To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by Propel Bikes. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Riese & Müller products.
The Load 75 is a full suspension cargo bike with plenty of room for supplies or kiddos. The front of the bike accepts add-on accessories from Riese & Müller including plastic sidewalls and covers. A five-point harness, seat belt system, will keep up to three young ones seated, and the suspended rear rack is child seat compatible. So technically, this electric bike could handle up to five passengers! For this review, I spent several miles actually riding in the cargo bin while Chris Nolte, owner of Propel Bikes, pedaled us down to the beach. His wife, Marissa, and dog, Max, were on the Packster 40. The major differences between the Load 75 and the original Load 60 that I covered last year, include seven additional inches of length, a larger and lower foot box option for the center of the cargo area, a larger 180mm front disc brake rotor (for improved stopping power), increased overall weight (because the bike is larger), more limited color options (black or white), a high-back child seat option vs. a swivel headrest design, a wider cassette 11-42 tooth vs. just 36 tooth before, and some wired-in backlight switches to comply with new Class 3 ebike laws in Europe. In many ways, it’s just like original… and that’s a good thing. Chris told me that the original Load was his “go to” ebike for urban travel in Brooklyn, NY. The full suspension design makes it comfortable and the cargo area functions a lot like the trunk of an automobile. He talked about moving air conditioning units, how his friend had moved boxes of wine, and how he had even taken his wife around using it. It certainly worked well for me, and was surprisingly comfortable. R&M do a wonderful job optimizing their frames for strength, creating a sense of control and safety, even with a high speed drive system. The slightly wider 2.15″ tires provide stability and comfort, they help the bike stand out in low lighting conditions because they have reflective sidewalls, and they won’t get flats as easily because they are made with puncture resistant layers. Notice how the front wheel is slightly smaller than the rear? this brings the cargo box a bit closer to the ground and makes it easier to see over. With the larger child seat and backrest installed, as was the case with our demo model, it’s difficult to see the front wheel when riding the bike, and this can feel a bit precarious when learning to ride, at least for me. The good news is, the headlight points where you steer and puts a beam of light down onto the road ahead… so in a way, you can infer where the front wheel is pointed. With the high speed version, both integrated lights are automatically on at all times. This is a safety requirement in Europe. The back light even goes bright when you pull the brake levers, for added visibility and awareness from cars. Wide plastic fenders, a tough alloy chainring guard, keyed-alike frame lock, and sturdy double-leg kickstand offer utility while the Selle Royal gel saddle, ergonomic grips, adjustable height and angle stem further improve comfort. For those with limited vertical space, the handlebar can actually be laid flat, so the Load 75 could be parked under cabinets or shelves. In my opinion, these electric bicycles have been masterfully engineered and it really shows when you hop on. I’ve ridden many electric front-loading cargo bikes over the years, but Riese & Müller lead the pack. Notice how the motor and battery are positioned low and center on the frame for balance and protection. It’s relatively easy to stand over and stabilize this bike because of the mid-step frame tubing, the seat post is extra thick to handle heavier riders or tough environments where it could get bumped hard from the side. Yes, it’s an expensive, heavy, and wide product, but it’s one of the best options for this type of ebike that I’m aware of.
Driving the bike is one of two motor options, both high-powered Performance Line models from Bosch. Over the years, Riese & Müller has switched exclusively to Bosch drive systems based on their reliability and quality of performance. The Speed motor, shown in this review, offers up to 63 newton meters of torque and top speeds of roughly 28mph (45km/h). Even though it’s not quite as powerful as the CX, which only goes 20mph (32km/h or 25km/h in some markets) it’s still plenty powerful if you shift into lower gears when climbing. Chris had no problem pedaling me up a steep hill from the beach at the end of our long ride. He didn’t even have to stand up. The motor relies on a controller that measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second! As it responds to pedal input, it also listens for pressure changes originating with shifts, cable movement, and ultimately derailleur positioning changes. This is called shift detection, and the result is smoother gear changing and less wear on the chain and sprockets. At the time of this review, it appears that R&M are offering both a Touring and Vario drivetrain option for the Load 75. Vario refers to “continuously variable transmission” from Enviolo, powered by NuVinci. This internally geared hub allows for shifting at standstill and a non-indexed range of 380-degrees of gearing. This option adds several pounds of weight and ups the price. I’ve also noticed that there can be a break-in period where the CVT feels a little sluggish compared to a derailleur, but it’s a really great option for people who aren’t as familiar with shifting gears. For example, if you’re pedaling along at a good pace and have to stop unexpectedly without having time to downshift… getting started again could be very difficult with a traditional 11-speed cassette. By comparison, the Enviolo can be shifted before you even start pedaling again, and that will empower you as a rider and the motor as your support. Both Bosch Performance Line motors weigh about 8.8lbs and both are integrated through a custom bottom bracket design with an oval plastic casing surround. They utilize a smaller proprietary chainring that spins 2.5x for each crank revolution, and that allows them to be fast, grip the chain well, and empower the reduction gearing inside the motor… but the design does introduce a touch of drag when pedaling unpowered or above the supported motor speed. In my experience, if you hop onto an ebike with this motor and an Enviolo drivetrain and just start pedaling without power, they can feel sluggish. But again, that changes over time with use and the reliability and responsive feedback of both systems could be well worth it. I personally love the setup we had in this review, with the traditional lightweight cassette and Shimano Deore XT derailleur. Eleven speeds is great and the Shadow+ configuration is something I usually see on mountain bikes, so the derailleur is tucked in and has this little gray one-way clutch to tighten the spring inside. This helps to reduce chain bounce at high speed, perfect for the Touring HS model of the Load.
