Riese & Müller Packster Touring 80 Review

Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Electric Bike Review
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch Performance Line Cx Motor 75 Nm Torque
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch Intuvia Handlebar Ribbed Grips
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Cargo Deck
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Schwalbe Big Ben Plus Tire Lumotec Iq Headlight
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Spinner Grind Os 50 Mm Suspension Fork
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Sks Plastic Fenders Toplight Mini Led Rear Light
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Shimano Deore Shadow 10 Speed
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Abus Shield 5650 Cafe Lock
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch 4 Amp Charger
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Electric Bike Review
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch Performance Line Cx Motor 75 Nm Torque
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch Intuvia Handlebar Ribbed Grips
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Cargo Deck
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Schwalbe Big Ben Plus Tire Lumotec Iq Headlight
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Spinner Grind Os 50 Mm Suspension Fork
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Sks Plastic Fenders Toplight Mini Led Rear Light
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Shimano Deore Shadow 10 Speed
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Abus Shield 5650 Cafe Lock
Riese And Muller Packster Touring 80 Bosch 4 Amp Charger

Summary

  • One of the longest electric cargo bikes on the market (comes in 60 cm or 80 cm), responsive and stable but also comfortable thanks to larger tires and a 50 mm suspension fork up front
  • Integrated lights run off the main battery pack and the headlight aims where you steer, the default battery offers an impressive 500 watt-hours and you can double it with a second inline pack
  • Wide plastic fenders keep you clean, reflective sidewall stripes on the tires keep you visible, the double-leg kickstand is very sturdy for loading the bike but easy to retract and stow, adjustable seat and bar height
  • It's expensive... and the platform, box options and rear rack all cost extra, the narrow body can squeeze through tight spaces but has a limited turning radius, fairly heavy at 80+ lbs

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Riese & Müller

Model:

Packster Touring 80

Price:

$5,149

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Urban, Cargo

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, 5 Year Frame

Availability:

United States, Europe

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

80 lbs (36.28 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.7 lbs (2.58 kg)

Motor Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum

Frame Sizes:

19.5 in (49.53 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

19.5" Seat Tube, 20" Reach, 24" Stand Over Height, 106.5" Length

Frame Types:

Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Light Grey

Frame Fork Details:

Spinner Grind OS, 50 mm Travel, Preload Adjust, 100 / 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

135 / 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore Shadow, Shimano Deore HG50, 11-36T Cogset

Shifter Details:

Shimano Deore Triggers on Right

Cranks:

Riese & Müller Branded FSA Alloy 170 mm Crank Arms, 17T Chainring

Pedals:

VP-191 Alloy Platform with Rubber Tread

Headset:

FSA, Semi-Integrated, 1-1/8" Diameter

Stem:

Alloy, Telescoping Height (4.5" with 6 Positions), FSA V-Drive 80 mm Length, 17° Rise

Handlebar:

FSA V-Drive, Alloy, Flat, 31.8 mm Diameter, 23.5" Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Auriga Comp Hydraulic Disc with 160 mm Front Rotor 203 mm Back Rotor, Tektro Auriga Comp Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Hermans, Rubber, Ribbed

Saddle:

Selle Royale Shadow, Gel

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

430 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

34.9 mm

Rims:

Alexrims MD30 Front 30 mm Width 32 Hole, Alexrims MD40 Rear 40 mm Wide 36 Hole, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge, Black with Silver Nipples

Tire Brand:

Front: Schwalbe Big Ben Plus, 20" x 2.15" (55-406), Rear: Schwalbe Supermoto-X, 27.5" x 2.4" (62-584)

Wheel Sizes:

20 in (50.8cm)27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

Reflective Sidewall Stripe, 30 to 55 PSI, Performance Line GreenGuard, SnakeSkin

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Flick Bell on Right, ABUS Shield 5650 Cafe Lock Keyed to Match Battery, SKS Plastic Fenders (65 mm Width), Custom Packster Alloy Double-Leg Kickstand, Integrated Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ Aby LED (30 Lux), Integrated Busch & Müller Toplight Mini LED, Optional Basis-Boards ($110), Optional Basis-Box ($275), Optional Kids-Box ($439), Optional Tarpaulin Cover for Basis Box ($110), Optional Dual-Battery (Mounts to Basis-Box or Kids-Box, $988), Optional Riese & Müller Alloy Rear Rack with Racktime Compatibility and two Bibia Adjustable Rubber Straps and Child Seat Approved (44 lb Max Weight, $143)

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, 1.7 lb 4 Amp Charger, Maximum Rider Weight 264 lbs, Maximum Load in Loading Area 220 lbs

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Performance Line CX

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Torque:

75 Newton meters

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

482.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

75 miles (121 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Intuvia, Removable, Adjustable Angle, Grayscale, Backlit LCD, (Hold Reset and i for Settings Menu)

Readouts:

