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Hands-on with Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS e-bike - Uncomplicated urban bike

City slicker. With the Esprit C7 HMS, Gazelle aims to deliver a highly robust and straightforward e-bike for everyday use. A Shimano mid-drive motor provides electric assistance to the rider, and the bike's components have been carefully selected to keep maintenance low. Read on to find out more about our experience with the bike.

Gazelle’s Esprit bikes are made with everyday use in mind. They are meant to be practical, comfortable and stable. The Esprit C7 HMS elevates this aspiration to a new level. The company offers the bike in two frame shapes: a step-through and a step-over variant. 

The diamond-shaped model is available in four sizes, whilst the step-through variant comes in even more sizes – five to be exact. You also have a choice between matt green and matt black. The bike has an RRP of €2,399 (£2,149).

Hands-on: Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS.
Hands-on: Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS.

Specs and design - Esprit C7 is stylish and sophisticated

The Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS stands out – in a positive way. Many people like its slim silhouette and matt green colour. The mounted battery immediately gives the Esprit C7 HMS away as an e-bike. Nonetheless, the company managed to give the bike a harmonious, svelte outline. This is thanks in part to the compact Shimano Steps E5000 mid-drive motor. 

The motor is capable of delivering a max torque of 40 Nm and draws its power from a 418 Wh battery. A cycle computer with display provides information about the ride and is also used for adjusting the level of assist. Gazelle only sells the Esprit C7 with a seven-speed hub gear made by Shimano. The hydraulic disc brakes are likewise from the same company. The system features two pistons and presses against 160 mm brake discs.

full resolution]</a>">The cycle computer with display is easily readable but unfortunately not a smart device
The cycle computer with display is easily readable but unfortunately not a smart device
full resolution]</a>">The Gazelle uses hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano
The Gazelle uses hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano
full resolution]</a>">The system features two pistons and stops the bike reliably
The system features two pistons and stops the bike reliably
Shifting system Hub gear, 7 speeds, Shimano Nexus
Braking system Disc brakes, hydraulic, Shimano BR-MT200, 160/160 mm
Battery 418 Wh
Motor Mid-drive motor, Shimano Steps E5000
Power output 250 W
Max torque 40 Nm
Total weight (with pedals) 24.2 kg (53.4 lb)
Battery weight 2.58 kg (5.69 lb)

All in all, the specs aren’t spectacular but rather well-conceived and functional. The bike rack is solid and can withstand a load of up to 23 kg (50.7 lb). Furthermore, it has lowriders on the sides, thus allowing you to mount luggage bags closer to the ground so that they have a lower centre of gravity. Gazelle has also equipped the bike with an MIK system carrier to let you add compatible accessories.

If you need more space, there is also the option of adding a front carrier. Gazelle sells two types of front carrier: one made of metal and the other of bamboo. The front carrier uses the attachment point of the headlight, which is then mounted on the front of the carrier. The headlight is well protected from the surroundings by a small hood, thus increasing its durability. There are slits that let light out sideways in order to increase the bike's visibility to traffic approaching from the sides.

The battery’s charging port is located right on its casing. This means you can charge the battery whilst it is mounted on the bike or when you are at home. A rotary bell on the left grip, a sturdy kickstand, a frame lock and grippy metal pedals round off the list of features. We also really like the mostly enclosed chainguard. It keeps most dirt away from the chain and thus massively increases the chain’s lifespan.

Smart features - Connecting to Shimano app requires workaround

Shimano has their own app – called E-Tube Project – to let riders view and adjust the motor’s parameters. Individual components can also be updated via the app. The display or cycle computer usually acts as a command centre or bridge.

Unfortunately, Gazelle has equipped the Esprit C7 HMS with a cycle computer that, though compatible with E-Tube (all the parts are linked), doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity. This means it's not possible to connect the e-bike to a smartphone. If required, the display can be replaced to enable smartphone connectivity.

On the road - Esprit C7 HMS is quiet and stable

Getting on our test bike is easy thanks to its low top tube. The riding position is upright and gives the rider a good view of the traffic. The slightly curved handlebars feel good to hold, and the wide and soft saddle is likewise comfortable during short rides. The screwed-on grips also help give the bike great ergonomics. They are fairly short but quite thick. They also have subtle wings at their ends and sit well in the hand. 

Gear change is performed using a twist shifter on the right side; it has an indicator showing which gear is currently in use. Thanks to the hub gear, you can shift gears even when the bike is stationary – perfect for city traffic. The Shimano Nexus hub gear works flawlessly. It lets you change gears reliably without using much force, provided you are not pushing down on the pedals right when shifting.

Gazelle has chosen a high gear ratio for the bike. Although the Esprit C7 doesn’t have any problem handling slopes thanks to the motor assist, flat roads are still the bike’s domain. The higher gears hardly see any use in everyday situations, but if you want to, you can reach 40 km/h without going downhill using manual power. 

That said, the strength of this e-bike still clearly lies in short, easy routes. You can commute to work or run errands in the city without much effort thanks to its electric motor. The Shimano motor is absolutely powerful enough for such applications. In particular, it's phenomenal how quietly the motor runs. The faint clatter from the shifting system is louder than the electric motor for the most part. The three assist modes are likewise well tuned. Moreover, the transition is nice and smooth when the bike hits the max assist speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

The Esprit C7 is pleasantly agile and has a small turning radius. The immediate handling is enhanced by the lack of suspension – the Esprit C7 has a rigid steel fork. The Schwalbe Fat Frank tyres ensure the bike is comfortable enough to ride on asphalt. Though it's possible to go on extended rides thanks to the great ergonomics, the Esprit is certainly not a touring bike. 

The battery lasted 70 km (43.5 miles) during a ride in the Alpine foothills. The bike’s range is going to be longer in city traffic. Unfortunately, the charger only has an output of 75 watts, meaning it takes a long time to fully recharge the battery.

Verdict - Gazelle has delivered a superb everyday companion

Hands-on: Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS. The review unit was kindly provided by Gazelle Germany.
Hands-on: Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS. The review unit was kindly provided by Gazelle Germany.

Uncomplicated aptly describes the nature of the Gazelle C7 HMS. It's easy to operate, equipped with high-quality components and fully featured. The C7 HMS performs well in day-to-day urban traffic and is also great for occasional touring. 

Time will tell whether it is actually as durable as the manufacturer promises. But the components used on the bike seem to suggest so. Moreover, Gazelle provides a 10-year warranty on the frame and fork. 

The hub gear with chainguard, hydraulic disc brakes, protected lighting system and rigid fork help keep maintenance to a minimum. It is impressive how well-tuned and wonderfully quiet the motor is. Whilst it isn’t going to break any record, the motor’s power output is fully adequate for everyday situations. The same is true for the easily accessible battery.

The Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS is an everyday champ. It works exceptionally well in an urban environment and looks great whilst doing so. 

It’s just a shame that Gazelle has decided to go with an utterly basic Shimano cycle computer. The device lacks Bluetooth connectivity and thus the ability to communicate with the Shimano app. That said, if this feature is important to you, there is always the option of upgrading to a higher-end display.

Price and availability

The Esprit C7 is available on Gazelle's online shop at an RRP of €2,399 (£2,149). All options are listed in the configurator (UK readers can click here). Once you place an order, the bike can either be delivered to straight to you or picked up from a specialist bike shop. You can also test out the bike in these specialist shops.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Hands-on with Gazelle Esprit C7 HMS e-bike - Uncomplicated urban bike
Benedikt Winkel, 2023-09- 7 (Update: 2023-10- 7)