Riese & Muller have never really majored in making e-MTBs and have arrived at the Superdelite Mountain via their strength of devising hugely strong, practical frame designs that integrate Bosch motor systems superbly well.
This particular incarnation of the Superdelite Mountain appears to be a new genre of ‘touring e-MTB’ with plenty of features you certainly wouldn’t expect as standard on other e-MTBs. There are twin batteries with 1,125Wh capacity (this is what makes it a Superdelite – the Delite has a single battery), 14-speed Rohloff hub gears with electronic shifting, the option of a rear and/or front rack, water bottle mounts, brake lights and front full beam lighting.
With all this equipment on-board it’s perhaps not surprising that the bike tipped my scales at 28.7kg. However, it still promises to go where other e-MTBs do, thanks to the Bosch Performance Line CX motor and to make it a lot of fun with the 150mm front travel of the Fox Float 36 Performance and the similarly plush, tuneable rear suspension provided by a 140mm travel Fox Float DPS Performance unit.
It’s notable Riese & Muller have upped the amount of suspension travel available compared to previous model year versions of the Superdelite. This combined with the incremental increase in torque available from the latest Bosch mid-drives means the Superdelite is without doubt the most capable off-roader in Riese and Muller’s increasingly wide stable of e-bikes.
Paper spec and real world riding
As someone nearing 60 years old, I’m now resolutely in the leisure/long distance touring category, rather than someone who swings a leg over an e-MTB for adrenaline-inducing downhills or because he wants to take on a staggeringly technical climb, so the Superdelite Mountain seems tailor-made for me.
During my test rides around the South Pennines – the area of that hill range with the steepest gradients of all – the Superdelite Mountain ate up every incline put in front of it, no matter how steep or difficult. The climbs were mainly of the broad but very bouldery variety, with rock steps and certainly plenty of serious gradients.
All that power from the latest Bosch Performance Line CX motor is clearly one of the main reasons ascending was so easy. But it’s all about controlling that power too, especially if you don’t claim to be a particularly skilful rider like me.
It was here that Bosch’s development work in the software department really came into play in the form of the e-MTB riding mode. While there are four power levels, I tended to use this as the default riding mode as it is in effect semi-automatic.
How does that work then? According to Bosch, e-MTB mode ‘varies between Tour mode and Turbo. A maximum torque of up to 75 Nm strengthens the motor and the rider's personal contribution between 120% and 300%. Depending on the pedal pressure the progressive motor support adjusts automatically to the individual's riding characteristics.’
Whatever complex algorithms are determining the power delivered in e-MTB mode, I found it super responsive to pedal pressure, whether it was suddenly finding myself in too high a gear for a rock step (this happens a lot with me) or letting the motor munch its way up a steep cobbled climb with a nice high, even cadence. Just leave it in e-MTB mode and keep pedalling and the software will do the rest was my mantra. This resulted in virtually no motor stalls or spinning too fast to get power.
The Superdelite Mountain can be specced with two gearing options: Touring (Shimano Deore XT 12-speed derailleur) and Rohloff (14-speed Rohloff E-14 electronically shifting hub gears). My test bike came with the latter, along with a Gates Carbon Drive belt drive and to me it fits in perfectly with the ethos of the e-bike. With weight saving clearly not a big consideration in the first place, why not go the whole hog and get a gearing spec that countless world tourers have relied on. The Rohloff-belt drive combo has outstanding low maintenance credentials, claiming to need an oil change after the first 3,000 miles, while the Gates belt should last for around 20,000 miles. Oh, and it’s much harder to trash than a derailleur and you can just slosh water over the belt to clean it…
The Rohloff’s 526% percent gear range should prove enough for just about any task on any incline you would want to throw at it, and so it proved in testing. I did have a few niggles with it though. More a note than a complaint is the fact you do need to coordinate changing with your pedal pressure more noticeably than with derailleurs, otherwise some graunching may occur. There was in any case some noise in some of the gears (I actually thought it was an uncharacteristically noisy motor at first), but this is a known feature of Rohloffs and they should wear in over time.
I also found the relatively small buttons of the changer a bit of a fiddle and too easy to miss if you have to find a shift quickly and unexpectedly. Larger more ‘feelable’ buttons would have worked better for me. Despite all this I would happily rely on the Rohloff on a daily basis and it was just as much a star performer as the motor. A nice plus point is the multi-shift mode which simultaneously shifts three gears in a single sequence, while the auto-downshift function means you are always in a low gear to start riding again once you have stopped.
Display options include Kiox, COBI (smartphone with Bosch app) and the updated 2021 version of the all-singing, all dancing Nyon. I tested the latter and this again seems in keeping with the ‘ultimate e-MTB tourer’ label I’ve given the bike. We’ve a full review of the Nyon system here.
It offers all manner of feedback on how you are mixing human and motor power (useful to conserve battery power on a long tour) as well as offering mapping functionality (I found it handy for syncing with GPX routes plotted on a PC and it will also sync with the likes of Strava and Komoot). You can also wirelessly link with devices including your smartphone and a heartrate monitor (I used it to link to my Wahoo chest monitor and was delighted at how this instantly made the bike into a fitness cum training machine).
I certainly found the battery range estimates on the Nyon much more accurate than the lower priced LCD displays from Bosch (Purion and Intuiva). For lots more detail on on the mapping, routing, range estimates and turn by turn navigation functions of the Nyon check out our tips video too.
Other aspects of the bike were almost uniformly excellent: powerful and progressive braking from Magura hydraulics, free-running Schwalbe knobblies (tubeless ready), fantastically effective Supernova lighting including a full beam facility at the front and a very useful Post X-Fusion Manic 100 dropper post.
So much for the good news. Unless you have ridiculously deep pockets the less good news is the £9,339 price tag for this particular spec (prices for the Superdelite Mountain actually start at £7,609).
Despite the eyewatering price of my test bike, I think the near the top of the range spec suits the Superdelite Mountain most. As stated, it’s a heavy old e-bike and its forte is long days in the saddle and an impressive range from that huge dual battery system, rather than out and out performance. If the latter is what you want, you can splash less cash on some wonderful, lighter and more agile e-MTBs, but if you want to tour the country, a continent or the world off-road, the Superdelite Mountain is one of very few e-MTBs that would really allow you to do that and get to the back of beyond.
Some final notes on that long distance, go anywhere, e-MTB tourer tag. The rear rack option is great as it’s one of the few rear full-sus rear racks that is ‘fully sprung’ meaning a heavy load should affect handling less and anything delicate in there will be more protected from trail impacts. Disappointingly and rather strangely the Superdelite Mountain is not rated to take a single wheel trailer, which would be the obvious choice for off-road touring, though R&M can apparently provide an axle adapter for a two-wheeled trailer.
With thanks to Riese and Muller stockists the Electric Transport Shop for the loan of the Superdelite Mountain.