Best Cargo Bikes
A cargo bike is any bike customized to carry excess luggage in a safe and convenient way. They come in many shapes, sizes, and designs, typically with a large platform, rack, or basket somewhere. Many families in bike-friendly cities buy cargo bikes to carry their small children around town. This is also useful if you have pets and want to take them out with you!
Cargo bikes also make great delivery vehicles for small businesses or for transporting goods to market stalls.
Utility Bicycle = Cargo Bike
In this cargo bikes review, you’ll be introduced to the most-used types of bikes on the market!
Different Types of Cargo Bikes
- Standard/Classic – With an integrated rear rack.
- Longtail – With a stretched rear rack to carry oversized items.
- Foldable – Generally a bike with a fold-in handlebar.
- Front-loader – Cargo bike with a large basket in the front.
- Trike – Three-wheeler for extra stability and heavy loads.
Front-loader vs longtail
You get cargo bikes that hold luggage upfront, known as frontloaders, or in the rear, known as long tails or mid tails. They both have specific benefits depending on your preference and the type of cargo you’re carrying.
Rear cargo bikes are good for carrying extra passengers like kids or pets, or any heavy cargo. They usually have a smaller rear wheel with a platform above and can also fit pannier bags.
Frontloaders, sometimes called ‘bakfiets’ from the Dutch for box bike, have a cargo box over the front wheel. Some are detached from the handlebars so that they can carry a heavier weight without affecting steering.
You also get cargo trikes, with two wheels on the front or rear to better balance heavy cargo.
Best Cargo Bikes of 2020
Best Cargo Bicycle Brands: RadPower, Yuba, Surly, Tern, Salsa, Mongoose, Benno 🏆
Mongoose – Envoy Cargo
The cheapest cargo bike by a known brand
Aluminum / Shimano Tourney / 26″ x 2.35″ / 3×8-speeds
The Envoy is a cheap cargo bike from Mongoose with a medium-sized rear extension to carry two large panniers. It would be suited to delivering large work documents like blueprints, paintings, and records, or simply collecting groceries. Additional larger items can be strapped over the top of the rack with rope.
The Envoy has a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain with Mongoose mechanical disc brakes and tires 26″ x 2.35″ tires. The rack takes a max load of 130lbs (60kg) and comes with two large, water-resistant cargo bags measuring 24″x16″x6″. This is most likely the cheapest cargo bike without a motor.
- Total cargo capacity: 130 lb – 20lb per bag / 90 lb per upper rack
- Score: 4/5 out of 37+ ratings on AMAZON
Suggested rider height: 5’5” to 5’10” / Inseam: 30. 5″-33″
MSRP $750 Availability – Amazon
Yuba – Kombi Step-Through
A Compact cargo bike
Steel / Shimano Altus / 24″ x 2.4″ / 9-speed
The Yuba Kombi is steel, 24″ longtail cargo bike designed for city riding. The small frame with a lowered top tube makes it easier to mount and is convenient to store when not in use.
It has a 9-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain with Tektro mechanical disc brakes and 2.4″ Kenda tires. The rear rack is compatible with various Yuba add-ons and third-party extra like a Yepp Nexxt child seat. In addition to all that, the Yuba Kombi comes with a double kickstand, integrated lights, wheel fenders, and a Deflopilator to keep the front wheel still when parked.
- Dual kickstand
- Mechanical disc brakes
Fits riders 5′ – 6′ 5″
MSRP $999 Availability – REI
Benno – Carry On 27D Utility Bike
Aluminium / Shimano Alivio / 24″ x 2.6″ / 27-speed
This affordable, lightweight 24″ cargo bike from Benno is a great little commuter with space for some extra luggage. The removable rear rack can carry up to 4 pannier bags but isn’t designed to hold heavy weight like passengers.
With a 21-speed Shimano Acera/Alivio drivetrain you’ll have no trouble getting up hills while heavily loaded and the Avid mechanical disc brakes will keep you safe when going down. Thick 2.6″ tires make for a comfortable ride and can handle both on-road and off-road conditions.
