Are you looking for an innovative way to boost your business while also helping the environment? Look no further than cargo bikes!
These versatile and eco-friendly vehicles have been gaining popularity in recent years and for a good reason.
With their ability to carry large loads and navigate tight city streets, cargo bikes are a game-changer for businesses of all kinds.
Whether you’re a small local bakery, a courier service, or even a construction company, cargo bikes can help you reach new heights of efficiency and sustainability.
So why wait? Read on to discover everything about cargo bikes before making an investment in these bikes.
What are Cargo Bikes
Cargo bikes are bicycles that have been specially designed to carry large loads of cargo. They typically feature a longer wheelbase, a sturdy frame, and a spacious cargo area that can be used to transport everything from groceries to construction materials.
Cargo bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some models featuring an enclosed cargo area and others featuring an open platform that can be customized to fit specific business needs.
Discover the Limitless Uses of Cargo Bicycles
Cargo bicycles are incredibly versatile vehicles that can be used in a variety of industries and settings. Here are some of the main uses of cargo bicycles:
Cargo bikes are ideal for making deliveries in crowded urban areas where traditional delivery vehicles may struggle to navigate. They can be used by courier services, online retailers, and local businesses to deliver everything from packages and documents to groceries and restaurant orders.
Cargo bikes are an excellent option for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint and improve the speed and efficiency of their last-mile logistics. They can be used to transport goods from a centralized location to their final destination, reducing the need for large delivery trucks and vans.
Food and beverage industry
Cargo bikes can be used by food and beverage companies to transport ingredients, supplies, and finished products. They are ideal for small-scale operations like food trucks and local breweries, as well as larger companies looking for a sustainable way to transport goods.
Construction and landscaping
Cargo bikes can also be used in the construction and landscaping industries to transport tools, equipment, and materials. They are especially useful for small-scale projects that don’t require large trucks and trailers.
Finally, cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular among individuals looking for a sustainable and convenient way to transport themselves and their belongings. They can be used for commuting, running errands, or simply enjoying a leisurely ride.
Uncovering the Fascinating History of Cargo Bikes
The history of cargo bikes dates back to the late 19th century when bicycles were first introduced as a popular means of transportation. In the early 20th century, cargo bikes began to emerge as a practical way to transport goods in urban areas.
One of the earliest examples of cargo bikes was the Long John bicycle, which was first produced in Denmark in the 1920s. The Long John featured a long, narrow cargo area in front of the rider, which allowed for the transportation of large and heavy items.
During World War II, cargo bikes were used extensively in Europe to transport goods and supplies in the absence of motorized vehicles.
After the war, cargo bikes continued to be popular in Europe, particularly in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark, where they were used for everything from delivering milk and bread to transporting industrial goods.
In recent years, cargo bikes have experienced a resurgence in popularity as cities around the world look for sustainable transportation options.
Today, cargo bikes are used by businesses and individuals alike for a variety of purposes, and there are numerous manufacturers producing a wide range of cargo bike models to suit different needs and budgets.
Explore the Most Common Types of Cargo Bikes and Their Unique Features
Cargo bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each designed to serve a specific purpose. Here are some of the most common types of cargo bikes:
1. Front-Loading Cargo Bikes
Front-loading cargo bikes are designed with a cargo box or basket mounted at the front of the bike, between the handlebars and the front wheel. The cargo box can vary in size and shape, depending on the intended use of the bike, and is often enclosed to protect the contents from the elements.
These bikes are popular for their ease of loading and unloading cargo, as the weight distribution is more balanced than on a rear loader bike.
The cargo is positioned in front of the rider, which helps to minimize the impact of the load on the handling and stability of the bike. This makes front-loading cargo bikes a popular choice for businesses that need to transport heavy goods, such as grocery delivery or postal services.
Front-loading cargo bikes come in a variety of styles, from traditional Dutch bikes with wooden cargo boxes to more modern, electric-assisted designs.
Some models may also have additional features, such as foldable cargo boxes for easier storage or adjustable handlebars for improved rider comfort.
