- A full suspension urban electric bike with high-torque or high-speed motor options, comfortable gel saddle, premium ergonomic grips, and upright geometry provide comfort.
- Premium Supernova lights run off of the ebike battery systems, the backlight goes bright when either brake lever is pulled and the headlight has a low and high beam, metal enclosures add protection.
- Included ABUS Alarm Lock is keyed to match the battery, dual-battery option extends range, extra-wide fenders keep you dry and are reinforced to nearly eliminate rattling, reflective tires, large 180mm hydraulic disc brakes.
- Unique suspended rear rack reduces strain on cargo or child passengers, very little frame flex despite the deep step-thru design, heavier than most competing products but comfortable at speed, dual air-suspension is highly adjustable, multiple drivetrain options (Rohloff, NuVinci, Shimano), and multiple display choices (Kiox or Intuvia), only one color, three frame size options.
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Propel Bikes which has shops in Long Beach, California and Brooklyn, New York. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Riese & Müller products.
Riese & Müller have a long and interesting history, designing bicycles, and now electric bikes exclusively. Their first model, the Birdy, was a full suspension folding bike that inspired an entire line of suspended models which eventually led to a philosophy of “Control Technology” meant to keep your wheels on the ground, providing traction. Nowhere is that philosophy more important than bumpy urban environments, at high speed… especially if the streets are wet and you have a child on board. The Homage is their full suspension urban step-thru model, available in three frame sizes at the time of this review. It is meant to be approachable, reliable, safe, and comfortable. The frame is heavier than most competing models I have reviewed, weighing in at roughly 73.6lbs for the large, but it delivers utility and maneuverability that others simply cannot. With its suspended rear rack, that has pannier blockers on both sides, a quick-secure rubber strap system, and child compatible cross bars on top, you can accomplish more with this electric bicycle… and it actually begins to approximate a motorcycle or automobile experience. I got to test ride the 2019 Riese & Müller Homage GT Touring HS in Long Beach, California where parking can be a challenge but bike lanes and bike racks abound. It reduced the physical stress of riding for longer time periods and further distances with its high-volume tires, front and rear air suspension (with 100mm travel), premium gel saddle, and locking ergonomic grips. The double-battery configuration is capable of providing over 100 miles of range, depending on the level of assist chosen, and the integrated high-quality lights and horn signal build confidence. On many, many occasions I received the “nice bike!” comment from passersby. I have earned a motorcycle license, but much prefer the slower pace and quieter environments afforded by bike lanes. Whether it’s sunny and calm or rainy and windy, this platform should perform consistently, and aid in your safe arrival. Extra wide fenders, large 180mm hydraulic disc brakes, and puncture resistant tires all contribute to its utility. A fancy alarm-enabled lock from ABUS fits neatly into a purpose-built mount just below the saddle, and there are bottle cage bosses below for use with additional accessories. I don’t mean for this review to read like an advertisement, but the hardware on offer is simply top of the line. And, it’s priced that way. If you’re willing and able to spend $6k+ for an electric bicycle, the family of Homage models has a lot to offer. Color choice isn’t one of those offerings right now (as it only comes in metallic blue), but the three sizes and three drivetrains are. We test rode the Touring model with traditional 11-speed cassette and chain. As usual, I was impressed by the smart controller systems in the Bosch motor, which detect shifting to reduce drivetrain wear. R&M are offering a Rohloff electronically shifted internally geared hub as well as a continuously variable transmission option. These both weigh and cost more, but tend to be extremely durable and quiet. One final trade-off consideration with this ebike is the potentially longer purchase lead time because Riese & Müller build to order. Propel, and other premium electric bike shops usually stock one or two default models for test rides and instant purchase if you are willing to give up some of the many custom choices.
