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What does Touring, Vario, and Rohloff mean for Riese & Müller eBikes?

If you've ever looked at a Riese & Müller catalog, you may have noticed that for each model there's a sub-model with the name followed by "Touring," "Vario," or "Rohloff," all varying in price. These descriptors signify the type of drivetrain on the eBike. 

What's a drivetrain? A drivetrain describes the group of components that transfer power from your legs to the wheels. In this case, we're talking about the gears and the shifting mechanisms that are used to switch those gears.


This means that the eBike model is equipped with a traditional steel chain and external derailleur, a familiar option for anyone who has ridden a bicycle with gears. Touring models are also the most budget-friendly, although they do require more maintenance than the Vario or Rohloff models.

Since this system works by a steel-linked chain rotating around a metal sprocket, it is important to properly clean and lubricate the chain every now and then. This reduces the wear and tear (and noise) created by metal-on-metal contact, creates a barrier of protection from the elements, and prolongs the life of your chain.

To learn more about taking care of a Touring drivetrain, check out this article: What maintenance is required for a steel chain? Keep in mind, you can always take your eBike to a local bike shop if you'd rather have a professional perform these tasks.


Riese & Müller models that are equipped with an enviolo, an internally geared hub (IGH), have "Vario" at the end of their description. The enviolo is paired with a Gates CDX carbon belt drive (Gates' most durable belt) in place of a standard chain. 

The enviolo 380, used on most Riese & Müller eBikes, is arguably the most intuitive gearing system currently on the market as a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a 380% gear ratio. It shifts using a half-step, ball-bearing system, meaning instead of having gears 1, 2, 3, for example, you have a wider range of gears, such as 1,1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 and so on. One really cool capability of the enviolo 380 is that it allows you to shift at a stop, meaning you don’t need to pedal to shift gears.

The closed system also keeps dirt, debris, and other elements out, so there's little to no maintenance required. However, if you do need maintenance on an enviolo hub, it's best to bring it into a designated service center. Unlike a traditional chain and derailleur setup, there's not much work you can do on the hub or drivetrain without the help of a trained professional certified for Bosch and enviolo systems.

The Gates CDX carbon belt is made of carbon fiber and nylon strands. Since the belt is not made of metal there is no lubrication required and therefore less maintenance. It consists of a solid piece as opposed to the individual links that make up a steel chain.


When Riese & Müller refers to Rohloff, they're talking about the Rohloff E-14 shifting system and the internally geared SPEEDHUB 500/14. The Rohloff drivetrain includes an index gearing system with a 14-gear ratio and electronic shifting with the touch of a button.

Although the gears are internal, they shift similarly to an external derailleur. This hub works specifically with eBikes and has a plus and minus remote located on the handlebars. Another cool feature: The E-14 automatically downshifts to a starting gear (which you can select) when you come to a stop, making it that much easier to start up again. 

Rohloff is a very popular option at our shop for its wide gear range (if you have a lot of hills to ride, you may want to consider this option) ease of use, and minimum maintenance requirements. However, unlike the enviolo, Rohloff hubs do require an oil change once a year, or about every 3,000 miles, which should be done by a professional.

The Riese & Müller Rohloff eBikes we sell at Propel are all paired with a Gates carbon belt drive, although it's not unheard of to pair a Rohloff with a steel chain.

Updated on August 19, 2022

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