Leave your car in the driveway and do something good for yourself and the environment instead—run errands and take your kids to school on one of these best cargo bikes!
Relying on your car for short trips around the city or town has a lot of downsides considering that fuel is becoming more expensive, and cars require expensive maintenance and cause traffic jams and pollution.
According to the office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, nearly 60% of all vehicle trips were under than six miles in 2017. That distance is easy for anyone to cover on a cargo bike, especially on an electrically assisted one.
Electric cargo bikes can carry hundreds of pounds of weight, they’re fun to ride, and thanks to an electric motor and battery, you don’t even have to break a sweat doing it.
Here are our recommendations for the best cargo bikes (electric and pedal-powered) and a short guide on what to consider when choosing which one to get.
Introduction to Cargo Bikes
First things first, what is a cargo bike?
A cargo bike is a bicycle that is designed to carry a lot more weight than a standard bicycle, typically up to 440 lbs.
These bikes have reinforced frames with integrated front or rear racks, boxes, and cargo areas that let you transport kids, groceries, and any other valuable cargo.
We can roughly divide all cargo bicycles into three main categories, depending on where and how they carry weight:
- Bakfiet: Dutch for “box bike.” Comes with a large box positioned between the rider and the front wheel.
- Long-tail: The longest type of cargo bike that carries cargo on a spacious rear rack.
- Mid-tail: A shorter variation of the long-tail bike that is easier to maneuver but can carry less weight.
Best Electric Cargo Bikes
- 750W motor
- Excellent accessories
- Hauls up to 350 lbs
Rad Power Bikes‘ RadWagon is pretty much everything first-timers need. It’s an affordable long-tail electric cargo bike that can carry up to 350 lbs.
The RadWagon is powered by a solid 750W geared rear hub motor that will help you reach 20 mph with pedal-assist and twist-grip throttle. Similarly, the 672 Wh battery is a great deal at this price and offers a range of 25–45+ miles, just go easy on the throttle.
One of the reasons why this bike became so popular is all the too-good-to-be-true accessories that you get for $1,899. The list includes front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, a dual-leg kickstand, a wheel skirt, and a top wood panel.
Consider Also: Best Bike Accessories
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon also boasts mechanical disc brakes (a must on cargo bikes), a 7-speed drivetrain, and custom 22″ x 3″ wheels and tires that improve grip and keep the center of gravity low.
Buy if: You want the best electric cargo bike in terms of the value you get for your money. Perfect for families and small businesses.
Yuba Boda Boda
- Shimano STEPS E6100 motor
- 396 lbs carrying capacity
- Relaxed cruiser geometry
Yuba Boda Boda is a cruiser-style electric cargo bike with a step-through aluminum frame and relaxed upright geometry. It’s perfect for zooming around town on bike paths and getting stuff off your lengthy to-do list.
See More: Full Review of Yuba Bikes
Boda Boda is a class 1 e-bike with a 20 mph maximum assisted speed. When fully loaded, a Shimano STEPS E6100 250W mid-drive motor will give you the necessary push to keep going with 60 Nm of torque. The 418 Wh battery takes four hours to charge fully and provides 20-50 miles of range, depending on how you ride.
This best cargo bike doesn’t lack in the components and accessories departments either. It features a 9-speed Shimano Altus rear derailleur and powerful hydraulic disc brakes for confident stopping.
Moreover, it’s equipped with fenders, a wheel skirt, lights, and a dual leg kickstand. The lengthy integrated rear rack lets you carry up to 396 lbs. which is great for a bike that weighs 65 lbs.
Buy if: You’re looking for a heavy-duty cargo bike with relaxed geometry and dependable Shimano electronics.
Tern GSD S10
- Dual battery capacity
- 440 lbs carrying capacity
- Compatible with numerous accessories
Tern GSD S10 is the creme de la creme of cargo hauling in the bike world. Its $5,400 price tag might deter many, but those who manage to stretch the budget enough to buy it will get a proper two-wheel car replacement.
See More: Full Review of Tern Bikes
GSD S10 is quite compact as it rolls on 20″ wheels and has a short wheelbase. It’s therefore easy to ride, maneuver, and store when not in use.
When in use, the dual battery system will give you a range of up to 155 miles (250 km) and the Bosch Performance Line motor will make short work of any hills at 20 mph.
This premium cargo bike also boasts Magura 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Deore 10-speed groupset, and bright front and rear lights.
The integrated rear rack lets you carry a total of 440 lbs of weight and is compatible with a wide range of cargo- and passenger-carrying accessories.
Buy if: You want a high-end electric cargo bike with practical accessories, carry 2 kids plus groceries for up to 155 miles.
Yuba Supercargo CL
- 440 lbs. carrying capacity
- Bosch motor and battery
- Carries two kids + one on the rear rack
Yuba Supercargo CL is a front-load cargo bike, also known as “bakfiet.” It’s specifically designed for parents with kids and small businesses who need an environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to deliver their products.
It has a low-step aluminum frame with adjustable saddle and handlebar height, so the entire family can ride it comfortably.
Supercargo CL hauls weight in a front-mounted box that keeps the center of gravity low for improved stability. You can use it two transport two kids or an adult, or a whole lot of groceries or products thanks to a 440 lbs carrying capacity.
