The Homage is designed to do (pretty much) everything.
It’s a full suspension bike, so front and rear suspension, but probably the most special thing about this bike is the fact that it’s a step-through design – so still accessible. It’s available in two different colours; Pearl White and Deepsea Blue Metallic, and three different frame sizes. There’s also three configurations of gears you can have; Touring, Vario or a Rohloff spec and three different displays that you can go for as well; so the Intuvia, the Kiox or the Nyon display. There’s also an additional Smartphone Hub that can be added on, but be aware that it’s not compatible with the Rohloff option.
There are lots of other options you can go for – things like GX packs and other additional extras…but we’ll run through more of that later.
The model that we’re interested in today (and the one that appears in the video below) is the Homage GT Rohloff. The additional extras fitted on this particular bike are:
- GX pack – e.g. the Johnny Watts tyres
- Additional front rack
- Kiox cockpit & display
So starting at the front of the bike and making our way through…
As I mentioned, there’s a GX pack on this bike. This means you’ve got the slightly more ‘aggressive’, knobbly tyres (they are the Schwalbe Johnny Watts tyres). They are essentially a sports utility vehicle tyre – the idea behind it is that they’re suitable for going off-road but can also cover the road miles as well. It’s a really popular tyre, the other option that comes as standard at the Schwalbe Moto X Tyres. They are definitely more road-based so not really suitable for going and sort of plugging through lots of mud. The GX option is an upgrade from the standard one but is proving to be really popular.
The brakes on the Homage are called the Magura MT5. They are excellent quality brakes on their own, but you can also add the latest Bosch ABS anti-lock braking system on the front too. The ABS system measures the two wheels spinning, and if one of them starts spinning at a different speed then it will start to pulse the front brake to stop you wiping out on a corner! It’s quite a complicated system but is quite popular at the moment – unfortunately we don’t have it on the bike in the video as it’s not compatible with the Rohloff hub.
I add water bottles to all of the bikes that I have, purely just for the look (I think they look great!). The brand is called Fabric and they actually clip down onto the side of the bike. Riese & Müller don’t provide those as standard with the Homage, but it’s a relatively simple change for us to get those bolts changed out and make the clip bottles go on there if that’s something you’d like to go for.
The mud guards that come on a Homage can look like flimsy plastic but they’re actually a composite aluminium plastic, which makes them a lot more hard-wearing. Handy for when you bang around on the bike and cake it with mud; the guards don’t just crack straight away!
Ergon grips come as standard – they are really comfortable and you can adjust the position of them to give a bit more support to your hand when you’re holding on.
The light that’s on here is called a Supernova M99 Mini and it’s so good that it feels almost like a motorbike light.
Moving on to the other side of the handlebars we’ve got the control for the Bosch system so it’s got a plus and a minus button to change the assistance level. The lowest level of assistance (other than ‘off’!) is ‘eco’, which is around about 50% assistance, and then up through the levels to ‘turbo’ which is around 340% assistance.
You’ll find this bike comes with the Intuvia display as standard. The Intuvia display is a good quality but basic offering from Bosch and it will just come with a fixed stem. It’s probably worth knowing that it’s only £140 to upgrade to the the Kiox display, which I think is worth every penny.
On your Kiox display there’s lots of other little screens that you can scroll through and they give you lots of other information; the range of your bike trip, the time, the total miles you’ve ridden, and all sorts of other useful information.
One of the nicest features they’ve added to it lets you turn the Kiox into a really basic SatNav system. You can link your phone with Bluetooth and can actually follow a route as you ride. One last feature that is worth picking up is the little button on the top called ‘Walk Assist’. When you press it, ‘walk assist’ comes up on the screen; if you press and hold the ‘plus’ button then the bike will actually walk alongside you – very snazzy!
The Homage in this specification has a 625Wh battery. It comes with a great four-amp charger but you can also upgrade to a fast charger if you’d like. The Homage with the two twin batteries (Dual Battery) comes with a six-amp fast charger as standard.
THE BOSCH MOTOR:
The motor in this bike is called a Bosch Genforce CX Motor. It’s the most powerful motor that Bosch make; it’s 250 watts but, most importantly, the torque provides 85 newton metres. It’s absolutely superb and, like I mentioned above, you can easily control how much power you’re putting out by using the handlebar control settings. I really think the motor is absolutely brilliant; it came out at the end of 2020 and has really revolutionized to e-bike industry.
The bike in the video is a GT Rohloff, top-of-the-range bike, which means it’s got an electronic shifter with a 14-speed hub in the rear wheel to change the gears. You’ve got an up and a down button on the handlebars; press once to go up one gear, press and hold to go up three gears at a time.
I guess one of the big benefits of a Rohloff hub, unlike a chain, is that you can change these gears completely from 1st gear all the way up to 14th gear whilst you are standing still, which you obviously can’t do with a chain cassette.
Without a chain you’re now using something called a belt drive instead. This belt is made by a company called Gates – it’s a Gates Carbon Belt Drive and the main benefits are that it doesn’t need oiling and it hardly needs any maintenance. On a bike with a chain, especially with an electric motor, you’ll find that you’ll put a lot of power through the chain, will start to stretch it and will end up going through chains a lot quicker.
With this belt drive you’ve got one sprocket at the front to one sprocket at the rear and it just runs the whole time, so you’re going to get thousands of miles out of it and will have the added bonus of no maintenance for it either. The only thing you want to keep an eye on is to make sure it doesn’t go too slack – the easiest way to do that is to use the Gates app. You literally hold it up against the belt and it will give you a reading as to the frequency. Frequency for these should be around about 50 Hertz.
SUMMARY: HOMAGE GT ROHLOFF REVIEW
The Homage GT Rohloff, or just a Homage in a general, is one of Riese & Müller’s ‘top of the range’ e-bikes (alongside the Superdelite) and for me it was surprisingly one of the nicest bikes I’ve ever ridden. I say ‘surprisingly’ because it’s a step-through, so I (like most people) immediately assume maybe it’s a bit more on the ‘easy’ or ‘leisurely’ side of cycling, but you really can take this bike off-road. It’s definitely capable of more than I’m capable of!
The Homage is almost the same bike as the Superdelite but it’s got the huge benefit of having a step-through, so if your concerns are getting on and off the bike but you still want a top of the range bike with all the ability to do everything a bike could possibly do (and more!), and then I would say the Homage is probably the right bike for you.
This version with the two 625 Wh batteries gives you a total of 1250Wh – that’s an absolutely huge range – well over 100 miles – so you can take it as far as you want. It’s got the most powerful Bosch motor, those 2 big batteries, a hub that needs no maintenance and the comfort of a bike with full suspension – the Homage GT Rohloff is the perfect bike for me and I think, pretty perfect for any adventure cyclist that I can think of!