There are many variations of the front loader, including:
a. Utility or City Bikes
These are traditional bicycles with durable frames that are designed to handle more weight than a regular bike.
These bikes typically feature a classic Dutch-style design, complete with a front basket or box that provides extra space for carrying smaller loads such as a backpack or groceries.
They are designed for everyday use, making them a popular choice for urban commuters who need to carry essential items on their daily travels.
Unlike larger cargo bikes, utility or city bikes generally do not require an electronic assist system, as the weight they carry is usually manageable without the need for extra power.
These bikes offer a practical and sustainable transportation option, allowing riders to easily navigate through city traffic and avoid the hassles of parking. With low-maintenance and reliable components, utility or city bikes are a cost-effective choice for those seeking a reliable and versatile cargo bike.
b. Cycle Trucks
A cycle truck is essentially a flatbed truck in reverse – it has a smaller front wheel that makes room for a flat rack, which can be used to carry a box or other cargo.
These bikes are similar to utility or city bikes in terms of their intended use but have a slightly different geometry that makes them better suited for carrying larger or more bulky items.
Cycle trucks offer more storage space than traditional utility or city bikes, making them ideal for businesses that need to transport larger quantities of goods. They are also popular among individuals who frequently carry bulky items, such as furniture or building materials.
Despite their larger size and capacity, cycle trucks are still highly maneuverable and can easily navigate through urban environments.
They are a practical and eco-friendly transportation option that provides an efficient way to transport goods without contributing to air pollution or traffic congestion.
c. Long John/Bucket Bikes
Long John cargo bikes, also known as bucket bikes, are heavy-duty front loaders designed to carry bulky objects. Their distinctive design features a bucket-style storage space at the front, which makes them the ideal choice for carrying children or transporting larger items.
These bikes are particularly popular among families, with many adaptations available to ensure a safe and comfortable ride for young passengers.
They are also a practical choice for riders who frequently travel in all weather conditions, as the front loader design allows for the easy installation of weatherproof covers to protect cargo from the elements.
While bucket bikes can carry a significant amount of weight, they are heavy and may require an electric assist system to make riding easier.
With the endless potential for carrying anything from groceries to furniture, electric bucket bikes are quickly becoming a popular choice for those seeking a sustainable and practical transportation option.
d. Cargo Tricycles
Cargo tricycles are a variation of the Long John design, with the addition of a third wheel for added stability. This makes them an excellent choice for carrying heavy loads or transporting children, as they offer a more stable and secure ride than two-wheeled cargo bikes.
Cargo tricycles have quickly gained popularity among parents who use them to transport their children to and from school. They are also a practical option for businesses that need to transport goods in urban environments, offering a more sustainable and efficient alternative to gas-fueled vehicles.
The three-wheeled design of cargo tricycles offers greater stability than two-wheeled cargo bikes, making them a safer option for riders who are new to cargo biking or who frequently carry heavy loads.
With plenty of storage space and an eco-friendly design, cargo tricycles are an excellent choice for anyone seeking a practical and sustainable mode of transportation.
2. Rear Loaders / Long Tails
Rear loaders, or long-tail cargo bikes, are a practical option for those seeking a more compact and versatile cargo bike design.
These bikes have a longer frame than traditional bikes but are not as wide as front loaders, making them easier to store in small spaces. When not carrying cargo, they offer a riding experience that is similar to a regular bike.
Rear loaders are suitable for carrying both cargo and children, although they have a lower weight capacity than front loaders. When fully loaded, they may feel a bit unstable at first, but riders will quickly adapt to the feel of the bike.
These cargo bikes are ideal for families with older children who are able to sit upright and enjoy a leisurely ride but may not have the stamina for longer rides on their own.
Rear loaders offer a safe and convenient way for families to explore the outdoors together while carrying essentials like picnic supplies or camping gear.
3. Commercial Cargo Bikes / Trikes
With cities increasingly looking to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable transportation options, commercial cargo bikes have emerged as a popular alternative to gas-fueled cars.
These bikes are typically designed with a tricycle-style configuration for added stability and are often categorized as “e-bikes” under the law, despite their larger size.