Speed, Assist Level (Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo), Battery Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Estimated Range, Clock, Max Speed, Average Speed, Trip Time, Shift Assist Recommendation

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad with Tactile Feedback on Left, 5 Volt 500 mA Micro-USB Port on Display

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 50% 40 Nm, Tour 120% 50 Nm, Sport 210% 60 Nm, Turbo 300% 75 Nm)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Riese & Müller Packster combines comfort with utility so you can haul large loads (or children) without the vibration and discomfort that some other e-cargo bikes are known for. It comes stock with an alloy frame only, no wooden deck planks or front box. There are several options to customize the front area but if you opt for the Basis-Boards (flat deck) only, it’s impressively narrow and maneuverable. I was able to squeeze between cars in the busy traffic areas of Brooklyn New York as I would with a traditional bicycle. Steering and turning the Packster felt stable but required more space because the front wheel does not pivot side to side all the way to 90 degrees… and the bike is just so so long. I tested the Packster Touring 80 model which has an 80 cm front load area vs. the Packster 60 with a 60 cm front loader. That’s a lot of space to work with but for those who need even more capacity, Riese & Müller sells a traditional rear rack with bungee clasp system that mounts over the wheel. Other owners have gone one step further, mounting trailers like the Surly Bill to the rear axle. Without any of the accessories (but including the battery and motor) the bike weighs around 80 lbs, which is a lot for any electric bicycle. But for that weight, you get a stiff, capable frame that can handle nearly 500 lbs of cargo load + passenger combination without enduring frame flex or wobbling. That’s saying a lot given the non-locking suspension fork and smaller 20″ front wheel. Sometimes small wheels can feel unstable because they are light and turn quickly, but they also tend to be stronger than wide wheels with longer spokes and position weight lower which is perfect for loading cargo. The large, heavy front loading area of this bike combined with rod steering seems to slow the steering down a bit and results in a natural stable feel. The rear wheel is 27.5″ which is a size usually reserved for mountain bikes. It does not have a suspension system but the larger volume of air in the 2.4″ tire smooths the bumps out. Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes for powerful stopping and you get adjustable reach levers which can accommodate small hands or gloved hands. Between the adjustable brake levers, adjustable height stem (with six locking points for strength) and adjustable height seat, this one-size electric cargo bike is quite capable of handling a wide range of riders. And, if you need to get places quicker, the Packster is available with a Bosch Speed motor vs. the CX shown here. You’ll lose a bit of torque with the speed model, but that’s not so bad given the 10-speed drivetrain or infinitely variable transmission (the NuVinci CVT) option. You just need to shift properly and get to lower gears before coming to a complete stop. I especially like how the NuVinci drivetrain option can be shifted at standstill. The Bosch motor does offer shift sensing, but it’s not perfect and the 10-speed drivetrain could grind and mash if you force it. Shift consciously by letting off of the pedals a bit just before changing gears and the torque sensor will reduce motor torque as well. In short, the Packster platform is versatile and extremely capable, each bike is built to order which takes a month or so to deliver and it comes at a higher price point, but it’s well made.

Driving the Touring 80 model is a Bosch CX motor that’s capable of exerting 75 Newton meters of peak torque. I’ve ridden this same motor on full suspension mountain bikes, ascending steep technical terrain, and it’s quite impressive. Power is one thing but power delivery, when you need it, can be so much more important. The motor and controller system allow you to move slowly and smoothly but will jump in to help you immediately as pedal pressure is applied. The system measures your rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque 1,000 times per second. The smaller chainring spins about 2.5 times for every crank arm revolution and in my experience, it starts and stops faster than other systems. The chainring doesn’t take as long to spin up and spin down. This design gives the motor a mechanical advantage over the drivetrain and externalizes some of the gearing, keeping the drive unit compact. It’s attached to the frame on a custom curved alloy plate and does hang down a bit, but the internals are well protected by plastic covering. One complaint about the Bosch Performance Line motors is that they do produce an audible hum that increases with motor speed. One compliment I usually give is that is offers shift-sensing to automatically reduce power when you change gears. This system is not perfect, you can still grind gears if you’re pedaling hard and shifting rapidly, but it’s better than nothing. And this is where the NuVinci CVT option really shines. You aren’t really shifting gears there, more like sliding between gears, so you won’t be straining sprockets or a derailleur… and the chain is set to a fixed length. The NuVinci is heavier and more expensive but stays cleaner and can be more durable than sprockets.

