances of avoiding it. Also it tends to accumulate water and snow. I don't know why they thought making it an ugly opaque box was a good idea, but it's not. I'll probably be looking for another MIK compatible front basket soon. An actual basket, one with actual holes for me to see something where my purse isn't directly blocking my sight, and for water to flow.

I've been trying to get my landlord to allow me to get a better shed, because the yard has lots of unused space AND I have a car parking that no one uses... But he hasn't been returning my calls. He's pretty hard to get in touch with.

Anyway, the bike has been going great. I got winter tires for it, and it does really well in the snow as well. I did change the pedals and seat though.

Still. Overall, I kind of wish I'd gotten the Gazelle. What scared me off was the Enviolo 380, but looks like the only reason it sucked was that the store I went to had bad demos, apparently. Their use of standard Bosch components would have saved me a lot of headaches, as any local bike shop would've gladly handled anything I wanted.

* I went to Montreal because that was the only way I could find to try Gazelle, Riese & Mueller and Specialized all in the same day. The salesman at the dealer was really helpful, passionate and knowledgeable, so I thought, if it's all the same, I might as well give him the sale commission. But turns out (and I only realized that once it arrived) they couldn't just send it to me included with the bike price, AND they couldn't send it to me in a completed state. They had to remove the handlebars and front wheel for shipping. they said any bike tech could handle final delivery.

But since it's Specialized, all the local bike stores were afraid and didn't want to handle that, so it had to be half an hour away at the nearest Specialized dealer.