In 2020, the commercial cargo bike market saw almost 2,000 units sold, with a wide variety of shapes and sizes available to meet different business needs.
From local bakeries using front loader bucket-style cargo bikes to transport their fresh produce to major corporations like Amazon utilizing mini-delivery vans in the form of cargo bikes, these micro-mobility vehicles are quickly gaining popularity as a viable and eco-friendly mode of transportation for businesses.
What is an Electric Cargo Bike
An electric cargo bike is essentially a cargo bike with the addition of an electric motor and battery. The motor provides additional power and assistance to the rider, making it easier to carry heavy loads or travel longer distances without putting too much strain on the rider.
Like other types of electric bikes, electric cargo bikes have a legal limit to the amount of assistance they can provide, which is usually around 25kph/15mph in most parts of the world, although this may vary in some regions such as the USA where the limit is 20mph.
In most cases, the rider must pedal in order to activate the motor, although some models may have a throttle-operated motor.
Discover the Endless Possibilities of Electric Cargo Bikes Use
Electric cargo bikes are a versatile transportation option that can be used for a variety of load-lugging duties. They are ideal for carrying heavy or bulky cargo that would be too difficult to transport on a regular bicycle.
In fact, a 2019 report by the UK Department for Transport found that around 16% of all vehicle miles on UK roads were driven in vans, with a 50% increase in van trips made on urban roads in 10 years, mainly for delivery and distribution purposes.
Electric cargo bikes provide a viable alternative to motorized vehicles for short urban deliveries, as they are non-polluting, cheaper, and easier to park. They can navigate through crowded streets as easily as a van while being as fast and more sustainable.
Electric cargo bikes are also a practical alternative to cars for everyday riders, especially when it comes to transporting children or other passengers. Built-in seats with harnesses and rain covers provide a safe and comfortable environment, making them an excellent choice for school runs and other trips.
Shopping is another task that electric cargo bikes excel at, thanks to their ease of parking and navigation through crowded streets. They are also a great option for camping trips and other excursions, offering a convenient and eco-friendly way to transport gear and supplies.
Electric Cargo Bike vs Non-Assisted Cargo Bike – Pros and Cons Explained
When it comes to moving larger loads around, an electric cargo bike is a much more practical option than a non-assisted cargo bike. The electric motor makes it easier to pedal and allows for longer distances to be covered with ease.
This is especially useful in urban settings where frequent starts and stops for traffic can make getting a heavy cargo bike moving from a standstill a challenge. The added motor assistance also makes hills much easier to tackle.
However, the motor and battery add extra weight to the bike, which can make it more difficult to maneuver and store, especially if you need to lift the bike. Cargo bikes are already heavy due to their extended wheelbase, substantial carry area, and chunky wheels and tires.
An electric cargo bike with a high-capacity battery can weigh close to 50kg, which is much heavier than a normal bike. This can also lead to higher maintenance costs due to the extra wear on the drivetrain and the impact of the extra weight on tires, wheels, and brakes.
In terms of cost, electric cargo bikes are generally more expensive than non-assisted cargo bikes, with a quality electric motor system adding around £1,000 to the price of a pedal-only cargo bike.
Despite their weight and size, electric cargo bikes can be surprisingly agile and provide a quick and efficient way to navigate through traffic and take shortcuts that are only accessible to bikes.
Overall, electric cargo bikes are a great option for those who need to carry heavy loads over long distances or in hilly terrain, while non-assisted cargo bikes are better suited for shorter distances and lighter loads.
Are Electric Cargo Bicycles Hard to Ride
If you can already ride a bike, you will be able to ride an electric cargo bike – but they may require a bit of getting used to. Here are some things to consider when riding an electric cargo bike:
Riding with extra weight
The extra weight at the front or back of the bike can affect the way the rider turns, navigates obstacles, slows down, and accelerates. It is important to take this into account when riding.
Size and turning
Longer bikes have larger turning circles, which means corners, road junctions, and the like have to be taken wider than a standard bike. The long length of electric cargo bikes can also pose a problem when crossing roads or waiting at junctions.