Riese & Müller have chosen to work exclusively with Bosch for their battery and drive systems, at the time of this review. For the Homage line, you can choose from a high torque Performance Line CX motor (offering up to 75 newton meters of torque) or the high speed Performance Line Speed (offering 63 newton meters but 28mph top speed vs. 20mph). Depending on your location, the CX Class 1 motor could be legal to use on more paths and off-road trails. It’s a very popular motor for e-mountain bikes, and delivers a unique eMTB mode that replaces Sport on the Speed motor. With eMTB, power output relates closely to pedal torque, offering a range of slow and soft to fast and powerful as you pedal… so you don’t have to click up or down through the four power levels as frequently. Personally, I loved the high-speed performance of our demo bike, because it allowed me to keep up with city traffic. I think, because of the weight and size of this product, it doesn’t feel as fast when traveling above 20mph. I often comment on frame flex, or complain about the jittering feel and noise produced by cheap accessories, but none of that was an issue here. Hopefully you can see for yourself in the video review above, during the ride tests. Coming back to motor choice, CX vs. Speed, I would expect to get slightly better range with the CX because air resistance can really suck up battery power when you ride above 20mph. The drop off in efficiency is exponential, from what I’m told, but that comes back to how you decide to ride. I spent a lot of time in Eco and Tour… and even did some pedaling in Off just to see how heavy the bike felt. With smooth tires and a wide 11 to 46 tooth gear range, it actually worked quite well unpowered. Both motors respond to a controller that measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second. They are incredibly responsive, de-activating almost instantly when pedal pressure is reduced or pedaling motion is stopped. The motors spin a smaller proprietary chainring (20 tooth in this case) that rotates 2.5x for each crank revolution, it’s a 50 tooth equivalent. My guess is that Bosch designed their motor this way to provide a mechanical advantage reduce delay time in starting and stopping. It’s one of my favorites, but does produce more noise at high pedal speeds, and some drag when unpowered. With Bosch, my experience is that you’re getting reliability and performance, but a bit more weight. And, the visual appearance of the Performance Line motors on the Homage, and many R&M models, is less refined that Haibike, Bulls, and some others, who have tilted the motor and blended it into the frame more beautifully. My guess is that this would have compromised frame integrity… but perhaps we will see it someday. I do want to point out the little alloy chainring guard, which protects pants and dress ends from the chain, and a unique belt tensioner used with the Gates Carbon belt driven options. Older versions of the Homage seemed to have a chain cover, but perhaps they felt that the wider sections of frame tubing reduced the need for this, and dropped it to save weight, reduce noise, and reduce cost?
The display screen and control pad unit for this electric bike come in two configurations: the time-tested Bosch Intuvia or the fancy new Bosch Kiox. For the videos and photography in this review, I opted for the Kiox. Both displays have a Micro-USB charging port (Kiox has it on the base and Intuvia has it on the right side), and both are removable, but only the Intuvia can be swiveled to adjust for glare. The Kiox connects through a magnetic interface that is sunk into the Ergotec stem. This is one of the minor trade-offs… you can’t replace the stem with a longer or steeper one if you opt for the Kiox display, because the stem is also the display mount. In terms of actual use, the Kiox provides more detailed menu readouts; including 1% stepped battery percentage vs. a five-bar infographic with wider 20% steps. Its color readout provides a fast and comfortable way to interpret assist levels (grey for Off, blue for Eco, green for Tour, yellow/gold for Sport or eMTb, and red for Turbo). The screen on the Kiox is smaller, but the colors make it easier to interpret in many ways. And, the screen protector is made from Gorilla Glass vs. plastic on the Intuvia. Because of how it’s mounted, my guess is that the Kiox may also take less damage at bike racks or if the bike tips. Kudos to Riese & Müller for spending the time and money to mount it in the stem vs. on top of the stem… it looks beautiful and stays out of the way here. Interacting with both displays involves some button clicking. You begin by charging and mounting the battery or battery packs to the frame, then press the power button on the display unit. The Kiox has power and lights buttons while the Intuvia adds reset and i, which are duplicated on the remote button pad to the left. Kiox has done away with the i button in favor of a left, right, and select button. It boots up in the second view, showing your assist level with a swirling color infographic. different parts of the swirl line fill based on how much power you exert as a rider and how much power the motor exerts, when active. You can arrow left or right to change screen readouts, and I especially like the ones towards the right, which show a range estimate based on remaining battery capacity and the last mile of riding. The Intuvia display also shows range, and you can cycle to this readout by pressing i. And this is one of the little gripes I have… the Intuvia cycles all the way around with i but the Kiox requires you to click right or left to get through, and does not loop back to the start. Perhaps Bosch will update this in the future, because the Kiox does come with Bluetooth integration and will be able to connect to a smartphone app. For now, Bluetooth seems to be reserved for use with aftermarket heart rate monitors. I’m reviewing this product in North America, but Europe is a bit ahead with the release and apps. The two markets differ slightly and I’d recommend working with your local dealer to learn more and get help with software updates. Okay, all things considered, these are both excellent display units. The Intuvia has been one of my favorites, but Kiox improves on it in most ways. This is a decision, like the battery configuration, that you’ll need to make at the time of purchase… and it adds just a little bit more to the price tag. Note that the MSRP for bike shown in this review is $6,759 as shown in US Dollars.
