Riese & Muller is a German brand founded in 1998 by Markus Riese and Heiko Müller, and today co-directed and co-owned by Sandra Wolf. Its range of electric bikes consists mainly of high-end models, suitable for urban, mountain biking, trekking, and transporting people and goods.
Over the years, its e-bikes have won about thirty awards. R&M, however, places particular emphasis on minimizing its carbon footprint. During the 2020/2021 fiscal year, for example, the company offset all emissions from its Mühltal production site and sales logistics.
Assembled in Germany and sold in Australia, its electric bikes are partly manufactured in Europe: 50% of the components come from the Old Continent, such as the saddle (Italy) or the spokes (Belgium), while the rest come from Asia. We were able to test the Charger4 model in its GT Vario version: a powerful beast of a bike, with a significant price tag of 9,669 AU$.
Riese & Müller Charger4 GT Vario Specs
|Specification||Riese & Müller Charger4 GT Vario|
|Model||Riese & Müller Charger4 GT Vario|
|Max Speed||25 km/h (15.5 mph)|
|Motor Power||250 watts|
|Advertised Range||100 km (62 miles)|
|Advertised Charging Time||405 min|
|Weight||30.1 kg (66.4 lbs)|
|Max Supported Weight||160 kg (352.7 lbs)|
This review was conducted using a model provided by the brand.
Riese & Müller Charger4 GT Vario Design
Awestruck eyes: that’s how my surroundings – colleagues, friends, family – often reacted when discovering the Charger4 GT Vario. The Charger4 is impressive, striking, and imposing. Its ultra-large size betrays a significant weight: 30.1 kg (66.4 lbs), which is on the higher end of the e-bike spectrum.
However, the philosophy behind such a model must be understood: it’s designed not only for urban journeys but also for off-road trails and other rides along rivers or through forests. As a result, Riese & Muller has logically built this model based on a more substantial structure, equipped with a host of high-end components.
Regarding the weight, the Charger4 is undoubtedly very heavy and cumbersome. This is something you need to consider. If you live on the 4th floor without an elevator and have no possibility to secure the bike in a courtyard or storage room, you’ll need immense courage to carry it.
Fitting it into an elevator can also be a bit challenging: the front part of the bike is heavy, requiring you to tilt it backward to position it vertically. In short, the weight and size of the Charger4 do not work in its favor.
More broadly, the Charger4 GT Vario could have benefited from slightly better finishes, considering its price tag of nearly $6,000. The welds are sometimes polished, sometimes very visible, while the plastic fenders seem out of place in this segment. More robust and premium aluminum fenders would have been preferable – the additional weight wouldn’t be significant.
In terms of overall appearance, the Charger4 stands out due to its imposing shape, massive aspect, and robust feel. It definitely does not go unnoticed. As for individual tastes and preferences, that’s up to you.
When it comes to accessories, the Charger4 is well-equipped. Riese & Muller has made a smart choice in the headlight department. The front features an ultra-powerful Supernova Mini 2 Pro – valued at $200 in the market – providing excellent illumination for both city and poorly lit roads.
The German brand Supernova is a top choice for quality and efficient lighting solutions. Our first experience with Supernova on the IWEECH bike was impressive.
At the rear, the built-in luggage rack can support a load of 27.5 kg (60.6 lbs) and is MIK compatible for easy attachment of accessories. Also included is an adjustable Ursus Power 94 kickstand, providing excellent stability when stationary, and a conveniently placed Billy bell on the handlebars.
For added security, an ABUS Shield X+ rear wheel lock can secure the wheel when parked outdoors.
Our test model also came with optional accessories: a front luggage rack priced at $100, GX patterned tires at $50, and a chain lock with a storage pouch attached to the rear of the saddle, also priced at $50.
If you’re interested in the front luggage rack, note that the headlight is directly attached to it. As a result, when you turn, the headlight does not follow the handlebars but remains straight since it’s connected to the luggage rack. Personally, I didn’t find this practical.
