What clever solutions characterise an e-cargo bike these days? If you want to find out, take your time to browse the websites of the numerous manufacturers, take the precaution of planning a visit to one of the bicycle trade fairs that will soon be opening again, or leaf through the back issue of a suitable bicycle magazine. Or simply have a look at the E-Cargo from Cluuv. The cargo bike, which was shown for the first time at Eurobike 2021 in Friedrichshafen, features details that other manufacturers have already been able to impress with.
The driving force behind Cluuv is Susanne Eidman. She manages the business, guides the development, is the contact person for the press and generally seems to be a good observer. According to her own statement, she began working on the project of setting up her own cargo bike in 2018. Since then, the former bicycle courier and student of sports science has been keeping a close eye on which ideas from other manufacturers are particularly much appreciated by people. Or perhaps only by Susanne Eidmann herself. Of course, we don’t know.
Within the bounds of what is permissible
What has caught the eye of the native North German? For example, child seats on the Bogbi that are suspended rather than firmly installed. The mechanism with which a bike from Libelle can be divided into two parts. The way Citkar stows its batteries with the Loadster. The smooth-running bipod stand of the CaGo FS 200, as well as the various rail and plug-in systems with which many manufacturers equip the platforms of their cargo bikes. All this can be found as an approach or even more concretely on the E-Cargo from Cluuv.
And before some people start talking about plagiarism, let me just say this: within the bicycle industry, it is just as common to look at what the rest of the competition is doing as in any other industry. Besides the references, the Cluuv can’t be denied its own touch. From the outside, it looks more like a well-considered move by Susanne Eidmann. A clever move. And by chance she has patented this as the name of her company. Cluuv stands for “clever move”.
So, enough of the preface, let’s start an assessment. Regarding the type of cargo bike, Cluuv has opted for a longjohn, i.e. a single-track cargo bike with a small front wheel and a larger rear one, where the space between the front wheel and the head tube serves as a cargo area. Consequently, the riders have the cargo in front of them in view at all times.
For the frame, the start-up has found a very renowned partner in Nicolai Bicycles, which manufactures the aluminium frames. Cluuv can therefore confidently put a tick behind requirements such as the conscientious selection of raw materials, local production and consistently high product quality. One of the highlights of the frame is the fact that it can be split in the middle. Bolts secure the connection and not quick-releases. This indicates that disassembling the frame is intended to facilitate transport and is not intended for everyday use.
Never forget the basics
The Cluuv E-Cargo is steered via a linkage. Its transmission corresponds to that of direct steering. As a result, the steering should be quite similar to that of an ordinary ebike. The double end stops on both the headset and the steering linkage provide the necessary safety. They are intended to prevent the steering from turning over. At the same time, you can turn the handlebars reasonably, manoeuvre well and need a relatively small turning circle. Relatively always in relation to the total length of the bike, which is still about 2.7 metres.
In addition to steering and turning, parking is one of the points where you can see how much thought a manufacturer puts into its cargo bike. In this case, a lot of energy seems to have gone into designing a stand that is easy to operate and at the same time performs reliably. From a footrest, a long lever leads forward underneath the cargo bed. By pressing down on the rest, one pedestal on the left and one on the right at the front ends of the cargo bed fold down and securely position the E-Cargo. Together, a pneumatic spring and the longer lever facilitate the process. Presumably, this can be mastered successfully even with less effort. You can also lock the stand in this position. It can only be folded back in when a small lock is released. In our opinion, this is an imaginative alternative to the frame lock that prevents thieves from simply rolling the bike away.
What would you like?
Like other manufacturers, Cluuv also relies on a modular design for its cargo bike. The basis for this is the E-Cargo in its simplest version, i.e. with a bare platform. Several airline rails are built into its base plate. You can mount straps, hooks and other accessories in these to secure your cargo. This “flatbed” version of the Cluuv E-Cargo is also the ideal starting point for those who are thinking of a customised build. The area you can work with measures 70 centimetres in length and 50 centimetres in width. It is approved for a maximum load of 70 kilograms.
If you don’t necessarily want a flat platform, you could go for the “box” version. As the name suggests, the cargo area has a kind of flat tub with side walls about 25 centimetres high. This provides a certain amount of lateral support for objects. Shopping stowed in bags or loose items should fit in there well.
For taking children along, you need the “Kids Cabin” setup. Its lower part is the box. It also has low walls for the front and back of the cargo area. Rails protrude from both constructions, over which an optional rain cover can be stretched.
Designed for children
Apart from that, the cabin is empty for the time being. You can fill it with a maximum of three ergonomically shaped child seats. Two of the small passengers would then sit in the rear in the direction of travel and one in the front against the direction of travel. The seats, made of textile, hang from a sturdy seat frame. This means that the little ones will notice much less of the jolting over rough cobblestones or the bouncing caused by steps. The pictures show how high the backrests of the seats are shaped, which should ensure a comfortable sitting position.
You are free to choose the number of seats. We have described the variant with three seats. Two fit next to each other in the back. Or you let the children sit opposite to each other and install one in the front. To go for only one seat is also possible, of course. Thanks to the airline rails, it can be mounted in the middle of the cargo area as well. You can also use the rails to determine how far forward or back, in relation to the length of the cargo area, the children sit. Storage space can be left in front and behind.
Going full tilt with Bosch Smart System
In terms of the drive system, there are far fewer options. However, we are complaining at a high level here. For what is available meets the highest demands. For the first time, we have come across a cargo bike that is equipped with the Bosch Smart System. With the Performance Line CX, this now means a highly powerful motor in combination with the largest battery available from Bosch and a display suitable for navigation. For the future, it is above all the promise of a multitude of smart functions that Bosch wants to provide in the eBike Flow app.
When it comes to the battery, Cluuv has even kept an eye on the space for a second battery and opened the door for a capacity of a mighty 1,500 watt-hours. Two metal housings are mounted under the cargo platform, in which the batteries are placed on sleds. If the bike is parked via the bike stand, you can easily remove and charge both batteries from the direction of the front wheel – even if the E-Cargo is fully loaded at the time. Alternatively, you can use the charging socket on the motor housing.
Genuine premium goods
The other drive components are comparably luxurious. The cargo bike-compatible version of the stepless Enviolo gearing is installed in the rear wheel hub. You can even choose between the manual and automatic versions. In addition, there is a Gates belt drive and high-quality CMe brakes with four brake pistons from Magura. There is hardly a wish left unfulfilled.
Ok, maybe the wish for enough change to be able to pay for it in the end. In terms of price, Cluuv jumps right in and competes with the Ca Go FS 200 or the Load 75 from Riese & Müller. The manufacturer probably considers itself to be in this league. The bike and components at least don’t need to shy away from comparison. Accordingly, the starting price for the E-Cargo with “Flatbed” is 7,619 euros. Cluuv will announce the exact prices for the accessories in the coming weeks.
This variant should be available from April 2022. The launch of further versions is planned for June.
Cluuv E-Cargo 2022 at a glance
- Frame: Aluminium
- Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX
- Battery: Bosch PowerTube 750
- Display: Bosch Kiox 300
- Drive train: Enviolo Cargo
- Suspension fork: SR Suntour Mobie
- Brakes: Magura CMe
- Tyres: Schwalbe Pick-Up
- Length: 269 cm
- Weight: 45 kg
- Maximum permitted total weight: 240 kg
- Price: from 7.619 Euro
Pictures: Cluuv GmbH