Pepper has been invited to go to Auckland for a trade show, so I’ve been given a Riese & Müller, Load 75 e-Cargo Bike* to use in the interim. So, time for a quick review.
(The bike shop didn’t actually say which model it is, and I’m assuming it’s a the Load 75. For more info from R&M, see https://www.r-m.de/en-nz/models/load-75/).
Essentially the Load 75 is like the big comfy family car of cargo bikes – compared to the leaner Bullitt which feels more like a sports car. The Load 75 is certainly a nice smooth ride, feels very stable and is a great option for anyone wanting relative convenience and comfort.
The full suspension really helps smooth-out the ride, which is great for precious delicate cargo – such as the kids, electronics or fruit.
The other neat thing about this specific bike which enhances its smoothness is the Enviolo step-less hub. Essentially there’s no perceptible steps between gears – because there aren’t any. Changing the pedal-to-wheel ratio is easy – you simply twist the gear selection grip (which is the inner section of the handgrip) and the gearing increases/decreases as you like. This shifting is perfectly continuous and smooth. You can also change up or down whist still putting pressure on the pedals. Because the gear selector is part of the handle it’s very safe in that you don’t really need to change your grip.
For more info, see: https://www.enviolo.com/en/automatic
Quick Comparison: Load 75 vs Bullitt
Please note, the baguette is not factory supplied.
- Physicality: the Load 75 is longer, slightly wider, slightly heavier and feels larger. The extra width may be an issue for anyone who needs to get through very narrow doors, or the more aggressive rider who likes to weave through traffic.
- Ride: the Load 75 is a comfortable ride, whereas the Bullitt feels more racy.
- Load carrying: the Load’s fixed side-frame cargo space is great for convenience but not as flexible as the fully open Bullitt. The cargo space is longer and wider making it excellent for most scenarios, assuming a closed cargo space fits your needs.
- Load Securing: The factory supplied side panels are nice and sturdy, but there’s an absence of gaps and holes useful for securing loads. It does have some narrow slits useful for flat cargo straps. Without side panels the frame would provide plenty of lashing points.
The nature of the frame does not offer many anchoring points if you have a D-Lock. The best option for securing to vertical posts is to loop through the small bracket that strengthens the seat post. However, the physicality of the bike is such that getting close enough to secure objects to lock the bike to is finickity. The easiest method requires a post that is relatively freestanding as the protruding nature of the rear cargo deck frame will get in the way of anchoring points that are part of a flat wall. This won’t be an issue if you don’t have the factory side panels attached, or if you cut suitable holes in the panels, or if you make custom ones with such gaps.
Alternatively you can position a D-Lock through the rear suspension arm and wheel.
One of the implications of the factory supplied panels is that there’s a dearth of mounting points for cameras. I ended up lashing my camera to the front frame with bungies – which mostly worked ok.
Above, a slightly reserved descent in the wet, down through Brooklyn; below, some off-road single-track action.