Bunch The Original Review
Compare to Similar Products
Bunch The Original
|Price||$4,285 List||$5,199 List||$1,999 List||$1,999 List|
$1,999 at Rad Power Bikes
|Pros||Huge carrying capacity, packed with features, abundant accessories available, durable construction, powerful brakes||Super smooth power delivery, stability, high weight limit, massive cargo carrying potential, comfortable, large user height range, tons of accessory add-ons||Sleek design, fully-featured, 400 lb weight limit, excellent stability, dual-battery capability||Stable and damp ride quality, good distance range, quality display, tons of available accessories||Reasonable price, powerful and fast, battery and range, many features, may fit on some bike racks|
|Cons||Interesting handling characteristics, no suspension, requires caution on turns and uneven surfaces, heavy and large - difficult to transport and store, expensive||Very expensive, no throttle, difficult to transport and store||Modest range on single battery||Recall issues, longer assembly, custom 22-inch tires are an uncommon size||Slightly less stable than some other models, lower cargo capacity, limited accessories offered|
|Bottom Line||A family-oriented, three-wheeled, front box cargo carrier best suited to flat, smooth surfaces and cautious riding||High-end performance and user experience combine with the largest hauling capacity on two wheels that we have tested||A Class 2 cargo e-bike with well-rounded performance and unique dual battery capability||A sturdy, stable, and powerful Class 2 electric cargo bike with a great distance range||Great range and power combine with a fair price point to make this model a smashing deal|
|Rating Categories||Bunch The Original||Yuba Spicy Curry||Blix Packa Genie||Rad Power RadWagon 4||KBO Ranger|
|Cargo Carrying (15%)|
|Specs||Bunch The Original||Yuba Spicy Curry||Blix Packa Genie||Rad Power RadWagon 4||KBO Ranger|
|Wheel size||2 x 20-inch front, 24-inch rear||26-inch front, 20-inch rear||24-inch||22-inch||20-inch|
|Battery Size (Wh)||652.8||500||614 (with dual battery capability for up to 1228 Wh)||672||840|
|E-Bike Class||Class 2||Class 1||Class 2||Class 2||Class 3|
|Motor Power (torque)||500W||250W||750W||750W||750W|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||4||5||5||5|
|Top speed throttle||20 mph||n/a||20 mph||20 mph||24 mph|
|Top speed pedal-assist||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph||up to 28 mph|
|Measured Distance Range||19.8 miles||44 miles||23.6 miles||26.4 miles||29.9 miles|
|Frame material||Steel||6061 Aluminum||Aluminum||6061 Aluminum||6061 Aluminum|
|Total Weight Limit||350 lbs||440 lbs||400 lbs total capacity (up to 150 lbs on rear rack, and up to 50 lbs on front rack)||350 lbs total capacity (up to 120 lbs on rear rack)||400 lbs (up to 120 lbs on rear rack)|
|Measured Weight||152 lbs||60.2 lbs||78 lbs 8 oz||76 lbs 3 oz||77 lbs|
|Wheelbase length||83-inches (2108mm) (total bike length)||56-inches (1420mm)||53.7-inches (1364mm)||53.76-inches (1365.7mm)||47-inches (1194mm)|
|Drivetrain||Shimano Tourney 7-speed||Shimano Deore 10-speed||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano Altus 7-speed|
|Brakes||Bengal Hydraulic Disc||RideRever Attack-XU Hydraulic Disc||Tektro MD-M300 Mechanical Disc||Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc|
|Additional features||Front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, large cargo box with benches and 4 safety belts, rear cargo rack, puncture resistant tires||Front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, 2-footed kickstand, bell, deflopilator, mount points for add-on accessories||Fenders, front and rear lights, USB charging, kickstand, bell, puncture resistant tires, smart mounting points for accessories, dual battery capability, deflopilator||Fenders, front and rear lights, rear cargo rack, telescoping seatpost, adjustable handlebars, mounts for accessories, deflopilator||Fenders, front and rear lights, rear cargo rack, running boards, heavy-duty aluminum kickstand, puncture-resistant tires,|
|Warranty||1 year||2 year||1 year||1 year||2 year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Bunch The Original is a Class 2 electric cargo bike with a unique concept that sets it apart from other bikes we tested. The three-wheel design (two 20-inch wheels up front, and one 24-inch wheel in the back) places the majority of the cargo in a large box at the front of the bike. A 500-watt motor and 652.8-watt-hour battery power this model around town. The steel frame has an 83-inch wheelbase length, a total weight limit of 350 pounds, and the bike itself weighs 152 pounds. The max speed is 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assist.