Powering the Load or Load 75 here is one or two Bosch Powerpack 500 batteries. This battery offers 25% more capacity than the second generation Powerpack 400 pack, but only weighs 0.3 lbs more. It looks nearly identical and the mounting interface is actually backward compatible, so you can use older batteries you might have from previous electric bikes. I do think that you need to order the secondary battery interface at time of purchase however, and that adds to the price. While the pack is not as integrated as some of the fancier road and mountain models with the new Powertube design, it is easy to access, charge on or off the bike, and stays protected from all sides by frame tubing. I also like how it has a plastic loop molded into the case at the top, for safer removal and transport. If you do opt for a second Powerpack 500, they will add a mount on the back-left side of the cargo box. This does imbalance the bike very slightly, but keeps the pack out of harm’s way, protecting it from frame bumps and water. There’s definitely room on the right backside of the box for a lock or water bottle, so you could balance things out that way if you wanted. I love that all versions of the Load come with front and rear plastic fenders. These won’t bend like aluminum, they won’t rust like steel, and they tend to be very lightweight… but can rattle. So R&M have reinforced them with extra support arms. Notice how quiet the bike rides in the video review when I held my camera in different locations as Chris rode. Perhaps the most noticeable feedback is an electronic whirring noise produced by the motor itself. When you’re actually in the bucket or way up in the saddle, it’s not so bad. The Bosch Performance Line motors support up to 120 RPM pedal strokes, so you can downshift and still get power on steep climbs as your pedal cadence increases. However, this change in motor speed does increase the sound produced. Coming back to the batteries. I just want to call out how easy it is to charge both at once, if they are mounted to the frame. The Bosch controller makes this possible, and it actually drains both as you ride vs. one at a time, causing excessive wear on the first pack. Given the size of the Load 75, it might make sense to park the bike in one location and store and charge the batteries in another, to avoid extreme heat and cold. This will help them last for more cycles. Just like the motor, display systems, and frame, the battery is warrantied for two years and any Bosch certified ebike dealer can help with issues that come up. This is one of the most universal, trusted, and lightweight battery designs that I have reviewed.
The display screen and control pad unit for this electric bike come in two configurations: the time-tested Bosch Intuvia (shown on in this review) or the fancy new Bosch Kiox. Both displays have a Micro-USB charging port (Intuvia has it on the right side and Kiox has it on the base), and both are removable, but only the Intuvia can be swiveled to adjust for glare. The Kiox connects through a magnetic interface. 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. 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 for the past several years, 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.
At the end of the day, you’re getting a really special electric bike with either Load size and no matter which drivetrain, battery, or display configuration you choose. The seating position can be adjusted through saddle height, stem height, and stem angle. The cargo area can be converted quickly and easily for kids or supplies. The drive system will be there to support you in a wide range of situations. And, you’ll be able to rely on this product because of the attention to detail in engineering and premium accessories chosen. Note that both the front and rear suspension elements offer preload adjust, so you can “pre load” them for your body weight and cargo weight. The hydraulic disc brakes provide consistency, even with longer cable lengths, and the levers are easy to pull while also being adjustable for smaller hands or those wearing gloves. The steering arm, which goes from the base of the stem to the 20″ fork up front, is well protected to the right side of the cargo box drop area, and the custom double-leg stand completely secures the bike frame. Once you’ve loaded kids or cargo, just push the bike forward and it will automatically stow. Suspension is really your friend when it comes to added weight and higher speeds. I have enjoyed both the 20mph and 28mph drive systems on offer for the Load 75, but remain impressed with how natural and safe it does feel at higher speeds. It’s something I shy’d away from on paper but was delighted with in person. You don’t have to go all the way up to 28mph, you can keep it in the 20-25mph range for just a bit of extra speed when riding near traffic. The longer wheelbase of this ebike does introduce the potential for increased ground strikes on really steep angles (at the top of hills or going over parking blocks) but it hasn’t been a problem for any of my ride tests. I already mentioned the puncture resistant tires, but most of the drivetrain and wheel parts are all standard, so any bike shop should be able to help with quick service if you’re caught out on a ride with some sort of issue. As always, I welcome feedback and comments below, or you can chime in at the Riese & Müller forums to share videos, pictures, and make friends with other owners.