Powering the bike is a new long-range Bosch Powerpack with ~500 watt-hours of capacity vs. the old 400. It’s mounted low on the frame for improved balance, just above the motor mount, but remains protected by a short top-tube bar. The pack locks securely to the frame and can be charged without removal using the lightweight Bosch charger that puts out four Amps vs. many others that just send two. Given the size and weight of this bike, you might want to charge and store the battery separately. Whether it’s on or off the frame, you can tell how full the battery is by pressing a button on the side, illuminating up to five green LEDs. I love that the battery is so light and easy to carry, it has a plastic loop handle at the top so you won’t drop it as easily. And, as mentioned earlier, you can purchase a second battery that mounts to the back left side of the box options. It’s a decision best made when purchasing the Packster however because it requires a separate interface and display setting. With two packs connected, the control system dynamically balanced power and displays both charge levels. In this way, it helps you avoid over-cycling one pack while leaving the other mostly unused. It’s a wonderful option for those who intend to go further and carry more but it will add ~$1k to the already expensive bike.

The display panel on this bike is excellent. It shows your speed, battery level, trip stats and assist level on a large, bright screen that can be removed or locked to the frame. In the video review above, you may have noticed that I tried to get it off but was unable to because Chris had locked it down for the customer. In this position, it still swivels forward and back to help you get a perfect viewing angle and reduce glare. Buttons on the display include reset, power on/off, information and lights. You can hold reset and i simultaneously to enter into the settings menu and adjust the clock, shift recommendation and units. Perhaps my favorite part of the display is a Micro-USB port built into the right edge. While it only puts out 500 mA at 5 Volts, which is not enough to charge iOS devices… just maintain them, it can charge Samsung and other products which can be useful if you use GPS to navigate. Just mount your portable electronics to the handlebar and turn the display on. Near the left grip, there’s a three-button control pad that replicates the i button and introduces an up and down arrow for navigating through Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo pedal assist modes. I tend to ride in Tour to extend range but heavy loads might require Sport or Turbo. By pressing the i button several times, you can get to a “Range” menu which will compute an estimate for how far the bike thinks you can travel with the given battery charge level, selected assist level and last three miles of performance. This is a great feature that can save your legs if an unexpected trip comes up and you’re debating between speed and power or efficiency.

There’s a lot to say about the Packster series from Riese and Müller. It’s extremely versatile and very well made. You do notice that it’s a cargo bike when riding, it’s heavier and longer, but you don’t sacrifice as much in the way of maneuverability as I initially expected. Sure, we were riding with the cargo space completely empty… but the streets were busy and I was going over some rough terrain. It would have been easy to skip the suspension fork, but your kids and cargo would definitely notice. They could have offered a single frame length instead of two, but that would have excluded so many possibilities. It’s amazing to think about the customer who was ordering the 80 cm version with a rear rack and trailer… This bike is capable of pulling a lot, it’s probably the most capable mainstream electric cargo bike I’ve seen. It would be great to hear from some actual owners here who have loaded their Packsters up in different ways. Big thanks to the Riese and Müller team for partnering with me on this post and Propel Bikes in Brooklyn for taking me out to do back to back tests of the latest models. It really helped to accentuate the benefits of one design over another when testing them like that.

Pros:

  • Offers a whopping 31.5″ (80 cm) of loading length on the front deck, that’s more space than almost any other electric cargo bike I’ve seen and it’s very versitile
  • Heavy-duty Shimano Deore Shadow drivetrain, commonly found on mountain bikes, helps to support greater load forces
  • Very few electric cargo bikes introduce suspension because it adds weight and can reduce stiffness, changing handling, but the Packster has successfully added a short-travel suspension fork to cushion the load and it works very well with the slightly fatter tires
  • Extra-large hydraulic disc brakes provide the stopping power necessary for an 80 lb bike plus cargo… maximum load capacity is near 500 lbs!
  • You get the larger 500 watt-hour battery from Bosch standard and can upgrade to a second battery for a combined rating of one kilowatt-hour of capacity, that’s perfect for extended use and hauling heavier loads (you need one of the box options to mount the second battery)
  • If you decide to upgrade to a two-battery system, the Bosch Intuvia display panel will balance the packs automatically for prolonged use, also, you can charge both bikes at time if they’re mounted to the bike
  • Optional Basis-Boards create a stable mounting platform in the front cargo area and you can upgrade further to a Basis-Box with tool-free removable sidewalls… the final option is a Kids-Box which has backrest, seat cushions and seatbelts for safety (seating children in front vs. back makes them easier to manage and communicate with)
  • Optional tarpaulin can be added to cover the Basis-Box so your cargo doesn’t get wet, it’s made of waterproof Cordura and attaches sturdily without blocking your view… there’s also a cover for the Child-Box which is taller and has windows
  • I love that they offer two drivetrains (the lightweight 10 speed with derailleur or flexible-shifting continuously variable transmission hub) as well as two motor types (the high torque 20 mph Bosch CX or high speed 28 mph Bosch Speed)
  • This is one of the only electric cargo bikes I’ve seen with the option for high speed and given that it’s a two-wheel design and fairly narrow (if you don’t get a box) it’s nimble and can be ridden in tight spaces fairly easily
  • Integrated lights, a highly visible light-grey paint option and extra reflectors,
    help this ebike stand out (especially if you’re riding in low light conditions), I love how the headlight is mounted on the fork and points where you steer
  • Sturdy and stable double-leg kickstand keeps the bike upright when loading, it has an arm that you step on to lift the bike up and then you simply roll the bike forward to stow it
  • The seat tube is angled back so the higher you position the saddle, the more reach you’ll be given (great for tall riders), notice the adjustable height stem too, it has six locking points and felt strong and reduce slop (side to side) so you don’t have to over-tighten the quick release collar
  • Some of the shifter, brake, and electrical cables are exposed near the handlebars but are quickly routed into the frame which presents a clean aesthetic and reduces snags (important when loading/unloading cargo)
  • Excellent use of a cafe lock, it comes standard with the bike and allows you to immobilize the rear wheel using the same key as the battery pack! since the bike is 80+ lbs,
    it would be difficult to lift and run off with
  • Despite the length and weight, this cargo bike feels steady and doesn’t have as much front wheel shimmy or wobble at speed and under heavy load
  • You can enable walk-assist so the bike will push itself forward at a slow speed while you walk next to it, this could be very useful in crowded areas or when getting the bike out from storage given its size and weight (press walk assist on top of the button pad then hold the up arrow key)

