Buying an E Bike : Riese & Muller Super Delite with Rohloff

HariSeldon

New Member
Myself and my wife have recently purchased Riese & Muller Super Delite E Bike’s and we benefitted hugely in making the purchase decision on information from the internet, online reviews and forums, in particular help with direct questions from the more experienced riders on the Riese & Muller Forum on Electric Bike Review.

Many of us will do our research of future purchases online, but that only takes you so far and you need to see and try out the product and gain further insight. A good dealer can be very helpful, we were fortunate to find an outstanding dealer in Dan Radford from Edemo, in Nailsworth, UK, disappointingly some dealers are less helpful…

I am sharing my experience in the hope that I can possibly help someone else in the purchase decision on an E Bike. As background we are in our mid 50’s, early 60’s, early retired, living in south east Dorset, UK on the edge of an urban area and within easy access to the extensive New Forest trails. We have had mountain bikes previously and they had reasonable use for leisure cycling in Cornwall, largely we would take the bikes somewhere in a pick up truck and cycle round routes from there, we would hire bikes on holidays but for day to day use… No.

Using a bike seems a great idea, until your journey has hills, its windy , busy traffic, the distance is too far, cycling on rough terrain can be heavy going, you have a load to carry….you don’t want to arrive in a sweaty state of collapse, the usual excuses !! Consequently we have walked a lot and use a car for local journeys over 2 or 3 miles, except the traffic becomes increasingly tedious, parking and the realisation that we can’t all drive everywhere at the same time, there is simply too much traffic for the available road network and then there is pollution from traffic….there must be a better way and seeing the occasional E-bike and chatting to people on E-bikes, the glimmer of an idea forms.

The E Bike can be the default means of transport for local journeys, as an alternative to the car, since the vast majority of our trips are with 5-10 miles from home. It's a means of getting exercise, a much lower environmental impact and a source of pleasure rather necessity, a chance to explore our local area beyond the range of local walks. It overrides the disinclination to travel close to rush hour!

Our first port of call was the local bike shop, they sold an extensive range of bikes, conventional and E-bikes from different brands, we gathered that E-bikes were £2,000 to £3,000 for a beginner, more for an experienced rider and my wife was pointed to a bike without a crossbar and that was about that, no offer of a demonstration, or test ride. When asked about what the more expensive bikes offered, the reply was “better components” no indication if that was a benefit to us or explanation. Not a helpful experience if you don’t talk the jargon. Women are clearly not well catered for, clothing being sold is clearly male orientated, this experience is not untypical, yet the most enthusiastic E-bikes riders I had spoken to were ladies.

We turned to the internet for help and this was much better, lots of information on Bike Forums and You Tube videos, at this point we found a bike shop in the New Forest at Burley, that offered day hire of Cube Hybrid step thru E-bikes, equipped with a Bosch mid drive motor and right from the start, it puts a smile on your face. We explored the forest covering 28 miles, mostly off road trails and seeing so much of the forest in a few hours than we had ever seen before, a car takes you through but you see very little and walking severely restricts how far you can travel, we were sold on the idea.

Now if the original dealer had offered test rides, or test ride days he would sell a lot more bikes !! The bikes we had hired at around £2,400 were clearly a good starting point for a purchase. I was convinced we would get usage from a bike over a period of years and it was likely after a couple of years we would start to realise that there might be better bikes for our purposes and would end up buying again, this seems wasteful and it would make more sense to buy the ultimate bike first without the intermediate purchase. Given we would be reducing car usage significantly, we would extend the life of our existing 5 year old car and use the money saved on a potential earlier replacement, thus choose the most suitable E-bikes now, without the intermediate step.

The mid drive Cube Hybrid was a great bike, it coped well with the well surfaced gravel forest trails but anything rougher underfoot would be a challenge, the front suspension helped but rougher surfaces were a little uncomfortable, the derailleur gears were effective and the Bosch mid drive Active Line motor was excellent, your assisted without the electric drive being really noticeable, the power assistance is there, it stops and starts smoothly with your pedalling, the cut off transition at 25 km/h (16 mph) is very smooth, very controllable.

