Denmark and cycling – that matches perfectly. Cyclists enjoy cult status among the people in the country. Copenhagen is regarded worldwide as a model for a functioning cycling system in a big city. And brands like “Larry vs Harry” or “Omnium” have had a significant impact on the cargo bike segment. Now a company from the northern neighbours of Germany is proving that this is by no means the end of the story.
With its iconic folding ebikes, Mate is surely familiar to some of you. Eye-catching frame with massive main tube that could almost be called a plank. Only 20 inch fat tyres. Innovative shock integrated into the seat stay. Now it surely clicks here and there. The same company from Copenhagen has now presented a three-wheeled cargo bike. It goes by the name of SUV. Will this prove to be a clever naming choice in the long run? But that’s just by the way.
In any case, we can say that the manufacturer is entering uncharted territory. Support comes from the Zanzotti design studio in Munich. There, at the beginning of 2021, the search began for a form in which Mate recognises itself, which is functional and at the same time represents a certain lifestyle. Chief designer Christian Zanzotti seems to have found plenty to like about the work. “The design of the Mate SUV was an exciting process, marked by many challenges,” he explains.
That Zanzotti is able to successfully take on such challenges is shown by a having a look at the clientele, who have made use of precisely this ability before. Big names like Audi, BMW and the Durst Group appear among the references. The studio also has experience in the two-wheeler sector. For example, the Piabike from Unu Motors or the Pedal from Vässla are based on ideas from Zanzotti. This is particularly conceivable in the case of the Vässla ebike. If you juxtapose it with Mate’s SUV, a certain kinship in spirit clearly emerges.
Waste as raw material
In terms of its concept, with two wheels on the front axle and one on the rear, comparisons with the Calderas by Sblocs, the MK1-E by Butchers & Bicycles or the F3 by Fiil are of course more obvious. What they all have in common, for example, is the restriction to a single frame size. Mate states that people with a body height between 1.60 metres and 2.10 metres would get along well with the cargo bike.
The frame is made largely from recycled aluminium. Mate even puts the proportion at 90 per cent. This minimises the harmful effects on the environment, such as those caused by the mining of bauxite ore as a raw material for aluminium production or by the high greenhouse gas emissions during production. The frame, which has been ecologically upgraded in this way, features wheels of different sizes. At 24 inches, the rear one is significantly larger than the two front ones, which measure only 20 inches. As a result, the SUV lowers a little towards the front. This ensures, among other things, that the cargo box placed at the front, including the loading sill, gets a little lower.
Cargo space or passenger cabin?
The box combines aluminium and PU foam. This mix is intended to minimise the vibrations that occur during riding. A steel railing runs along the upper edge, which additionally stabilises the cargo box. The manufacturer expects this to increase safety in the event of an accident. To avoid such things from happening, an LED bar has been incorporated in the middle of the Cargobox on the outside. This emits a red light to the rear and a white light to the front. In this way, you are always clearly visible in traffic. Besides, the design is a real eye-catcher. However, this is not yet sufficient for the guidelines of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO). Therefore, there are another two front lights and two rear lights that comply with the StvZo.
With a volume of 210 litres, the box is large enough to accommodate two children, one adult or four crates of drinks. It’s not so important which purpose you have in mind first and foremost. Mate has designed the box to be modular. This means that with the help of the appropriate accessories you can change from a family vehicle to a workhorse and back again.
Cargo bike with a wing
A key piece of the puzzle in this modular design is a collar made of PU foam. It sits on top of the box at the height of the LED strip and thus raises the side wall. To prevent this from making it unnecessarily difficult to load objects or for children to get into the transport box later, this collar can be folded upwards. Mate refers to this as its Wing Technology.
To cap it all, the manufacterer adds two more things. Firstly, there is to be a lid that protects the contents of the box against the weather and at the same time prevents anything from falling out. The second option is a canopy that keeps the passengers warm and dry. Given the pictures we have seen so far, it seems likely that you will be able to attach this accessory to the box with straps. As for the canopy, we assume it will be a quite sturdy version that probably cannot be folded up easily.
When the motor is subordinate to the design
Mate is still keeping a relatively low profile when it comes to the details of the drive. What is clear is that the built-in mid-mounted motor comes from Brose, provides the usual 250 watts and has a torque of 90 Newton metres. The way it is integrated seems somewhat unusual. Mate has installed the motor vertically instead of horizontally. Presumably, this approach proved advantageous for the design because, among other things, the chain stays and thus the wheelbase can be shortened. Haibike has shown something comparable with the drive unit of the Fazua Ride 60 on the Lyke e-mountain bike.
In any case, you’ll need the high torque. With its kerb weight of 49 kilograms, the SUV tends to be somewhat heavier than comparable cargo bikes. The difference to the Sblocs Calderas, for example, is around eleven kilograms. However, Mate’s model is also 15 centimetres longer and about 20 centimetres wider.
Equipment not yet completely defined
The gears are an automatic stepless hub gear from Enviolo. The exact model has not yet been decided. The same applies to the battery. The manufacturer and the capacity are still question marks. The only thing Mate dares to reveal is the range, which is set at 100 kilometres. That points to a very large battery. Or a solution with two batteries.
You can operate the electric drive later via app. A 4G interface is integrated into the SUV. This enables functions such as live tracking, route planning, checking the remaining range and activating an anti-theft device including an alarm.
Mate entices pre-orders with discount
Details of this and other specifications will be provided by Mate over the next few months. There is still some time before the SUV actually goes on sale. As things stand, the manufacturer wants to deliver the first bikes in September 2023. If you want to be among them and also save on the price, you have to pre-order a copy. If you do so by 31 January 2023, you will pay a one-time fee of 49 euros. In return, you get a 20 per cent discount on the announced purchase price of 6,499 euros.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you exactly which model you are pre-ordering. As far as we know, you can decide for yourself later. It is already clear that Mate will offer the SUV in four colours: Canopy Glow, Dark Solace. Deep Voyage and Sahara Blaze. There is also the cargo box to decide on. And there are apparently several options for the mudguards and tyres, including a configuration with knobby tyres that does without mudguards.
Mate SUV e-cargo bike at a glance
- Motor: Brose
- Battery: n.a.
- Display: n.a.
- Drivetrain: Enviolo Automatiq
- Brakes: hydraulic disc brakes
- Length: 2,200 mm
- Width: 920 mm
- Weight: 49 kg
- Maximum payload cargo box: n.a.
- Maximum permitted total weight: n.a.
- Price: from 6.499 Euro
Pictures: Mate.Bike Internationale ApS