Cons:

  • This thing is much heavier than traditional cargo bikes with rear rack designs, it weighs ~80 lbs with the standard open deck but can support nearly 500 lbs of weight (rider plus cargo area)
  • You have to pay $110 extra just for the standard Basis-Boards on the front rack,
    I guess it reduces weight and redundancy if you choose to upgrade to the box options but the bike is already pretty expensive… not to mention a $143 rear rack that looks pretty standard and holds 20 kg vs. a lot of aftermarket racks rated for 25 kg
  • No bottle cage bosses… I guess you’ll have plenty of space for a trunk bag with a bottle holster if you get the rear rack, or you could use saddle rail cages, but I feel like maybe they could have squeezed them in on the steering tube or top tube?
  • This is a minor gripe, but given how long the bike is and the fact that it has a limited steering angle, you may need to do a multi-point turn… it requires more space to maneuver

Resources:

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Gen
8 months ago

I’ve been waiting to see you review this one. I’ve got one ordered (the long box with a rear rack, though no trailer, sorry!) and am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. I’ll be using it to haul two kids + groceries and whatever else around Seattle so the high torque motor was a big seller for me. I’ll have to provide an update when I’ve had it for a little while.

One note: R&M does not make (and according to their site does not have plans to make) the child cover for the Packster 80. I’m planning to have one made by Blaq (who also make a lot of Bullitt covers) later on in the year. I’ve seen the R&M cover for the Packster 60 in person and it seems nice but is also relatively short, which can be a problem if you are putting older kids in the box.

Two questions: 1) Were you able to enable walk assist on the bike you tested? It wasn’t active on the R&M bikes I’ve test ridden. I sure wished it was when I had to push a R&M Load with two kids in it up one a pretty steep hill a few weeks ago! 2) Have you ridden the Load? We rented one for a few days and the box is too small for my needs but that bike is impressively fun to ride. It feels as smooth at 20+ mph as it does at 10.

Reply
Court Rye
8 months ago

Hi Gen! That’s so exciting, I hope the Packster works well for you and your two children. It’s an amazing bike but I did not realize that the child cover only fits the 60. Would you mind sharing the name or website of the place that is making a custom cover for you so that others might seek them out as well?

I cannot confirm walk assist, we reviewed many Riese & Müller models over the course of several days and I thought it worked on some (you press walk assist then hold the + button but must be in one of the four assist levels for it to engage). Perhaps the demo models you looked at were using older firmware? Maybe this is something the shop can update for you, perhaps Chris Nolte will chime in here or you can contact him at his shop, Propel Bikes, to ask.

I have indeed ridden the Load and I loved it! The full suspension setup makes it fun regardless of carrying but I agree, it’s not as large as the Packster. Let’s stay in touch here, I’ll signal Chris to the comment so he can provide some feedback as well :)

Reply
Gen
7 months ago

In the end it took 3 weeks longer than anticipated for my bike to arrive, which was a bit frustrating. It would have only been 2 weeks longer than expected but it somehow got shipped to the wrong store at first so that caused an extra week of delays. Not my favorite part of the experience for sure.

I’ve now had it for a week and had the chance for things to start to settle in. I won’t have the rain cover for another few months but thankfully the weather has been exceedingly pleasant and I’ve put about 60 miles on the bike already. I can report that the walk assist is active, so probably a firmware update on the Load that I rented previously would activate it. So far the only problems I’ve experienced are minor. Overall the bike is solid, really well thought out, and has exceeded my expectation. My kids clearly find it comfortable and are very happy to go on rides. I’ve hauled 60lbs of kids + 30lbs of groceries up a variety of hills and can report that although there are some hills here that I’m pretty certain I couldn’t tackle even with the assist it’s generally more than enough. The bike is not making any tight turns but the extra space up front is worth it for me.

