HAUL YOUR GROCERIES, ACCESSORIES, KIDS, AND FRIENDS WITH THESE ELECTRIFIED CARGO BIKES.
BY DAN CHABANOV AND TARA SEPLAVY, Published: Mar 10, 2023
Losing riding time to run unavoidable errands sucks. Luckily, electrically assisted cargo bikes make it easier to go car-lite or to ditch driving altogether and pedal (almost) everywhere. The latest generation of these bikes are more customizable and offer e-assist and modular mounting systems, making today’s bakfiets and longtails increasingly viable trade-ins for your gas-guzzling SUV. The United Parcel Service and disaster relief managers across the globe use cargo bikes to transport goods where cars can’t go, and it’s freeing to breeze by traffic in the bike lane with a week’s worth of groceries packed onto your ride. Whether you’re picking up supplies or furnishing a room from Ikea, there’s a good chance that the perfect e-cargo bike for you is on this list.
BEST COMPACT CARGO
Benno Benno RemiDemi 10D
$3,900 at REI[…]
Cargo Bike Layouts
Domestic and international cargo bike popularity has exploded in the past decade, says Xtracycles founder and longtail cargo bike pioneer Ross Evans. There are generally three main styles of cargo bikes: long tail, front loader, and the bakfiet. There are also trike varieties for riders needing to transport very-heavy loads or more than two children. The longtail cargo bike is the most agile and lightweight, and it transports cargo or passengers on an extended tail section behind the rider. A front loader places its payload in front of the rider, generally on a low-slung platform adaptable to suit many needs. Last is the bakfiet style bike with its large basket (typically in front of the rider) for carrying cargo or transporting multiple passengers.
To Electrify or Not?
To make sense of the recent cargo bike boom, look to e-bikes. “Electricity and cargo bikes go together like PB&J,” Evans says. Schlepping hundreds of pounds on a bike is great if you’re looking for a workout. But e-cargo bikes like the Tern GSD and Benno Boost E use pedal-assist electric motors with more than 50 miles of range to make cargo bikes more accessible to riders who want the convenience of a car in a bike-sized package. The tech comes at a price, however. E-cargo bikes tend to be pricier than their non-electric counterparts, but unless you live somewhere completely flat (and even if you do), we think an e-cargo bike is still the way to go. The vastly improved usability, carrying capacity, and range of e-cargo bikes save you money in the long run by being more effective car substitutes (versus non-assist bikes that requires more effort to ride).
Accessorize to Fit Your Needs
Once you’ve purchased a cargo bike, you’ll want the right accessories to maximize its utility. Start on the manufacturer’s website: Brands like Tern and Benno sell panniers, racks, and child seats to match their cargo bikes. Alternatively, if your style is more “dump it and go,” bakfiets like the Riese & Müller Load 60 use a single spacious box that’ll fit all your stuff (there are still seat belts for your kids, though). The best way to figure out which style or bike you prefer is by getting out for a test ride.
Approach an e-cargo bike and accessory purchase the same way you would if you were buying a car. Try and test as many options as you can. Prioritize your most common cargo needs. While it can be fun to think aspirationally, getting a bike that’s perfectly suited to your daily needs will mean you use it more often.
How We Tested
These bikes have been thoroughly tested and vetted by Bicycling editors. We used them to fetch groceries or take kids to school, riding them as often as possible to find out whether they can replace our cars for daily use. We also interviewed the product managers who build these bikes and compared them to competitors in the market. Have a question about one of these rides or why a cargo bike you love didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments.[…]
BEST COMPACT CARGO
Benno RemiDemi 10D
Benno Benno RemiDemi 10D
$3,900 at REI
- + Clean design
- + Wide tires help to smooth out rough roads
- + Sturdy rear rack and option to add a front one as well
- – Can only handle one passenger
There’s something great about the clean design of the RemiDemi 10D that makes you want to take it everywhere. Customize it with accessories like a front rack or panniers, or even a child seat (it comes stock with a big-ass rear rack). It’ll quickly become your go-to compact e-cargo bike for running errands, zipping around at the beach, and even commuting when the time comes (it gets up to 62 miles on one charge). You’ll encourage friends and family to “go ahead, take it for a spin” because you want to share the joy it brings. And with its extremely low standover and stable balloon tires, it’s easy to ride for almost anyone. You might not notice at first, but you’ll come to appreciate its integrated lights and the fact that its wheelbase is about six inches shorter than a typical cargo bike (a space-saving feature), but also one that makes the 10D that much easier to maneuver.
Test Editor Dan Chabanov got his start in cycling as a New York City bike messenger but quickly found his way into road and cyclocross racing, competing in professional cyclocross races from 2009 to 2019 and winning a Master’s National Championship title in 2018. Prior to joining Bicycling in 2021, Dan worked as part of the race organization for the Red Hook Crit, as a coach with EnduranceWERX, as well as a freelance writer and photographer.
As Deputy Editor, Tara Seplavy leads Bicycling’s product test team; after having previously led product development and sourcing for multiple bike brands, run World Championship winning mountain bike teams, wrenched at renowned bicycle shops in Brooklyn, raced everything from criteriums to downhill, and ridden bikes on six different continents (landing herself in hospital emergency rooms in four countries and counting). Based in Easton, Pennsylvania, Tara spends tons of time on the road and trail testing products. A familiar face at cyclocross races, crits, and bike parks in the Mid Atlantic and New England, on weekends she can often be found racing for the New York City-based CRCA/KruisCX team. When not riding a bike, or talking about them, Tara listens to a lot of ska, punk, and emo music, and consumes too much social media.
Content retrieved from: https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a25054215/best-cargo-bikes/.