We had a chance to do a guided tour of Lisbon on e bikes, that was great, but the rear hub on a B’twin E bike was very different to the Bosch mid motor, you had the conventional pedals and gearing, which triggered the rear E hub motor with three power levels. You very much felt that the two power drives were in competition, at low speed the E motor carried on for few seconds after you stopped pedalling, making low speed manoeuvres …interesting ! The ride quality, despite full suspension, wasn’t great, but for around £900, it does the basic job well, I’d have reservations about its durability etc over a period of time….

If one had a shorter term need for an E bike or just not certain than the cheaper bike would be fine for a coupe of years but the Cube was clearly massively better and would have far better longevity, that could be that… but what if you spend more ?

I looked at a variety of bikes and concluded that the Riese and Muller bikes had the right ethos for me, quality engineering, a customisable approach for an individuals needs, a model line that evolves over time with improvements to reflect advances and customer needs. We wished to have comfortable and safe riding, make life easier and you’ll use a bike more, you’ll have less need to change a bike for the sake of changing if you buy right first time, over time the initially more expensive purchase will give better value.

I visited the local Riese and Muller dealer and whilst they had some bikes to look at, there was no interest in locating the model we were interested in, no offer of test ride and really a take it or leave it attitude to what was in stock…disappointing, perhaps I caught them on a bad day and for bike maintenance I had heard good reports.

Fortunately the internet pointed to dealer Edemo in Nailsworth, speaking to Dan Radford was a different experience, very informative about what we needed and the bikes that would suit our particular needs. Whilst being a 2 hour drive away, we visited had an opportunity to test bikes and look at the model we were interested in, the Homage, a great bike. Discussing the bikes and on reflection I felt that the Super Delite might be preferable, felt the latest 2020 motor might be better for a long term purchase, with a few other reasons..

A few weeks later Dan was able to visit us with three bikes for us to test, Delite with Rohloff, the Homage and a Delite Mountain with Fox suspension, for an extended test session over 20+ miles in the New Forest, over a variety of surfaces and swapping bikes we were able to make the right choice for us, two Super Delites, with GX option, Rohloff, Fox Suspension, front rack with Kiox. Brilliant service, what a contrast to the disinterested retailers.

So these bikes offer an incredibly comfortable, competent ride over most surfaces we will encounter, easy to live with, ideal for leisure rides, long distance touring, household shopping etc. Useful highlights, superb comfortable and competent Fox suspension, dropper post, extended battery range, electronic shifting with Rohloff, with auto down change is brilliant, low maintenance, sturdily built with quality components. Are they worth the extra cost, in a word…yes, with the caveat that it is comfortably in your budget and you will use the bikes enough to justify them.

We received our bikes in April 2020, Dan from Edemo brought the bikes to us and set the bikes up for us, very patiently and very carefully, explaining as he went along, very helpful, particularly with the suspension and their controls. It's easy to overlook the importance of this stage, but a poorly set up bike will not be a pleasure, comfortable or safe. In the present Covid crisis the bikes have been brilliant, reduced traffic has been helpful but getting out in fresh air, exploring local areas we barely knew about, practical transport for local shopping and errands, the car has been barely moved in the last 8 weeks. Good for ones wellbeing at any time, but more so now.

New to biking we needed helmets etc, it soon becomes quite a list, some tools, pumps, Co2 kit, Slime for the tyres…. Dan noted from our winter ride our absence of suitable gloves etc and added in some Sealskin winter gloves and socks, he provide a great package for our needs with a good deal. Even better when he arrived with the bikes he had thrown in quality summer gloves, and a couple of buffs plus a matching one for the dog, brilliant , really appreciated and the summer gloves and buffs have been invaluable.

Now for how we have found the bikes over a few hundred miles, the greatest compliment I can give the bike is the absence of comment ! It just works smoothly and unobtrusively, the Bosch motor just helps without being noticeable, the EMTB mode functions as an automatic power setting , more than doubling your pedalling power (min 140% on top of your output to a max of 340% extra output) adjusting to how hard you pedal, the speed of your pedalling and the speed of the bike, aligned with the electronic shifting with the 14 speed Rohloff geared hub, its very easy. The Rohloff can change gears whilst stationary and you can change gear on the move, ease off the pressure and the motor momentarily cuts output for an easy gear change.

