There are so many reasons to hop on a bike or cargo bike, not the least of which is today’s exorbitant gas prices. Although at one time some were held back because it’s simply harder to do certain things on a traditional bike, the rise of the cargo bike has put those concerns to bed for good. Now electric cargo bikes are the new family car, well at the very least, the new second car. With electric cargo bikes, there’s little a car can do that a cargo bike can’t take the kids to school or football practice, load up a week’s groceries or even head to the ski resort for a few laps on the slopes. Besides cost-effectiveness, electric cargo bikes also fight against climate change and allow both to spend quality time with the family.
Remember that when buying a cargo bike, nothing is more important to consider than your situation. The geography of your neighborhood and your regular commute can be a motoring consideration, as some cargo bikes can handle very large loads, others not so much. Also, consider where you will be able to store the bike. If you have to store your cargo bike indoors and possibly climb a flight of stairs or two, the weight and overall size of the bike are as important considerations as anything else. There are also important considerations in terms of battery life and, of course, price. Electric cargo bikes aren’t cheap, but taking that into account, they could replace the need for a second car, and the price becomes a little easier to swallow.
Here we highlight six of our favorite electric cargo bikes for families – three long tails and three front loading cargo bikes (also known as bakfiets). We suggest you do your research, take them for a test drive, and make sure you’re considering the best buy for your situation. You can’t go wrong with one of these electric cargo bikes. But there are differences.
Front Loading Electric Cargo Bikes
Larry vs. Harry E-Bullitt 6100, US$7,200
A popular choice for cargo bike messengers around the world, the e-Bullitt is a high-performance, lightweight cargo bike ideal for families around town with a host of safety features to keep your little humans or cargo safe and sound. . The e-Bullitt is equipped with a Shimano Steps 418Wh battery with a nominal power of 250W and a peak of 500W. 60nm of torque and a 418W battery for long trips (up to 180km). The battery can be removed and charged in one hour to 50%, two hours to 80%, and four hours to 100%. We like the range with this battery. We also like the choice of internal gear with belt drive or external gear not to mention the 203mm hydraulic disc brakes. We also appreciate its narrow width at 46cm, ideal for crisscrossing the streets of the city.
Riese & Muller Charge 60. $8,799
The most amazing thing about R&M is the high comfort it offers, along with long battery life and huge load capacities along with full suspension. It can go up to 28 mph thanks to a dual-battery Bosch electric assist motor. R&M is safe and secure for transporting kids, groceries, plants or just about anything else and there are so many accessories for the charging box. It also has a load capacity of 440 pounds. What we love is how easy the Load 60 is to maneuver. It’s nimble, light and fast thanks to some very advanced engineering. There are two built-in child seats and enough safety features such as bright Supernova M99 taillights and Tektro TRP C23 cargo brake to put us at ease. The disadvantages are that the price is considerable and its downgrade is not automated.
Urban Arrow Family, $6,999
It has become the best electric cargo bike for families alongside the R&M Load. It has padded and comfortable seats, a lower seating position for children with three-point seat belts, and its lightness makes the front loader very easy to maneuver. The Urban Arrow family comes with plenty of accessories and a continuously variable shifter that ensures safety and stops the panic that comes with trying to downshift when climbing a heavy load. The Urban Arrow tackles hills hassle-free with four levels of assistance on its Bosch Cargo Line motor. We like that it’s configured to carry up to four passengers in its sturdy box, the downside being that it’s 70cm wide and over 270cm long, which is a lot of cycling – of course, Urban Arrow offers a “short version”. Capacity is a whopping 550 pounds. We also like the Selle Royal saddle with the handle on the back. The 500W battery with its 15-35 mile range could be better.
Long Tail Electric Cargo Bikes
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon, $1,999
Rad Power Bikes Rad Wagon provides the best electric cargo bike for the price. This long tail cargo bike has a 750W geared hub motor and up to 45 miles on a charge. It’s comfortable to ride, and its high 350-pound weight capacity allows you to carry extra cargo, but not as much as some of the other cargo bikes on the market. There’s room for two children in the back and there are plenty of accessories to choose from, such as a caboose, deck mat and running boards. As is the case with all Rad Power Bikes, the Rad Wagon is very affordable, especially when compared to similar models from other brands. The nimble handlebars, dropper post, and smaller tires contribute to a fairly easy and comfortable ride for a cargo bike.
Yuba spicy curry, $4,999
The Yuba Spicy Curry is a great long tail electric cargo bike for families. It’s not as expensive as some front-loading models, but offers a wide range of attachments that give owners plenty of options for hauling people and cargo up to 400 pounds. What we like is the tail height thanks to the shorter rear wheel which is at a great level for kids to get on and off for school outings, and it’s easier for heavier loads . But, for riders over 6’2″, it might be a little on the small side. The Bosch CX 250W motor with 36V Powerpack 400 battery does the trick with up to 60 miles of range and there’s a speed boost feature. “turbo” assist for tackling hills. The Yuba bread basket is a great accessory that mounts to the front of the bike. Yuba has also introduced a ski rack for trips to the hill, among many other options Excellent all-rounder at a good price.
Tern GSD, $6,499
The GSD is designed to carry two children, a week’s worth of groceries or 440 pounds of cargo, and is a very compact cargo bike just 180cm long, the same length as a standard bike. Thanks to Tern’s advanced folding technology, it folds up small enough to fit in an SUV or truck. It adapts to riders from 150 to 195 cm, so several family members can share it. And, we love how those smart folks at Tern designed the bike to park vertically, so those storing it indoors with limited space can ditch the fern and park their Tern instead. The belt-driven GSD has four levels of pedal-assisted power and can take you up to 20 mph (32 km/h) using the Bosch Performance system. The GSD is also loaded with extras, such as lights, a rear rack, fenders and awesome accessories.