Even with Bunch’s new ‘anti-tip’ technology, it took me about three blocks to adjust and stop running on the sidewalk. It also meant that when my family was on board, I had to develop a type of Mad Max: Fury Road driving style, leaning sharply towards the center of the street to counteract drift, especially when cornering. And without shocks on such a big, clunky bike, every bump and pothole made your bones shake.
It’s so heavy that the 48-volt Samsung battery (usually a reliable brand) only lasted two days on our hills. There is no option to attach a dual battery, unlike some similar sized bikes such as the R&M load.
Finally, this is a minor complaint, but if you are going to buy this bike and have small children, you should go for the cargo box with a front door. After seeing my 6 year old go up and down my 3 year old didn’t let me help him. Finally, I put his helmet on him before we approached the bike, because every time he climbed on top, he fell on his head.
A optional (and expensive) entry door attachment fixes this problem but also means you have to remove a set of seats and halve the passenger capacity.
Speed is overrated
All the other times I saw an electric cargo bikeI climb aboard and cycle on highways and streets, cycling up to 20 miles per hour through town for testing. Grumbling and pedaling around our neighborhood, I often thought about how long it would have taken me on the Original.
Still, there’s no denying that my husband and kids absolutely love this bike. The walls of the box are high and I cannot drive it very fast. I remember my kids screaming as I wandered through the potholes driving the Urban spire, but on the original, they happily stacked the box with blankets and huddled in it. My daughter even took a nap, which she was never relaxed enough to do.
Shifting is awkward, but my husband loves the power of the throttle. Eventually, he stopped pedaling completely, which probably contributed to the rapid battery drain. The two-wheeled front setup makes it much more stable on tight turns and steep climbs. Heavy-duty hydraulic brakes stopped us on the steepest inclines. And if you only cycle in parks or along riverside walks, you don’t have to deal with arched roads at all.
The Bunch Original isn’t my first choice for a family cargo bike, especially if you’re a rider who values ease of riding and the ability to cover terrain efficiently. But many of us are not like that. If you stay within a mile or two of your home and want a safe walk that your kids, and maybe your dog, will absolutely love, this is a great choice.
But not for me, as I keep telling the 3 year old. In addition to potty training, he will get it one day.