Review: Gepida Reptila 1000 (Autumn 2010)
The latest bike from Gepida uses the Yamaha crank-drive power system, wrapped in a luxuriously specified city bike package. Does the ride live up to the looks? Read the review in full...
Posted by Peter Eland on Thursday 19 May 2011
This review appeared in Electric Bike magazine Issue 1. Click the viewer below to read the review with the original print layout - or scroll down for the full text and images online!
Gepida Reptila 1000The latest bike from Gepida uses the Yamaha crank-drive power system, wrapped in a luxuriously specified city bike package. Does the ride live up to the looks?
» BACKGROUNDGepida is a Hungarian manufacturer established in 1993, with distributors in several countries. In the UK their distributor is MTF Enterprises, who supply the public as E-Bikesdirect and through a network of dealers. They’ve been trading since 2005 and are based in Bodiam, East Sussex, where they offer free test rides (by appointment) on all of the bikes which they sell. A London showroom is opening soon. Gepida is one of several brands they stock.
Our review bike, the Reptila 1000, is one of four Gepida machines on offer, and it is available either as low step-through frame (as reviewed here) or as a ‘gents’ model. Riders at either extreme of the height spectrum will be pleased to see that no fewer than three gents and five step through frame sizes are available.
It is currently priced at £1599 including free UK delivery. Spare batteries cost £449 with free delivery. There is a two year warranty on the bike (as always, wear and tear etc. is excluded). The battery warranty (that the batteries will retain 50% of their original capacity after that time) is also two years, with an expected life of, they say, 800 charges.
» ON THE BIKEThe Gepida makes an instant impact with its appearance. The frame is finished in matt black and grey, giving it to my mind a rather distinguished, classy look. It’s a modern incarnation of the low step-through frame, with the large-section aluminium tubes curved and shaped to offer as much rigidity as the layout permits.
The Yamaha power assist system is built in around the crank area, fitting mostly within the profile of the black chainguard. Only the modest bulk of the battery behind the seatpost really reveals that this is an electric bike. This Yamaha unit is well proven, having been around for several years. It’s very similar in concept to the Panasonic crank drive, sensing how much pressure you put on the pedals and adding to it.
The motor is discretely placed behind the chainguard
The handlebar-mounted control unit is also quite discreet, black of course, and with a four-stage battery level readout. Buttons are provided for power on/off, assist mode (high or low) and for ‘Auto Eco’, which apparently attempts to save power by adapting to ride conditions automatically. All of the indicators are a nice bright red, easily visible in all conditions.
The handlebar controls are clear and easily visible even in strong light. Note also the shaped grips which give support to your wrists
The bicycle parts on the Gepida are very much in line with European best practice when it comes to a practical transport bike. So it’s fully equipped with good quality mudguards, a rear carrier rack, hub dynamo-driven lighting system (so the lights work independently of the main battery), kickstand and even a small pump. If you do a lot of night riding you could upgrade the front headlight (with halogen bulb) to a brighter LED model, but that’s really nitpicking. It’s absolutely fine as it is.
A number of items deserve special mention. First the handlebars, which are equipped with comfortable shaped grips which offer good wrist support. The bars are supported by a clever adjustable stem, which lets you move the bars through a range of heights and angles quickly and without tools: just slide the catch, lift the lever and adjust to the new position. It’s a useful facility, especially if more than one rider uses the bike.
The stem lets you adjust handlebar position easily, without tools
The other main contact point, the saddle, is also noteworthy. The saddle itself is a wide and well padded one, and it’s supported by a very responsive suspension seatpost (from a good manufacturer, Post Moderne). If you leave the bike around in public often, you might ask your dealer to replace the seat height adjustment quick-release with something more secure – otherwise removing this component is the work of seconds.
A comfy saddle and effective suspension seatpost
The front forks add even more suspension: they’re a Gepida-branded model with preload adjustment so that you can tune them to match rider weight.
Braking is provided by V-brakes front and rear, good quality alloy units. The transmission is via an 8-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear: very suitable for an everyday bike, as it’s fully enclosed and should be low maintenance. You can also change gear either while pedalling or at a standstill, using the twist-grip shifter on the handlebars.