Kevin
7 months ago

I’ve been having a tough time deciding between the Packster and Load, so I’m really excited for the Load review to be posted. I’ve managed to test ride both, but only briefly.

http://blaqpaks.com are the folks who make the custom canopies that are popular up here in the rainy NW.

Reply
Court Rye
7 months ago

Cool, thanks for the link Kevin! I’ll have the Load review soon… I hope, getting ready to drive to Arizon and then San Francisco so the editing/posting is limited. I really appreciate you sharing the link for the custom canopy!

Reply
Kevin
7 months ago

I was really frustrated to learn that according to Riese and Muller, the warranty on the bike won’t be honored if the bike is serviced by anyone other than an authorized dealer.

I already own a couple of cargo bikes and the only way that they get to a bike shop is either on their own two wheels, or one towing the other. This apparently leaves my options as spending an entire day to rent a truck to transport a bike 100+ miles to a dealer, or spending $400 to have a bike shipped to the dealer and back.

Gen
7 months ago

If you’ve got a car with a hitch (or access to one) you can also use a Uhaul motorcycle trailer for transport. Still not particularly simple but maybe cheaper or easier than renting a truck at least for some folks.

I’ve ridden the Load and for sheer ride quality it is amazing. Going 20 mph felt slow to me on it because everything was so smooth. But for cargo capacity and kid hauling I don’t think it could be my only cargo bike. The box is small and you can’t really expand it since it’s part of the frame. At 19 months and 4 years my kids were willing to snuggle together in there but I feel like it would be really limiting really quickly as they got older. And it doesn’t leave any room at all for other cargo in the box. I’m dying to have one eventually but for now the Packster won out for practicality’s sake.

Have you gotten to ride both?

Harald
5 months ago

I’ve just tested the Packster 80, really considering buying one. I also tested the Load, which feels much more stabile and pleasant to bike compared to the Packster 80. When you tested the Packster 80, did you notice how wiggly the steering felt during the bike ride? The steering on the Packster didn’t really give any feedback and it felt like it was “loose”, something I didn’t experience on the Load. I know the Packster 80 is a much bigger bike than the Load, but still ..

Reply
Court Rye
4 months ago

Hi Herald! I should have done more riding and loaded the Packster with cargo to really get a feel for it… but I do agree that the Load is more stable feeling and fun to ride. Where did you test ride the Packster? I wonder if maybe the steering needed to be adjusted or something? How did my video of the steering look compared to how it felt on your test ride?

Reply
Harald (pronounced Harold in english)
4 months ago

Hi Rye. I tested the Packster 80 (though without the Nuvinci) in Tromsø at this local dealership. It was properly vicious that day I tested the bike, with lots and lots of rain, but still the bike was fun to ride.

Anyway. I’ve read a blogpost from a family in San Francisco where they bought themselves a Packster 80, though with one modification: They changed the steering to something that seems more ideal for the Packster and you can read about it here.

I noticed you did the same “wobbling” as I experienced with the Packster. And I think it has something to do with the fact that the steering is too far off and you need to stretch your arms. I don’t exactly have arms like a monkey, so the distance affects the steering stability. If you watch carefully, you can see in your review the wheel goes quickly left and right, and you adjust your left hand a lot to keep the bike straight. I’m quite aware that you are holding a camera, so therefore you don’t have both of your hands on the bike, but you’ll get that wobbling soon enough as you speed up (with out without the camera).

The reason for the wobbling is due to your arms being stretched so far that you can’t hold the steering in position as you pedal. That’s what I think. I don’t think it’s all about adjusting the seat and the steering in this case. I’m going borrow the Packster 80 again from my dealer and figure out if I’m nut or not about this.

Harald (again pronounced Harold)
4 months ago

I forgot to mention about the stability overall. I got to test the bike fully loaded with boxes and stuff. The bike is really stabile, but I had a few “woah woah woah” moments since the bike felt heavier and I wasn’t sure how it handled yet. It was weird to use the whole road when I was turning right at a intersection, I’m sure I could have cut the corner more but my confidence pretty much screamed “Shit shit shit ..”. Breaking was also interesting, since the breaks sounded like a freight train passing by each time I used them.

Your review was very accurate about perfomance in general. I’ve previously bought an Cube Hybrid SL 27.5 based on your review on it which was spot on (I love the automatic shifter, not to mention the belt drive!). What I would added into the review for the Packster, is showing how the bike performs with a heavy load, because this bike is stabile and it’s worth showing that with tight corners and other situations. If I buy the Packster 80, I’ll most likely get the basis-box, it would be interesting to see something like that tested. The Packster 80 basis box is huge compared to the Load.