The chain lock pouch is a clever and convenient idea, so you don’t have to carry the chain in your bag, making it heavier. The bike has enough power – as you’ll see later – to accommodate such additional equipment.
The Riese & Muller Charger4 GT Vario is packed with onboard technology. Users have access to two apps: one from Riese & Muller and the other from Bosch. It is important to note that we didn’t get the chance to test the Riese & Muller app on our test model.
The Charger4 GT Vario comes with a GPS tracker thanks to the RX Chip. The downside is that this chip is an optional extra, costing $151. Considering the bike’s base price of 9,669 AU$, it is disappointing that it isn’t included as standard. The chip can function independently with its own battery, so even if the main battery is removed, the geolocation feature still works, but not indefinitely.
The Riese & Muller app is in its early stages, mainly used for real-time driving data (power, speed), trip summaries, and bike location. An audible alarm is also included. The company plans to expand the app’s features in the future.
To take advantage of these features, users must activate the “ConnectRide” function, which is free for the first year and then costs $59.90 per year. This additional expense could have been covered by the manufacturer, given the bike’s price point.
On the other hand, the Bosch eBike Flow app significantly elevates the experience. Accompanied by Bosch Smart System components, the app is eligible for remote software updates. The ecosystem is comprehensive, data-rich, and intuitive. Users can even personalize their experience.
For example, the Flow app allows customization of each assistance mode available on the bike by adjusting torque, power, or maximum speed. We have written a complete guide on the Bosch Smart System, which we encourage you to read to understand all the details.
However, our enthusiasm is tempered when configuring the Charger4 on R&M’s official website. The standard onboard computer is an Intuvia 100, which is hard to justify at this price. An additional $50 is needed to upgrade to a Kiox 300, which is more engaging and data-rich.
The Riese & Muller Charger4 GT Vario is an electric bike designed for both city riding and light off-road trails. We only had the opportunity to ride it in urban areas, where it performs well. However, its riding position may not be suitable for everyone.
The semi-leaning posture is a mix between the sporty position of a road bike and the relaxed position of a Dutch-style bike. This provides a touch of sportiness without causing discomfort to the rider’s back.
The electric bike is easy to handle from the very first ride. The main challenge is being aware of its size when maneuvering between cars or other cyclists. As with any bike, experience is the key to mastering it.
Really Comfortable Ride
The Charger4’s comfort level is greatly appreciated, thanks to its wide 2.35-inch Schwalbe Johnny Watts tires and a suspension fork with 100 mm of travel – or more, depending on the model. Be aware that equipment may vary based on availability.
For example, the official website lists two suspension fork models: the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 and the SR Suntour Mobie 34, both with 100 mm of travel. However, our test model was equipped with an AION35 fork, which has a market value of between $350 and $400.
Nonetheless, the Charger4 is an excellent urban companion for smoothing out road imperfections, from sidewalks to potholes and cobblestones. The only downside is the saddle, which does have a slight adjustable notch suspension system, but it does not quite match the tire/fork combination.
As a result, some vibrations are still felt at the rear end, despite the presence of a comfortable and truly pleasant Selle Royal New Lookin saddle for your buttocks. On a 50-minute journey, for example, we did not notice any particular discomfort in our buttocks. It’s very pleasant.
A unique electric behavior
Having tested electric bikes for a while at GoStart.Biz, it’s hard to surprise us when trying a new one. Behaviors sometimes resemble each other with slight differences, but they can also stand out without dazzling us.
The Charger4 GT Vario belongs to this category of e-bikes: it is simply different, unique in its kind, and capable of providing unprecedented driving sensations. In reality, two groups of words come to mind when describing our experience: flying carpet and spaceship.
Flying carpet, because that’s the feeling you get when riding on flat asphalt. You have this impression of slightly floating above the ground: you have to try it to understand it. Obviously, the Schwalbe Johnny Watts tires and the Bosch Performance Line CX motor play a big part in this.