Get a feeling for electrical assistance
If you’ve never ridden an electric bike before, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various support modes and build your way up to the maximum setting.
Understand braking distance
With up to 200kg on board, electric cargo bikes can take longer to stop. Most have extremely powerful brakes to compensate, but distances can easily change according to the weight on board or the road conditions.
Be ready for unexpected movements
Children or cargo slopping around can require extreme riding caution. Be ready to steer into any weight changes as they happen.
Before purchasing an electric cargo bike, it’s a good idea to give one a test ride with and without weight to get a feel for it. Different types of cargo bikes may also ride differently, so it’s important to find the right one for your needs.
Unveiling the Comprehensive Components List of Cargo Bicycles
Cargo bicycles have a unique set of components designed to support the bike’s ability to carry cargo. Here’s a breakdown of some common components you’ll find on a cargo bike:
The frame of a cargo bike is designed to be sturdier and stronger than a standard bicycle frame. It needs to be able to support the weight of the cargo and the rider without flexing or breaking.
Wheels and Tires
Cargo bikes typically have larger wheels and tires than standard bikes to provide greater stability and better weight distribution. The tires are often wider and have a higher volume to help absorb shocks from the road.
Cargo bikes require strong and reliable brakes to safely stop the extra weight they carry. Disc brakes are common on cargo bikes as they provide better-stopping power and require less maintenance.
Cargo bikes often have a wider range of gears than a standard bike to make it easier to haul heavy loads up hills. Internal gear hubs are popular as they require less maintenance and are less susceptible to damage from debris.
Cargo bikes often have wider and longer handlebars than standard bikes to provide greater control and stability when carrying heavy loads.
Cargo bikes are equipped with cargo racks to hold the weight of the cargo. These racks can be located at the front or back of the bike or both.
Cargo bikes often have double or extra sturdy kickstands to provide stability when loading and unloading cargo.
Cargo bikes are typically equipped with lights to make them visible in low-light conditions. Many cargo bikes have integrated lights for convenience and safety.
Cargo bikes may come equipped with fenders to protect the rider and cargo from mud and water kicked up by the tires.
How Much Do Cargo Bikes Cost
Cargo bikes come in a range of prices depending on the type and features of the bike. Smaller “town” cargo bikes can cost a few hundred pounds, while heavier-duty cargo bikes can cost at least £1,000. Electric cargo bikes are typically more expensive, ranging from £1,500 to £8,000.
While the cost of a cargo bike may seem high compared to a traditional bicycle, it’s important to consider the long-term savings on fuel, parking, insurance, and general wear and tear associated with a car.
Plus, using a cargo bike for shorter journeys provides an opportunity for exercise and spending time outdoors, which has numerous health benefits. So, while there may be an initial investment, a cargo bike can provide long-term cost savings and health benefits.
Do You Need Insurance For A Cargo Bike
There is no legal requirement to have insurance for a cargo bike as long as it meets the regulations for an electric bike, such as a maximum motor power output of 250 watts and not assisting pedaling above 15.5mph or 25kph.
However, if the cargo bike falls outside these requirements, it may be considered a motor-powered vehicle and subject to registration, tax, licensing, and insurance.
While insurance is not mandatory, many cargo bike owners choose to protect their bikes with specialist insurance due to their expense, and public liability insurance may also be considered, given their size.
It’s important to check the specifications of the cargo bike with the retailer before purchasing it to ensure it meets legal requirements.
Important Considerations When Buying A Cargo Bicycle
Battery life is a crucial factor to consider when buying an electric cargo bike. The range of an electric bike will depend on various factors, such as the weight of the cargo, the amount of assistance used, and the terrain.
The range is typically around 50km, or 30 miles, from a fully charged electric cargo bike.
Another consideration is storage. Cargo bikes are often bulky and can be challenging to store, especially if you live in an apartment or don’t have a garage. A heavy-duty lock and cover can be helpful in protecting the cargo bike from the weather and theft.
Some local councils may offer specific storage spaces for cargo bikes, but they are not always convenient.
When it comes to safety, riding a cargo bike is similar to riding any other bike on the road. It is essential to follow best practices to safeguard yourself, such as wearing bright clothing, having front and rear lights on at all times, and wearing a helmet.
