Are you ready for an urban escape? As much as they divide opinion, SUV eMTBs are all the rage and have an incredible potential for adventure. We loaded the Specialized Turbo Tero X and the Riese & Müller Multitinker and set off on an overnighter mountain top tour around Lake Garda. Adventure, here we come!
Reliable commuter and cargo bikes during the week – Adventure buddies at the weekend?
From Monday to Friday, they faithfully take us to our workplaces and to the gym, or transport our shopping and children across the city. Commuter, cargo or trekking bikes, fully equipped eMTBs or city bikes with off-road tires – the term SUV eMTBs covers a wide range of different bike concepts that are designed to make our everyday lives more practical, healthier, environmentally friendly, and efficient. As a cargo bike and means of transport to yoga classes or business appointments, they are above all practical. But we were convinced that there is more to it and resolutely grabbed the Riese & Müller Multinker and the Specialized Tero X to take them on an overnight trip into the mountains. Spoiler alert: SUV eMTBs are not just practical, they can also evoke a sense of both excitement and emotion!
A trekking bike and a cargo bike, fully loaded with everything you need for a proper excursion. An overnight stay without having to weigh every gram of luggage, just take whatever you feel like. We left the city of Riva and started our journey of discovery up in the mountains in the hinterland of Lake Garda with two bikes that could not be more different. The make-up of the team was as unusual as the whole idea.
Riese & Müller Multinker
As a cargo bike well-suited for bakery runs, with a very long wheelbase and a good level of comfort despite 20″ small wheels, the Multitinker with the Bosch motor just had to go on the tour with us. Normally used as an urban car replacement, our trip into the mountains was a real challenge for it. But the cargo bike did surprisingly well both uphill and downhill. Kudos! We just need to work on our loading skills.
Specialized Tero X 6.0 eSUV 2023
Unlike the Multitinker cargo bike from Riese & Müller, the Turbo Tero X trekking bike from Specialized is absolutely suited for off-road use, just like the Mercedes G-Class. Even though the fully equipped eMTB was developed especially for everyday use, it does not shy away from rocks and roots. The rear luggage rack with side rails can hold up to 20 kg of cargo and an optional front basket can be attached to carry an additional 10 kg of luggage. We didn’t have the basket with us – so the Riese & Müller Multitinker had to take on the lion’s share of our things.
Adventure with luxury equipment
What haven’t we done to experience adventures and overcome our limits? Mountain biking on risky trails in Rio de Janeiro, diving with sharks on the Burma Banks, crossing the Alps in a snowstorm with the bikes on our backs. And now the absurd idea of turning our urban bikes into off-road warriors, as if they were some kind of Transformers? Whatever! The main thing is to get out of the city, leave everyday life behind and test our personal limits again. Looking at the huge panniers of the Riese & Müller Multitinker, an overnighter seems pretty obvious. After all, surely there’s more to it than just carting kids or the groceries around town. We’ll find out later whether that worked or not. With a permissible total weight of 200 kg, there is plenty of room to spare: A huge tent, camping chairs and a table, all our stuff for the night, as well as a coffee maker, china and, of course, the Aperol for a sundowner.
Unconquered mountain tops and other highlights
We start our tour fully packed with equipment that you don’t necessarily need for camping, but in our case we wouldn’t want to miss out on. Riding our bikes in the mountains requires a lot of stamina and endurance, but aren’t these the qualities you need for an adventure? After all, adventures are nothing more than new experiences that involve an element of uncertainty, risk and anticipation. Discovering new places, overcoming not only your own limits but also those of the equipment you carry. Physical challenge and adrenaline included.
In summary, everything turned out better than expected. The luggage weighs down the rear wheel of the Multitinker and provides the necessary traction – similar to chucking a bag of cement in the trunk of a rear-wheel drive car in the past to make it behave on slippery roads. The battery also holds up well and the motor pulls uphill – better than expected with so much luggage. A little pushing was required, which was made manageable thanks to the integrated pushing aid. Yet our plans failed. The route to the originally targeted mountain top turns out to be too steep, too windy, and ultimately impassable. Who cares, we’re not out to smash any altitude records today! Plan A is cancelled, but that’s okay. We find another hill and go straight for plan B: Take it as it comes! Instead of frantically searching for alternatives and a super Instagrammable photo spot, we pitch our tent where it is convenient. Now the masses of luggage that already caused a stir on our way out of town come in handy. The tent is quickly assembled or inflated and offers ample space for 3–4 people, the camping chairs first create a kind of jigsaw and then a glamping feeling, and we are also well set up in all other respects. The spectacular view and the Aperol we brought along, complete with ice cubes in real glasses, paired with a picture-perfect sunset, compensate for the ascent. In short, we have everything we need to transform our meagre mountain camp into a luxury resort.
Admittedly, we slightly overdid it with the luggage volume: The bags, especially on the cargo bike, were too full and we didn’t fix the Tero X bags properly, causing them to slide back and forth. Next time we would pack a little more smartly instead of throwing everything that might be somehow of some use randomly on the bike. But what remains is the feeling of having tried something new again. And on bikes that you wouldn’t expect to find here in the first place, but which have proven to be reliable companions in the end.
Bikepacking with SUV eMTBs done differently: Focusing on the equipment and not on the performance. We took three lessons away from our trip into the mountains. Firstly, have the courage to materialize your own ideas and break down the boundaries set by products. Secondly, never underestimate your bike – it has more adventurous potential than you might think. And thirdly, enjoy the view, the sunset and don’t forget the ice cubes for the Aperol!
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Words: Susanne Feddersen Photos: Peter Walker