Royal Dutch Gazelle has released a stylish new electric bike that can hit speeds of up to 28mph while you pedal – but take care before ordering, because the Gazelle Class 3 Ultimate C380+ is too fast to be classed as a bicycle in some locations.
The new Gazelle bike has a carbon drive belt (which requires far less maintenance than a traditional chain and won’t leave oily marks on your outfit), a Bosch Performance Line Speed motor, and stepless gear shifting that you can shift whether the bike is in motion or stationary.
E-bike classifications explained
E-bikes very hugely in speed, design and control mechanism, which can make life confusing, but they can be split into three classifications. A class one e-bike can hit a maximum speed of 20mph, and the motor only works while the rider is pedalling. All the models listed in our guide to the best electric bikes fall into this category, as does the original Gazelle Ultimate C380, which launched in October 2020.
In some territories, e-bikes are legally limited to a lower speed. In the UK, for example, an electric bike is only classified as a bicycle if it doesn’t exceed 20kph (about 15.5mph) and the motor only engages while the pedals are turning. Anything faster is classed as a moped or motorbike.
A class two e-bike is similar, with a top speed of 20 miles per hour, but can be controlled with a throttle so the motor kicks in without you turning the pedals.
A class three electric bike, like the new Gazelle, can be pedal-assisted or throttle-operated. These bikes can reach up to 35mph, but must have a speedometer so you can see exactly how fast you’re going. In most US states these can be ridden in bike lanes on roads, but in many other countries they’re not allowed in spaces designated for bicycles.
If the Gazelle Class 3 C380+ is road legal where you live, you’ll soon be able to order one for $4,749 (about £3,400 / AU$6,200) direct from Gazelle, or from an approved third-party retailer. That’s pretty steep for an electric bike, but certainly not the most expensive either, and if you’re looking for a speedy replacement for a second car, it may be just the thing.