- Available in four configurations, both high torque or high speed optimized, the drivetrain can be an 11-speed cassette (as shown here) or the Enviolo continuously variable transmission, powered by NuVinci, which can be shifted at standstill… great for getting started with a heavy load
- Even though this platform only comes in one frame size, they do offer a smaller capacity load model and both bikes have adjustable angle and telescoping height stems so they can ride comfortably for a range of body types
- Premium integrated lights run off of the main battery or battery packs, the high-speed version has a bright mode for the back light which activates whenever you pull the brake levers
- Reflective tires keep you visible from the sides, and I love how the Busch & Muller headlight has blade cutouts along the sides, to increase your visual footprint
- Available in two colors (black or white), the white is going to stand out more if you ride in low lighting conditions but the cables and all accessories match perfectly if you go with black
- Lots of cargo bin options including different height walls, R&M moved to plastic walls for 2019 which appear to be very durable, there’s a child cover option and one or two child seat options with safety belts
- Since this is a full suspension ebike, both the front and rear cargo are protected from harsh bumps and vibration, this is especially nice if you’re carrying kids around, I rode in the front area and was very comfortable
- The rear rack is suspended, has nice pannier blockers to keep bags from rubbing on the wheel, and can accommodate a child seat… so you could technically ride with four little passengers!
- Comfort is a big deal to me, it allows me to ride further and just makes it more fun… regardless of terrain, so I like the gel saddle and premium ergonomic grips, the stock pedals aren’t as large and grippy as I’d prefer but they also won’t cut your shins if you slip off
- Extra-wide SKS fenders keep you dry and clean, there’s an alloy chainring guard to keep your pants or dress ends clean as well
- The kickstand is very stable, perfect for loading the bike up with gear, and it deploys fairly easily, just push the bike forward and it rides up into the stand… then pull the bike back and it stows with a spring
- I really appreciate powerful hydraulic disc brakes because they don’t require as much hand strength to use and tend to be more consistent, even over long brake line distances vs. mechanical brakes which stretch over time
- The Bosch Intuvia and Kiox displays are some of my favorites in the space, both are removable, have Micro-USB ports, and can be swiveled for glare… but the Kiox has Bluetooth integration for heart rate monitor and mobile app (eventually) and uses a more precise battery percentage infographic
- Bosch Performance Line motors are capable of matching 120 RPM pedal stroke speeds, which is nice if you have to downshift when climbing, the motor won’t drop out on you
- All Bosch mid-motors offer shift detection to protect the drivetrain, they measure your rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second and are some of the best performing that I have tried
- There’s room to mount a second battery, a lock accessory, and even a bottle cage adapter on the back side of the cargo area
- Excellent customer service, warranty support, and test riding options for people who are located near dealers, Bosch is also a leader in ebike quality and warranties
- Because the cargo bay is positioned in front of the rider, it’s easier to keep tabs on your gear or little ones, many other cargo ebikes have a long rear end so you have to look back, which can be distracting
- Both the battery pack and display panel can be removed for charging, safe storage, and reduced bike weight during transport, I love that the battery has an integrated loop handle to reduce accidental drops
- Both display panel options are easy to read, and backlit for use in the early morning or at night, they have a five volt Micro-USB port built in which can charge a mobile phone or other portable electronic device when riding
- Considering the extra focus required to balance (and perhaps monitor children) I feel that the Bosch drive system was an excellent choice because it is smooth, intuitive, and very responsive
- You get a couple of additional cool accessories like the cafe lock (which secures the rear wheel without requiring the entire bike to be locked), and the mini flick bell to signal other riders in a friendly way… or an electronic horn if you get the high speed version of the bike (like we had for the video review above)
- The front wheel turns easily because the wheel diameter is smaller, the steering rod is strong and tight, and much of the weight is either towards the middle or back of the bike, in short, the front wheel lowers the center of gravity and is easy to maneuver with
- This bike has walk mode which is handy if you’ve got a bunch of stuff or a kid in the front and are trying to maneuver down a sidewalk or through a crowd, it lets you focus on stabilizing the bike without struggling to push at the same time (press the walk mode button on top of the button pad near the left grip and then hold plus to get it working)
