2017 Riese & Müller Charger GX Rohloff HS Review


Technical Specs & Ratings



Charger GX Rohloff HS


Class 3


Front Suspension



Hydraulic Disc



482.4 Wh

482.4 Wh

59.5 lbs / 27.01 kgs


Acros AZX-220 with BlockLock, Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-1/2"

FSA Afterburner, Alloy, 100 mm Length, 6° Rise

FSA Afterburner, Low-Rise, Alloy, 31.8 mm Diameter, 29" Length

Ergon GP3 Ergonomic with Bar-Ends, Rubber, Locking

Cane Creek Thudbuster Short Travel (ST) XL, Alloy, 33.9 to 34.9 Shim


Brooks B17 Aged, Leather

VP-196 Alloy Platform, Cage Style

Hydraulic Disc

Shimano Deore XT Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Shimano Deore XT Levers with Tool-Free Adjustable Reach

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

The Riese & Müller Charger GX Rohloff HS would be an excellent platform for touring and bikepacking… touring with a bit of off-road and camping along the way ;) it’s a rugged but comfortable, long-range capable, high-speed electric bike with some unique drivetrain features. You can get the Charger GX with a traditional eleven-speed cassette to reduce weight, but the Rohloff transmission shown here allows for a fully-enclosed chain cover and single sprocket rear end. That means no chain bouncing, no chain drops, and cleaner pants. And iIf the bike happens to tip over onto the drivetrain side, you won’t have to worry about a derailleur getting bent, maintenance intervals tend to be further apart with IGH vs. cassettes. The drawback to this system is increased price, weight, and noise… at least for the first 50+ miles of use until it breaks in. Unlike the NuVinci CVT, the Rohloff 14-gear speedhub cannot be shifted fluidly while under pressure. You can shift at standstill, however, which makes hills and heavy loads easier to deal with. If you’re riding in foreign territory, last-minute stops can leave you in a high gear and the downshifting feature really comes in handy. And the brakes on this beast are very impressive as well, high-end Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc with 180 mm rotors and tool-free adjustable reach levers. In my opinion, part of what makes this electric bike trail worthy is the 100 mm air suspension fork with 15 mm thru-axle, tapered head tube, and knobby tires. But not all of your riding will be off-road and that’s where lockout comes in handy, you can reduce bob easily with the clicker and dial in other elements such as the air pressure and rebound for optimal efficiency and comfort. The Charger GX is built around a hardtail frame so comfort does take a hit. The increased strength to weight ratio, lower price point, and more standard rear rack are benefits of this hardtail setup. But comfort isn’t completely sacrificed, the 2.35″ diameter knobby tires offer vibration dampening and can be lowered to 23 PSI for use on soft terrain. Perhaps the biggest nod to comfort aside from the suspension fork is the included Thudbuster ST suspension seat post. I love these things! It significantly reduces back and neck fatigue for me and I have spent $150 on this part stand-alone for other hardtail electric bikes. Riese & Müller talk about suspension as benefiting handling by keeping your wheels on the ground but for me it’s mostly about comfort. I suppose that when you get into the Class 3 ~28 mph top speed models like the Charger GX HS models it really makes sense for either reason.

And so, driving this specific bike is the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor. It offers up to 63 Newton meters of torque and can support up to 28 miles per hour assisted riding. I love this kind of speed for commuting scenarios but really don’t mind the limited 20 mph top speed of the Bosch Performance Line CX motor that you can get on the Charger GX non HS models. I usually hover around 15 mph when riding off road and tend to go slower if I have a loaded rear rack, and especially if I have a loaded front rack. That’s actually one of the question marks on this bike for me. The front rack isn’t rated to carry much more than a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, maybe a bag with some toiletries or a six pack of drinks. It turns as you steer the bike vs. the head-tube mounted racks on true cargo bikes and that feels intuitive but opens up the possibility of dumping items and slowing down your steering response time. The things I really appreciate about the front rack is that it is color matched to the frame and has three mounting points for the included Supernova headlight. The light points where you steer, won’t be at risk of being blocked by gear in the front rack (unless it has straps or cloth hanging down which would be dangerous because it could get caught in the front wheel). The backlight is also rack-mounted and powered by the ebike batteries. But getting back to the motor, it’s extremely responsive, positions weight low and center on the frame for improved handling, and is one of the more reliable products out there compared to other mid-drives according to the shops I visit and customers I speak with occasionally.

