Gepida Asgard $4700
Whilst having been around less than 20 years, Hungarian bike company Gepida have certainly made a name for themselves as a quality bicycle manufacturer catering perfectly to the needs of those who want something a little bit different. In keeping with this, Gepida were one of the first major manufacturers to build bikes for use with Bosch’s excellent pedal assist systems carrying a range of models that have enhanced the cycling experience of thousands worldwide. Gepida have typically designed their bicycles to with commuters in mind, however, it’s their off road designs in particular that have caught our eye, most recently, the Asgard 1000.
The Asgard is a lightweight Alloy Cross Country frame equipped with Bosch’s integrated Performanceline Pedal Assist system and long range 400 Watt hour powerpack to provide pedal assistance up to 30 km/h out to a range of nearly 90 km when run at a low setting(According to Bosch). It features a Shimano Deore XT 10 speed drivetrain, Deore Hydraulic disc brakes, A pair of robust 27.5″ wheels specially designed by Gepida and an excellent set of Schwalbe cross country tyres.
The Asgard instantly feels like a high end bike. The frame is well balanced, the riding position efficient and the steering feel responsive. The contact points, namely the hand grips and the saddle have a comfortable and familiar feel to them, which is not something I’ve come across in too many mountain bikes. Furthermore, even when unassisted, it doesn’t feel ungainly in spite of the added weight from the bosch system. This is particularly important on an e-bike for two reasons: 1) it’s an inevitability that at some point, you’ll have to ride your electric bike without the motor assistance and; 2) if the additional weight is unbalanced or poorly distributed, the higher speed handling could be less than desirable. Indeed, the unassisted speed and handling are the real test of a high end e-bike and I’m pleased to report that the Asgard passes comfortably.
This bike really comes to life when the Bosch Performanceline system is turned on! For those who are new to Bosch’s pedal assist systems, the power delivery is unlike anything else on the market. It provides power assistance at the pedal stroke, meaning your own effort and input is amplified. this allows you to accelerate rapidly even up steep sections with great confidence. Furthermore, when cruising, the motor response is more subdued, easily holding you at around 30 km/h. The most important characteristic of this system is it’s minimal intrusion in the riding experience both in terms of handling and assistance. That is to say that it gives you confidence to ride faster or further without making you complacent- truly complementary to the cycling experience.
Drivetrain wise, the Asgard performs as you would expect a bike of this caliber to- the XT drivetrain is faultless as always giving solid power transfer and reliable shifting in all conditions. The wheelset is oriented towards reliability and durability and, consequently, it doesn’t feel super fast. That being said, it rolls smoothly and is likely to go the distance, which is of great advantage on a cross country. My only real issue with the componentry of this bike was the Deore brakes. These systems are solid and very closely based on their higher end XT and SLX counterparts but they seem to lack the same stopping power. They’re perfectly adequate, though on a $4700 mountain bike, I would have expected a higher end offering.
The Gepida Asgard carries with it an overwhelming sense of confidence that I’ve only experienced on a few other bikes. I feel as though Gepida have gone about this bike in the right way: designing something that works well as a cross country bike in it’s own right whilst also accommodating an excellent pedal assist system. Furthermore, Bosch’s Performanceline system functions brilliantly as a way of complementing the riding experience, whilst it’s minimal intrusion preserves the sensory experience of riding a cross country mountain bike. I would thoroughly recommend test riding this bike if you’re in the market for a high end electric mountain bike.