EbikeShop.hu, the Hungarian distributor of Riese & Müller asked us to carry out a review of a vehicle which is able transport three kids along with the rider. Since I’m the only person in the BikeMag office who has this number of children, I was entrusted with task of replacing the family car with the Riese & Müller Load 75 cargo e-bike for a whole week. Strictly speaking, it’s not a bicycle, it’s a cargo pedelec and much more!
As a father with three kids, I was intrigued how this environment-friendly pedal vehicle would fit into our family life. I expected to see some smiles on my children’s faces and save some petrol along the way. Actually it was a massive hit with the small ones. Often times we even had to transport their friends as traveling by bike to kindergarten became a fad in our area. There was a fight who gets in first, and the room for three was always filled up.
The German R&M produces many versions of these aluminum frame cargo bikes in various sizes and load capacities, all employing Bosch motor-assisted – so-called Pedelec – electric drive systems. There is even a Bosch Performance Line Speed equipped variant in the range providing assistance up to 45 km/h. Our Load 75 model came with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor powered by two 2x500Wh batteries, moving the bike a NuVinci 380 variable gear transmission. It’s specially designed for transporting children (there are also cargo models aimed at carrying goods), with drive support up to 25 km/h. The bike has 26” wheels at the back and 20” in front, paired with a wheelbase approaching some compact cars. The weight is 38 kg, but thanks to the help of the motor, it doesn’t feel sluggish at all. Handling is surprisingly good, it’s stable as expected and easy to lean into to the corners. It has the maneuverability and predictable steering of a smaller and lighter bikes.
The headset features a turning limiter to prevent the front wheel from “folding” under the bike. As you see on the pictures, there is a special mechanism for steering the vehicle.
When parked, the rear wheel can be secured using an ABUS wheel lock. This setup can be upgraded with the so-called Adaptor Chain to provide effective security against theft for the Riese & Müller Load 75 cargo e-bike.
The cargo bike’s cockpit can be adjusted to fit cyclists from 150-195cm according to the manufacturer. I can only vouch for the 165-175cm range since we only had such riders at hand. The stem be adjusted in terms of both height and angle, thus providing more room for taller riders. Comfort is enhanced by the front and rear suspension: a Suntour XCM32 fork overhangs the compact front wheel while the back has a variable damper rear shock. Though not an exclusive part for a vehicle of this price range, nevertheless the Ergon grips are always comfort-enhancers that I welcome on any bike. Speaking of ergonomics, the bike is equipped with a relatively sporty, flat-shaped Lookin brand saddle. While it features merely a thin layer of gel padding, yet it provides good comfort with plenty of support.
The Riese & Müller Load 75 cargo e-bike is designed and certified to carry three children up to 130cm body height. There is also a pop-in “breakfast tray” which limits the number of passengers to two, nonetheless it provides vital service during the morning rides. The same space in front of the seats with four point seat belts can also be filled with a sizeable amount of luggage as well. So there are many possible arrangements for carrying cargo, although the space for the kids is cozy at best. An optional rain cover can be placed over the cargo area to protect the passengers and the belongings. This permits transport to be carried out day in day out in an environmentally friendly way.
The most important experience we gained from this test is that everybody enjoyed the test week with the Riese & Müller Load 75. Little ones and adults were all motivated to use it instead of the family car. Riding to the kindergarten and then to the workplace requires some endurance, but the Bosch electric motor really makes the experience much less exhausting. The special Dual-Battery system will allow a range of up to 150km, ridden without cargo this figure may even be exceeded by some margin. Since most require a much shorter range, the batteries needn’t be charged every evening. Handling might be somewhat unusual at first, but everybody who tried it got used to it in just a few kilometers. The best thing about the design is that the massive and quite long bike can be leaned into the corners, hence improving its maneuverability and stability. The kids get an amusement park experience from the turns as a bonus, letting out wild screams from the cargo area. The motor support unfortunately cuts off at 25km/h, which is somewhat slower how I was confident riding this bike. In fact, the Load 75 cargo is most stable in the 25-30km/h range when we are left to our own pedaling effort. I think it would be a better idea to extend the motor assistance to somewhat higher tempo. Anyway, no matter how fast or slow you’re riding, you’ll get stares from pedestrians and car drives alike, most will smile and help your transport endeavor. In Western-Europe the sight of the Riese & Müller Load 75 might not be such a sensation, but here it’s surely a spectacle!
Outside the comfort zone
This unique vehicle can be stunning at least three ways: when you first set your eyes on it, when you first ride it and finally when you first look at the price tag! Yes, this configuration of the Riese & Müller Load 75 will set you back about the same as a used hybrid car. In an apple for apple comparison, it “only” cost a quarter or a fifth of a brand new electric car, but that’s still a sizeable amount for a family’s budget.
We received the Riese & Müller Load 75 pedelec cargo bike from ebikeshop.hu.