Powering that motor, those headlights, the LCD control panel, and any portable electronic devices connected to the control panel via Micro-USB, is one or two Bosch Powerpack 500 batteries. Going into 2017, Bosch launched their new Powerpack 500 in the US which increased capacity by 25% from the older Powerpack 400 while only adding 0.3 lbs. It’s built into the same excellent case, the same mounting interface, and uses the same 4 Amp quick charger. There are no extra dongles to mess around with, the battery or batteries can be charged on or off the frame and the controller balances them so you don’t have to worry about over cycling one pack. The only downsides to the battery design used here is that the packs stand out on the frame vs. being sunk in or completely hidden and there wasn’t enough room on the smallest frame size (or step-thru Charger) to fit two packs. You only get one chance to decide on the near $1k upgrade to two-batteries and the bike cannot be easily retrofitted so think hard. This might influence your fit on the bike and I’d urge you to consider simply bringing along a second pack using the rear rack vs. buying a bike that’s too large and potentially unstable or uncomfortable to stand over. I do like that the batteries have integrated charge level indicators so you can gauge how full they are when the bike is being stored separately. Perhaps you’re on a cross-country ride and staying in a hotel where the bike frame is way down in the garage. You could be eating lunch, charging the battery at your table, and have a general idea for how full it is. Note that the batteries will charge from zero to 50% very quickly and then slow down as they reach 100% because the integrated BMS has to balance the cells. You can maximize the life of these and other Lithium-ion batteries by storing them in a cool, dry location, and avoiding extreme heat and cold.

Operating the bike is a breeze. Once the batteries are charged and mounted, and the display is mounted (unless you use the set screw to more permanently secure it), just press the power button at the lower left corner. It blinks to life with a calmly backlit monochrome readout showing current speed, battery capacity, assist level, and ride stats. You can cycle through trip stats by pressing the i button on the display or remote button pad. This pad is easy to reach and simple enough that you can learn to use it without even looking down. It clicks and has a rubber mound in the middle helping you feel your way to the up and down keys. There are four levels of assist and depending on which one you choose, the range menu will dynamically update to approximate how far you can go. There are a lot of variables that the bike factors in when estimating range including the last mile or two of riding, the battery level (or combined levels), and the assist choice. I have found the Bosch drive system to be incredibly capable and satisfying in the second “Tour” level. I usually test on Turbo just to show how well it can climb and how loud it “might” be, but Tour is my favorite. I already mentioned the Micro-USB port on the side of the display which could be useful for keeping your phone alive when using GPS to go long distances… and it did trigger the lightning “charging” icon on my iPhone despite reports that the 5 Volt 500 milliamp output might be too low for iOS devices. I haven’t tested it extensively but the cable and iPhone converter wasn’t expensive and I’d rather have something, even maintaining or slower draining, than nothing.

My experience with the Riese & Müller Charger GX Rohloff HS was a bit louder than expected but the bike also felt tougher and more capable than other similar models, even the 11-speed version of the Charger GX. This is a bike that resembles a truck or SUV and apparently, the GX stands for grand crossover vs. Grand Touring on the GT models. Perhaps that means that it can cross over from road to off-road? If you’re looking for an electric bike that can go far, go on varied terrain, and stand up to the tests of time. The Charger GX Rohloff or Rohloff HS would be an excellent choice. Unfortunately, one fo the other trade-offs here is that there’s a wait time to have the bike specced to your order. Riese & Müller operates on a “just in time” system and shipping to the US can add even more of a wait. You can pay more to have it air shipped I believe, but that’s a good question for your local shop. It may be worth compromising on all of the options to get one that’s in store? But again, this is an e-bike that will last for years and years, it has a drive system and battery integration that will be well supported and the two-year comprehensive warranty says a lot. You get five years on the frame. I’d like to thank R&M for partnering with me on this post and Chris from Propel Bikes in Brooklyn for inviting me out to test ride several models back to back. It’s awesome to see how electric bicycle technology is advancing and impressive to see how companies like Bosch are keeping it simple and backward compatible.


