METZ Bike E-PACKR – One for (almost) everything and everyone

Today a crate of beer home swing, then pick up the toddler from daycare, later do the rest of the weekly shopping, then the Filius goes with it to soccer practice. Tomorrow it’s off to the swimming lake, with or without the child, just as it happens. And all this with the same e-bike, which fits into the minivan for the trip and otherwise into the hopelessly cluttered bike cellar – all this is possible? It is possible – and how! With the E-PACKR from Metz mobility.

Metz, the traditional brand from Franconia, is getting started with e-bikes. The work of a newcomer? Not at all, as far as the drive is concerned. It may be a completely new development, but it incorporates the experience of more than a million e-bike drives that have been installed in premium products under various bike brand names.

The idea behind the E-PACKR is refreshing and quite solitary: a compact bike for the city, which is also a cargo bike and thus predestined for urban use, but also suitable for longer tours.

That the E-PACKR is somehow different can be seen at first glance: a frame made of refined CroMo steel, with slim tubes and a downtube battery; this has something of reminiscence and is, as it were, at odds with today’s popular compacts with their bulky aluminum tubes and integrated batteries.

The meaning behind it – a predominantly urban multifunctional bike

To bring such a multi-talent to the market, it needs besides the firm will to do so, especially gumption and a certain resilience against the prevailing mainstream. And so the bike already stands out visually from others “in its class”. It appears rather dainty, no large surfaces, no glossy paint, bland colors. The frame is very stable and impresses with what always makes stable, in a bike just like bridges or the Eiffel Tower – triangles. Nevertheless, the tube shows a certain elegance, it can not quite keep up with a “clean look” of the competition, but it also does not fall starkly against it.

The advantage of this construction method only becomes apparent at second glance: a successful compromise between load capacity and elasticity. The bike can carry a total of 180 kilograms, but the limiting factor is the load of the tires, not the frame. The frame has more reserves. This has an effect when riding, the bike lies firmly on the ground, it tracks accurately and precisely at all speeds, and it remains extremely maneuverable. It is remarkable that a high payload hardly wrings any concessions from this maneuverability, it is almost as if there is no noticeable difference between the states “loaded” and “empty”. This is due to the good positioning of the load mounts, as low as possible and as close to the frame as possible. And it is also due to this that spring/damper elements can be largely dispensed with. The bike is not a “hard buck”, the suspension is provided by the voluminous tires, the flexibility of the steel-chrome-molybdenum alloy of the frame tubes and the pre-bend of the fork. In this way, there is quite a minimum of comfort.

Patented fixing system

To enable variability, Metz has developed its own fixing system as well as the corresponding baskets and carriers. This means that all components can be changed in seconds, even in their position on the wheel, front and rear, just as riders need or prefer. Metz’s own carriers are equipped with larch wood planking, which is beautiful to look at and also weather-resistant in the long term.

In addition to its own transport solutions, the manufacturer also offers stylish shopping baskets or protected transport boxes for small to medium-sized dogs and cats, as well as child seats as accessories. And who swears by KLICKfix or similar attachments, these also harmonize with the Metz system. Trailers for loads and children can also be attached, both according to the Weber system at the dropout or above the rear wheel.

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A solid bipod stand from Ergotec guarantees a secure stand; that the bike is not unstable when jacked up, a steering damper adjustable in the traction force ensures. So the handlebars can not flip when the beverage crate is placed on the basket behind and lashed.

How it drives

The drive accepts any up and down of weights calmly, almost stoically. The fact that the motor is so powerful and virtually silent is probably due to the fact that Metz mobility also wants to offer this as an OEM solution for heavy-duty applications of other bike – especially cargo bike manufacturers, as an alternative to Bosch, Shimano and Co.

And it performs on a par with them, is sometimes even a bit zippier and quieter than many of this power squad, especially under high load. At its peak, it delivers 500 watts to the chainring, the electronic shift interruption protects the power transmission components and can be fine-tuned in terms of its duration.

The forces from the mix of motor and leg power are absorbed by a Shimano eight-speed transmission or, in the E-PACKR 8.E variant, by a continuously variable Enviolo gear hub. However, there is no toothed belt for the drive.

The Powertrain is controlled via an interface consisting of a TFT color display with automatic brightness control and an ergonomically well-shaped control panel, which is used to select the four assistance levels, the sliding assistance and the menu navigation.

The bike is – as usual for the class – only available in one frame size, and the Speedlifter and the quick-release on the seat tube are responsible for adapting to different body sizes. Different frame sizes would go beyond the budget and would also not be purposeful in terms of variability. So the whole family can use it.