One thing that you probably can’t replicate: Winter. In Tromsø we have snow, that’s either slippery or wet (we call it slaps, it feels like you are going through mud) plus we got a lot of hills. You can perhaps look at Tromsø as an arctic version of San Francisco. I have had a hard time finding review of a Packster being tested in the artic. There’s a guy in Canada who has also tested the bike, he even threw in a camera angle where you can watch the steering here, you can see the same wobbling there.

Harald
4 months ago

I’ve just borrowed the same Packster 80 Touring which I tested a few weeks ago, I waited a bit for the dealer to get the Tarpaulin for the Basis-Box so I could get a basic idea of how I’d use the bike if I ordered one myself.

This is the second time I test the bike, so I made sure the ride height was comfortable, otherwise I’d be wobbly and the bike in general will not feel comfortable. The turn radius is not great but doable.

One major issue with the version of the bike I’m testing, is the Performance line engine, it struggles for its life on steep hills (which there are a few of in Tromsø). The bike comes with the Shimano 10-speed deore gear, so in comparison to a Nuvinci setup, the bike should have enough umph to get 100 kg (just me and the bike) up a hill. The engine basicly dies on the steepest hills, even walk-assist had issues. I can only imagine how this bike setup performs during winter time.

I didn’t get to go up hills the last time I tested the bike, so that’s why I didn’t notice the lack of performance in the engine. Hopefully a CX engine is a lot better.

David
3 months ago

We have had our Packster 80 HS for almost 3 months now. We got the version with the Nuvici drive, which makes life easier when cycling a lot downtown Lund (Sweden). The bike takes our two kids, a 7-year old and a 4-year old to school and goes on to work into town from the countryside, on the way home it picks up the kids and sometimes groceries. It a road which starts with gravel roads and potholes and ends with cobblestones in central downtown. All in all it is a daily trip of about 20-25 km. So far the bicycle has performed very well and we have traveled 1700 km so far. We have ordered a tailored rain canopy from our dealer i Copenhagen but it will be another few weeks before we have it. Nevertheless, the children love it, rain or no, and are very disappointed if we for some reason opt to go by car.

It a strange feeling to almost fly given the weight and size of this thing when fully loaded. We tried the Load version but it was too small for our children. The Packster is a bit more like a cruiser, not as fun to ride but feels secure and solid even at high speed. All in all we are very happy with it but a bit worried about how it will handle a Swedish winter.

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Court Rye
3 months ago

Hi David, what a wonderful comment to read. Your rides with kids sound very fun, a highlight in their day and special memory to be sure. Perhaps one day, they will be riding their own bicycles together with you. I agree that a snowy winter could put a limit on riding some days, but I used to ride my own bike to school in the wet slush and even packed snow as I grew up in Colorado. My ancestors are from Norway, Germany, and Russia so I guess I am adapted for snow to a degree. Thanks again for sharing your experience with the Packster and why you chose it over the Load for your kids :)

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itsaulgoodman
2 months ago

My wife and I have a Yuba Mundo V4, which I upgrade to a pedal assist e-bike. We can haul a couple kids plus our toddler in a child seat pretty easily. If your daughter doesn't have any issue siting up (inside the optional monkey bars), I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
https://yubabikes.com/

You could also consider the new Tern GSD.
https://www.ternbicycles.com/us/bikes/471/gsd

Or something with a front bucket like this.
http://scooteretti.com/product/riese-muller-packster-touring-60/

Chris Nolte
3 months ago

Court and I had a visit with the Riese & Müller team at Interbike and Court made a video. Check it out below:

Here is Court’s Synopsis for reference:

For 2018, Riese & Müller is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary by launching a “top of the line” Deluxe Signature model. It’s built around their full suspension, dual-battery, Deluxe model which is designed for touring. It comes stock with two batteries for 1,000 watt hours, integrated metal lights, it uses a carbon handlebar, a Shimano XTR Di2 electronic shifting, and Fox Factory air suspension. This model is priced at $11,000 USD. They built it with all of the top-end components that they would like to have on their own personal bicycles without worrying about spending more, it’s a joint effort by Marcus Riese and Heiko Müller who founded the company, they are physically signing each model with a hand written autograph.

The Homage has also been updated, with a new 27.5” wheel size option with fatter tires. This should bring the frame closer to the ground for lower stand over height and offer some improvements with comfort and stability. This bike will be priced similar to before, maybe $100 more at the $5,899 price point. You can see my original review for the 2017 Homage model at: https://electricbikereview.com/riese-...

