Evaluation of MUTO Electric Bike: excellent multi-function
For Europeans, bicycles are often the main means of transport in relatively flat, easy-to-ride cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin.We rode bikes everywhere -- to work, to shop, to day care and to cafes -- before locking them out every night.We sometimes use bikes to carry groceries, kids and Christmas trees at the same time, while friends straddle the back seat to hitchhike.
In such an environment, the perfect e-bike must be affordable, adaptable, durable and easy to repair.It should also appeal to young European professionals, who are increasingly buying e-bikes for healthy, environmentally friendly commutes.
Many e-bikes tick some of these boxes, but I haven't found one that ticks every box I need for my daily commute from my hometown of Amsterdam.Up to now.Surprisingly, it was made by Stella, a Dutch company beloved by grandparents for making completely forgotten electric bikes.
Three years ago, Stella commissioned a small in-house team to shed its clunky image by designing an electric bike that appealed to young urbanites.The result is called the Muto, a pedal-assisted electric bike that has the potential to become the default in Europe and beyond.
ELECTRIC ELECTRIC bicycles are exploding all over the world.With a few breakthrough brands, like high-end VanMoof, Rad Power in the middle, and Swagtron on the budget, hundreds of brands fill the gap.Some e-bike makers are truly unique, but many, especially at the low end of the market, are simply nameplates affixed to off-the-shelf Chinese e-bikes assembled from catalogues.Eventually, the industry will gather a few winners, but for now, this is anyone's game.
In the Netherlands, new e-bikes sell more than regular bikes, and Stella, Muto's parent company, claims to sell more than any other brand.The 10-year-old Dutch bicycle maker, based in Nunspeet, about 50 miles east of Amsterdam, assembled about 600 electric bikes a day before the coronavirus pandemic.
Notably, the Muto has detachable batteries that can be neatly integrated (and locked) into the lower tube.Most Stella bikes suffer from bolton-exia -- a condition inherent to e-bike manufacturers that is not good for design.Symptoms include spherical growth of the lower tube (Rad Power!).Or a Swagtron! Tablet over the back stand.Muto doesn't have anything.Clearly, Muto's designers have gone to great lengths.
As a result, Muto enables Stella to enter the burgeoning new market of young urban commuters.
It's not just a new bike;It is a new brand that relies on a new European manufacturer to manage distribution at Venlo, rather than in the Dutch town of Nunspeet, along the German border.
Muto's first e-bike has a typical European base specification: a 250W motor with a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 MPH) and an estimated range of 70 km (43.5 miles) at medium power, or 40 km (24.9 miles) when set to Max, according to Muto.The 252Wh battery will be fully charged in about 3.5 hours.
I was able to take an endurance test and change the battery from 100% to zero over a distance of 31.2km (19.4 miles).Although the test was conducted on flat terrain, it was a windy day (an average of 15 knots).Fortunately, thanks to a near-frictionless transmission and an 8-speed gear lever, the bike was very easy to hit the last 2.8km (about 1.7 miles) under my own power.
The name "Muto" is a play on words like "shape-shifting" and "versatile," suggesting the bikes' unparalleled adaptability.
First, the big M logo is more than a nod to the name;It's also the shape of the frame.According to Muto, the stride M-frame is suitable for riders ranging in height from 159cm to 190cm (5ft 2in to 6ft 2in) and covers 80% of The European population.Aluminum is glued like an airplane, and there is no welding to achieve a seamless look.Available in black, grey, blue and white.I prefer black frames, whereas gray frames look particularly somber, like smooth furniture primers.
The bike comes with a high seat, which fits perfectly on my 183cm (6ft) frame.I can also easily use shorter posts.My wife, 164cm (5ft 5in) long, tested the bike with a short saddle and found the lowest position of the height, though three inches (7.6cm) higher than Muto's stated minimum.Although the default riding position is very sportive, saddles are very comfortable for long distances.For those who prefer upright riding styles, this can be adjusted even higher.
Muto's biggest innovation is its interchangeable "click and scroll" system.It allows you to quickly add or remove various Muto designed boxes, bags and baskets at the front and rear of the bike.The base can be locked with a key to prevent theft.
Snap Muto's sleek, €59,95 chameleon bamboo basket sits in the back and can hold Muto's €69.95 waterproof starfish pan, stuffed with laptops, lunches and rain gear.When you return home, leave your computer bag in the back, move the basket to the front, and secure the €65 Urban Iki back seat to the back.The frame incorporates a crossbar that folds backwards onto the rear fender to support the child's weight.The video above shows nine configurations in just 69 seconds.
Yes, new parents, that means you can easily leave your child's seat at home on date night, allowing you to maintain a certain sense of pride as you pull apart that sleek new cocktail bar.
At release, Muto can offer five different custom designed bags of different sizes and five different bags.Muto says more accessories are on the way.
Muto is tough.The e-bike weighed 23.5 kilograms (51.8 pounds) before all the accessories were added.Its slightly smaller 26-inch wheels are ideal for the city, and are fitted with Schwalbe Big Apple tires, which are wide enough to slide over tram tracks and ruts.Shimano's hydraulic disc brakes keep the bike stationary even when carrying adults, children and a few days' groceries.A sturdy center stand will keep the bike upright when it leaves.
