Weight: 51.6 pounds
Drivetrain: Shimano Nexus 8-speed
Motor: Bosch mid-drive Active Line Plus, 50Nm of torque
Max assist speed: 20 MPH
Max range: 70 miles
Battery: Removable Li-ion, 500 Wh, 13.4 Ah
The Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite immediately strikes as an elegant bike. The lines, the colors, the paint all look just right. It is very much a bike born from the Dutch tradition, and it would look right at home on the streets of Amsterdam or Utrecht.
What makes it truly remarkable is its ease of use, both as an e-bike and as a regular ol’ pedal bike. The Arroyo C8 HMB Elite is one of the few e-bikes I’ve tested that’s just as fun and easy to pedal around without the motor even turned on.
While you can certainly find this style of e-bike for less money, Gazelle hits a good balance between functionality, sleek aesthetics, versatility, and comfort. Read the rest of our Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review to see why it’s one of the best electric bikes — if you can swing the price.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: Price and availability
The Arroyo C8 HMB Elite costs $3,700 and is available for purchase now. You can configure your bike on Gazelle’s website, and then use the company’s dealer locator to purchase your bike locally.
Gazelle offers a generous ten-year warranty on material and manufacturing defects, and a five-year warranty on suspension forks. There’s also a five-year warranty period for frame and fork paint defects. Parts are covered by a two-year warranty.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: Design
The Arroyo C8 Elite features a deep step-through frame design that makes it easy for riders of all sizes to mount and dismount. The battery is integrated into the down tube. Overall, the bike could easily pass for a non-motorized bike at a glance.
The Arroyo C8 Elite comes in three sizes: 46, 53, and 57. There is a size calculator on the Gazelle website if you’re unsure which size would be best for you. You can also choose from two different colors: black and silver.
The frame rides on 700c wheels with wide, puncture-resistant tires. Gazelle included fenders and a rear rack on my test model. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide ample stopping power and allow plenty of smooth braking modulation.
The front fender has an integrated headlight, and a tail light is mounted at the rear of the bike on the rear rack.
There’s also an integrated rear wheel lock: The AXA Defender allows you to pass a bar through your spokes to lock the wheel in place. With the bar in place, just remove the key and your bike is secure. Put the key back in when you’re ready to ride again; it stays in the lock so you never forget to take it with you.
Comfort is clearly a primary design focus on the Arroyo C8 Elite. The Switch adjustable stem allows you to tailor your riding position very quickly without tools. And you get a suspension seatpost to cushion road chatter.
There’s also a suspension system integrated into the bottom of the head tube. With 30mm of travel, it scrubs off road vibration and larger hits to keep all that shock from transmitting to your body.
The Bosch Active Line Plus motor is integrated into the bottom bracket area. It operates almost completely silently. A Bosch Purion LCD head unit controls the motor from the handlebars. The operation is simple using the buttons to control your assist mode. The screen also gives you useful data like your current speed, battery life, and more.
And finally, in an elegant touch, the handlebar grips are leather, and quite soft. It lends to the Gazelle’s overall premium look and feel.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: Performance
The Arroyo C8 Elite positions the rider upright, which means it’s a comfortable position that won’t put stress on your arms, wrists, and hands. The saddle does most of the support here, and it’s wide and cushy. It also sits perched atop a suspension seatpost that takes the edge off bigger hits from potholes and the like.
There’s also 30mm of suspension built into the fork/headtube interface. This does a wonderful job of soaking up road chatter and moderate potholes. There is a bit of fore-aft flex in the fork, especially under braking. It makes the front end of the bike feel a bit spongy under braking, but otherwise it’s not much of an issue.
You can perfect your riding position by using the very cool adjustable stem. Just flip the lever, put the handlebars where they’re most comfortable for you, and lock it all back down with the lever on the stem. It takes just seconds, and you won’t need any tools to make the adjustments. This is one of the Arroyo C8 Elite’s most shining features.
The Bosch motor feels appropriately strong for this type of bike. It zips up to speed quickly and stays there. And the Arroyo C8 Elite has no problem with hills. The motor offers enough assistance to avoid getting bogged down when the tarmac gets steep.
One of the best things about the Arroyo C8 Elite is its ability to perform as a non-motorized bike, too. I enjoyed pedaling this bike around without the motor running. It feels like any other bike, despite the added weight. It’s comfortable and fun to ride.
I did have a bit of trouble with Shimano’s 8-speed Nexus drivetrain. The shifting hesitated in both directions (from harder gears to easier gears, and vice versa) despite on-the-fly cable adjustments. It’s possible this is a fluke or a defective system; I have used the Shimano Nexus system on other bikes before with no problems.
The Arroyo C8 Elite looks and feels like a premium bike. It feels solid and well-built, and despite its 50-pound weight, the ride feels lithe and easy to manage. Steering feels stable and predictable and the ride comfort is exceptional.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: Battery life and range
I took the Arroyo C8 Elite on a ten-mile ride in cold weather, hovering just above freezing. After those ten miles, I had lost just one bar (out of 5) of battery life while using the Turbo setting — the highest assist level — exclusively.
Gazelle advertises a 70-mile range in Eco mode, the lowest assist setting. The Turbo range is advertised at 25 miles. This seems like a conservative estimate based on my ride time in the Turbo mode.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: Accessories
There is only one accessory listed on the Arroyo C8 Elite page on Gazelle’s website. The Gazelle Carrier bag costs $160 and mounts to the rear rack, giving you space to stow small items while you’re riding.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: The competition
The Dutch-style step-through style e-bike isn’t hard to come by. Trek offers a few different kinds, like the Allant+ Lowstep for $3,800. It also employs a Bosch mid-drive motor — the Bosch Performance Line CX. And it features an upright riding position and front suspension. The Allant includes a 9-speed drivetrain, besting the Arroyo by one gear. But the Gazelle certainly looks more streamlined than the Trek, and it’s slightly lighter (by about three pounds). The Arroyo also costs a bit less.
If you’re after a less traditional look and feel, take a look at the Lemond Dutch. It’s more expensive at $4,900, but it also features a lightweight carbon frame and an 11-speed drivetrain. Best of all, it weighs just 21 pounds, which is nice if you’ll be toting your e-bike up apartment steps.
While not nearly as sleek and regal as the Arroyo C8 Elite, the Rad Power RadCity 5 Plus Step-Through will save you some cash. It costs $2,000 and features a hub motor, 28-50 mile range, throttle, and a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain.
Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite review: Verdict
The Arroyo C8 HMB Elite features a good build, a comfortable ride, and a reliable Bosch motor that makes for an overall wonderful package. It’s just as fun to ride without the pedal-assist system, which means at its base level, the Arroyo C8 Elite is simply a good bike.
While I did have some issues with the Shimano shifting, I’m willing to chalk this up to incorrect adjustment or perhaps even a warranty situation, given Shimano’s excellent track record and my own previous experience. Aside from the shifting difficulties, there wasn’t much to complain about while riding the Arroyo C8 Elite.
You could certainly get a similarly reliable and comfortable Dutch-style bike for less money. But the Arroyo C8 HMB Elite looks beautiful, has tons of well-designed features like integrated lights and a lock, and a very nifty adjustable stem that means it’s easy to accommodate more than one rider.