In Europe and parts of Asia, electric cargo bikes are fast becoming alternatives to cars when it comes to urban personal mobility. Cargo bikes themselves have gone a long way in terms of design, with manufacturers becoming more creative when it comes to their practicality and utility. We’ve seen some of the strangest and coolest e-bike designs out there, and the new Maniac and Sane cargo e-bikes from Germany are surely on the top of that list.
The Maniac and Sane cargo electric bikes are the brainchild of German inventor Martin Fleischauer, who focused on two key elements when it came to designing these e-bikes: lightweight and easy to use. The Maniac and Sane look very similar, however, they’re designed to fulfill slightly different purposes.
For starters, the Maniac, the lighter of the two, is equipped with a carbon fiber frame, and tips the scales at just 12.8 kilograms ready to ride. It also boasts a payload capacity of up to 200 kilograms. The manufacturer claims that the bike is dynamic and maneuverable, with similar riding qualities as a road bike. Surely, this can be hard to believe given the bike’s unique front end design—but that’s something we’ll talk about in a bit.
The Sane, on the other hand, is a bit heavier at 22.8 kilograms. It’s more powerful, though, as it gets a Neodrives Z20 rear hub motor with a 40Nm output. Furthermore, its V8 battery with a 626 Wh capacity promises longer range. Overall, the Sane has a top speed of 16 miles per hour, and the same 200-kilogram payload capacity as the Maniac. The Sane, overall, was designed to fulfill a more utilitarian purpose, as opposed to the Maniac, which is designed with ease-of-use primarily in mind.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how exactly the bike’s strange-looking front end functions. Clearly, adding some sort of mechanical linkage from the handlebars to the front end will add a lot of weight. To avoid this, both the Maniac and Sane make use of a unique drive-by-wire steering system, wherein the front end’s rotation is matched precisely to that of the inputs of the rider to the bar. This allows you to load your cargo in between the front wheel and the handle bar, and keep it very low, keeping the bike stable at both low and high speeds.
Naturally, such technology is by no means cheap, and the Maniac and Sane command quite a premium. The Maniac, for starters, comes with a sticker price of 9,995 Euros, or $10,575 USD. The more heavy-duty Sane commands a premium of 11,995 Euros, or $12,700 USD. Both models are open for order on the Maniac and Sane official website linked below.