Leaving the daily grind behind you, breathing deeply, and hauling your ass out of your regular routine – while it’s a far-flung dream for over-stressed desk-jockeys, it became reality for me this autumn. With my suitcase and the Riese & Müller Delite Mountain by my side, it definitely felt like I’d hit the reset button after a week in the picture-perfect Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park in Italy’s South Tyrol.
Surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains, idyllically gurgling streams, and uninterrupted peace and solitude, the Mountain Lodge Tamersc and its unrivalled location served as the ultimate base for a week of decelerating (except for when riding) and switching off. Leaving the bustle of the ski resort in San Vigilio just a few kilometres behind you, this rustic setting with understated luxury sets you in the midst of unspoiled nature and spectacular scenery that wouldn’t be out of place from a high-end tourist brochure. Recognised as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2009, the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park is an irrefutably popular destination, but come autumn it’s satisfyingly serene.
Picking the right E-MTB for trips like this one is no mean feat. The main concern is range, and you’ve usually got two options: carry a spare battery in your backpack, or figure out a route with opportunity to re-charge. Despite neither of these options being bulletproof, the Riese & Müller Delite Mountain offers a decent solution. A cross between a trekking bike, a mountain bike, and a tank, the Delite Mountain is a lone ranger that carves its own route – characteristics that render it ideal for long rides in the wilderness.
With two interconnected 500 Wh batteries, the Delite Mountain’s Bosch CX motor has virtually limitless energy in reserve. There’s 120 mm of front travel from a supportive FOX 34 fork, and 100 mm at the rear. Teamed with the wide plus-size tires, there’s ample comfort and stability on mellow off-road terrain. The bike’s icing on the cake comes from the double bottle cages from Fabric, positioned near the head tube due to obvious space limitations.
The Riese & Müller Delite Mountain in detail
Forks Fox Float 34 Performance Boost
Rear shock Fox Float 34 Performance
Motor / battery Bosch PowerPack 500 Performance, 500 Wh
Brakes Shimano Deore XT
Drivetrain Shimano SLX, 11-speed
Seatpost Satori Trident
Stem FSA Afterburner 90 mm
Bars Lenker FSA Afterburner
Tires Reifen Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Wheels Alex MD40 27,5″ rims / Novatec Boost hubs
Bottles filled and batteries charged, this bike is apt for exploring the gradual change in the seasons, cruising over the carpet of leaves. I opt to leave the map at home and head out with an undetermined destination, riding the Delite Mountain from the Mountain Lodge, following the crystal-clear turquoise brook that runs down the Rautal, the Val di Rudo, towards Rifugio Pederü. This is where hikers leave their cars and set off on foot, as only a few vehicles are authorised to travel any further into the mountains.
It gets steeper almost immediately, and the terrain gets rougher and more unkempt. It’s not surprising; most of the tracks were dug during World War One for the military. As I climb, the views over the surrounding peaks get more and more spectacular. I’m glad I’ve come here in autumn, I realize. The tourists are largely gone, and the park’s 300 km of hiking trails and 200 km of mountain bike routes are noticeably quiet in this off-season time. The wind whistles around me, and under my tires there’s a satisfying crunch of gravel accompanying the gentle whir of the powerful Bosch motor. The Delite Mountain darts up climbs with a comfortable and assured riding position and ample traction donated by the 2.8″ tires.
„The Delite Moutain is a cross between a trekking bike, mountainbike and a tank.“
There are more and more narrow trails that are turning off the main track, and I pick the most enticing. The Riese & Müller is best described as capable off-road, but unlike most E-MTBs currently on the market, it doesn’t proclaim to be an agile and playful trail rocket – it’s more stately, smooth, and comfortable. It’s naturally a bit perturbed when the trail gets tight and technical, but it’s assured and enjoyable as it cruises along mellow trails and gravel tracks.
I chance upon the ultimate spot for a break at the ancient Fanes hut, high on the Fanes mountain pasture. The barley soup and apple strudel quickly satisfy my hunger, and the Delite Mountain is still going strong. I ride through the Dolomites’ incredible yet bizarre landscape, with its intricate karst rock formations creating crevices and gullies that line the trails. There’s a definite weight advantage in my backpack thanks to the bike’s double batteries and bottles, and I’m glad to only be carrying tools, some food, and a change of clothes.
The best way I can figure out to round off the day is another climb and view, so I take a steep ascent above the Fanes hut to break the treeline and summit Limojoch (altitude 2,172 metres) just as the sun is setting. It fans out on the horizon with a warming glow, nudging the peaks ahead of me with beautiful golden light. It’s one of those moments when everything around you seems to stop, and I take a virtual photo in my head to save for a rainy day.
Dusk falls rapidly now as the opposing mountains create dark shadows. It’s time to head down. The XT Trekking brakes, with their two-finger levers, are a rare sight on a mountain bike, but they’re easy to modulate and provide sufficient braking power – I like them. There’s no dropper post, so I lower the saddle manually to give myself more space on the descent. It’s dark by the time I reach the valley floor, and I rely on the fixed Lumotech IQ-X headlight from Busch & Müller that comes with the bike. The route through the valley flies by, spurred on by thought of sitting by the fire, enjoying a glass of red wine and some good mountain fare. It isn’t just my energy levels that are starting to droop; the Riese & Müller Delite Mountain’s battery is also waning.
Riese & Müller Delite Mountain
The day left its imprint on me, watermarking my dreams with the fantastic landscape of the Dolomites, the age-old Fanes hut, and the breathtaking views from the Limojoch. The Riese & Müller Delite Mountain proved to be the perfect choice for an epic mountain adventure like this one, passing the day in my company with assurance and kind-heartedness. Free from battery concerns and the aches caused by a heavy backpack, the Delite Mountain rides with control and comfort, rendering it a versatile touring bike for gravel and mellow terrain. Its long battery life, bottle cages, and lavish levels of comfort not only equip it for long rides, but also lay the foundation for an inimitable e-bike experience.
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Words: Moritz Dittmar Photos: Julian Mittelstädt