Gepida Alboin - a journalist's choice for ‘Route des Grandes Alpes’ – Nationwide e-Bikes
Gepida Alboin - a journalist's choice for ‘Route des Grandes Alpes’

Model Focus:  Gepida Alboin 1000 SLX 10—Selected for ‘Route des Grandes Alpes’ Ride.

Miles sets offThe Gepida Alboin 1000 was the bike chosen by Giles Belbin  -  the Somerset based cycling journalist and author of Mountain Kings, A Year in the Saddle and Chasing the Rainbow - for researching a guidebook to the Route des Grandes Alpes, a 720km route from the shores of Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean coast that takes in many legendary Alpine passes, to be published in 2021.

Giles writes: Giles in SunshineWhen presented with the opportunity write a guidebook to the  Route des Grandes Alpes I knew that I wanted to research the route from the perspective of an e-bike rider. With the popularity of e-bikes flourishing, and having ridden many of the climbs on the route previously, I wanted to be able to compare my experience of riding long mountain passes on a conventional bike with tackling the same climbs on an e-bike.

Having discussed the specifics of the trip with the friendly and helpful team at Nationwide e-bikes, we decided that the most suitable bike for the trip would be a Gepida Alboin 1000, equipped with a Bosch Performance motor, a 500Kwh battery and a Shimano SLX derailleur 10 speed gearset.

Setting off from  the KM Zero marker outside the Hotel de Ville in Thonon les Bains for the first leg of the trip, I was quickly impressed by the speed with which I rode the first main climb on the route—the 1600m high Col de la Colombiere. It was immediately noticeable how much quicker I was able to climb the mountain compared to highly fit club cyclists riding light, high-performance road bikes. That is not to say that to ride the Albion on such terrain is easy, with the motor providing assistance based on the torque and cadence of your pedalling, I still had to turn the pedals every metre of the climb which meant it some tough going as the gradient ramped up. But with my effort complemented and multiplied by the bike it meant that I was able to complete the climbs faster than I would otherwise have been able to and with less effort, giving me more opportunity to enjoy the incredible scenery of the route and take the photographs and notes necessary for my research.

Giles in SnowThe route takes you over 18 high mountain passes, many made famous by the exploits of Tour de France riders every year. Each climb has its own identity. I went from riding under the shadow of Mont Blanc through the flower-filled Alpine pastures of the Col des Aravis, to descending the rocky and barren, moon-like terrain of the Casse Deserte on the Col d’Izoard. I cycled roads through precipitous and wooded gorges, pedalled alongside fast-flowing rivers swollen by mountain meltwater and finally, after seven days of riding, I rode the hairpin bends of the Col de Turini with the sweet smell of the Mediterranean hanging in the air, soon to arrive in Menton and on to Nice, ready to dip my aching limbs in the warm water of the med.

The route covers spectacular but tough terrain for both rider and machine.  Throughout the trip the Alboin performed admirably, with not a single mechanical issue to report. Battery performance was sufficient to get me up and over every climb at around 8-10mph in Tour mode. If a day’s  itinerary involved a second  major climb a recharge  could be advantageous although the Alboin does come equipped with the Bosch 500 kwh  battery which is  the largest capacity battery Bosch produce.Giles returns

Riding the Route des Grandes Alpes on the Alboin was a special experience. It was not effortless - no riding in such an environment can ever truly be – but the rewards  of such a stunning route are great. Now comes the hard but enjoyable work of writing the guidebook.

The bike was great fun to ride. Thanks to all at Nationwide e-Bikes.