TESTED: Riese & Müller Load Touring HS – Bike Magazine Australia

At the far edges of town lies the ultimate gauntlet for a cargo bike: Costco, where bulk purchasing is a way of life and membership is predicated on the assumption that you own four refrigerators.

Preliminary challenge: navigate the parking lot without being waylaid by a pileup of jumbo-size carts. Real challenge: transport enough dry goods to feed a small army, without sacrificing speed or manoeuverability. Since the Riese & Müller Load Touring HS is billed as “the ultimate minivan of e-bikes”, it only made sense to see how it stood up to the rigours of big-box-store navigation.

The 14km ride there went without a hitch. With a low centre of gravity, the Load is easy to handle. On a fast, winding descent, the 20-inch front wheel and 26-inch rear wheel rolled jitter-free – even when I swerved to avoid hitting some roadkill at 50km/h. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes added to my sense of control, and front and rear suspension provided comfort.

When it came time to climb, I had four modes to toggle through (Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo) to give the Shimano Deore XT 11-speed drivetrain a boost, offering assistance of up to 275 per cent.

At the store, a built-in ABUS Protectus 5000 frame lock let me leave the Load (which costs $8,640 in Australia) unattended while I shopped worry-free. Mission accomplished: With the side-walled cargo space filled with a week’s worth of groceries, including an econo-size box of Cheez-Its that I popped open midride, I pedalled past a maze of backed-up cars and onto leafy country roads just as the sun was setting. Luckily, front and rear lights run any time the bike is powered up.

Thanks to not one but two batteries, the range is terrific—I Turbo’d for 12 hours, loaded and unloaded, over the course of my testing without a recharge – a good thing, because at 33kg, the Load would be a helluva challenge to pedal without e-assist. Note: even with the assist running, you’re still getting a workout in.

I can confirm the Load Touring’s status as a party wagon, too. It’s capable of toting up to 100kg of pets, people, and less-animate cargo. R&M also sells a double child seat for kids up to age 6 and a child-seat fastener for your youngest passengers. Next quest: Bring it on, IKEA.

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