E-Cargo Bike from Dolly: When the Box Becomes a Tub

Along with Denmark, the Netherlands is one of the countries where the cargo bike’s triumphant advance in Europe began. Manufacturers like Urban Arrow, Gazelle, Carqon or Lovens have become the epitome of modern mobility for families and companies apart from the car. The same goes for the company Dolly. In Germany, however, it is relatively unknown. We met the manufacturer at the VeloBerlin in April this year and were able to take a look at his E-Dolly at the fair.

The E-Dolly is as much an old bike as it is a new one. In its first version, it was already presented in our neighbouring country in 2012. Since then, the manufacturer has been continuously developing it, tinkering with details and has won various prizes in the Netherlands for his work over the years.

It all starts with a box

The core of the bicycle is a double-walled cargo box made of plastic. The frame with all the other parts and components is built around it. At first glance, the box may appear to be a somewhat low-budget solution in some eyes. Especially when you look at boxes from competitors that are made of multi-glued wood or modern particle foams. In fact, going for polyethylene as the material of choice is a smart decision. It is relatively light and can absorb the energy of even larger impact loads such as a collision well. For a cargo box that likes to be maltreated more intensely by both people and objects, these are important properties.

Dimensions for the E-Dolly from Dolly Bikes

In addition, the design allows a lot of freedom. Dolly has taken advantage of this and designed the box in such a way that there is no real corner or edge anywhere, especially on the inside. Instead of a box, a tub would also be an appropriate description. It is fitting that the boxes are cast. Incidentally, they are available in one of eleven colours. In any case, dirt cannot get stuck there, nor can anyone injure themselves or anything get caught on it. Time seems to pass the material almost without a trace. At most, traces can be seen in the openings in the long sides of the box. These serve as steps for children to climb into the box more easily. And should there be no use for the box at some point, its plastic can be completely recycled.

Choice of colours for the cargo box
Step recessed into the cargo box

Special cargo bike motor

Nevertheless, a box alone does not make a cargo bike. Dolly relies on a system from Bafang for electrical support. In the past, the manufacturer had not only tested drives from other suppliers, but also installed them. In the meantime, the decision seems to have been made permanently in favour of Bafang. The installed M400 MaxDrive is a motor that is explicitly tailored to cargo bikes. With a maximum torque of 80 Newton metres, it has the necessary power to cope with total loads of 200 kilograms and more, even on steep inclines.

Bafang M400 MaxDrive motor

The necessary energy is supplied by a 600 watt-hour battery. Installed under the seat, it remains pleasantly in the background during everyday use. The only disadvantage of this position is the fact that there is only room for this one battery. The range of the e-dolly is correspondingly shorter. Usually, you can expect a range of at least 40 kilometres, but probably no more than 80 kilometres.

Battery hidden under the seat bench

A good feeling straight away

In terms of the riding experience, however, these will be very pleasant kilometres. For a Longjohn with the cargo area in front of the rider, the e-dolly steers very smoothly, but without becoming fuzzy. The necessary directness is always present. Even when unloaded, it is clear how well balanced the bike is. Without a load, some cargo bikes give an unbalanced, almost nervous impression. This is not the case with the E-Dolly, which sits snugly in the curve and conveys safety.

Cockpit with large display and rotary gearshift

The stepless hub gears from Enviolo further emphasise this impression. Within the range of 380 percent, you will quickly find the right gear ratio on the Cargo N380. Together with the five support levels of the motor, Dolly has found a combination that harmonises perfectly for both relaxed and sporty riding.

Enviolo Cargo N380 hub gears
Tektro hydraulic disc brakes

Private or commercial use?

With the help of a configurator on the website, you can determine whether the e-dolly is more of a replacement for the family car or a van. Instead of the cargo box, you can also select a solid container. It holds 280 litres and loads of up to 80 kilograms. A gas spring allows its lid to be opened upwards so that the container can be reached easily from both sides.

E-Dolly Professional with container designed for commercial use

Those who opt for the cargo box have numerous other options, especially with regard to transporting children. These range from mounts for a baby car seat, for a child seat, a second seat bench, a robust lid for the box to a rain cover. Due to the maximum permissible total weight of 275 kilograms, even three children can travel in the box. Your luggage must then be carried in bags on the rear carrier, which is also available as an option.

Mount for a Maxi Cosi baby seat
Additional seat bench suitable for a single child
Rain cover protecting from wind, rain, cold and sun

Made in Holland

The basic price of currently pretty much 5,000 euros includes not only the bike, but also Dolly’s efforts to ensure that it is manufactured as regionally as possible. The powder coating of the frame, the hand-spoking of the wheels and the final assembly are all done in the Netherlands. Dolly also delivers its cargo bikes directly to customers there. And in case of a defect, a service team will also come to your home. In Germany, on the other hand, you can buy an E-Dolly from selected dealers.

E-Dolly cargo bike at a glance

  • Motor: Bafang M400 MaxDrive
  • Battery: Bafang, 600 Wh
  • Display and control unit: Bafang DP C18.CAN
  • Drive: Enviolo Cargo N380
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-T285L
  • Maximum load cargo box: 80 kg
  • Maximum permitted total weight: 275 kg
  • Price: from 4.999 Euro

Pictures: Dolly Bakfiets

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