There’s just a ton to say about this electric bike and the company that produces it, Riese & Müller. If you want to improve the comfort of your child and are planning to use a rear rack, this would be one of the best ebike to do it. You could also explore the Load and Packster if you have multiple kids and don’t mind the cargo bike size and look. The Homage is the easier-to-mount version of the Delite, which is one of the most popular electric bikes that the company makes. That model can accommodate two batteries as well, but does not feature the integrated battery option at this time… Check out the R&M Supercharger if you want dual integrated batteries but only front suspension. As someone who has occasionally struggled to mount and stand over high ebike frames before, I really appreciate the lower step-thru design of the Homage. The metallic blue paint job isn’t as visible as white or silver could be during low-light conditions, but it is incredibly beautiful. The secondary battery is a little bit exposed at the step-thru area of the frame and could get kicked and potentially dirtied or scraped over time… but the black plastic casing is very durable and the pack is easily replaced because Bosch has been manufacturing and selling versions of it for over five years now. When you get an electric bicycle with Bosch equipment, you’re getting a two year comprehensive warranty and the sense that there will be replacement parts and even upgrades for many years to come. I welcome feedback and questions in the comments below and welcome you to explore the Bosch forums and Riese & Müller forums. I’ll be covering more of the 2019 models in the coming weeks and months :)
- One of the only full suspension step-thru electric bikes I have ever see, and it’s designed for urban use vs.
off-road mountain biking
- The suspension and larger tires significantly improve comfort when riding above 20 mph, so it’s very relevant for the HS speed model shown here. The angled stem, gel saddle, and ergonomic grips also help to reduce fatigue, the upright body position makes spotting traffic easier and reduces back and neck stress
- Multiple drivetrain options for this electric bike allow you to target sturdiness and simplicity or high performance, the electronically shifted Rohloff E-14 integrates with Bosch shift detection and feels crisp and fast but weighs and costs more… I enjoyed the standard cassette and chain setup, which also works with shift detection
- Riese & Müller really limited the unsprung weight on this ebike; the motor, battery pack, and rear rack are all suspended! I love that the rear rack comes with rubber straps for quick use, has pannier side blockers to keep your gear from brushing against the rear wheel, is Racktime compatible, and has a rectangular window that could work with many child seat options
- Lots of nice accessories come with this e-bike including the SKS plastic fenders, electronic horn, ABUS alarm lock, integrated lights with high and low beam options, and a great kickstand that stays out of the way and is adjustable
- Safety is a big deal, especially at higher speed, so it’s nice to see reflective tires with puncture resistance, and I love how the backlight goes bright whenever you pull the brake levers, both the rear fender and front lowers on the suspension have extra reflectors added
- It’s nice that the headlight is mounted above the moving portion of the suspension fork but still turns where you steer, it’s the best of both worlds because the light beam won’t jitter, the light housing won’t get loose from bouncing, but you get more visibility up high, it stays out of the way of the wires and stem, but still points where you’re riding… it’s near-perfect in my opinion
- Both suspension elements are air vs. spring which offers more adjustability (air pressure sag settings) and this type of suspension tends to weigh less, the fork has lockout and rebound settings
- Whether you opt for the Bosch Intuvia or Kiox display panel, both have an integrated Micro-USB diagnostics and charging port, I love that both are removable and show more settings, the Kiox utilizes color to help you quickly determine the level of assist and is Bluetooth low-energy compatible for use with heart rate monitors and future smartphone apps
- Motor and battery weight are kept low and center on the frame for improved stability and handling while riding, I didn’t feel any frame flex here (even while riding up and down stairs), the wider rims and larger 2.4″ tires help with stability
- The 1x drivetrain reduces the possibility of drops, keeps the chain or belt more tucked in so your pants or dress won’t rub, and tends to be very reliable, I like that Riese & Müller included a long slap guard to protect the frame and chose a derailleur with a one-way clutch (Shimano Deore XT with Shadow+) to help tighten the chain when you’re going fast or riding on bumpy sections of road… just click the little gray lever into the up position
- The rear rack is child seat compatible so you won’t need additional accessories or adapters in most cases, the official max weight is ~44 lbs which seemed a bit low to me, perhaps that’s just them staying on the safe side? Most aftermarket racks are rated up to 55 lbs, I like that a child would benefit from suspension and not be bounced all around like with most other ebikes
- Powerful hydraulic disc brakes with large 180mm rotors help you handle the heavier frame and any extra cargo you might be carrying, they pull easily and have adjustable reach levers so you don’t have to stretch if your hands are small
- If you opt for the dual-battery setup, you can actually use older PowerPack 400 batteries as well as the included PowerPack 500 because Bosch has designed the interface to be backwards compatible… I like that Riese & Müller didn’t customize the PowerTube battery integration with extra plastic or handles, because it will make replacement or borrowing other packs much easier
