Frame and Contact Points
Ok so the AddMotoR M-81 is a unique electric cargo bike that’s compact, versatile, has great components and a starting price of $1,899 USD.
The M-81 comes in four different colors — Army Green, Pearl White, Black and Estate Blue — and one frame size that will comfortably fit riders from about 5 foot 4 inches to 5 foot 9 inches.
AddMotoR is offering a 1 year warranty on this ride, a 14-day return policy and free shipping, which we love to see.
Alright, let’s take a look under the hood.
Tucked into the rear wheel we’ve got an AddMotoR branded 750 watt hub motor that has tons of torque on tap. AddMotoR doesn’t specify the exact number here, but just like the E-53 we recently reviewed, the M-81 is unusually powerful, and I think that’s because AddMotoR has custom wound this motor for higher torque at the expense of top speed.
The motor on the M-81 tops out at 20 mph, which is lower than most e-bikes nowadays, but that tradeoff for extra torque makes a lot of sense for a cargo bike with a payload capacity of 350 pounds. And with the additional mechanical advantage gained from the smaller 20 inch by 4 inch wheels, the M-81 feels like the torquiest e-bike we’ve reviewed so far this year.
The other benefit of having a 20 mph top speed, which can be reached using the cadence sensing pedal assist or the half grip twist throttle, is that it categorizes the M-81 as a class 2 electric bike, which is legal to ride in most areas.
Since we’ll probably be loading up the AddMotoR M-81 with a passenger, or maybe some decked out saddle bags, we’re going to want a big battery. Thankfully, AddMotoR came through strong here by giving the M-81 a massive 48 volt, 20 amp hour locking, removable battery.
This battery is positioned on the front of the seat post, putting it pretty much exactly center of the M-81, which keeps this ride well balanced. This battery offers a max estimated range of 80 miles in perfect conditions, but real world conditions, when this e-bike is loaded to the gills and tackling steep climbs, we can safely expect about half that range, or around 40 miles.
I love the M-81 frame, and I think this is what makes it really unique. It’s shorter than the average cargo e-bike at just 75 inches, and because it’s a step thru with those shorter 20 inch by 4 inch tires, the standover height is remarkably low at just 12 inches. I mean, that’s pretty awesome. It makes the M-81 super approachable and an ideal vehicle choice for deliveries, or any other use that would require the rider to mount and dismount many times a day.
And I really appreciate that the rear rack is welded directly to the frame. This really is the most secure way to mount a rack, and it’s exactly what you’d want to see on an electric cargo bike.
There’s also bosses for a front basket or front rack that are drilled directly into the head tube and this really is the ideal location for a front basket because you’ll barely even notice the extra weight when you’re in the turns.
At back of the M-81 we’ve got a Shimano Altus derailleur with a 7-speed cassette paired with a Shimano SIS Index thumb shifter. It’s nice to see AddMotoR went for an upgrade here from the entry-level Tourney, but it would be great if we had the option to upgrade to trigger shifters for those who want them.
Now, when it comes to stopping power, the M-81 shines. It’s got AddMotoR branded hydraulic disc brakes with a 180 mm rotor in the front and rear wheels. Theses brakes may feel a bit overpowered during normal riding, but keep in mind the M-81 has a 350 pound carry capacity.
These brakes are also equipped with motor inhibitors, which instantly cut power to the motor whenever you hit the brakes. Great for ensuring you never have to fight against that extra torquey motor during an emergency braking situation.
At the front we’ve got AddMotoR branded spring suspension with around 100 mm of travel. These forks also have preload adjust and lockout, so you can fine tune them a little bit.
Now your riding posture can be fine tuned a little bit too by adjusting the angle of the handlebars. If you set them low you’ll get an aggressive riding posture which is great for getting more power out of your pedal stroke, and if you raise them up you’ll get an upright and relaxed riding posture, which is nice for just cruising around.
When it comes to the electronics, the M-81 has got you covered. There’s an integrated headlight which is surprisingly bright, and there’s also an integrated tali light. But wait, there’s more!
The M-81 also has turn signals and a horn. Honestly though, as cool as the turn signals and brake light are, they need to be quite a bit brighter to be easily seen during the day.
The display on the other hand, is perfectly visible in direct sunlight. The screen is polarized, which cuts down the glare, but if you wear polarized sunglasses the screen will probably look completely dark.
On the left side of the handlebars we’ve got the Independent button pad to control the display and the lights, turn signals and horn. And on the right side of the handlebars we’ve got the SIS Index thumb shifter and the half grip twist throttle.
Overall, the AddMotoR M-81 is a great choice for anyone who needs the capabilities of an electric cargo bike, but in a more compact form. The M-81 has plenty of power and range, and with a rear rack and optional front basket, the options are pretty much limitless.