Gtech, the British startup and renowned purveyor of cordless vacuum cleaners and garden trimmers, stormed into the ebike game a couple of years ago with a pair of no-frills cycles aimed at urban commuters. They were simple enough bikes: cheap, with fixed-gears, a zippy motor and a carbon belt rather than a chain. Suspension was left entirely to the sweet cheeks God gave you, so potholes and off-road riding were out of the question if you value the junk in your trunk.
Now Gtech has added a battery-assisted mountain bike to its range, and named it the eScent (a play on ‘ascent’ rather than a futuristic smell).
Whereas the city bikes were pretty rudimentary, the eScent is a proper bike with high-quality components: hydraulic disc brakes, ten Shimano Deore gears and Rock Shox fork suspension up front.
The motor is still hidden in the rear-wheel hub (and still assists only up to the legal top speed of 15mph), but any jolts created by this additional weight at the rear of the bike are dampened by the parallelogram suspension seatpost beneath the saddle. It’s a smooth ride that your tender glutes will appreciate, whether you’re off-roading or using it to commute. On the eScent I could safely glide across poorly maintained surfaces that would normally entail a shift into the middle of the lane to avoid.
More importantly, the bike feels well balanced despite the extra hardware on board, and you can chuck it down a narrow dirt track, its natural habitat, with confidence.
In less good news, the battery died mid-journey during my review, due to a fault rather than running out of juice. Thankfully with gears you can largely mitigate the lack of power. By contrast, riding a single-gear ebike without a battery is like trying to pilot a wrought iron fence. Gtech’s two-year warranty replaces a dud battery in either case, and when it’s working, a single charge will send you between 20 and 30 miles.
At this price, and for those after a serious electric mountain bike, it’s worth considering paying a little more for something with a mid-motor, which vastly improves the bike’s balance. But if you just want a commuter you can ride in a field at the weekend, the eScent is your guy.
Model: Gtech eScent Mountain eBike
Price: From £1,895
Frame Size: 17.5-inch (22-inch with suspension seat post)
Frame construction: Aluminium
Brake Type: 180mm hydraulic disc brakes
Wheel Size: 27.5-inch
Tyre Type: 2.35-inch off-road
Range: 20-30 miles in testing
Charge Time: 3 hours
Battery Type: Lithium-ion