Best Cargo E-Bikes
When you think of e-bikes you don't often think of how much stuff you can haul with them. You generally stick to thinking about your commute, or the strength of the pedal assist. But there is an entire subsection of the e-bike market that is dedicated to hauling things, whether they be actual things, kids or pets. These are cargo e-bikes and like all things e-bike, are rising in popularity as people look to escape from their quarantines to the beach, park or any recreational place that isn't their living room.
Cargo e-bikes are generally more expensive than regular e-bikes due to the extra framework and modified wiring. Most cargo e-bikes are built completely differently than regular e-bikes, with extended parts or room for cargo containers. The mission of cargo e-bikes is different as well. These are e-bikes meant for leisure with the family, or transporting family-sized amounts of groceries. Regardless, there are plenty of cargo e-bikes options on the market. Here are the top three.
The three most common cargo bike styles
Longjohn.This style of cargo bike is strange to look and takes some getting used to when riding. This e-bike has the cargo box in the front, between the pedal assembly and the front wheel. Usually, the front wheel is at the front end of the cargo box, creating distance from the handlebars and a new challenge for steering. Some Longjohn bikes even have a seat on the back for an extra passenger.
A great example of the Longjohn style of cargo e-bike is the Yuba Electric Supermarché.It maxes out at 32kph and takes some getting used to when it comes to steering. The extended front end makes room for anything from grocery shopping to a box full of kids or dogs. Whatever you put up there creates a weight distribution issue that takes some adjustment. When it comes to cargo e-bikes though, this style of bike is your best bet for a smooth ride with ample storage space.
Longtail.Longtail cargo e-bikes feature a more traditional e-bike style but with an extended rack in the back extending from the seat post that can carry either groceries in add-on baskets or children. Most of these e-bikes feature add-ons that allow kids a comfortable ride, with seats and tiny handlebars so they aren't plopped down on the naked bars. Longtail cargo e-bikes are great for leisure rides with a kid or two and allow for plenty of storage space with additional saddle or handlebar bags.
Again Yuba takes the spot here, offering the Yuba Spicy Curry V3, a longtail cargo e-bike at the top of its game. It appears to have a big frame, and it is, but once adjusted for your height is easy to control. It runs a Bosch Performance CX mid-drive with a 36V 400Wh battery with four levels of assist: Eco, Tour, eMTB, and Turbo. One of the great things about Yuba e-bikes is the sheer amount of customization possible. From cargo bags to seating, the options to create the best cargo e-bike for your family are nearly endless.
Front-load trike.These cargo e-bikes are wild. They are reverse tricycle style e-bikes, with one wheel in the rear and two wheels in the front with a storage container in-between. The front cargo box can usually fit around 3-4 kids or dogs or a hefty amount of inanimate cargo that doesn't scream or bark at you for potty breaks. These cargo e-bikes usually come in at a bit lower price range than the Longtail or Longjohn bikes. The tricycle design creates a bit of instability at higher speeds, so be sure you practice a bit before packing the storage container with kids.
One of the best Front-load trikes on the market is the Bunch Family Cargo Bike. This is a very family-friendly cargo e-bike, designed for more casual rides to the grocery store or the beach. It has optional add-ons like straps for the bucket and an umbrella. The factory set maximum speed of 24kph is wise, though it can be changed to 32kph. It's recommended to stick to the 24kph if your cargo is human. The battery can be changed on the go. It should be noted that by itself, this is a heavy bike. It's 67 kilograms without cargo, so adjust accordingly.
Any one of these cargo e-bikes will get you where you are going and back, with kids, dogs or raw cargo in tow. The best option for your family depends on your budget and needs (and storage space). If the weather is nice and the ride is short, then a cargo e-bike is the perfect motorized solution.
Written by @alex on August 17, 2020