Five grand is a sum of money you could quite legitimately buy a car for. Several cars, if they were cars anything like mine. But this is a bike that's very much designed to replace a car, and certainly won't cost you anything like as much in the long run. Say hello to the Riese & Muller Packster 60.
The 60 in the name refers to the length of the flatbed cargo area at the front. 80cm and 40cm versions are also available, so this one is in the middle. You can have the bike with just a bare cargo platform if you want. Ours has the optional box, a £225 option.
The box is easy to add and remove: it's held together by a ratchet strap and comes apart if you loosen it. It's all flat sections, so it's easy to store too. The box in this case hides another optional upgrade...
Nestling underneath the box is a big kickstand of course, but also a second battery. This bike uses Bosch's DualBattery system and packs two 500Wh PowerPacks for the maximum 1,000Wh capacity. It ain't a cheap upgrade: that second battery costs an extra £810, so you'll have to absolutely sure you'll need it. If you're just commuting or ferrying kids and stuff around town, you probably don't: the single battery should have plenty of juice in it for a normal day. The extra battery brings the build total here to £5,084; you can get the base bike for just over £4,000.
Like the Tern GSD cargo bike we recently featured the Packster gets a Bosch Performance Line motor. With 63Nm of torque it should see you right even if you're really loading the bike up, although it's not the most powerful motor that Bosch make. The drivetrain on this bike is a 10-speed Shimano Deore Derailleur; the Packster is also available with a continuously-variable Nuvinci hub transmission.
Steerinf a long-jonh-style cargo bike takes a bit of getting used to as the front wheel is so far forward. The Packster uses a chunky linkage system to connect the bars to the wheel, and there's a suspension fork up front to soften up the ride for kids or cargo. A double child seat (with five-point harnesses) and a rain cover are optional extras if you're moving your family around a lot.
The ride position is nicely configurable, with a multi-position steerer for shorter and taller riders. There's plenty of adjustment at the seat too.
The Packster is designed for everyday errands, so there's a frame lock through the rear wheel which means you can lock the bike to itself if you're just popping into the shops. It'd be a burly thief that managed to carry it away, but you can buy the bike with a second Abus link lock for extra peace of mind.
The city practicality continues with full mudguards and integrated lighting. A rear rack is a cost option if the big bucket on the front isn't enough space and you want to run panniers too.
We're looking forward to getting out and about on the Packster: stay tuned for a full review soon.