The eight-speed hub gear is a reliable choice, with the internal gearing protected from the weather
The battery is quite modestly sized and light (at under 2 kg) so it would be easy to carry a spare for a longer trip. The battery must be removed to recharge, and three keys are provided to unlock it from the frame. It then just swivels out. Putting it back is just as easy: push and click. The charger is a fairly bulky unit (less than ideal if you plan to carry it with you), but it’s very convenient to use – just drop the battery into the charging slot. It’s silent in use, too.
The charger is a bulky unit, but it’s very easy to use. The battery simply drops into position and when the light goes out you know it’s fully charged
» ON THE ROADThe first push on the pedals is a pleasant surprise. The Yamaha system provides plenty of near-silent assistance even from a standing start, and the bike whisks you forwards before you can even start to strain. On the flat, the assistance is so powerful that you can even just leave the bike in top (8th) gear: changing down will make life easier for the motor and save batteries, of course, but if you don’t like changing gears it’s a useful feature. For steeper hills, it really is worth shifting to a lower gear, though, to help the motor work more efficiently.
If you did change down gears for setting off, you swiftly need to change up again. Because the bike pulls you forward so effectively, you can soon be pedalling fast enough to convince the motor it’s no longer needed, and the assistance tails off somewhat abruptly. Putting it into top gear after a few turns of the pedals keeps the assistance turned on, accelerating you up to its (legally mandated) top speed of around 15.5 mph as you keep on pedalling.
The pedalling rate at which the motor cuts out is fairly low, around 50 rpm: this is the rate at which you reach the 15.5 mph maximum speed in top gear. While many riders who tried it didn’t even remark on this, several more experienced cyclists who preferred spinning their legs faster did find it somewhat frustrating. If you like twiddling the pedals quickly, and using your gears to keep the cadence up, this probably isn’t the machine for you.
The claimed range is ‘up to 30 miles’ and (with the usual caveats about rider weight, terrain etc) that seems quite realistic if you’re careful with the power, using low power mode and the ‘auto eco’ function. But the bike is definitely more fun (and less effort) to ride in high power mode: it just feels lighter and more responsive with the extra assist power. That said, it’s also a pleasant enough bike to ride unassisted: not overly heavy and it rolls along fine, so running out of power shouldn’t really be feared.
Gears and brakes just worked well – as they should of course, but it’s nice when the mechanics of a bike just operate without drama. Lights, rack and stand also did their jobs. The pump too, although it’s so small it’s really for emergency use only.
The lights are driven by a hub dynamo in the front wheel, so they are independent of the power assist system
Finally, I should heap some more praise on the comfort aspects of this bike. The suspension (forks and seatpost) isolates you well from major bumps, with the seatpost nicely responsive and taking shock load off your spine when, for example, you drop down off a severe speed bump. The wide saddle, easily positioned bars and comfy grips add to the ride quality, and the step through frame makes getting on and off easy too, even for the less limber among us.
» SUMMARYThe Gepida impressed with its comfort and ease of use. It’s a quality bike which is ideally suited to those who aren’t particularly technically inclined: everything just works, simply and easily.
It would also appeal to those who place a high value on comfort, and anyone inclined to more leisurely pedalling. The electric assist is very effective, meaning you won’t be straining even if you don’t bother using the gears much. Practical extra equipment means it’s capable of providing practical transport day and night in all weathers.
One audience who probably won’t take to the Reptila 1000 are more sporty riders. The slow pedalling it encourages and the very upright position may frustrate some more experienced cyclists. It also won’t suit those who want to do little or no work themselves: you do have to put pressure on the pedals to make it go! But that also means you’ll get a measure of healthy exercise with every ride.
Overall, it’s a very well finished bike for the dignified rider, with a well proven and sophisticated electric assist system to take some of the strain.
» SPECIFICATIONWeight overall (inc batteries): 25.8 kg
Battery weight: 1.87 kg
Bike only weight: 23.68 kg
Charger weight: 0.99 kg
(inc. mains cable)
Charge time: 4-6 hours
Battery type: Li-Ion
Battery capacity: 213 Watt hours (8.2Ah 26V)
Gearing: 8-speed hub gear (Shimano Nexus). 42T ring, 11-32 sprockets. Ratios 36-104".
Brakes: V-brakes front and rear.
Lighting: Lumotec front halogen, rear LED, both powered from hub dynamo
Other accessories fitted: Mudguards, carrier rack, stand, pump, bell.
Price as tested: £1599. UK delivery free.
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