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The new Packster 70, being a completely new model, will replace both the Packster 60 as well as the Packster 80. It is the first cargo bike model produced by Riese & Müller equipped with a cable steering mechanism. Over the holidays I was fortunate enough to be allowed to test this new model and compare it to the older versions. I’d like to thank the Radstation Augsburg for providing this opportunity.
Data of the bike tested
The tested Packster 70 vario comes with the following features:
|Maximum weight allowed:
|41 kg (mit Dual Battery 45 kg)
|inside 60cm /outside 63cm
|Top tube – hight:
|20″ vorn / 26″ hinten
|Bosch Cargoline Cruise 4. Gen.
|Dual Battery 1250 Wh
|Double Child Seat
The carrier is part of the standard equipment of the new model. The tested bike also includes seating for up to two children, a second battery pack as well as the Performance package which adds a cushioned seatpost, the Teatro TRP C2.3 Cargo-Brakes and the Supernova M99 Mini pro headlight with full beam feature. Completely new the purchase price of the model with this exact configuration ends up around €8000.-, cheaper options, without the added features, are listed around €5500.-.
Gleich vorweg, da wir im Alltag eigentlich nur mit Lastenrädern fahren, ist es für uns normal mit großen Gefährten unterwegs zu sein. Das Rad verhält sich trotz seines Eigengewichtes sehr agil und liegt, wie alle unsere Cargo-Bikes, sehr gut auf der Straße. Auch bei Geschwindigkeiten von mehr als 45 km/h ändert sich daran nichts.
The turning radius of 2.7 meters is exceptional
I was very impressed by the incredibly small turning radius. Due to the cable steering mechanism the front wheel can be turned to an angle of nearly 90°. This allows for a turning circle of below 2.7 meters. In comparison, the Packster 40 needs around 3.8 meters for a complete turn, the Load 60 requires around 4 meters and the Packster 80 around 5.2.
The Bosch Cargoline Cruise engine allows for comfortable driving even without support, providing, compared to the older models, barely noticeable resistance.
The overall seating position is rather upright but can be changed manually by adjusting both the hight of the saddle as well as the handlebar, which makes for a comfortable driving experience for drivers of all heights. Personally, being around 190cm, I find the distance between Seat and handlebars to be a little short, which unfortunately can’t be adjusted like I’m used to with my Load. I’m fairly sure this issue could be resolved with a slightly elongated front-end section though.
Obviously, we weren’t able to test every possible circumstance in the three days we were able to test the new Packster. Nevertheless, we were able to gain at least some experience in the most basic day to day situations, such as shopping and transporting children.
Holiday shopping was made very easy by the large amount of cargo space provided by this model’s box. Obviously adding large amounts of extra cargo does limit the seating space for children. Seeing that all the new model bikes come equipped with a carrier, the addition of saddlebags is no problem and can further add to the amount of cargo space provided by the bike.
This new model does provide some rather innovative solutions, such as a small storage compartment at the backend of the box, providing space for tie-down straps ( which are basically essentials for every cargo bike user) or the occasional keys and wallets. For more practical use I’d recommend the further addition of a lock to this compartment.
When taking out the bench seat, the space provided for cargo is obviously increased. Riese & Müller will provide a Cargo Carrying System in the future which I’ definetly looking forward to.
Transporting children is, in my opinion and with the equipment provided, the main focus of the new Packster model. It is officially described as a family e-Bike by the producers. The high side walls of the well isolated cargo box, combined with a 5-point-belt system, provides save seating for children and high protection in case of falls and accidents. Seeing that our own children are both too old to fit the build in children’s seat, I decided to use my niece and nephew for the transporting test. Both of them really enjoyed the provided seating and described it as very comfortable. There is of course enough space for older/ taller children as well. The back rest is adjustable and can be angled differently for an even better seating position depending on the child’s height.
The box does come with footrests on the outside so children can climb in and out on their own. This did proof to be rather complicated though, since both of them were wearing boots too bulky for these. This doesn’t seem to be a problem with any other kind of lighter footwear and therefor shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience.
Upon closer inspection, there are a few more rather interesting details. The front wheel’s mudguard for example is slightly pulled to the front to prevent dirt from splashing up. Unfortunately, the guard itself hasn’t been elongated so the box does get dirty very quickly, especially when driving in bad weather. The valves used with this model are standard car valves instead of the more commonly used “French valves”. This makes it very easy to refill the tires at any gas station without the need for any adapters. The height of both charging sockets, for charging battery packs while still attached to the bike, are at a very comfortable height. Both battery packs are built in very low on the bikes frame, being barely visible but still easy to reach. The stand is constructed in a way that prevents the bike from “falling off” the same way we experienced with the older models. The overall shape provides a very smooth parking experience. The design allows for the stand to be pushed down by foot instead of having to pull the bike up with pure force, which is a big improvement and especially handy when transporting heavy items or children.
Seeing that our current collection already includes a Packster 40 as well as it’s bigger counterpart, the Packster 80, I decided to do a little side by side comparison of the different models. It is important to note that both the Packster 80 as well as the 60cm version are no longer in production.
Starting with the cargo area of the different models, while both of the older models don’t include any kind of dedicated seating area the new Packster 70 comes with a bench seat designed for two children.
The new Packster doesn’t only provide a number of technical improvements such as the new Bosch engine, an improved lighting system, as well as brake lights, but also comes with a considerable amount of details. As a bike predominantly marketed to families, the main focus is of course the safe transport of children and I’m rather exited to see the beforementioned Cargo Cary System. In comparison to the old cargo area the prebuild box of the newer model is a lot less adjustable to larger objects, with the box servilely limiting the range of usage.
All things considered I find the new model to be a great cargo bike that lots of people will definitely enjoy as an addition to their everyday life.