Yuba Supercargo CL also boasts a Bosch Cargo Line 250W capable of 20 mph speeds and a 500 Wh battery that secures a reputable range.
Related: How to Choose an Electric Bike
Of course, you can choose from a host of add-ons to make your Yuba truly your own and make it as practical as possible for your specific needs.
Buy if: You’re a dump-and-go type of person and want a front-loading cargo bike that carries up to 440 lbs. with minimal fuss involved.
Non-Electric Cargo Bikes
Yuba Mundo Lux
- 550 lbs carrying capacity
- Add-Ons available
- 3×9-speed drivetrain
Are you frequently missing workouts because of work-life obligations? Yuba Mundo Lux can get your heart rate up while taking the kids to school or shopping for groceries.
At $2,499, Kombi is also a great option for riders with limited budgets looking for an excellent cargo bike. If you want electric assistance, check out the Kombi E5 version that we’ve reviewed above.
Yuba Mundo Lux comes with a one-size-fits-most steel frame with an integrated rear rack and a step-through design. It has a 550 lbs carrying capacity, which is pretty impressive for a compact cargo bike.
Its 26″ wheels make it easy to load and unload the rear rack whereas the wheel skirt makes it child-friendly. Fit up to two child seats on the rear rack or one seat and a pair of panniers.
Despite the lack of the motor, you’ll find it easy to pedal when loaded thanks to a 9-speed drivetrain, the steep climbs can be challenging, but the gears ratios go very low, to help you the rider push through. Descents are fine, though, thanks to a pair of the incredible hydraulic disc brakes.
Buy if: You have a good budget, live in a flat area, or want to get a good workout while getting stuff done.
Bakfiets are ideal for transporting kids because you can keep your eyes on them at all times.
They are also great for folks who simply want to dump all of their stuff in a box and start riding, without having to tamper with panniers. However, it takes some time to get used to riding one because they handle slightly different than normal bikes.
Long-tail and mid-tail cargo bikes are easier to ride and maneuver for beginners, but they carry weight differently.
To transport kids, you’ll usually have to invest in one/two/three child seats, and to carry weight, you’ll need to invest in a basket or panniers to fit on the rear rack.
Do You Need An Electric Cargo Bike?
Unless you have quads of steel, make sure to get an electric cargo bike.
Pedaling a fully-loaded cargo bike up a steep hill is not fun unless you’re a masochist. It will leave you drenched in sweat and gasping for air.
Cargo bikes can be front-loaded or rear-loaded. They carry cargo on the front or rear racks, on integrated platforms, or in boxes integrated into the bike’s layout. Nowadays, many cargo bikes come with electric assistance, which makes it easier to haul all the extra weight, especially when climbing.
Cargo bikes are more expensive than ordinary bikes because of their complex design. They have larger reinforced frames (more material) that need to be able to carry the extra weight. They also have heavy-duty components that can endure more abuse. Many are also electrified, which further increases the price.
Yuba Kombi is the lightest cargo bike on our list. The reason why it is so lightweight is that it doesn’t have an electric motor and battery, contrary to all other models. That said, if you get an electric cargo bike, you don’t need to worry about the extra weight because the electric assistance will help you pull it.
Electric cargo bikes are cargo bicycles with electric assistance. They have an electric motor placed inside the rear hub or around the bottom bracket and a battery mounted somewhere on the bike. The motor typically kicks in as you pedal and helps you climb with more ease and maintain your speed when fully loaded.
Electric cargo bikes are becoming more accessible, so it’s not uncommon to find one for less than $2,000, such as the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon. However, depending on which features and accessories you want, they can also be a lot more expensive, upwards of $5,000, such as Tern GSD S10.
A family cargo bike is a bike that the entire family can use instead of a car to do grocery shopping, run errands, take kids to school, go to work, or just have fun on the weekends. These are typically cargo bikes that can fit two or more child seats and that have adjustable riding positions for different riders.
Most cargo bikes have a carrying capacity of 350-450 lbs, including the rider. Therefore, depending on your weight, you can expect to be able to carry anywhere between 200–300 lbs. of extra weight. That’s more than enough to transport two kids, a week’s worth of groceries, and a few other necessities.
Cargo bikes are completely safe for children if you take a few necessary precautions. Kids should always wear a helmet when riding on a bicycle. Also, they should either be securely strapped in child seats behind the rider or in a box in front of the rider, with seat belts securely fastened.
A cargo bike is worth getting if you live in an area with good cycling infrastructure and you make a lot of short trips with your cars. They’re ideal for daily rides between 10 and 20 miles (more if you’re fit). You can use them to transport kids, get groceries, or run errands in the neighborhood.
Cargo bikes require some getting used to, but you won’t need to learn how to ride a bike from scratch. Most riders get used to handling after one or two rides. Mid-tail cargo bikes are the easiest to ride, followed by long-tails, and finally bakfiets, which require the most practice.
A cargo bike can be used for a variety of things. They can be used by families to transport kids, do grocery shopping, or run errands. They are also perfect for last-mile deliveries in crowded city blocks. A lot of small businesses also use them to deliver their products. The possibilities are endless.