It is worth noting that there are no specific legal requirements for riding a cargo bike beyond the standard rules of the road. However, some insurers may have specific requirements regarding locking and storage for insurance purposes, so it is important to read your policy carefully.
Upgrade Your Commute: Check Out the Seven Best Cargo Bikes in the Market for 2023
The Specialized Globe Haul ST is a game-changer in the e-cargo bike segment, offering an impressive cargo capacity of 419 pounds in a compact frame at a competitive price.
With a well-thought-out design, powerful brakes, and dialed geometry, it’s suitable for a range of activities, from commuting to grocery shopping and neighborhood errands. While it lacks active suspension, the massive 3.5-inch tires make up for it, providing a smooth and stable ride on most surfaces.
What sets Haul ST apart is its ability to deliver a fun and enjoyable riding experience, which is often overlooked in the world of e-cargo bikes.
While many cargo bikes focus solely on utility, the Haul ST manages to be both practical and fun to ride, making it a top choice for those looking for a versatile and enjoyable mode of transportation.
Overall, the Specialized Globe Haul ST is an excellent option for anyone in the market for an e-cargo bike that offers great value, excellent battery life, and impressive power delivery.
The Aventon Abound is an excellent option for those looking for a competitively-priced e-cargo bike with plenty of features. Despite being the company’s priciest offering at $2,200, it’s still one of the most affordable options in the market.
With its sturdy frame and squat appearance, the Abound is ready to take on any payload or accessory you can throw at it. It comes equipped with a range of useful features, including a rear rack, footboards for a passenger, a center-mount kickstand, and an SR Suntour suspension fork.
The dropper seat post, commonly found on mountain bikes, is a nice touch that enables riders to get on or off the Abound easily, even when it’s fully loaded.
The Abound’s powerful motor provides smooth power delivery, making it ideal for commuting, grocery shopping, or running errands. The 20 x 2.4-inch tires offer a comfortable ride, while the slightly flexy stem may not be to everyone’s liking.
The Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable e-cargo bike with plenty of useful features.
With a price tag of $1,900, it’s the most affordable cargo-capable bike on my list while still managing to offer hydraulic disc brakes, front and rear lights, fenders, and front and rear racks as standard.
Although its total capacity is lower than other bikes on this list, it’s still capable of carrying a total of 300 pounds, including the rider. The e1.2’s compact size makes it perfect for short trips, light errands, and shopping, and it’s zippy enough to double as a commuter bike.
While it can’t carry a kid or handle heavy loads, it’s still an excellent option for those looking for a reliable and affordable e-cargo bike.
For those interested in a similar model, Co-op Cycles also offers the Generation e1.1. Finally, I would only say that the Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2 is a great option for anyone in the market for an affordable and versatile e-cargo bike that’s ready to tackle a variety of tasks.
4. Tern GSD S10
The Tern GSD S10 is the gold standard for compact mid-tail e-cargo bikes, offering exceptional versatility and range.
Winner of Bicycling’s Gear of the Year award in 2018, the GSD S10 is equipped with a Bosch Cargo Line motor that provides more torque and features a walk-assist mode for easy off-the-bike maneuvering.
The bike’s wide-range 10-speed cassette, combined with the motor, makes it capable of tackling any hill.
One of the standout features of the GSD S10 is its dual battery capacity, which gives it a massive range of up to 155 miles when both batteries are used (at an additional cost of $800). With a weight of 74 pounds and a cargo capacity of 440 pounds, this bike is built to handle heavy loads while still offering a smooth and stable ride.
The GSD S10 can even stand up on its tail for storage, making it a practical and space-saving option for urban environments. While the folding bars may give the front end a vague steering feel, this is a minor drawback in an otherwise outstanding bike.
The Benno RemiDemi 10D is a beautifully designed e-cargo bike that’s perfect for running errands, commuting, or enjoying a ride at the beach. With its clean design and wide tires, it offers a smooth and comfortable ride, even on rough roads.
