How it’s made in Germany Photos courtesy of Riese & Müller


While studying mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany, Markus Riese and Heiko Müller started converting bikes and optimizing them with their own ideas and designs. It was a hobby at first, but then Riese had a new idea for a folding bike in 1992. The bike would have full suspension and would fold at the suspension points. In April 1993, Müller read about the Hesse Innovation Prize and decided they’d enter their yet-unbuilt bike. They produced an aluminum prototype in an almost 24-hour-a-day, 10-day sprint. This first bike that would revolutionize folding bikes was called the Birdy. It won the special prize in the competition, and that spurred the two to start Riese & Müller.


That same year they set up their first booth at Europe’s two biggest bicycle trade shows—Intercycle and Eurobike—and interest was high. The next year they found a manufacturer in Taiwan to start building the bikes, and by June of 1995 the first delivery of the Birdy was available in Germany, Japan and the U.S.

From the Birdy, and with their love of mountain biking and the ride comfort of full-suspension mountain bikes, they believed that full suspension should also be available on comfort and commuter bikes to make the ride better on the variety of roads that cyclists encounter.


Their comfort bikes, the Avenue and the Culture, appeared in 1997, followed in 1998 by the Delite. They’ve added the Gemini cargo bike and others since. Around this time their sales were about 3000 bikes a year.


There’s an efficient system for picking components from the tall racks.



In 2007 their first e-bikes appeared, and most were designed for septuagenarians, but the company thought this technology would do well for 30–50-year-old commuters and tourers. Their first electric bikes had BionX motors, but in 2012 they struck up a strategic partnership with Bosch, whose offices are close enough to have weekly meetings with them.


Assembling e-bikes


One of the technologies they’ve worked with Bosch to develop is the Bosch dual-battery system as a built-in option on some of the bikes, like the Delite. Müller says that of all the models they offer, 60–70 percent of customers choose the dual battery over single battery. These newest bikes were the first time we’ve seen the newest Bosch 500-watt-hour batteries, and this bike has two of them—one battery is mounted on the downtube and one hangs from the top tube.

“I think the e-bike is the next big thing in the U.S.”

You’d think dual batteries would double your range, but it does better than that. Because it pulls 5 percent of the battery from one, then switches to the other for 5 percent and so on, it puts less strain on the batteries and therefore gives you greater than double the range. It also extends battery life, since you’re draining both essentially equally and using less of a charge cycle per battery each time. You also charge both simultaneously through one charge port.

Wheel assembly at one of the wheel stations.

The current Riese & Müller catalog has 19 different models to choose from, with a variety of power options, including models using Nuvinci CVT hubs, Rohloff internally geared hubs, even some Nuvinci automatic hubs for those who want a simpler ride. We’ve ridden a few of their bikes and will have a review of one of the Delites in the next issue.

Production line for their E-Cargo bikes 


Last year the company booked a small booth at Interbike, the big U.S. bicycle show in Las Vegas. They brought over seven bikes, and when the show opened, the booth was barraged by dealers wanting to carry their bikes. It was eye-opening to have so much success from that event, and they have been able to hand-select the dealers who carry their bikes. As a result, they are now sold in 15 bike shops in America, including The New Wheel in San Francisco, Espokes in Salt Lake City and Propel Bikes in New York.


Precision is checked at every point. This is a frame inspection. Quality control is paramount, as you’d expect from a German company.


With the electric motors and 24 years of experience making bikes, Riese & Müller now employs 200 people and sells 30,000 bikes a year. Heiko Müller remains bullish on electric bikes in general, but especially in the mostly yet untapped U.S. market where he has seen the start of tremendous growth: “I think the e-bike is the next big thing in the U.S.”

On page 82 of this issue, Electric Bike Action is giving away a Riese & Müller Delite bike in a subscription raffle.

For more information, visit www.r-m.de/en-gb/.