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Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB e-bike review - Casual everyday companion

Smart mobilizer. The Gazelle Ultimate C380 is a sporty trekking bike. It shows its strengths as a powerful companion for commuters and as a relaxed tourer. Thanks to the Bosch Smart System, it can be customized and is protected against theft. Our test will show how it rides.

At the beginning of the year, Dutch manufacturer Gazelle presented three new models in the Ultimate line. This division is intended to offer sporty-oriented trekking bikes. The tested Ultimate C380 HMB is the top model with continuously variable Enviolo hub gears and Gates belt.

There is also a C5 HMB with Shimano hub gears and a T10 with 10-speed derailleur. The C380 is only available in blue, with two frame variants. The manufacturer offers the model with a diamond frame in four sizes, and there are even five size options for the frame with a low step-in. The test bike has a diamond frame size of 57 cm and is 185 cm tall.

Equipment and appearance - Gazelle delivers a comprehensive package

The Bosch Performane Line motor offers up to 75 Nm of torque
The Bosch Performane Line motor offers up to 75 Nm of torque

At first glance at the Gazelle Ultimate C380, the clean lines are striking. The cable routing is particularly successful: all cables and lines are routed into the frame at the side just behind the steering head, and nothing disturbs or rattles. In addition, the paintwork makes an extremely high-quality impression. The paint has a nice sheen, and there were no scratches or dents on our test vehicle. Only the battery cover is made of black, unpainted plastic and thus stands out visually.

In the standard version, Gazelle supplies the Ultimate bikes with 500 Wh batteries, but an energy storage unit with 625 Wh can also be installed in the down tube upon request and for an additional 200 Euros. The battery comes from Bosch, as do the motor and the display. A Performance Line motor provides up to 75 Nm of torque for support when pedaling. The riding data is displayed in color on a Kiox300 display.

Shifting is done with a continuously variable hub gear from Enviolo. It is operated via a twist grip on the handlebars. The power transmission between the crank and the rear wheel is ensured by a Gates belt that is virtually maintenance-free.

The suspension fork can be locked
The suspension fork can be locked
The preload of the suspension fork is adjustable
The preload of the suspension fork is adjustable
The inclination of the Kiox300 display is adjustable
The inclination of the Kiox300 display is adjustable
The functions of the Bosch control unit are extensive
The Gates belt transmits the power and requires very little maintenance
The handle width is adjustable without tools
The luggage carrier takes up to 25 kilos
The trains are nicely guided in the frame
Gear shifting Hub gears, Enviolo Trekking Manual
Brakes Magura MT-C4, 180/160 mm
battery 500 Wh/625 Wh at extra charge
Motor power 250 W
Max. Torque 75 Nm
Total weight (with pedals) 25.8 kg

The other everyday equipment is comprehensive: a lighting system, mudguards, frame lock, and a side stand are supplied by Gazelle ex works. A massive luggage rack with a load capacity of 25 kilograms is also installed. The rear light is integrated into this and is pulled far to the sides for better visibility in road traffic.

The battery can be easily removed, it is secured via a lock, which has the same key as the frame lock. If a socket is nearby, the easy-to-reach external charging socket can also be used.

Compared to last year's model, the front headlight has moved from the handlebars to the triple clamp. This makes the illumination of the road a little worse, but it allows the mounting of handlebar bags or baskets. The Ultimate C380 does not offer a high beam or brake light function.

Smart functions - Bosch Smart System

With paired smartphone, the display can be used for navigation
With paired smartphone, the display can be used for navigation

Gazelle relies on the complete package from Bosch. All components support the manufacturer's current "Smart System". This means that the motor, control unit, display, and battery are connected with each other and can be controlled via the "eBike Flow App". The software not only displays the battery status but also the software versions of the various components. Updates can be installed via the app, and it is also possible to adjust the riding programs to individual preferences.

With these updates the manufacturer also brings new functions to the components  - for example, a navigation solution for the installed Kiox300 display. This allows to plan routes to be cycled on the smartphone, the display shows the distance to the next change of direction and provides navigation aids with arrows.

The system can also be used as an anti-theft device. If the corresponding functions are activated, the location of the bike can be tracked via the app. In addition, the bike emits acoustic warning signals if it is moved while it is locked. Moreover, the motor control can be blocked via the app.

On the road - Ultimate C380 as a relaxed glider

Even though the installed Performance Line motor is not the most powerful drive from Bosch, the Ultimate C380 has powerful biceps. With a suitably selected support level, fast traffic light sprints are no problem at all. However, the bike's character is different: It is a superior glider.

The rather narrow Schwalbe tires roll pleasantly quietly over asphalt and gravel roads. The handlebars are quite narrow, but offer a pleasant offset and, with the adjustable stem, ensure an upright, slightly forward-leaning riding position. This also makes extended tours possible. The comfortable ride is supported by ergonomic fin grips.

The Enviolo gearshift also fits this relaxed character. It is very finely adjustable so that everyone finds his feel-good cadence. If you forgot to downshift when stopping, that's no problem either because the hub can be operated while standing. For switching the pressure should be taken off the pedal, then the system convinces with low operating forces on the twist grip.

The gear ratio is very long. Short climbs and steep sections are still no problem thanks to motor support. However, this configuration is not intended for long mountain stages - the bike shines on fast downhill sections. The bike can be accelerated far beyond the support limit. The stability is beyond all doubt. Even very swiftly driven curves or bumps that have been ridden over leave the bike completely cold. It thus conveys a great deal of safety. Even a fully loaded luggage carrier does not cause any unrest in the bike.

However, the surface should not be too rough because the tires of the Ultimate C380 are relatively narrow. We like the braking performance of the bike. The Magura MT-C4 disc brake works with two pistons and brings the Gazelle to a safe stop at all times. At the same time, it conveys a transparent braking feel. The grip width adjustment on the long levers is also well solved. It works without tools and offers a wide adjustment range.

Verdict - Gazelle Ultimate with full equipment

In review: Gazelle Ultimate C380. Test bike provided by Gazelle Germany.
In review: Gazelle Ultimate C380. Test bike provided by Gazelle Germany.

The Gazelle Ultimate C380 is versatile. It convinces both as an everyday companion with full equipment and as a comfortable touring bike.

The equipment leaves hardly anything to be desired and is of high quality throughout. The bike rolls very well, the drive is powerful and quiet.

The Bosch Smart System offers customizability, anti-theft protection, and a growing range of functions.

Alpinists and very sporty riders should better look at the derailleur variant. For everyone else, the continuously variable Enviolo derailleur can be a real comfort gain.

Price and availability

The high-quality equipment is also reflected in the price: 4290 euros Gazelle asks for the Ultimate C380 in its own online store. In return, however, the manufacturer also delivers very good workmanship, including great paint quality and a 10-year warranty on the frame.

The bike is available immediately and is sold not only online, but also at local retailers.

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The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB e-bike review - Casual everyday companion
Benedikt Winkel, 2023-05-15 (Update: 2023-05-15)