- An efficient hybrid electric bike available in two frame styles, two sizes, two colors, and a wide range of configurations and optional upgrades. Adjustable spring suspension fork with lockout and sturdy 15mm thru-axle improve performance at speed.
- Capable on pavement, gravel, and light trails with all-terrain tires. The included plastic fenders are sturdier and better attached than most, so they won't rattle as much. Bright integrated lights and reflective tire stripes keep you safe, day or night. Excellent headlight positioning up high at the stem.
- High capacity Bosch PowerTube 625 provides long range and supports the higher power output of Bosch Performance Line motors. Choose from Class 1 or Class 2 motor options, multiple displays, and two drivetrains including traditional Shimano Deore XT derailleur and cassette or stepless Enviolo CVT hub.
- Higher price tag associated with premium branding and shop support. Depending on the configuration, you may have to wait for the bike to be setup and shipped from Germany. The Enviolo option adds about 2lbs of weight, and the batter pack can be difficult to re-mount due to limited space and key unlocking motion as you fit it in.
This review was provided for free using a demo bike. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Riese & Müller products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the Riese & Müller electric bike forums.
- The Roadster is available in high-step or mid-step “mixte” frame style. It comes in two sizes, to improve fit, and two colors. I test rode the smaller 45cm mixte frame in gloss white, and it had several upgrades including the rear rack with nicer 2-LED light, the comfort package with suspension seat post, swept back handlebar, and ergonomic grips, and the Bosch Nyon large color LCD display with mapping directions. These upgrades increased price by roughly $450 USD.
- The Vario word in the name relates to the Enviolo continuously variable transmission (CVT hub) that allows for stepless shifting. You can even change gears at standstill! It’s roughly equivalent to an 11-36 tooth cassette and adds about 2lbs to the total weight of the bike. You can go with the 11-speed version of the bike to save weight and get a wider 11-46 tooth spread, which also costs less but uses a chain instead of the Gates Carbon Belt drive. Depending on the country where you buy the bike, you may get the Bosch CX Class 1 motor or Bosch Speed Class 3 motor that goes up to 45km/h (28mph) but is otherwise roughly the same weight and produces very similar 85nm peak power output.
- An “all around” hybrid from one of the highest quality brands: Riese & Müller. The Roadster is sporty, works well on pavement, can handle gravel and light trails, and offers tons of utility. It comes in many configurations, and offers some unique hardware such as the Gates Carbon Belt drive and Enviolo CVT hub (both shown here).
- Excellent customer support, mainly provided by the independent electric bicycle retailers that sell and service the bikes. Since R&M only use Bosch drive systems, you get a lot of cross compatibility and secondary warranty support because Bosch is a leader in the space with 2-year comprehensive coverage. R&M have been making bicycles since 1992 and are mainly focused on ebiks.
- I love that they chose to use the high quality ABUS keyset that can be keyed to match locks. R&M even sells an ABUS Shield frame lock with chain, and convenient holster bag that mounts behind the saddle! It’s awesome to see a company take advantage of this and provide it as a part of the bike vs. aftermarket upgrade. Reduced clutter, improved convenience, sturdier locking cores to help protect the quality bike.
- This model has been around for years, and I’ve covered past variations. The new tires offer reflectivity for improved safety, but are still off-road capable. I love the headlight position, high up at the center of the handlebar. The included rear light is visible from many angles and seems very durable… but if you get the rear rack option it comes with a larger 2-LED light that is even larger.
- Excellent platform for commuting to work, school, or doing a light tour with some off-road riding. The suspension fork offers independent compression adjust and lockout for efficiency. The tire pressure range of 45 to 70 PSI allows you to optimize for comfort or efficiency. The optional comfort package changes your body position to more upright, and the suspension seat post is adjustable for preload.
- The mixte mid-step frame is stiff and sturdy, like a high-step, but more approachable if you have sensitive knees or hips. I find it to be perfect if you get the rear rack and use a trunk bag or other tall cargo.
- In addition to the rear rack, there is also a front rack option for carrying even more gear. I love the bottle cage mount on the downtube, and appreciate how well the fenders are mounted. There are additional threaded eyelets at the rear for adding your own rack if you prefer that to the R&M RackTime option.
- Fit makes such a difference when riding long distances or at high speeds. The two frame sizes and comfort package deliver on this. Being able to choose between the Bosch CX and Speed motors give you that second piece, optimizing the bike for your type of riding. Speed motor may not be available in all locations, but is great for commuters who wish to keep better pace with cars.
