Ebike Kiffy Capsule MT 2022: A Trip with the Unknown

You are probably familiar with the chicken-and-egg paradox and the associated question of origin and consequence. The Capsule MT ebike from the French manufacturer Kiffy is a symbol of precisely this paradox. It came onto the market last year. At the time, the global bicycle industry received only trickles of supplies from Asia. However, Kiffy has frames, wheels, cranks, lights and large parts of the accessories manufactured in France. This means that supply bottlenecks are a foreign concept for this company. Whether this approach to local production was already in place before the crisis or only came about in the face of adversity is something we cannot resolve.

Fortunately, for the bicycle itself, this is only secondary. It is a longtail, i.e. a single-track cargo bike, on which you place your transport goods mainly on the extended and reinforced rear carrier. Today, there are quite a few of these types of cargo bikes on the market. Therefore, Kiffy, as a brand that is still quite unknown internationally, has to come up with something in order to compete successfully in this market.

Suitable for goods and people

Really unique details are not visible at first glance. However, the manufacturer has apparently paid close attention to what already works well with other longtails. This starts with the rear rack built into the frame. This approach usually allows the designers to incorporate the aspects of cargo transport more comprehensively into the design of the bike. In addition, such a rack can usually withstand higher loads than one that is retrofitted.

It is therefore not surprising that the rear rack is approved for loads of up to 100 kilograms. At the same time, at 73 centimetres, it is long enough to carry larger items. When it comes to transporting children, this means that there is enough space for two child seats mounted one behind the other. Alternatively, the surface can be converted into a bench seat with the help of two seat cushions. This can then accommodate two larger children or one adult.

Both carriers are adapted to the dimensions of Euroboxes.
The Capsule MT 2022 can be used commercially and privately.

At eye level with the competition

A solid front carrier is mounted on the aluminium frame at the head tube. This can carry another 15 kilograms of cargo. In total, the maximum permissible weight of the Capsule MT is 200 kilograms. Compared to competitors like the Moustache Lundi 20, the Tern Quick Haul or the Yuba Kombi E5, this is massive. Only the Tern GSD or the Bergamont E-Cargoville LT can keep up. Of the 200 kilograms mentioned, around 28.5 kilograms relate to the actual cargo bike. However, the child seats, bench seat, footrests or panniers are excluded from the calculation.

The front carrier is part of the standard equipment.

As already implied, Kiffy manufactures the bicycle frame entirely in France – and 100 percent by hand. In addition, it comes with a lifetime guarantee. According to the manufacturer, people between 155 and 200 centimetres tall can ride it comfortably. You can guess from the almost vertical seat tube that the riding position should be quite upright. Kiffy deliberately leans towards the style of a Dutch bike. This should be in line with the target group. Only a test ride with the bike will tell you whether it suits you just as well. The overall length of 185 centimetres certainly suggests an agile riding experience. After all, a conventional ebike is similarly long. Consequently, you should be able to manoeuvre very well on the Capsule MT, especially with the 20-inch wheels. Particularly as there is no need for an extra familiarisation process, as might be the case when switching to a Longjohn.

Not new, but always practical: cargo bike parked upright.

Not yet fully developed in every detail

The fact that Kiffy is breaking new ground with the Capsule becomes clear when looking at the electric drive. This impression is primarily due to the somewhat clumsy integration of the motor into the frame. Manufacturers like Tern and Co. integrate it more harmoniously with the rest of the design. On the Capsule, the motor sits nice and low, which ensures a fairly low centre of gravity and has a positive influence on the bike’s handling. Visually, however, it feels more like a foreign body that doesn’t really fit into the rest of the picture.

In addition to the appearance, you also have to make small concessions with regard to the actual technology. The Performance Line motor is from Bosch’s third generation and therefore a bit outdated. Those of you who live in a mountainous area will quickly wish for more than the available 65 Newton metres of torque. Especially given the high load you can move with the Capsule at the same time, this seems a little modest. The same applies to the battery solution. Here you can choose between Bosch PowerPacks with 400 watt hours and 500 watt hours. Basically, this is perfectly acceptable. However, there is no option for a second battery to increase the range. Therefore, you can expect a maximum of 110 kilometres. Kiffy is probably referring to an unloaded bike.

Kiffy Capsule MT 2022 in the colour Mineral Blue
Kiffy Capsule MT 2022 in the colour Pistachio Green
Kiffy Capsule MT 2022 in the colour Pearl Grey
E-Bike Kiffy Capsule MT 2022 in der Farbe Yellow Mangou

A lot inside and attached

What we like is the use of derailleur gears. Its ten gears make up for some of the lack of spryness and endurance of the ebike system. Provided you have the necessary fitness. Yet the range of the sprocket set is relatively large, making the search for the right gear ratio much easier. After the hopefully fast ride, hydraulic disc brakes from the British manufacturer Clarks, which is somewhat less well-known round here, will bring you to a halt. Their brake discs measure 160 millimetres in diameter. They could also be 180 millimetres. When 200 kilograms have to be braked, any extra braking effect is welcome.

The rest of the standard equipment, on the other hand, is absolutely convincing. The suspension fork with 70 millimetres of travel rounds off the approach for a rather relaxed, very comfortable riding experience. Since the frame is only available in one size, there is no way around the height-adjustable stem. You don’t pay anything extra for mudguards, the front rack, the double kickstand or the complete lighting system.

The double kickstand provides a solid stand for the Capsule MT 2022.
A nice detail of the cargo bike is the brand name stamped into this frame sheet.
Thanks to the height-adjustable stem, you will quickly find a comfortable riding position.

And if you have other wishes, you might find them in the optional accessories. The focus here is clearly on transporting children. You can order metal made foot rests that make it easier to climb onto the rear rack. The range also includes Thule Yepp Maxi child seats. Kiffy has designed the large rear rack specifically for this model. The tubes are arranged so that you can click the seats into place in no time at all. The available railing, on the other hand, is designed for using the rear rack as a bench seat.

Footrests made of metal
Cushion for the bench seat
Large panels as skirt guards
Bars for the bench seat

Kiffy Capsule MT 2022 at a glance

  • Frame: 606-T6 aluminium
  • Colours: Pistachio Green, Mineral Blue, Pearl Grey, Yellow Mangou
  • Motor: Bosch Performance
  • Battery: Bosch PowerPack 500, Bosch PowerPack 400
  • Display: Bosch Purion
  • Suspension fork: SR Suntour SF20-Mobie, 70 mm
  • Drivetrain: Sram GX
  • Brakes: Clarks M2
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Big Ben+ 20×2.15
  • Front carrier capacity: 15 kg
  • Rear carrier capacity: 70 kg
  • Maximum permissible total weight: 200 kg
  • Price: from 4,599 euros

Kiffy Capsule MT 2022

Background: Who is Kiffy?

France’s bicycle industry was once the world’s benchmark. However, that was some time ago. Nevertheless, Kiffy deliberately drew on this era that began in the 19th century when it was founded in 2015. No wonder, because the company is based in Saint-Etienne, a city where several companies used to produce their bicycles. The regional proximity to the European market is also important to Kiffy from an ecological point of view. They prefer to produce all components locally on short distances and leave as small a Co2 footprint as possible of their own. Kiffy first appeared in the bicycle industry with its three-wheeled cargo bike called Flash. Since 2019, there has also been a version with electric assistance. The Capsule MT, the first longtail, followed in 2021.

Pictures: Easy Design Technology SAS

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