Weight: 83 pounds
Gross weight rating: 441 pounds
Motor: Bosch Cargo Line Speed
Max assist speed: 28mph
Battery: Bosch PowerPack 500 Performance, 36V, 13.4Ah/500Wh
Max range: N/A
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Drivetrain: Enviolo with Gates Carbon Drive
Front suspension: 70mm
Rear suspension: 80mm
E-cargo bikes can function as a complement to your car. Riese and Mūller’s Load 60 Vario HS is meant to replace your car altogether, and the price tag reflects that. At more than $10,000 before configuration, the Load 60 sits at the absolute top of the price spectrum for e-cargo bikes.
With that benchmark, the Load 60 needs to outperform all other e-cargo bikes in the category to justify its price. In order to do that, Riese and Mūller has made the Load 60 as versatile as possible — and as comfortable as possible.
The result is one of the best electric bikes that’s best for riders who truly intend to replace an automobile with a cargo bike. It’s no bargain, but the Load 60 has few, if any, true flaws.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: Price and availability
The Load 60 Vario HS starts at $10,449 before you configure it with additional accessories. The bike I tested costs $12,315 after added accessories and upgrades.
You can configure your Load 60, and choose from various Load 60 models (which start at $9,329 for the Load 60 Touring) on the Riese and Mūller website. Once you’ve got your bike configured, you can send a purchase request to the company. A local dealer will then reach out to you to confirm your build and complete the purchase.
Riese and Mūller provides a dealer locator on its website so you can find the dealer closest to you.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: Design
The Load 60 Vario HS differs from most of its competition by adding both front and rear suspension. The suspension fork comes from SR Suntour and offers 70mm of travel, while the rear shock comes from X-Fusion and offers 80mm of travel.
Like most cargo bikes, the Load 60 Vario HS comes with two different-sized wheels. The rear wheel is 26 inches, while the front wheel is 20 inches. Both are wrapped in Schwalbe tires intended for city riding, though you can upgrade to knobby tires if you intend to ride off-road frequently.
My test bike came built with a Bosch Cargo Line Speed motor and a Bosch PowerPack 500 battery. My test bike also came with a spare battery mounted just behind the cargo box — an option that added $1,166 to the overall price.
The motor connects to an Enviolo internally geared rear hub via a Gates Carbon Drive belt rather than a more traditional chain. This makes the overall operation very smooth and quiet. You can control the internally geared hub using the shifter mounted on the right side of the handlebar. It is not indexed shifting, which means the resistance changes as you turn the shifter, rather than clicking into place.
My Load 60 Vario HS came with a Bosch Nyon head unit mounted just above the stem. It’s full color and offers all the information you need on the fly, like battery range, speed, assist level, and more.
Other nifty accessories include a rear rack, integrated front and rear lights, and a startlingly loud horn that comes in handy when you’re riding in car traffic.
As the name implies, the cargo box on the Load 60 Vario HS is 60cm (about 24 inches) long. You can carry up to a total of 441 pounds on the bike (rider’s weight included). The cargo box can be configured in different ways to suit your needs; you will configure your setup on the website. My test bike came with high sidewalls and a hard cover, which locks at the rear of the box.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: Performance
I expected the Load 60 Vario HS to deliver something of a bouncy ride, given the front and rear suspension. But that wasn’t the case at all. The suspension feels tuned to the weight of the bike and rider, which means you’re left with a smooth ride that doesn’t leave you with the bouncing-Cadillac feel.
Do I need suspension? Not really, but it sure does make the ride super comfortable. In fact, I would go so far as to say the Load 60 is the most comfortable cargo bike I have ridden so far. If you’ll be riding on rough roads, or off-road, the suspension might very well be worth the investment.
But also keep in mind that more moving parts means more potential for repairs and maintenance. Since the frame and fork both need to move frequently, the bike itself features a more complex design, with pivots and bushings. These can wear out over time, so you’ll need to consider future maintenance costs here.
The handling too feels best in class. The turning radius is fairly tight for such a big bike, and your steering input translates to line changes quickly and easily. This could be due to the very low center of gravity. The Load 60 Vario HS is a joy to ride and handles as well as bikes half its size.