- The 4th generation Bosch Performance Line motor is compact and light at just 6.39lbs, because it has a magnesium casing. It measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second, and offers shift detection to reduce drivetrain wear.
- The rear wheel speed sensor is more hidden and durable than the older spoke magnet design. This will reduce the possibility of read errors, and helps keep the rear wheel more balanced. I also noticed some minimalist plastic casing around the motor casing to keep dust and water out, and protect against trail contact.
- Excellent touch points, I love the sturdy platform pedals with grip tape because they won’t damage fancier shoes but still provide great surface area and stiffness. The locking ergonomic grips from Ergon are excellent, reducing hand numbness and tingling.
- For those who want a durable and clean drivetrain, the Enviolo continuously variable transmission hub with Gates Carbon Belt drive are perfect. There’s no derailleur hanging down that can get bumped at racks, and the belt will last longer and run cleaner than a chain. It’s super quiet and smooth, though it’s not quite as responsive or efficient as a chain in my experience.
- Notice the metal chainring guard that protects the belt and bottom bracket. The metal guide on top, that clears debris and reduces any kind of drop (possibly clearing pants and dress above too). And, there’s a belt tensioner at the rear. R&M go above and beyond here, especially for a hybrid model. The drivetrain on the Vario setup is thoughtfully done.
- Excellent kickstand positioning and adjustability, as yo’d expect. It doesn’t get in the way, and doesn’t bounce around while riding off-road. I want to call out the front fender attachment as well, because the support arms mount to the metal housing directly with bolts vs. plastic cuffs and have two support arms on each side!
- Very high quality hydraulic disc brakes from Magura. The MT4 and MT5 levers actuate very smoothly, and have adjustable reach levers. If you get the Speed motor, the levers also activate the rear light like a brake light. Large 180mm rotors provide a good mechanical advantage and cooling properties. The calipers are also great, with larger pistons and contact pads.
- Whichever display you choose, the Bosch ecosystem is reliable and intuitive. I really like the Purion for how simple it is, but the Smartphone Hub and Nyon in particular are my favorite. You get turn by turn directions, can charge your smartphone, get access to motor tuning, sports integration, and over the air updates.
- Riese & Müller builds each bike to order, which means they turn out exactly how you want (frame size, color, motor, drivetrain, accessories etc.) but it takes longer to arrive, especially in the USA as they ship from Germany. Many shops that carry R&M will have preconfigured models in stock, so you can get something pretty close to your desired build if time is of the essence.
- Weighing in at 56.4lbs as shown (with the comfort package, Enviolo CVT, and rear rack), this ebike is heavier than most hardtail hybrids. I think Riese & Müller overbuild their frames to handle more weight and just be sturdier. THis is only a minor consideration for me… the CVT adds about 2lbs, the Bosch PowerTube weighs more than the older plastic PowerPacks, and tapered steer tube and thru-axle add a bit too. For comparison, the last version of this ebike that I covered in 2018 only weighed 48.3lbs, but it did have a lower capacity battery.
- These ebikes cost more than average, because of the high quality components, support, branding, and all of the accessories you can get… which add even more cost ;) You might notice that the frame has a cutaway to allow for the optional Gates Carbon Belt Drive CDX (found on the Vario models), and this costs more to design in.
- If you get the comfort package, note that the suspension seat post adds a few inches to the minimum saddle height. Keep this in mind if you have a shorter inseam. Consider the smaller frame size and the mixte mid-step style shown here, which can be easier to mount and stand over.
- As nice as the PowerTube batteries look, they can be difficult to mount because of limited clearance between the downtube and front fender. To actually get it into the frame, you have to actively twist the key while inserting the battery. Thankfully, the pack can be charged while in the frame. That said, the charging port is pretty low on the left side of the frame and in the path of the crank arm, so it can get a little crowded.
- While they have gotten better over the years, the 4th generation of Bosch Performance Line motors still tend to produce a noticeable whining noise at high power and high RPM, you can hear it clearly in the video review above. It also uses power more quickly, but that’s a worthwhile trade-off for me given the outstanding performance and high capacity batteries specced here.
- If you choose the most basic Purion display or the fancy Nyon system s hown here, it won’t have a USB charging port. To get that, you need to pay more for the Smartphone Hub. Both Smartphone Hub and Nyon are compatible with smartphone apps.