The bike comes with a sturdy rear rack and the option to add a front one, allowing you to customize it with accessories like panniers or a child seat.
The RemiDemi 10D is capable of carrying up to 400 pounds of cargo, making it a practical option for those who need to transport goods or equipment. It also boasts a long range of up to 62 miles on a single charge, making it an ideal choice for longer rides.
One of the standout features of the RemiDemi 10D is its low standover height and stable balloon tires, which make it easy to ride for almost anyone. The bike’s integrated lights and short wheelbase also make it a practical and space-saving option for urban environments.
While it can only handle one passenger, the RemiDemi 10D is an excellent choice for those looking for a compact, versatile, and well-designed e-cargo bike that’s a joy to ride. With its customizable features and practical design, it’s no wonder that it quickly becomes a go-to bike for running errands or enjoying a leisurely ride.
The Momentum PakYak E+ is a powerful and reliable mid-tail cargo e-bike that’s perfect for transporting cargo or small humans around town. With a front basket, rear rack, heavy-duty kickstand, and lighting, it offers a range of useful features straight out of the box.
The bike is also customizable, with several options available to tailor it to your specific cargo needs.
Equipped with a Yamaha motor, the PakYak E+ provides powerful assistance up to 28mph via five power levels, making it a practical choice for those who need to haul heavy loads or cover longer distances.
The bike also features a 5-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hub, making it easy to ride efficiently and comfortably without breaking a sweat.
While the PakYak E+ is heavy and may require some effort to maneuver, it more than makes up for it with its practicality and reliability. The bike’s accessories can also add to the overall cost, but they’re well worth it for anyone looking for a versatile and reliable e-cargo bike.
The Xtracycle RFA is a highly customizable e-cargo bike that’s designed to evolve around your changing needs. With adjustable dropouts that allow you to shorten and lengthen the wheelbase by 5.5 inches, you can customize the bike to suit your cargo needs.
The RFA Sport comes with a smaller rear deck, while the RFA Utility has a longer rack for greater capacity. The bike’s sturdy construction and customizable component specs make it a practical and versatile option for hauling cargo.
The RFA’s fat 24-inch tires help to dampen road vibration and provide a stable ride, even when carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo. While the bike has some minor sticking points, such as inconveniently long kickstand legs and a lack of stock fenders, it’s an excellent platform for customization and years of use.
The Xtracycle RFA is pricier than some competitors, but its customizable features and sturdy construction make it well worth the investment for those in need of a reliable and versatile e-cargo bike. While bags and fenders aren’t standard, they’re easy to add as accessories.
Final Thought — Cargo Bikes
It’s clear that cargo bikes have revolutionized the way businesses operate. As cities have become more crowded and congested, cargo bikes have emerged as a smart and sustainable solution for last-mile deliveries, on-demand services, and small-scale logistics.
With their ability to transport large and bulky items quickly and efficiently, cargo bikes have unlocked new potential for businesses, allowing them to reach customers and markets that were previously out of reach.
From small start-ups to large corporations, businesses have embraced the versatility and cost-effectiveness of cargo bikes, paving the way for a greener, more efficient future.
As we look ahead, it’s clear that cargo bikes will continue to play a vital role in shaping the way we do business, unlocking new opportunities and possibilities for innovation and growth.
Cargo Bikes — Frequently Asked Questions
Do cargo bikes get stolen?
Cargo bikes can be targeted by thieves, especially those with electric motors and batteries, which are valuable components. It is important to properly secure the bike with a high-quality lock when in use and to carefully consider storage options at home, particularly if space is limited.
It is also a good idea to invest in specialist cargo bike insurance that covers theft and damage.
Do you need a license to ride a cargo bike?
In general, no license is required to ride a cargo bike. However, there are some exceptions when it comes to electric cargo bikes that fall outside of the definition of electric bikes.
Specifically, high-speed models that assist pedaling above 15.5mph or have a motor that produces more than 250 watts of power may require a license to operate.
These types of cargo bikes may be classified as mopeds or motorcycles and therefore require a valid driving license. It’s important to consider these requirements before using an electric cargo bike to ensure that you’re complying with the relevant regulations.