From here, we moved to the Packster 40 which is a slightly smaller version of the original Packster which I have reviewed here as the 2017 Packster 80 https://electricbikereview.com/riese-... The new version is shorter but still offers more load capacity than the Riese & Müller Load model which has full suspension. The packster is a bit less expensive as it only has a front suspension fork. One thing that struck me as being unique, was the look-through window on the front of the load that makes steering easier. It aims to be a crossover between a standard bike which is narrow, short, lightweight, and nimble, with a cargo bike that is capable of hauling supplies or a child. It fits one child and they are seated backwards so you can see them and talk with them easier. There’s a dropped area where feet can go and this doubles as a storage area for when you fold the soft seat materials down in. This model comes either with a belt drive and Nuvinci CVT or a standard chain and sprockets. You can get the Bosch CX or Bosch Speed motor here. The Nevo has also been updated with a 27.5” plus tire option, just like the Homage, this improves stability and adds some comfort when riding. You can watch the full Nevo review I did on the 2017 NuVinci model here: https://electricbikereview.com/riese-... they now offer a smaller frame size option at 43 cm which would be great for petite riders, it comes with 26” wheels, so even lower to the ground. Heiko told me that the Nevo was one of their most popular models in 2017. It is easy to approach but can still handle heavy riders up to 353 lbs. It also comes stock with an SR Suntour NCX Suspension seat post to improve comfort as well as a traditional suspension fork.

The Roadster model has also been updated for 2018, having a more integrated battery which seats into the downtube a bit. They now offer a mixte step-thru frame for people who cannot mount the diamond high-step frames as easily. I reviewed the 2017 roadster model at https://electricbikereview.com/riese-... it comes in white, metallic lime green, and matte black colors.

Heiko ended our interview by saying that 2018 looks very good for electric bikes, more people are adopting them (they were common to see at Interbike, very popular this year) and the options are getting better and better. Riese and Muller will be attending the Ebike Expo events around the USA in 2018 so you can go for test rides and there are a number of shops that now carry them including Propel in New York, New Wheel in San Francisco, and Splendid Cycles in Seattle (there are about 15 shops total at the time of this video). Because the models are more expensive, it’s great that they are growing their dealer base in the USA.

You can see some of my previous Riese & Müller ebike coverage at https://electricbikereview.com/brand/... and learn more about the company at their official website: https://www.r-m.de/

I’ll try to update this thread with photos later when I have more time.

George Gutierrez
1 month ago

Good job guys!

Gentjan Hasani
3 months ago

Why are you wearing the helmets for?

Peter Epstein
3 months ago

I think the logic behind the smaller front brake rotor is to compensate for the smaller front wheel. But it could also be to minimize risk of locking up the front wheel when riding without any load.

Mark Walters
5 months ago

Considering making something for homeless people. It would have to be non electric with carrying capacity equal to a shopping cart a lot of homeless people do get checks.

valveman12
6 months ago

ElectricBikeReview.com Love the reviews. My only complaint is when you put the camera behind the crank and when you peddle, it is hard to watch since it loos like you are kicking me in my face. Maybe it is just me. Great job as usual.

Charles Swank
7 months ago

Man, I'm really liking that Packster! It seems really well thought out. I'm guessing the front suspension helps a lot to smooth out the few not so good characteristics of a 20" wheel hence the good handling you reported. I've had a thing for Bakfeits style bikes for awhile now but haven't pulled the trigger. At that price it's hardly more expensive than a high quality non-electric front loader. It looks like an excellent car replacement/offsetter. Sounds like really good deal.

I've been going the trailer route under pedal power only for many years now and HA! I picked up on that Surly skewer hitch in the first frame you had of the rear wheel! I bet that thing with a Bill or Ted out back might leave one wanting a loud air horn and some sort of gearshift lever a-la an 18 wheeler! Forgive my inner child.

I have a Ted myself, the little 3' trailer that was leaned up on the wall at the end of the video. 300lb capable and super stable. I can stack 4 20 gallon tubs on that thing and one would be amazed at what can be hauled that way under meat-power only. Some ebike+trailer combinations would probably make really good, not too fussy car use offsetters/replacements, even for those who aren't very fit in my humble, ebike semi-inexperienced opinion. Think BIG grocery runs, home improvement store trips, etc. I've been doing just that for years without the assist and I'm reasonably fit and an admitted bike geek. One less car payment and the freedom of a bike for most of your day to day doings is a beautiful thing. The next level is when you can literally do what a car can do but with a bike. And no, I do not think cars are evil, just overused. I own one. I digress. What're your thoughts on ebikes and trailers in that use?

So thanks for another good review. You've given me another serious contender. That said, can you recommend a good SoCal shop for Riese & Muller? What about direct deals for those of us working in the bike industry?

Thanks,

-Chuck

Festivejelly
7 months ago

An interesting bike. I still prefer the traditional style bike but I can see how this would come in useful. I commute to work a lot on my haibike allmtn (11 miles each way) and I find a large backpack does the job just fine for carrying my laptop and spare clothes (to change into in work). I guess I could use panniers too, except theres no mounting holes :(

em forty
8 months ago

Reise und Muller make the best bikes in the world….mid drive is the best design and lower battery mount low center of gravity and balance front/rear weight of having motor/battery in the "middle"

Propel Electric Bikes
7 months ago

em forty ditto!