Coming up to a junction, with the handlebar lever, you can drop the saddle with the seat dropper ( part of the optional GX package), easy to put your feet down and balance the bike, the Rohloff auto down changes into the starting gear, you pull away promptly with the Bosch motor and briefly pause, press and hold the gear change button for a second or so, the bike changes 1 gear, then 3 gears to put you in gear 9, releasing the seat dropper, you sit back in the saddle, your doing 15 or so mph, in the perfect gear to go onwards and your only halfway across the junction, so much easier, speedier and safe than a conventional bike, no wobbling !

The Fox suspension gives a secure and very comfortable ride over all surfaces, no need to lift from the saddle over bumps, the 140mm suspension travel copes brilliantly, brakes stop you smoothly and progressively, the handling of the bike is good despite being heavier than the average E-Bike. (The standard 100mm travel Suntour suspension was fine but the Fox is more competent, secure and so comfortable..)

The optional GX package is good value, with Rock Razor tyres that provide more grip in off road terrain ( we have sand on some of the local trails, with the regular tyres I could see us pushing the bikes otherwise…) on road performance is good. The longer travel suspension is useful on rougher terrain, you can always firm up the suspension on road if you wish, with the user adjustment controls. The bar ends have proved welcome, you change your grip to reduce the likelihood of fatigue on longer rides. The GX pedals are much better, wider and with little nodules that grip the underside of ones shoes, excellent. We were less keen on the saddle and had the regular saddles, thanks to Dan from Edemo, he was able to find a slightly wider version for my wife at her request and these have been good. It’s worth noting that the GX option lifts the bike about 2cm due to the longer suspension travel, the seat dropper with the GX option slightly reduces how low the saddle can go. This brings me on to frame sizing, we both test rode an Homage, Delite Mountain and a Delite, all medium frames. We are 178cm ( 5’9 ½ “ and 163cm (5’4”) tall, with both having 77cm inside leg measurement ( 30.5”)

My wife coped well with the medium frame on all the bikes, but clearly a small frame made more sense to be able to reach the ground securely at junctions, mounting etc. I found the medium frames fine but the small frame is better for me ( despite being slightly outside the suggested height ranges..) The GX option of raising the crank height just tips the balance with probably a slightly shorter than average inside leg measurement for my height, the reach is slightly shorter as well but I didn’t feel this was noticeable.

The Seat Dropper post is brilliant, it clearly helps getting on the bike, but putting your feet firmly on the ground when stationary is more comfortable as you may remain in the saddle if you wish. I understand the original intention of dropper posts was for a better seating position on Mountain Bikes going downhill, for maximum stability but with a bike such as the SuperDelite which is a little heavier than average, a fairly big frame and consequently a slightly higher centre of gravity, then you can drop the seat a lot or a little to massively improve your stability when riding very slowly or on very rough terrain. Confidence levels are much higher… it’s surprising that dropping your weight just 10 cm ( 4”) should so dramatically increase your security but its very evident. When sitting lower you cannot pedal as efficiently, but a quick flick of the power to Turbo mode takes care of that !

We have found the handlebar layout works well, all is convenient to hand, we opted for the Kiox display. We have found the Kiox works well, it can be updated via a Bluetooth connection to a Smartphone and I understand there was criticism of the earliest software but we find it works well. As mentioned the EMTB power mode works very well, you provide a steady output and the motor takes over to fill the gap, Turbo is good to pull away or when you want a sprightlier mode, you have a very strong headwind, you want to take it a little easier etc. Electric Bikes can equalise the disparity of fitness or physical strength, endurance of riders of different ability, Turbo mode gives a rider optionality…. The Kiox has multiple displays of info that you can page through using the handlebar controls, giving you speed , range ( which adapts as you ride to the conditions etc,), distance travelled ( with an auto daily trip reset) cadence, your power output etc.

