© Chris Gollhofer © Chris Gollhofer

Gravel e-bike: a multi-talent for all roads | simplon.com

|Bikes & Tests

Does gravel riding on an e-bike go against the idea of cycling as a sport? There are several arguments that speak for tours on an electric hybrid. Learn more!

How much cycling is there in riding a gravel e-bike?

The number of gravel bikers is steadily increasing. That's not surprising, as gravel bikes are perfect for asphalt as well as gravel roads. At the same time, e-bikes are increasingly gaining in popularity, even amongst ambitious cyclists. If both trends are combined, completely new possibilities open up – long distances on varying terrain can be mastered with ease.

Many e-bike opponents claim that this type of bike goes against the idea of cycling as a sport. Julian Gessenauer, a passionate cyclist himself and author at RCDE, proves these critics wrong. Equipped with the Inissio Pmax gravel e-bike by Simplon, he cycled across the Splügen Pass from Bregenz to Como.

Find out how the gravel e-bike performed and which advantages became readily apparent!

Start of the gravel bike tour: Off we go – powered by our own strength!

The first day's stage starts in Bregenz at Lake Constance. The itinerary includes 262 kilometres of cycling and 3,200 metres of elevation gain. At the beginning, the electric motor remains off, because the route leads Julian along perfectly paved cycle paths into Switzerland. When not in use, the motor separates from the drivetrain and is thus only present as additional, but hardly noticeable weight.
The road conditions cry out for a road bike, but the gravel e-bike doesn't dampen the enjoyment in the least.

The road becomes steeper and the excitement rises

In Chur, the first climb awaits, followed by countless uphill-downhill passages. Finally, the motor of the gravel e-bike gets to prove its merits: It harmoniously joins in the ride and provides more or less support depending on the gradient.

The look of a road bike, the character of a mountain bike

The bike's appearance is a source of confusion, especially for oncoming cyclists. The bike, which looks more like a road bike, performs exceptionally well on the passage that is actually intended for mountain bikers. In places where a road bike would usually reach its limits, the gravel e-bike continues without any problems. To keep up with the speed of sportier companions, all you need to do is activate the motor.

The full video from the tour

The gravel e-bike keeps on rolling

At the outset of the second stage of the day, the challenge is to conquer the top of the pass. 650 metres in elevation gain over a distance of nine kilometres: the perfect opportunity to supplement your own power with that of the drive unit and thus conserve some energy. The intensity of the assistance when pedalling can be regulated by pressing a centrally positioned button. The lowest level serves as a gentle support and still gives the rider a feeling of accomplishment.

Silent companions: a quiet motor and powerful brakes

The sound is equally as discreet as the integration of the drive unit into the bike's design. On steep climbs, it turns out to be a barely visible secret weapon that amazes unwitting road cyclists.
Uphill, the motor provides the necessary support. Downhill, it's the brakes – specifically developed for gravel bikes – that boast an impressive performance on the route down the Splügen Pass. The remaining kilometres lead Julian slightly downhill and on hard-compressed gravel to Lake Como.

Grand Finale: compelling arguments for the gravel e-bike

The third and final stage of the day starts at Lake Como, which seems to magnetically attract cyclists despite the questionable quality of the pavement of the roads in the area. The numerous gaping potholes in the asphalt can be gracefully mastered with the gravel e-bike. The quiet road conditions on the route to the destination of Como allow cyclists to enjoy the beautiful scenic views of the lake.

Besides the successful tour from Bregenz to Como, the Inissio Pmax takes part in the ultimate challenge: the Simplon bike versus a car - who will win the challenge?

The Challenge: The Simplon Inissio Pmax versus a car - who will win?

A bike for all occasions

On the tour, the advantages of the gravel e-bike became readily apparent. On steep climbs, when going downhill and on uneven roads, the gravel e-bike does exactly what it's supposed to – to the delight of its rider.

With the hybrid between road bike and (e-)mountain bike, extended cycling tours with varying riding conditions are no longer reserved for ambitious pros. Thanks to the motor, long distances become feasible even for less in-shape cyclists, and they won't have any problems keeping up with their fitter peers.

Do you want to give gravel riding a try now? Discover the Simplon gravel bike and set out on your first adventure on a hybrid bike! And have a look at the full article and the author's point of view about the tour on the RCDE website

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