With two front wheels in front and one in the back, the Bunch rides completely differently from its two-wheeled competitors. The folks at Bunch Bikes are well aware of this fact, and they provide a few quick tips on how to ride and steer a 3-wheeled bike in their instruction manual, as well as a short instructional video that goes into greater detail. The video, in particular, gives good insight into how The Original handles and should be ridden, and is worth watching if you are considering this bike. It really is much different than riding a normal, two-wheeled bike as steering and weighting the bike requires a different approach. We found it took some getting used to, but with practice, we felt comfortable riding The Original in most situations, albeit more cautiously than we would on a two-wheeled bike.
The nature of the three-wheeled design results in a bike that is inherently different than a traditional bike. While the three-wheeled design is more stable in some ways, it stands up on its own when you come to a stop, for example, it also feels less stable in other situations. This presents itself most when turning or negotiating off-camber surfaces (like turning into a driveway, for example) because you can't lean the bike itself in any way. We quickly learned that you must turn this bike at much slower speeds (as mentioned in the instructional video) while also leaning your body in the direction you are turning. In fact, we nearly tipped this bike over a couple of times on our first couple of test rides while attempting to turn at too fast a speed with no cargo in the box. Bunch claims that it handles much better with some weight in the front, which we later confirmed for ourselves. Still, even with weight up front, we found it best to always slow way down when maneuvering this bike. Similarly, when transitioning from a flat surface to one with any angle, we found it to be very important to do so slowly and as straight-on as possible for the same reason. We reached the top supported speed of 20 mph several times during acceleration tests on a smooth and flat surface. While it is possible to do so, we found it to be much more comfortable at slightly slower speeds, with right around 15 mph being the sweet spot. We'd recommend riding even slower with kids in the front.
Instead of a traditional handlebar, The Original has a large metal bar positioned relatively close to the rider's body that is used to essentially "push" through turns with the steering axis at the axle between the two front wheels. Traditional handlebars use more of a twisting motion on an axis in the middle of the handlebar, so steering this bike feels a bit foreign at first. As mentioned above, there's no leaning into turns with this bike, and the mechanics of leg position during turns (inside leg fully extended and pushing down, per the Bunch manual) is actually the opposite of two-wheeled bikes. The turning radius is quite large, limited by the three-wheeled design and two bumpers that extend from the bottom of the cargo box. Short turns and negotiating tight spaces are not this bike's specialty. In addition to maneuvering at conservative speeds, this bike also benefits from a calculated approach to navigation and looking ahead so you can prepare for the wide turns this bike makes.
Another consideration is the lack of suspension on The Original. When encountering bumps, large cracks, or small drainage dips at cruising speeds, the impacts can be felt by both the rider and anyone/anything in the cargo box. Similar to turning the bike, any obstacles in your path are best approached at a slower speed to reduce the impacts transferred through the frame to the bike's passengers. When ridden cautiously, it is relatively easy to avoid issues, and the tires do soak up some light feedback from the surface. The lack of suspension, however, is particularly noteworthy for anyone planning to cart around children in the front box. The cargo box can also be a bit noisy when riding with it empty, as the bench seats tend to rattle around, but you can always remove them. Again, this bike performs better with some weight in the front, and we feel that generally smooth and mostly flat surfaces are where this bike performs best.
The rider's seated position is very upright and casual with the handlebar quite close to the rider. There is a huge range of seat height adjustment, claiming to accommodate 5'4" to 6'5" riders. Our six-foot-tall tester had no problem achieving full leg extension with more seatpost to spare. If you are below this height range, Bunch claims they can customize the bike to accommodate heights down to 5'0". The handlebar can also be adjusted several inches to match rider preferences. The step-over height is relatively low, and the seat and faux leather grips are comfortable.
