If you’re like most people, you wear a lot of hats. Sometimes you have to drop off kids at school; other times you’re a courier picking up groceries and running errands. Sometimes you’re a commuter headed to work, and sometimes you need to carry a picnic basket, a kid and a surfboard to the beach for a relaxing day. For all the hats you wear and things you do, the Benno Bikes Boost E 10D CX provides the right cargo configuration, making it possibly the perfect e-bike solution for all your needs.
The brainchild of Benno Baenziger—one of the founders of Electra bikes, the popular cruiser line known for great designs and beautiful color options—Benno Bikes aims to bring a similar approach of great design and fun colors to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes. Benno coined the term “Etility” to sum up his bikes’ goals: to blend ride quality with great looks and the ability to haul cargo.
The focus on functional and adjustable cargo shines through in the Boost E 10D CX. With a large rack on the back, an optional utility rack on the front, and a longer wheelbase that provides more area for hauling gear, this bike’s intent as a cargo bike is immediately clear. But it’s no behemoth. It’s just big enough to hold just about anything most riders would need, but remains approachable, unlike some cargo bike designs which can become unwieldy and intimidating in their size (either stretching out very long, or taking up much more width than a standard bike).
To say that this bike is infinitely configurable would be a stretch, but only just so. There are an impressive number of cargo carrying configurations available, from front and rear racks, to seats for infants and children, to various sized rack bags and panniers and even a surfboard mount. This adjustability has already made this bike a choice for everyone from parents of young kids to professionals like Air Zermatt helicopter rescue in Switzerland, who use it instead of cars for ground transportation.
Our test bike came with a front rack rated for 45 pounds and a rear rack rated for 130 pounds. That gave us more than enough weight capacity and cargo space to install some panniers and grab groceries and do a couple more errands on the same trip. For our needs we never had to worry about exceeding weight limits: All in, between the bike’s own weight, the rider and cargo, the bike can handle a hefty 440 pounds. Anyone needing to haul more weight is going to be the exception.
Quiet, Peppy Ride and Easy Maneuverability
The Boost E comes with three different possible Bosch motors. Ours came with the Performance CX motor which provides a boost of up to 20 mph (class 1) and an impressive 85Nm of torque. All that torque makes for quick accelerations, even when loaded up with groceries or other cargo. With a 500Wh Bosch battery, this bike can go about 20 miles to 25 miles when riding exclusively on the highest assist setting. Riding in a more conservative setting, the range expands to over 60 miles. The Boost E also features a noticeably quiet ride, even compared to other bikes using a Bosch motor.
The smaller 24” wheels are a great choice on this bike, keeping it maneuverable despite the long wheelbase. Paired with wide 2.6” tires that can be ridden at a lower pressure, this bike offers a smooth ride and could take you down some dirt or light gravel roads if the day’s plans call for it. And despite being a cargo workhorse, this bike works really well as a solution for commuters less concerned with hauling gear but who still like the option to every now and then.
The Boost E is a one-size-fits-all frame, which we initially thought could be an issue, but it’s very well executed. In our testing, a rider standing six feet tall can comfortably ride this bike, as can someone in the mid five-feet range. And Benno says riders down to 5’1” can fit the bike. The bike offers a comfy, more upright position as well as handlebars that can adjust back or forth for a better fit across a range of rider heights.
As a testament to this bike’s excellent design, we could really only find nit-picky flaws with it. The Supernova lights are mounted on the fenders, which makes them feel a little less secure (though we like that lights come standard). And we would like to see a double kickstand, an optional upgrade, come standard because it would make loading up the bike, especially with an uneven load or precious cargo like kids, much easier. And again, that feature is available as an upgrade. Overall, what we love about this bike outweighs any shortcomings by an order of magnitude. It’s a thoughtfully made e-cargo bike that you can re-configure as your life changes.
Weight: 65 pounds
Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 10-Speed
Brakes: Hydraulic disc
Battery: 500 Wh Bosch battery (with capacity for second battery)
Class: 1 (20mph assist)
Minimum Range Tested: 20-25 miles in highest setting (light amount of cargo)
Maximum Tested Range: 60+ miles (light amount of cargo)
Charge Time: approximately 4.5 hours
Target Audience: Everyone from parents to professionals looking to carry cargo and potentially replace a car
What We Loved: Plenty of cargo space with configurable options; smooth ride; quick acceleration; comfortable and adjustable to wide range or riders
What Didn’t Hit: Would like to see the dual kickstand come standard; The fenders seem like a weaker point to place the lights
What We Tell Our Friends: A cargo bike that’s fun to ride, highly functional and easily doubles as a commuter
More Info: bennobikes.com