Mark Sutton, Cycling Electric Editor, reflects on his Estarli E-cargo adventures over the winter.
“My own experiments with the Estarli Longtail were wide-ranging over the course of my review. There were ‘dog walks’ – that is carrying my partner and making the dog work double-hard on its walk. There was too the delivery of my family’s Christmas gifts on the cargo basket, complete with rider in Santa hat. Best of all, I had some pretty entertaining rides with friends perched on the padded seats out back, just riding along, chatting and making drop offs. I’d be hard pressed to pick a bike I’ve had more fun on in recent memory and largely that’s down to the versatility offered”.
On the technical side of things, Mark concluded that the Estarli Longtail offered people impressively high spec for the price. He said, “the crux of why this bike appeals from the off is the value that’s packed into the sub £3,000 price tag. Nowhere is that more obvious than the Enviolo CVT stepless gearhub, which with a smooth rotation of a grip-based shifter will glide up and down gears silently and without resistance. For a bike like this it’s the dream scenario as you can very quickly drop to a low gear if faced with a sudden stall or sharp hill”.
“Backed up by the Bafang m400 motor, a unit that I’ve rated highly in previous tests, you have a pairing that is really well matched for the required range and power output to haul a fully loaded bike up most inclines with ease. Out of curiosity for this bike’s limits, I took it to a local 10% incline with a small load, on a wet day, and pointed it upwards. I had no complaints with the progress made up the hill and the large volume tyres only helped with the traction”.
As well as the family setup, the Cycling Electric Editor tested out the cargo cage setup too. He said, “The beautiful thing about a cargo bike is that, more than any other kind of bike before it, you can really make it your own. I would say that, if you’re a business user, you could happily rely on this bike for some light work of moving packages over short distances and the rear tray will carry 90kg. You can get a further 20kg on the front rack”.
His focus, however, was on how the longtail rode with passengers on the back. After all, he said, “this work is to be applauded; we really have to find better options for taking the kids to school rather than subjecting them to an unstimulating, traffic-burdened journey”.
Mark rode a range of passengers around Hertfordshire: “Loaded up with a passenger I couldn’t say there was any noticeable difference in the handling and from the passengers point of view, such was the level of comfort there was a little side-saddle riding. This is a critical point for a bike of this style, as adding unpredictable weight can be very undesirable, but the Estarli Longtail felt balanced and, thanks to the 80Nm of torque from the mid-motor, able to progress without any major lag in its performance. I was too impressed with the battery, coming back from several rides with more in the tank than I had anticipated.”
“Estarli has made the accessories experience as modular as possible and you can indeed mix up both child carriage and luggage carriage if you’re utilising the cage setup. Here you can have a child seat up front and store bags behind. This does make the Estarli Longtail great for the school run, though that’s not something I personally did for this review.”
“Something that I really did love, is the quick release system on the padded seats. Here a small latch clips quickly into a right-sized hole in the frame, subsequently able to be pinned with a finger twist bolt. This made it incredibly easy to swap out accessories.”
To conclude, Mark said, “by now you’ll have got the feeling that I had a lot of fun on this bike. The value is undeniable too, which personally speaking brings me into the sphere of wanting to own a bike like this for the first time.”