- The front axle is a bit thicker than normal, they went with a thru-axle to support additional weight and keep steering tight, it’s a part that I usually see on mountain bikes but is well-suited to this model
- There’s a bit of a learning curve when riding an 85lb bike, and since you can’t see the front wheel (with the child seat option) it can feel a little unnatural at first, the bike feels great compared to other e-cargo models, but is still different than a traditional bicycle
- The cargo bucket is fairly wide compared to the Packster and other rear-mount cargo bikes, this could impact where you take the bike and limit how you navigate through tight traffic
- Weighing in at ~85 lbs, this is a heavier electric bike… but not unreasonably so given the form factor and hauling capacity, compared to the original Packster it is ~7 inches shorter and 8lbs heavier
- It’s neat that you can add a second battery pack for extended riding, but that must be decided at time of purchase and adds to the relatively high cost of the bike
- Riese & Müller build to order which means you get lots of choices but it also takes longer to actually receive the bike, you have to wait over a month in most cases for it to be shipped if you live in the USA, they also cost more because they use high quality parts and are custom engineered
- The five-point child seatbelts are neat, they really keep children secure, but I have heard that they can be difficult to clip in if your kid is squirming a lot… the buckles can be difficult to align and snap in
- Minor consideration: this ebike is large and may not be possible to bring into elevators or store in your residence, it’s great that the batteries and display are removable for safe storage (away from extreme heat to protect the cells)
Ray Curtis-Pryce4 years ago
Hi, took delivery of my Packster 60 about five weeks ago, it’s a replacement for my van, Its great to ride, well built and over all I’m pleased with it. The only Con so far is the 250 Watt motor size, the Packster 60 is a pretty heavy bike and around Brisbane there are a few fairly steep hills so without anything in the box I tried a couple of them. The first hill I made it: just, the second I ground to a halt about half way up and the Walk Assist struggled too, this was in Turbo with the little man in full hill mode. Australia has a 25 km ebike speed limit which is fine but this is a delivery/cargo bike and it really does need a bigger motor even with the speed limit. Ray.Reply
Court4 years ago
Thanks for the feedback Ray! If you’re running the Bosch CX, it should offer 250 to 600 watts of power. There are times, especially with a loaded ebike, that the motor requires you to shift down to lower gears to be efficient, but the 75nm torque has worked well for me (and in the case where Chris rode me up the big hill after this review). There are bigger more powerful motors out there, but none of them are used on these ebikes or other major brands because they are usually illegalReply
Jim4 years ago
Court, I really enjoy your reviews, especially those with Chris from Propel when you guys are looking at the R&M ebikes. You guys have a great depth of knowledge on these bikes and always seem to be having fun! I hope more reviews of Riese and Muller ebikes are in the works, and would really like to see an update on the 2019 Supercharger HS model with the new E-14 Rohloff. I’ve been wondering if balance of these bikes feels off with the weight of integrated battery in the upper tube…. guess I’ll just have to wait for your review to find out!Reply
Juan Noval4 years ago
Court, I have not seen any posts from you lately on YouTube or here on your site. Maybe I missed something? Maybe you are on vacation? Just wondering. Thx. JNReply
Court4 years ago
Thanks for checking in Juan! I’ve been traveling a lot and doing some family stuff. Got a bunch of reviews and videos to post, just easing back into it while also launching some new software for the forums and local shops tool. I appreciate your care in this comment :)Reply
Ranny4 years ago
One has to wonder where people park such a large bicycle – either at home or when they reach their destination. It’s huge! And so expensive, wherever it is parked better be darned secure.Reply
Court4 years ago
Yeah, it seems like you’d need an extra garage space or long hallway. My friend has one and they park it outside under the eve of the roof. They live in California, so it’s not getting rained on or anything, and the neighboring buildings keep it shaded… they always take the battery and display off and store inside. These ebikes are tough, and heavy! So, just locking it up outside their window has been good enough for security, they have a fence around the house with a lock on the gate too.Reply
Eric Mortelmans4 years ago
Hey, do you know how the dog was fastened? My dog simply is too excited to sit still and often jumps out, even when fastened to the bottom of the box (packster 40).Reply
Court4 years ago
Hi Eric, I think they had the leash connected to his collar and then tied to the tubing on part of the bike. I didn’t look super close and it might just be a case that Max isn’t as jumpy and didn’t need to be tied in? I feel like there might be flexible bike post clamps that could be designed specifically for this, but I’m not sure? Maybe ask in the EBR forums accessories section here.Reply