Bruce Ballad
8 months ago

I believe cargo bikes should be used more. I don't have any use for a specially designed cargo bike though. But these bikes fit perfectly for many commercial purposes.
By the way, I am curious about which cargo bike model is more efficient, front load or rear load model. (I am aware of lower load base. Maybe in some situations might be a need.) Maybe it is easier to ride with this design. But, this type, front loaded ones look insecure to me. I would like to try both types.
However, This bike particularly is really well made. They thought about little details. Even it has an unusual look, it looks high quality too.

Propel Electric Bikes
7 months ago

Bruce Ballad it really depends on our use scenario. We've worked with a lot of commercial customers and they've used both the long tail and the front loaders. It really depends on what your carrying. If you're ever in NYC you're certainly welcome to take some for a ride.

Jeff Perteet
8 months ago

I really like these cargo R:Ms I want one pretty bad

unenslaved2012
8 months ago

5k! I dont see it, for example it doesn't even have a real headset, just a seat post and clamp.

Propel Electric Bikes
7 months ago

unenslaved2012 this is for adjusting the height of the handlebars in order to accommodate different rider heights. The headset is actually in the front by the fork. If you compare this bike to other similarly spec'd ones you can quickly see the value. But cargo bikes are definitely not for everyone.

the devil is back now he is here
8 months ago

Looks kinda freaky ! I'm sure it's something you'd get used to but I wonder about the relative disconnect between the handlebars and the wheel :)

the devil is back now he is here
7 months ago

Thanks man. I've never ridden a bike of this type before so I was wondering. If anyone gets it right though i'm sure it would be R&M :)

Propel Electric Bikes
7 months ago

Dave Caldwell of the front loaders out there I feel that this bike steers the most natural. I know R&M spent a lot of time perfecting that design and geometry.

creepycharly
8 months ago

Intersting design. I thought NYC police were confiscating every ebike they see. It has to make it a challenging place to run a business like that.

Uhuru Mkali
5 months ago

There is another interview on here with Chris talking about just that...

Propel Electric Bikes
8 months ago

They are only confiscating bikes with throttles, which were deemed illegal in 2004. There has been minimal enforcement, but recently there have been crackdowns. Pedal assist bikes like this one are okay. We're still working on getting legislation passed, but it's definitely not easy in this car addicted culture.

Sparka J
8 months ago

Meh, no one is going to buy that. Please do some reviews on this years e-scooters.

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

I'll keep an eye out!

iddddaduncan
8 months ago

Do you think my Mother in Law will fit on the deck? she's only 4'9" and weighs 225lbs,thanks

Propel Electric Bikes
7 months ago

iddddaduncan she can definitely fit on there. We could even setup a special seat for her or you could do the kids box. I would recommend the 80cm for extra leg room ;)

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

Shots fired!

Olivier Sourie
8 months ago

Very nice review again, Court. Your channel makes people leave their cars and hop on on the electric bikes!

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

Thanks Olivier, I'm doing my best... thinking about taking a bike technician class in Oregon later this year to learn even more so I can really dig into the products. I do think ebikes are a great thing, appreciate your support :)

Todd Wall
8 months ago

That blue bike again. You mentioned it this time! So, it's the same company as the white one? it looks much heftier (the blue bike).

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

Full suspension cargo bike :D yeah, it's called the Load and it's awesome

Propel Electric Bikes
8 months ago

Todd Wall same company. It's the Riese & Muller Load. It's quite a bike! We're all looking forward to that review and it'll be out soon :)

ForbinColossus
8 months ago

Court, can you say which Bosch display you prefer---Purion or Intuvia?

Rafael Oliete Ballester
8 months ago

There's another option called Cobi https://cobi.bike/ available for e-bikes with Bosch motors :)

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

Intuvia all the way, I'm near sighted so having a larger display is nice and it offers more readouts and is easier to use... But! as far as small displays go, the Purion is pretty solid :D

George Herman
8 months ago

good review not sure why I'm watching it though. Don't want or need such a thing.

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

Some of the upcoming reviews are just fun in their own right... we did one in the pouring rain and I got soaked! Another one was shot at a skate park and we took some stairs to test the suspension... on a full suspension cargo ebike O_o

6454rere
8 months ago

Absolutely no info about the frame and how readily it accepts strapdowns of cargo or whether you have to accept proprietary garbage that doesn't accommodate your cargo hauling needs. Useless video.

Cameron I
3 weeks ago

Your comment really didn't deserve respect & thoughtful replies, but you got them. Chris & Court are pretty classy guys.

ElectricBikeReview.com
8 months ago

Yep, I didn't cover that... sorry! But, it looks like Chris is trying to help :)

Propel Electric Bikes
8 months ago

6454rere we set this bike up with 48" Rokstraps, but I'm sure you could use most straps.