Without the carrier, the bike can be carried quite well with just under 28 kilograms of net weight, without the battery it is 25 kilograms. A stabilizing tube connection is also provided as a kind of carrying handle, and it’s not surprising that 163 cm in total length is quite easy to get around the corners to and in the bicycle cellar.

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What else is needed for driving

First and foremost, there are the components, and they come from Ergotec, by Schulz, Magura, Schwalbe and Herrmans. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, the mudguards are solid, the lighting up-to-date, the brakes first choice. The so important handlebar grips are ergonomically designed, the Wittkop Medicus saddle absolutely lives up to its name. Thus, the bike is also quite suitable for touring.

The battery comes from the BMZ company in Karlstein and, with 500 watt hours, provides a range of 70 to 110 kilometers, depending on weight, tire pressure, the selected support level and external conditions. It is fully charged in about four hours, whereby a Rosenberger magnetic plug reliably protects against connecting the battery out of phase. The battery itself is protected and lockable, and can be charged on the bike or removed. There is a recessed grip for carrying it, but it is slippery and you have to grip it firmly if you want to transport it with gloves, for example.

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Practical gadgets

The bike is also digitally up to date without overdoing it like some competitors. Mobile devices can be charged via a USB port on the cockpit, and navigation functions are also available in conjunction with the Komoot app.

Business owners have the option of integrating a small plate into the frame to place advertising messages on it – yes, Metz kept the end customer firmly in mind during development. Instead of advertising panels, a hard case or similar items can also be placed there, such as a biker first aid kit.

Anything else?

Under the heading of sustainability, you can mention that the bike, except for the circuit, is made entirely in Germany or Europe, from development to manufacturing to assembling. Thus, the supply chains are short (and reliable) and all steps up to the finished bike can claim the quality seal “Made in Germany”.

In municipalities where there is a subsidy for cargo bikes, the purchase is subsidized, the bike is qualified and certified as a cargo vehicle. The price for the E-PACKR 8.0 is 3,198 euros, for the otherwise identical E-PACKR 8.E with continuously variable gears (and a minimally more powerful motor) 3,498 euros must go over the counter – before subsidies. Metz offers a list of municipalities willing to provide subsidies on its website.

And – very recently, ADAC SE has included the E-PACKR 8.E in its “e-Ride” program. ADAC members can obtain a discount of 250 euros on the purchase price by providing proof of membership in the club. This is available at all participating Metz dealers and at Metz directly in Fürth.

What falls by the wayside as a wish?

Definitely – a fixed frame lock. This does not secure the bike in the long term, but for the short purchase in the bakery would eliminate the time-consuming fiddling with an external lock, especially with the small wheels with correspondingly narrow spoke spacing. However, an appropriate lock from Abus is available as an accessory from Metz.

Possibly – a toothed belt to drive the rear wheel. It’s not necessary, but it would strengthen the bike’s sustainability claim: it lasts longer, hardly needs any adjustment, and is noiseless and has no “pollution potential”.

In addition – a suspended parallelogram seatpost and / or shock-absorbing handlebar grips such as from the company velospring. Of course, this can be retrofitted individually without any problems, but you won’t find anything like that in Metz’s range of accessories, apart from a suspension seatpost.

The mounting system of the carriers has a certain tendency to loosen while driving. You can hardly lose such an attachment, but a loose carrier makes itself noisily noticeable. So pay attention to noises in this regard and tighten the knurled screw more often – a small matter.

It would also be nice to have an integrated attachment security against theft. Both, theft protection and a solution for the loosening tendencies, are in development, as the manufacturer says.

If longer distances are on the agenda, people with sensitive wrists may prefer a shorter stem with a different cranked handlebar to reduce the load on the joints. The driving stability does not harm, it even improves the control of the bike – we have tested it. But a retrofit in this regard is of course no problem for the Metz dealer or the bike store around the corner.

Prospect

Beautiful and sunny, as far as the bike is concerned, hardly a cloud obscures the light. In other words, the bike has no weaknesses worth mentioning and handles all the demands placed on it with aplomb – right down to the last detail. A few minor details still need to be improved, which is what happens. Metz listens to its customers and responds to their suggestions, which is also a plus.

The E-PACKR is recommendable all around and in itself quite inexpensive. If then still quite hundreds are taken over by the local government, then even more so.

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Text and images: Metz (lead story), Werner Köstle, Peter Grett

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