When I mention step-through frames to people, I can see their brains ticking over pictures of nanna-on-a-bike, and men in particular get a look of revulsion… If I showed them a picture of this Riese & Müller, I think I’d get a very different reaction! ElectricMeg and I were talking to the head of R&D from a major bike corporation the other day (shameless name drop) and he asked me what I thought they should design next. My answer was: “A true low-step-through that rides well, has its weight low down, a mid-drive, decent battery and looks good”. I could have saved a whole lot of explanation and said: “Like a Riese & Müller Nevo”. But I didn’t, because I hadn’t even seen this bike yet.
Riese & Müller is a boutique German bike brand. They make some very innovative designs that are striking and unconventional. Check it out on the video.
This example is a really beautiful example of how to build a step through. It is laterally stiff (no wobbles) and allows plenty of space to swing your leg through, while having a 500Wh battery and Bosch’s torquiest Performance Line CX motor. It has nice wide Big Ben tyres, a Racktime rack with funky bungy strap, Magura MT4 brakes, Shimano XT gears, Ergon grips and a premium Supernova e3 light. Even the front quick-release was a funky design. My only ‘dislike’ was the mudguards which had sharp aluminium edges.
As you’d expect from a Bosch CX motor it is smooth and powerful. Oddly, it didn’t seem to have quite the grunt up Liverpool St as the other CX bike I tested, but there are no performance complaints from me. It was an easy cruise up Grafton Gully despite a nasty headwind. This is not a bike for people in a hurry. I did however have a brief whirl with dongle attached and as always was left with a sense of “if-only”. The USA spec would be perfect at 32km/h. Apparently they do make a 45km/h version and they have a Nuvinci hub as an option too.
The ergonomics of the Bosch system are great. The display is big and clear, and the up-down selector is easy to operate. The range calculation helps with range anxiety. I even got to use walk mode, which too is simple and foolproof. Other manufacturers can aspire towards the simplicity and ease of use that Bosch has. The gear shifts are handled smoothly too – the motor just backing off slightly without losing momentum on hills. The Bosch isn’t best in every category – Brose and Yamaha have more torque and are quieter. But overall it is good.
At its current price of $5999 this bike is a relative steal. It’s all premium bits and with great looks to match. In the same bracket are bikes like the Moustache Lundi (also striking looks and premium build, but you are getting only a 400Wh battery mounted on the rack). You could also look at a Specialized Turbo Como low entry – in NZ it comes with a cheaper build level at $4800 – but it isn’t a true step through – and is ‘funky’ rather than beautiful.
If you are in the market for a comfortable commuter bike, value aesthetics, don’t mind a 25kph limit and have $6k to spend, just get this bike. You won’t be sorry.
Thanks to Electric Bicycle Hub Auckland for supplying the test ride.