The brakes of The Original are plenty powerful. Controlling your speed is key to riding this large and heavy bike safely, and the Bengal hydraulic disc brakes on all three wheels allow the rider to slow and stop in a confidence-inspiring and controlled manner. The 8-speed drivetrain provides a large gear range, shifting is smooth, and the ergonomics of the trigger-style shifters is great. The tires roll nice and smooth and they are "flat-resistant", too.
The Original has great features inside the large cargo box. It comes with removable benches and four safety belts (also removable) for small passengers. Removing the benches only takes a few seconds. The benches have metal clasps that could be used to lock items inside (locks not included). There are small steps behind and above the front wheels to help human cargo step up and into the box. There are front and rear lights that are powered by the onboard battery, plus extra reflectors for enhanced visibility. A rear cargo rack provides more cargo-hauling options, and front and rear fenders protect the rider and passengers/cargo from road sediment.
The Bunch bike offers a modest range compared to other cargo e-bikes we tested. The 652.8-watt-hour Samsung 35E battery cell provides electrical power. Bunch claims a 25-35 mile range, which we find probable if staying on flat ground and utilizing pedal assist. For short trips around town, we feel the range is adequate. We doubt the target audience will ride beyond this bike's range capability, as two-wheeled bikes generally seem more suitable for longer trips.
Due to the handling limitations of this model, we were not able to test it on our standardized test route which includes extended sections of rough and uneven surfaces and undulating hills. Instead, we took it to a flatter and smoother stretch of road. On a full charge and only using the throttle with the cargo box empty, we managed 19.8 miles with 785 feet of elevation gain before the battery reached empty. Nearing the end of battery power, we noticed a drop in power output, as its max speed dropped from 20 mph to about 16 mph. It should be noted that it was quite cool the day we range tested the Bunch, roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and we would imagine that could have been a factor that reduced battery life slightly. Regardless, traveling 20 miles without pedaling is still quite impressive, especially considering the 152-pound weight of this bike. By utilizing the pedal assist and some effort on the rider's behalf, we expect this bike could push well beyond 20 miles.
Looking at The Original, one might not expect significant power output. While its power doesn't match other, lighter, two-wheeled models, the rider is not rendered powerless. The 500-watt motor with 45-newton-metes of torque is powerful and necessary for pushing a full cart of goods or passengers on top of the heavier weight of the bike.
Mashing the throttle, we hit a max speed of just over 20 mph according to the display. Honestly, beyond these acceleration tests, we preferred riding it at lower speeds. It goes plenty fast for its size and unique handling. Given the bike's 152-pound weight, the 0 to 20 mph time of just 14 seconds we recorded is quite impressive. The throttle paddle has great ergonomics and provides controlled power when engaged. Power delivery is nice and smooth as it ramps up to a quicker pace.
There are 5 levels of pedal assist on this model. As you progress through each level, the top speed increases incrementally so you can choose the top speed that best suits your preference or situation. As with the throttle, the max attainable pedal-assisted speed of 20 mph is perhaps more than most folks will want to push this model.
The Bunch Original is built to carry cargo, whether the load is human passengers, pets, groceries, beach necessities, deliveries, or whatever you may desire to cart around. The huge front cart measures 23" wide by 35.75" long by 18.5" to 22" in height, and Bunch claims the cargo box itself can handle up to 220 pounds of cargo.
The cargo box of The Original has an obviously family-oriented design with four, 3-point seatbelts with no-slip shoulder clips (intended to keep them up on the shoulders of taller children) and space for four smaller children (or even a smaller adult if seated on the side closest to the rider) on the built-in removable benches. These benches and seatbelts can also be removed entirely to create more space for other types of cargo. When installed, the benches double as storage compartments with the ability to lock them shut (with your own locks), allowing you to secure some cargo inside. Plus there is a smaller rear rack that can support up to 55 pounds itself. While many cargo bikes require add-ons to beef up their carrying capacity, the Bunch comes with oodles of capacity built into the design.
