Electric bike review: Riese and Muller Roadster Mixte Vario

Electric bike review: Riese and Muller Roadster Mixte Vario

What is impressive about this bike is the technology. Upon first glance, you might be fooled into thinking it’s a common city bike. Pretty, yes, but innovative? Perhaps not. That is until you begin to ride it. For one thing, the traditionally used chain has been replaced by a belt drive. This is brilliant for reducing maintenance, and, in my case, dripping oil over the carpets. Additionally, you’ll notice that there doesn’t appear to be any external gears – they’re part of the hub, an Enviolo 380 hub to be precise. 

The Enviolo gear hub isn’t like your traditional hub gears. Instead, it uses Continuously NuVinci Variable Planetary (CVP) technology, similar to that of Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) featured in some cars. The Enviolo hub uses balls that can be rotated and incline adjusted, which are positioned between two discs. When the shifter is turned, the connected cable adjusts the balls on the horizontal axis, thus changing the gear ratio. Due to its innovative design, the hub offers up to a 380% ratio range so you’ll be able to find a suitable gear for almost any application.

I found these stepless gears rather impressive. The Enviolo grip shift is easy to use, even with gloves – which is vital if you expect to ride through winter. I never found I was wishing for extra gears with the Enviolo hub; even up relatively steep hills it performed well. Additionally, it’s really quiet. I’m used to the drone that a chain operated drivetrain makes, but this was a revelation.