I've ridden some big, heavy ebikes in my time, but this Raleigh Motus 2022 is an absolute unit of an electric bike. It comes from a range that, when you take into account colour options and frame sizes, has literally hundreds of bikes to choose from, so just to be clear, the one I have tried is the New Motus Tour Low Step Hub Gear. Even in its smallest size, this apparently weighs 28kg, so the large one I tried must be comfortably over 30 kilos.
This made for an interesting experience, because while I appreciate practically everything about this bike, I didn't particularly enjoy riding it. However, I am sure there are plenty of people who would absolutely love it. In particular people new to cycling, or returning to it after a long break, and anyone who lives in a more rural area than the middle of London, especially hilly areas. The whole Motus range offers excellent value for money and this Tour Hub Gear in particular gives you an awful lot of bike for your money – £2,600 is the asking price. That's in terms of the quality of its features and in the literal sense that is an absolutely bloody huge ebike. It‘s not the best ebike for me personally, but it will be for a lot of people, I feel.
What I find slightly curious about this ebike is that Raleigh is marketing it as being some kind of wacky ride for fun individualists. Just take a look at these crazy characters in their press photos. They kerr-azy!
This is quite funny as the Motus, aside from some of its more interesting colour options, is actually about as sensible as ebikes get. The one they sent me is grey and features a step-through frame, which really is about as boring as you can get, but even a pink one with a crossbar would still be as sensible as a pair of sturdy walking shoes paired with woollen socks.
For £2,600 you get a full Bosch drive system. That is the gold standard for sensible ebikers, and comes with a theoretical maximum range of 108 miles. Underlining the sensible-ness, Bosch even provides a handy range calculator (opens in new tab) to work out the real world range, rather than trying to bullshit you, as most ebike manufacturers do.
You also get 7-speed hub gears. These are generally way more reliable than derailleur, although it's worth bearing in mind that they are also way harder to fix should anything ever go wrong. Again, very sensible. Despite the enormous heft of this 2022 Motus Tour, the Tektro hydraulic disk brakes keep it well under control, and can bring it to a dead stop should you get in real trouble. You get adjustable front suspension, which is a godsend when you hit potholes and speed bumps.
There's also an Abus lock for the large, 400WH, removable battery, mudguards, a big rear-mounted luggage rack, built-in lights and a bell. Ding ding!
All this means that the Motus Tour should perform admirably for years to come, and be easy to service should it ever break down. But what is it like to ride?
Because of the weight and size of it, the Motus feels extremely stable. It is so much heavier than I am used to that I initially found myself using the brakes way more than I normally do as I didn't want this carthorse of an ebike to run out of control. However, it didn't take long before I began to feel extremely relaxed about riding the Motus. Cycling is never without its dangers, but this bike feels so stable and stately that I suspect the main risk to your life and limb it could pose would be if it fell on you.
As with all ebikes, the Motus is limited to a 15.5mph motor-assisted speed, and I really struggled to get it anywhere near 20mph. Raleigh's web page for the bike includes a lengthy warning not to try to alter it so it can go faster – again very sensible.
Confident in the stopping power of the brakes, and freed from the urge to go fast on the Motus – because that is essentially impossible unless you're charging downhill – I found pootling around London on it very relaxing. Or rather I did until I hit some exciting new road closures that have recently been added to my commute. This required me to get off and manhandle the bike over some small obstacles and, on one occasion, to have to walk it up the extremely steep steps of the Jubilee Bridge. This is not something I would ever wish to do again.
As long as you are riding along on one of the top 2 assist levels, the Motus is the epitome of easy riding. As soon as you need to carry it anywhere – if you live in a flat and have no lift, for instance – it is the exact opposite of easy anything. So that is also probably worth bearing in mind before you hand over your money.
Everything about the Motus is built for comfort. The handlebars give a very upright riding position and absorb any shocks that are left after the front suspension has taken most of the sting out of them. The saddle is large and comfy. Gear changes are effortless, thanks to them being hub gears. In terms of layout, I would say the controller for raising and lowering the assistance level is not very well positioned and hence a stretch to get to. But I never really use that control, so I can't really complain.
The Motus is not exciting or nimble or quick, but it does make most riding effortless. The one caveat to that is that I found it wasn't able to conquer properly steep hills with quite the ease you would expect. The Bosch Active Line system is usually very adept at slaying inclines, so I can only assume the sheer weight of the bike and its almost complete absence of aerodynamics are knackering it here. It only means you need to put in a little effort, should you meet a steep hill on your journey.
Overall, I was extremely impressed by the 2022 Raleigh Motus Tour. Although I would not ride it myself out of choice, and would not recommend it to anyone who enjoys excitement, I can see that it's an ideal choice for those who like a more sedate, reliable and, yes, sensible riding experience. It's also excellent value for money, and you can't say fairer than that in these cash-strapped times.
New Raleigh Motus: price and availability
The New Motus range is priced from £2,199 to £2,799. The Motus Tour Hub Gear that I rode seems to me to represent the best bang for your buck at £2,499.
Please note that the old Motus bikes are also still available at Raleigh's website and elsewhere. However, the New Motus (2022 model) is a big step up from that range.