  • Unique accessories including the Brooks leather saddle, key-matched ABUS folding lock, and beefy Ergon GP3 cork infused grips with bar-ends for changing hand position on long rides, this is especially useful if you get the two-battery option for bikepacking or touring
  • Rohloff makes one of the toughest internally geared hubs around and with 14 gears you get a smooth range of incremental steps through their 540% ration, much more than competing products
  • I love how clean and minimal the drivetrain is, there’s a chain, 18T chainring, one rear sprocket and it’s all protected by an enclosed plastic chain cover that will also keep your pants clean and snag-free, there’s less to worry about bending if the bike tips, banging on rocks, or snagging on other obstacles because there is no derailleur
  • This is one of the few electric bike platforms right now that allows you to add a second Bosch battery to double range, you have to specify this upgrade at the time of purchase because it requires a slightly different display and additional mounting bracket
  • Schwalbe makes excellent high-end tires and the Rock Razor is new to me, but performed great, especially off-road on dirt and rocks in the park
  • Integrated lights are easier to work with, they activate automatically on the HS version and run off the main battery vs. stand-alone disposable cells, the headlight points where you steer and is mounted below the rack (in one of three spots) so it won’t be blocked, perhaps this is why they chose a rack that steers vs. fixed?
  • The suspension fork is highly adjustable, strong, relatively lightweight (being an air fork), and includes lockout for those times when you’re trying to maximize efficiency on hard packed terrain or pavement
  • You get a Cane Creek Thudbuster ST stock with this bike! This, combined with the comfortable fit of Brooks saddles (once they break in) makes the bike comfortable on rough terrain, especially if you’re riding long distances
  • Oversized SKS plastic fenders keep the mud and water out of your face and off of your back, they’re mounted securely with multiple supports to reduce rattling, I like the enclosed chain cover for staying clean as well
  • The rear rack is child-seat approved, comes with adjustable rubber straps, and matches the frame paint (same with the front rack)
  • Sometimes electric mountain bikes don’t come with kickstands but the charger comes in many flavors so I’m glad that even this specific variation does have a stand, it’s easier to take off than find a sturdy matching stand
  • Available in three frame sizes and engineered to allow for low saddle heights and a lower stand over height thanks to the angled top tube, diamond frames like this are stiffer and stronger than most step-thru options
  • You can reduce weight and lower cost by getting the Touring models vs. Rohloff, I like that the optional second battery mount doubles as a bottle cage mounting point
  • Bosch makes excellent e-bike motor systems and the HS offers up to 28 mph top assisted speeds which is great for commuters or distance riders… as long as you don’t mind draining the battery faster
  • R&M have done an excellent job keeping weight low and centered, the batteries and display panel can be removed to reduce weight, for maintenance, or for charging and storing separately, both wheels offer quick release which is unique for an IGH setup
  • If you opt for the Bosch Performance Line CX motor, it provides higher torque up to 75 Newton meters vs. 63 Nm on the HS, the new eMTB mode is only available for that model right now and converts the third Sport level of assist into more of a cadence sensor with access to the full range of power (nice for mountain riding where you don’t want to mess with clicking buttons while also shifting and balancing)
  • The brake levers are very nice, they should be smooth and easy to pull with tool-free adjustable reach, you can get them out of the way for long safe stretches or bring them in for technical sections or if you have gloves on or smaller hands
  • One complaint I have heard from Bosch ebike owners in the UK is that the drivetrain can get muddy and start to produce chain suck because of the smaller chainring, that’s not an issue here because of the chainglider and because of the single rear sprocket, it might be if you got the Touring version of the bike with a standard cassette
  • The battery pack design has a handle at the top which reduces the chance of dropping and is especially important and useful if you have two batteries!
  • Beyond the integrated lights, you can tap into the battery capacity further by using the Micro-USB port on the right edge of the display, it offers 5 Volts at ~500 mA to maintain a phone or other portable electronic device
  • If you opt for the dual-battery setup, the display panel shows both charge levels and balances them to extend life (vs. cycling one pack repeatedly and never using the other), I love that the display also dynamically estimates range so you can plan trips accordingly and find a charge source (for long distance rides), the included Bosch charger is about 2x faster than competing products
  • Your dealer can turn off the automatic lights, you can adjust other setting by holding reset and i (like clock, shift recommendation, and units)


  • Dual-battery option is not available for the smallest frame size, it just doesn’t fit into the frame triangle, unfortunately… but at least there are size options :)
  • Riese & Müller electric bikes just tend to weigh more, it’s not surprising here considering the heavy-duty racks, tapered head tube, thru-axles, Rholoff IGH, and fenders
  • I’d prefer a front rack option that mounted directly to the head tube vs. one that turned as you turn the bike, the trade-off is strength and stability vs. a rack that tracks to your handlebar motion and might look more natural as you steer the bike
  • Brooks makes one of the best saddles but they start off kind of hard, just like leather cowboy boots, you have to break them in a bit of riding before they feel just right
  • I was surprised that the rear rack isn’t rated for more than 44 lbs? Many aftermarket racks are rated to 55 lbs and don’t look as sturdy, maybe they are just playing it safe?
  • This is an expensive electric bike, especially if you purchase a second battery pack, and Riese & Müller build to order which adds some wait time (usually 1+ months in the USA)
  • The Rohloff won’t shift under load as well as some Shimano IGH systems I have tested, you really have to ease off,
    apparently, there’s a software update for shift detection from Bosch that could help (2017 and newer models should have it)
  • I think the Rohloff internally geared hub produces more noise than a standard derailleur (especially before it has been broken in < 100 miles), maybe the enclosed chainglider adds noise as well? The Bosch motor is known for producing an electronic whirring noise under load and at higher RPM

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