Compared to other cargo bikes, Bunch has gone out of their way to present The Original as a family-friendly model. Their marketing and the features of the cargo box make it quite clear that is one of the primary intentions in the design of this bike. We can certainly see the appeal, as having passengers in front, as opposed to behind, gives the rider the opportunity to observe and interact with them more while in transit. Also, most bikes with rear racks can handle a maximum of two child passengers, while the Bunch can potentially handle up to four. While it should go without saying, Bunch recommends that "all riders and passengers should always wear a helmet", and that any child passengers "must be seated on the bench and properly buckled at all times when riding in the cargo bike." Bunch does not specify an age range for child passengers, although we would be hesitant to ride with children below the age of two in the front box given the potential for jarring impacts. Of course, it is ultimately up to the user to use their best judgment when transporting kids on any cargo bike. As mentioned many times already, this bike performs best with a cautious and controlled approach which is even more important with child passengers.
The Original comes with 2 curved poles that slide into fittings on either side of the cargo box. These poles could serve as supports for a rain cover or sun shade should you decide to purchase them as add-ons or possibly make your own. Should you want to add additional accessories, Bunch offers quite a few options. There are bench cushions to elevate the passenger experience, sun shades, kid seats, a cargo net, and extra batteries, to name a few. You can also customize the color of the cargo box (it comes in 4 colors including the Classic Sedona Woodgrain we tested), or even create a custom wrap to add your own style. Bunch does a great job allowing the buyer to customize their ride and cargo hauler to their unique needs.
The folks at Bunch equipped The Original with a great interface. Intuitive controls, a sophisticated display screen, and slick battery storage add to the user experience of this model.
The controls are located by the left grip on the handlebars. A thumb paddle initiates the throttle, feeling more like a familiar shift lever than a vertical paddle. There are four buttons on the controller, which are intuitive and easy to reach with the thumb. Power, pedal assist mode changes, and lights are all easily controlled from here. One of the buttons powers a USB charger on and off, so you can charge electronics while underway.
The display is large, with a dark background and white numbers/data. The speedometer displays most prominently, while other data such as the odometer, pedal assist level, battery life indicator, average speed, and top speed are easily readable. Of note, it's very difficult to read the screen while wearing polarized sunglasses. Otherwise, it's a fantastic screen.
The battery is placed below the rear cargo rack. It locks into place with a key, but it is quick to release and charge off the bike. The main power switch on the bottom of the battery must be turned on to deliver power to the bike. The battery also has a LED battery life indicator on it to check the charge level.
This may be shocking, but The Original arrives fully assembled. At the time of publication, a flat shipping fee of $199 gets the bike delivered to your door fully assembled. It arrived at our testing studio on a huge pallet covered in a large cardboard box. Once the cardboard was removed, we cut a total of five zip ties, removed four tie-downs (yay, free tie-downs), adjusted the seat and handlebar to our liking, and were ready to ride. The tires were already inflated. From arrival to riding, it took us about ten minutes and couldn't have been easier. We did have a large amount of cardboard and a long pallet to deal with, however, but that seems like a reasonable tradeoff for the otherwise hassle-free assembly.
Should You Buy the Bunch The Original?
This Bunch cargo bike has an obvious target audience. If you want a unique electric cargo bike that is capable of moving serious cargo or carting the kids around town at a casual pace, this is an interesting option to consider. One crucial consideration for this bike is to recognize its unique handling characteristics. We feel it is best suited to flatter terrain, smoother surfaces, and conservative riding. If that all sounds fine, then this could be the cargo bike for you.
What Other E-Bikes Should You Consider?
If you don't want to make the jump to three wheels, but still want to maximize your carrying capacity, the Yuba Spicy Curry is worth looking into. Its huge rear rack can haul significant loads with much more familiar handling. It's an incredibly well-made bike, and Yuba sells a wide range of accessories for customization. If you're looking to spend considerably less money, the Blix Packa Genie is a well-rounded ride that goes for less than half the price. It still boasts a power 750W motor and a 614-watt-hour battery that provides a solid range. Plus it can be purchased with dual batteries to ride even further and a variety of add-ons allow you to customize your cargo-carrying abilities.
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