The Kiox connects to my iPhone, this links into the Komoot app and the Bosch E Connect app, to my surprise this is all seamless once set up, your rides are recorded by both Komoot and the Bosch app automatically and uploaded to the cloud, with navigation info, alongside speed, power output , cadence etc. This happens if the phone is in your pocket and you have not opened the apps or press the record route function on Komoot to use as a GPS… It’s interesting to be able to view previous rides on a computer ( or iPad or phone) later with the data.

The Kiox will charge the phone mounted on the handlebars ( QuadLock for iPhone Xs max) using a short USB lead to lightning connector. It was a little tricky to find a suitable cable as the Kiox connection is USB micro rectangular socket rather than the more usual trapezoid. I found a cable being sold for a DJI Spark drone was ideal if the Bosch part is not available.

We opted for the lock function with the Kiox, the compact control unit is easily removed, being attached by magnets, the one off £8.99 charge only allows the same Kiox to work with the motor, making it more difficult for a thief, with two bikes we were unable to register two accounts ( would not allow two accounts from same IP address) but did allow me to register both bikes to one account, hence only one fee for the lock and either of the registered Kiox units, works with either bike.

The bikes are very well equipped very competent lighting, including handlebar switched main beam , brakes lights. Robust rear rack with a quick release MIK system for accessories, we opted for Vaude panniers on the advice from Dan at Edemo, these are great, the load is carried on the suspension so its not crashing around and carrying a chunky load of heavy groceries does not cause any problems with stability and with respect to riding along, the weight is not noticeable.

The build quality of the bikes is high, as would be expected as this price point, the included Abus folding alarmed lock is a nice touch, the supplied water bottles that clip on both side of the headstock are useful and convenient.

The Bosch motor integrates very well into the frame and the transition from assist to not assisting occurs at around 25kmh or so ( 16 mph) is not noticeable and at that point you are pedalling on your own and can sustain 18 -20mph on the flat very easily, 30mph + downhill, the Rohloff has the high gearing to allow you to keep pedalling at higher speeds plus incredibly low gearing for the steepest inclines. I feel no drag from the motor drive train when it is not assisting. Small negative the charging socket on the frame is not great, its a little awkward aligning the plug and the the port cover is only adequate, not very positive. The twin batteries can be removed easily for charging off the bike, both are lockable with the same key as the provided Abus lock.

The motor controller cleverly balances the batteries drawing from one then the other, mixed riding on and off road, some hills, mainly EMTB but some Turbo results in a range that I would estimate at 100 miles, clearly that could be significantly higher or lower depending on how you ride the bike, external conditions etc. The Rohloff as mentioned, is very low maintenance, combined with a clean belt drive not requiring regular attention.

I considered the Vario drive, this works well, but has some inherent drag, the gearing range is much less than the Rohloff and I found the twist action, a little stiff, was not as easy as the push button Rohloff.
 

Polivios

New Member
Thank you for this super informative post !
It reflects my profile and thoughts as few weeks ago I ordered exactly the same setup , delivery end of June.
I spend months reading posts and comparing setups, I was also considering the Vario option but my dealer Rudy De Meester (Antwerp Belgium) pointed me rightly to Rohloff.
Wish you had posted earlier, it would have confirmed my decision earlier and I would have placed the order earlier . Now still waiting ...
On the positive side I got the 21 year model with 1125 Wh battery
Please keep posting especially about the accessories and I would really appreciate some photos/reviews for your pannier also the way you have combined the phone and Kiox...

Many thanks

Polivios
 

HariSeldon

New Member
@Polivios

Good choice, interesting the option for the 1125w.

A few pictures of the phone setup etc, works great.

The roll top paniers are good, very easy to fit and not a problem to take off and put back on at your destination. ( additional parts are supplied to fit smaller diameter paneer rails, very adjustable on the fit)

The roll top nature gives you flexibility to handle bulky cargo, there are zip up pockets and a slip pocket on the inside, you get a shoulder strap to carry the pannier if you wish.

A few pictures...

The Kiox/iPhone combo works great, a secure mount, well positioned and the ability to charge is good, running GPS constantly otherwise takes a toll on the phone battery.
 

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