It is simply the most powerful Bosch motor for urban bikes – excluding the Performance Race designed for e-MTBs – with its 85 Nm torque, offering exceptional dynamism and power. Not to mention its impeccable and ultra-responsive torque sensor, ensuring natural behavior: you become one with this e-bike.
This is combined with a continuously variable transmission – the manual version – signed by Enviolo. This technology allows not for gear changes in steps, but in a linear and continuous manner. To do this, a rotating handle that you manipulate with your right hand adjusts the gear ratio and adds more or less resistance to the pedals according to your needs at the moment.
This highly adjustable management is silent, smooth, and can even be done while stopped. However, at a standstill, it is impossible to turn the handle completely: it unlocks once you start moving.
All of this combined – not to mention a Gates belt drive – makes the riding experience remarkable. The Charger4 becomes an extremely playful electric bike, with which you want to go fast – you clearly do not feel the 30 kg under the pedals – and overtake others. Moreover, its excellent grip offers a very interesting lean angle in turns.
That’s when the terms “spaceship” come into play: precisely in the turns. This time, you feel like you’re aboard a Star Wars Motojet 74-Z, as the cornering is easy, stable, and reassuring. In short, an electric behavior unlike any other, deserving attention – and a test.
Finally, four assistance modes are available:
- Turbo: very useful on hills, if you’re in a hurry, want to have fun, or are just too lazy to make any effort;
- Sport: more than enough for daily trips, nice touch of dynamism;
- Tour: if you’re starting to run out of range but still want some power;
- Eco: in case of very low battery or if you like effort – it’s a 30 kg machine, remember.
Like the suspended fork, the Charger4 GT Vario depends on stock availability for its choice of hydraulic disc brakes. In short, you could end up with Magura MT4, MT5, or Magura MTC compatible with Bosch ABS – which is an optional $400 feature but impressed us during our test.
On our side, our model was equipped with Magura MT4,which were hard to fault: excellent braking, progressive and biting. This bike is reassuring in all circumstances, especially in urgent situations. However, be sure to respect the principle of progressive braking.
If you brake too hard, the rear wheel tends to lock up easily: in this case, the tire loses grip despite its good adhesion. It is always best to anticipate situations as much as possible and reduce your speed in case of any doubt or potential danger.
Comfortable range with Riese & Müller Charger4 GT Vario
With the highest-performing Bosch battery at its core, it’s no surprise that the Charger4 GT Vario boasts a more than comfortable range. Good news: it does. The 750 Wh battery allowed me to travel about 75 kilometers, alternating between Turbo, Sport, and Tour modes occasionally.
Over an entire week, you don’t necessarily have to worry constantly about your remaining range. This results in a feeling of serenity, which is always nice to have. But a generous battery also means a heavy one: 4.4 kg, making it a very heavy component to carry, even in a bag – you’ve been warned.
Good news: the battery is removable. For an e-bike weighing over 30 kilograms, it’s always a plus to remove the battery, bring it to your home or office, and charge it without having to carry the bike with you. However, the process to accomplish this is not the most straightforward at first.
The battery is removed from the bottom of the frame: insert a key into a latch, then turn it to unlock the mechanism. At this point, the battery detaches from the frame, but not completely: you then have to press a small flexible surface on its top side to completely dislodge it.
To put it back, it’s the same principle, but in reverse. The hardest part is properly positioning the battery base in its slot, or else you won’t be able to fully reinsert it. It’s a bit tricky at first, but once you understand the principle, the operation becomes relatively simple.
Riese & Müller Charger4 GT Vario: Price and availability
The Riese & Muller Charger4 GT Vario is worth its weight in gold: at least 9,669 AU$, not including optional accessories.
The sales network is built around the official website and numerous physical stores. On each model’s page, a list compiles all the shops that sell the model. In Paris and its suburbs, for example, there are about twenty. A good opportunity to go see it for yourself and give it a try.