The Bosch motor performed exactly as well as I have come to expect from all Bosch motors. It offers assist speeds up to 28mph, and it was not a struggle at all to get up to these speeds on flat terrain. I spent most of my time in the Tour mode, which offered more than enough power to get me up some steep inclines. If I had been riding fully loaded, I would have opted instead for the Turbo mode to get me up the steeper pitches.
The bike operates remarkably quietly. That’s due in large part to the Gates Carbon Drive belt system, and the internally-geared Enviolo shifting. The shifting allows you to tailor your cadence perfectly, since the shifting is not indexed. Instead, the resistance changes slightly as you turn the shifter with no clunks into different gears.
The Load 60 Vario HS’s horn is super loud and easy to activate using the thumb button on the handlebars. It’s ideal if you’re riding primarily on roads with car traffic. It will scare the daylights out of people if you’re on the bike path, though. This is a pretty clear indication where Riese and Mūller thinks you will use this bike, and who you will encounter along the way. And the bike is indeed a perfect tool for car replacement, particularly in cities.
Riese and Mūller’s accessory choices also hit a nearly perfect note. The kickstand is mounted just underneath the cargo area and is easy to access, easy to deploy, and easy to stow. The integrated lights are bright and well-positioned, and an integrated lock around the rear wheel makes parking the bike safely a snap.
I would prefer a bit more cargo space, particularly if I was running a business and had to do a lot of deliveries. Fortunately, Riese and Mūller offers the larger Load 75, which extends the cargo area by 15cm.
My test bike came with a hardshell cargo cover. It folds on itself so you can access the contents of the cargo box, and it locks at the rear of the box too. It’s a handy upgrade that gave me some peace of mind when I left the bike parked out on the sidewalk.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: Battery life and range
My test bike came with two batteries. The second is a spare mounted behind the cargo box. On my first ride, I went 14 miles on mostly flat terrain, and I spent the majority of time in the Tour mode.
According to the battery display, I started with about an 80% charge, and I ended around 76%. The display told me I could ride for another 55 miles or so on this battery’s charge.
Riese and Mūller does not give a specific maximum range for the Load 60 Vario HS. Instead, you can use the range calculator on the website to get a sense of how much range you can expect given the specific terrain and how you plan to use the bike.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: Accessories
There are several purpose-built accessories for the Load 60 Vario HS. You will choose the best ones for you during the configuration process on the website.
Accessories range from extra batteries, locks, and head unit upgrades, up to larger items like child seats for the cargo area and hardshell covers. You will also choose your sidewall options; you can opt for low sidewalls and an open cargo area, or high sidewalls with a child rain cover, or high sidewalls with a hardshell top.
Accessory prices range anywhere from $59 for tire upgrades, up to almost $1,200 for additional batteries.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: The competition
Most of the Load 60 Vario HS’s competition does not feature any kind of suspension. In that sense, the Load 60 remains quite unique.
Its closest competitors include Yuba’s SuperCargo, Urban Arrow’s Family, and Bunch Bikes The Original.
The Load 60 is vastly more expensive than its competition; the Yuba SuperCargo, for example, costs around $6,000, and is one of the best e-cargo bikes out there.
The Load 60 is more comfortable, thanks in large part to the front and rear suspension. And the Load 60’s handling is slightly more responsive and quite a bit more stable than the SuperCargo. But the SuperCargo offers plenty of hauling capabilities for thousands of dollars less.
Riese and Mūller Load 60 Vario HS review: Verdict
The Load 60 Vario HS makes a very strong case as the best e-cargo bike on the market. The only thing holding it back is its massive price tag. You can certainly get an equally capable e-cargo bike for thousands of dollars less.
But the Load 60 Vario HS also offers an exceptionally comfortable ride, best-in-class handling, and super-quiet operation. It’s versatile, fun to ride, and capable of riding on rough terrain. This is truly a car-replacement option; if you’re after an e-cargo bike to complement your car, you can find a good option for less money. But if this is going to be your primary mode of transportation, the Load 60 Vario HS is an exceptional choice.