To test the durability of the Click&Roll system, I took my 40kg (88lb) daughter for a ride in the Chameleon bracket in the back.Muto said the rear seat weighs 20 kg (10 kg for the front) or 27 kg with a child seat.Still, even as we bounced along the cobblestones of Amsterdam, and even as her body position created a powerful lever on the mount, it held.
The brake and gear lines are semi-exposed, but most go through the frame to avoid getting stuck when parked on the crowded bike rack.Cable management also makes the bike look clean and tidy.
Muto is only available online.That means there's no local bike shop to complain about when something goes wrong.Fortunately, most of the Muto's components can be repaired by any bike repair shop, except for the front hub motors and electronics.Stella, Muto's parent company, owns more than 45 bike shops in the Netherlands and will open its first stores in Belgium and Germany this year.
When purchasing insurance through Muto, some countries/regions provide 24/7 roadside assistance (more on this later).If you plan to park your expensive electric city bike outdoors, be sure to buy insurance.
Fortunately, the Muto's drivetrain consists of a maintenant-free Gates carbon fiber belt drive and an internal gear hub on the Nexus 8.That means eight speeds, no rust, no chain dippers, no external lubrication and no splashes on the pants.
Muto offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a standard two-year warranty.In the event of electrical equipment or motor failure, you can contact Muto for repairs, which may involve pickup trucks and return to the specially designed Muto recycling bin.Individual parts with instructions can be ordered directly from Muto.As obvious as it sounds, buying a 500 euro e-bike from Amazon or Indiegogo isn't easy.Muto is an electric bike that you will keep for years until the first time it breaks down.
Value for money
The entry price of Muto is 1,549 euros (including freight), with the price jumping to 1,699 euros in the uncertain future.It's not cheap, but it's not expensive either - it's just the right fit for the premium electric city bike you should be looking to buy, and it can withstand years of daily use.
Muto can be purchased anywhere, but four European countries will be a priority for release.It costs 30 euros to transport to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and 49 euros to Denmark.You can also buy it from the US, but since Muto has not made any overseas shipping arrangements, the delivery costs are high.
The Muto comes with a solid wheel lock integrated into the frame.However, it does not offer any OF the GPS theft features found in more upscale bikes.Stella, by contrast, works with Kingpolis insurance in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.The insurance costs about €8 per month, depending on location, and can be terminated after the first year.It covers Bicycle theft, damage and 24/7 troubleshooting assistance in Europe.
The basic Muto comes with a lot of features, and you have to pay extra from other brands.These include a simple bell, fender, reflector and integrated front and rear lighting, including cute little "Muto" lights on the side of the bike.The company said the lights could not be turned off for safety reasons.
If you are buying a Muto, you will definitely buy some bracket parts.Fortunately, their prices are reasonable, but to ship them, you have to pay 5 to 10 euros.
The Muto bike is now available for trial rides in Amsterdam, and pop-up Windows are about to launch in Berlin and Copenhagen.
For one thing, the handlebars have a hard time showing battery and power levels.For my cycling preference, I had to press the top button seven times each time the bike was turned on to return it to maximum power mode, which made the problem even more vexing.(Ideally, it remembers the final Settings.)Muto supports nine pedal assisted power modes, five of which feel like too many on the road.Muto does not provide any type of application integration, which I think is good.
Power is transmitted quietly and evenly to the pedal.My test Muto rode almost exclusively in Max power mode, as the low power mode required more money than I spent on the e-bike (sport!).More effort.The start of a bicycle depends almost entirely on leg strength.This is because Muto only installs a pedal speed sensor to determine when to engage the motor, rather than the more complex (and expensive) torque sensor to provide power more intuitively.Good: gears shift smoothly and reliably.
As you may have guessed, Muto also has no throttle.If you're looking for a 700-watt vehicle as heavy as a moped, a Muto isn't the right electric bike for you.In most of Europe, so-called "speed scooters" must be used on the streets next to cars, rather than the safety of the bike lanes, making them unsuitable for urban cycling.
Muto does have walking support.Pressing the lower button on the control panel turns on the motor to provide enough power to easily push the bike up the dedicated bike ramp next to the stairwell at European railway stations.
I also don't care much about Muto quality control.The first test bike I received seemed to have a slightly bent disc brake, which caused some friction on the front wheels while riding.I can't see the distortion, but I can hear it. Even on Amsterdam's cobblestones, a 1,500 euro bike should be quiet.Then, on my replacement bike, I found the rear wheel lock hard to close.It may sound trivial, but when you're struggling a few times a day, the trouble gets worse.
I should note that in the final stages before mass production starts, my bike is classified as a pre-birth bike.Before I received it, at least one of the bikes had been used by another commentator.That may or may not explain the hardware problem.
The problem is minor. If the bike costs 750 euros, I wouldn't even mention it.But at twice that price, buyers should expect more.In any case, if you are interested in buying, you may need to wait a few weeks to ensure that Muto finds out all the errors that may exist in its manufacturing and assembly process.
Muto is an excellent electric bike designed for urban dwellers who use bicycles as their primary means of transportation.It is so good and offers so many thoughtful features at a reasonable price that it could very well be the electric bike of a Toyota Camry or VW Golf.
If you are buying e-bikes in Europe and markets, Muto should be considered near the top of the list.