Bikes > Cycle

The Paselec GS9 bicycle proves ‘budget’ doesn’t mean terrible

Here’s a cheap e-bike that feels more premium than it actually is

A color LCD tells you the relevant parameters for your ride. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The common complaint among the lower-priced e-bikes that are available on the market right now is that they are cheap—not just in price but also in feel. “You get what you pay for,” as the adage says. Sometimes, however, the amount you pay is put into the right places that make things feel more premium than you otherwise would have expected.

The Paselec GS9 is sized just right with 27.5-inch wheels. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

That’s pretty much what the Paselec GS9 feels like. There’s no denying its status on the e-bike hierarchy, and it’s not trying to be something it isn’t either. There’s the usual thumb-throttle and crank sensor to signal the controller when you want electric assist, and the whole charade is managed using buttons on the left side of the handlebar. A central color LCD displays relevant parameters for your ride, and is still somewhat legible even in bright sunlight. This bicycle comes with an eight-speed Shimano drivetrain that’s not exactly going to wow enthusiasts, but you don’t really need wide gearing on e-bikes as the motor takes up the slack.

The fork feels somewhat cheap, but you can easily have it upgraded. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

The GS9 has a 500W hub motor characteristic of sub-P100,000 e-bikes, but the way the bike uses the motor is perhaps the best thing about this. It’s not going to kick you off the line, but the electric assist is so tuned that it makes the ride so much more controllable and planted. It’s not trying to feel like a performance machine. It will get you to 35km/h with relative ease, but it doesn’t feel like you’re working the bike to get you there safely. This is supposedly because the motor itself is not being overdriven like other e-bikes of its class, and hopefully that derating helps prolong the life of the hub motor itself.

The heft and the overall build quality do not make this as enjoyable as a non-electric bike for a third of the price. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Stopping is an effortless and enjoyable experience thanks to Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for the front and the rear, with excellent feedback and braking force even when you’re only using one finger. The front suspension is not exactly premium, but an upgrade is available from the dealer. The GS9 does have a rear suspension that, alongside CST 27.5×2.4 BFT tires, helps cushion the bumps of our famously off-road streets. And with a 48V 13Ah Samsung cell battery pack onboard, you’ll be able to explore a lot of it. It has a claimed runtime of 100km, but with any riding beyond Level 1 assist, I’d expect it to be a bit less than that. It’s a bit of a faff to remove the pack though, so you’ll have to charge it where you park it.

The GS9 doesn't accelerate quickly, but that's a good thing because it feels more stable than a bike with a motor strapped to it. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

For P70,000, the GS9 isn’t chump change. It certainly is not the cheapest in its class. Whether the amount is worth it really depends on how much you’re willing to sacrifice in terms of quality in this segment. Paselec offers a pricier product in the GS9, but you can definitely see and feel where your money is going.

Hans Bosshard

Hans is the ultimate commuter: He drives a car and he rides a bicycle. He also likes tinkering with mechanical stuff.