- It was amazing to ride this bike down stairs without hearing the fenders or anything else rattle, the fenders are held in place with multiple support arms in addition to the direct frame mounting points on the rear rack
- I love that the included lock is keyed to match both battery pack locks, so you don’t end up with a bunch of extra keys weighing you down and getting confusing
- Most of the wires, brake lines, and shifter cables are internally routed through the frame for protection and improved aesthetics, since the downtube is hollow and accessible via the PowerTube battery bay, I suspect that these wires will be easier to access and work on for shops
- Riese & Müller have this philosophy called “Control Technology” which is referring to the suspension and frame stiffness that can handle higher speeds and give you better handling ability, the wheels are designed to stay in contact with the ground consistently vs. bouncing around and losing traction
- Given the high capacity ~500 watt hour single battery pack or nearly 1kwh double configuration, it’s great that the Bosch charger is faster than most at 4 Amps vs. just 2 Amps, you won’t have to wait as long between rides
- Interacting with the display is intuitive and simple enough that you really don’t have to look down that often once you get the hang of it, both button pads (Kiox and Intuvia) produce a tactile click and have an intuitive surface, they work consistently and reliably in my experience
- If you decide to purchase the Rohloff E-14 electronically shifted internally geared hub, the system automatically downshifts when you stop the bike, to help make it easy to start again from standstill… it’s super tough, clean, and offers a wide range of pedal options
- Riese & Müller is growing so much that they have had to build a new facility in Germany, they are striving to maintain short wait times and a steady flow of parts so they can offer this wide range of drivetrain and accessory options, they have a good reputation in Europe and the USA
- Even in its most basic form, the Riese & Müller Homage GT Touring (non-high speed) is priced around $6,289 which is on the more expensive side. The most expensive version, with the Rohloff electronically shifted E-14, retails for $9,076. The model we looked at in this review retails for $6,759 USD
- Weighing in at roughly 73.6lbs (33.38kg) for the large size frame, this is definitely one of the heavier ebikes on the market… but the weight drops to 67.9lbs without the second battery, and most of the weight is positioned low and center and handled well by the sturdy frame and larger tires
- It would be nice if the Bosch Kiox display could cycle “around” through the different views from start to end. As it stands, navigating from the first view to the last could take five clicks because there are a total of six views
- By default, if you opt for the Speed motor, the lights will remain on at all times once the bike is powered up. Given that there is a dedicated light button on the display panel… I sort of wish you were given the option to disable the lights for moonlight rides and moments where you don’t want to blind people
- Overall, I like how the dual battery configuration is setup because it offers a low standover height and positions weight at the center of the bike, but you do have to completely remove the top battery in order to get access to the powertube battery, I believe that you also have to order the bike with two batteries at time of purchase vs. being able to upgrade with a second pack later
- R&M ebikes are made in Germany and specced to order, so it can take between 1-3 months to receive one if you’re purchasing in North America. That’s a long time to wait, but some shops do have default specced bikes in store as an options
- Minor consideration, the special Ergotec stem with Kiox integration only comes in one size and angle (110mm, 20-degree rise) and replacing it with something different, maybe shorter, more angled etc. will require the Kiox to be mounted separately and adds cost due to an external mount adapter
- It looks like this particular model only comes in one color at the moment, I happen to really like it… but people who prefer a more reflective white or silver frame to be seen could be disappointed
- The step-thru design is accessible and sturdy on this ebike, but the battery box does cut into your standover space a bit and could get kicked more easily when mounting and dismounting, the Bosch Powerpack is fairly durable… so this is just a minor consideration
- To fully lower the saddle, you may have to remove the ABUS folding alarm lock (this is relevant for petite riders) I like that the bike comes in three frame sizes to give you a great starting place, regardless of seat height
- The pedals are pretty basic, they don’t offer as much traction or surface area, but that might not be a big deal if you don’t ride in wet conditions or maybe you have small feet? The rubber tread won’t cut you if you slip off, but I could see larger-footed riders opting for an alloy platform pedal like these magnesium Wellgos with adjustable pins
- As quiet as the bike is with those reinforced fenders, welded-on frame-built rack, and single sprocket setup, there is some whining noise produced by the motor, especially at higher RPM (this is true of most Bosch Performance Line powered ebikes)
- If you plan on hanging this bike from a car or bus rack, you may need to purchase a crossbar adapter and definitely tighten the seat post clamp and take the battery or batteries off to reduce weight, I usually opt for a platform rack instead because you don’t have to lift the bike as high and some even have ramps to make loading easier
- Because the Bosch Performance Line motors utilize a smaller sprocket and rely on a 2.5x reduction gearing system, they do introduce a touch of drag when pedaling unassisted or exceeding the maximum supported top speed, it’s not a huge deal in my experience, but it is different than the Bosch Active Line and competing Shimano, Brose, Yamaha, and Bafang products