MSRP $1,099 Availability – JensonUSA
Benno – Carry On 30D
An affordable everyday hybrid/cargo bike
Aluminum / Shimano Deore LX / 24″ x 2.6″ / 30-speed
The Carry On 30D is a strong but lightweight cargo bike from Benno. It makes for an ideal commuter bike if you need space for a little more luggage. The removable rear rack can fit up to 4 full pannier bags but isn’t designed to hold heavy weight like passengers.
With an expansive 30-speed Shimano Deore gearset and hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll have no trouble cycling up or coming down even the steepest of hills while heavily loaded. Thick 24″ x 2.6″ tires can handle both on-road and off-road conditions and provide a smooth, comfortable ride.
MSRP $1,500 Availability – JensonUSA
Yuba – Mundo Lux Cargo Bike
Loads of accessories to be added
Steel / Shimano Tourney / 26″ x 2.15″ / 24-speed
The Mundo Lux is a large steel, longtail cargo bike with enough strength and space to carry two children on the back. The ultra-stiff frame is easy to maneuver with a heavy load and includes a double kickstand and front-wheel stabilizer for easy parking.
It has a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain with thick 26″ Schwalbe tires and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. The inclusion of an internal hub dynamo means the integrated front and rear lights charge while you cycle.
- Dual kick-stand
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Weight: 58 lbs
MSRP $1,800 Availability – REI
Surly – Big Dummy
One of the icons of the cargo bicycle history
Steel / Shimano Deore & SRAM GX / 26″ x 2.3″ / 30-speed
Surly is world-famous for its steel-framed commuter and adventure bicycles and introduced the Big Dummy to its fleet in 2008. This stretched-out longtail bike looks like the limousine of cargo bikes, with a huge rear rack that can hold up to 400lbs (180kg) of weight.
You can add dummy rail collars or seat attachments to carry up to two passengers or three small children. Shimano and SRAM make up the 30-speed drivetrain with a mix of GX and Deore parts, with Avid mechanical discs and SRAM rotors on the brakes.
MSRP $2,150 Availability – Surly
Salsa – Blackborow GX Eagle
Fat tire cargo bike
Aluminum / SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed / 27.5″ x 3.8″
The Blackborow GX is a fat tire cargo bicycle designed for extreme off-road expeditions. With its extra-long 4-pannier rear rack and 3.8″ thick 45NRTH tires, the Blackborow will take you and all your luggage anywhere in the world.
It’s built around a powerful 6066-T6 longtail aluminum frame with a lightweight carbon fork and a rear rack capacity of up to 110lbs (50kg). The drivetrain is an 11-speed SRAM GX Eagle with Hayes MX mechanical disc brakes on SUNringle Mulefut rims.
- Rear rack capacity: 110 lb
- Mechanical disc brakes w/ 180 mm rotors
- 1x and 2x drivetrain compatible
- Weight: 39lbs
MSRP $3,299 Availability – Aventuron
Best Electric Cargo Bikes
Best Electric Cargo Bike Brands: RadPower, Tern, Yuba, Surly, Larry & Harry 🏆
Rad Power Bikes – RadWagon 4
Best electric cargo bike at a low price tag
Aluminum / Shimano Acera / 22″ x 3″ / 7-speed
With a 750W geared hub motor and 350lbs (159kg) load capacity, this is a highly versatile and affordable Radpower eBike. The 48V battery will take you up to 45 miles (72km) on a single charge and keeps the integrated front and rear lights running without interruption.
For easy pedaling, you get a choice of 7 gears provided by a Shimano groupset with Tektro mechanical disc brakes. The strong 22″ wheels and 3″ tires make cycling around safe and comfortable, plus you get a dual kickstand and full fenders for wet weather days.
- Dual kickstand
- Payload capacity: 350 lb
- Range: Up to 45miles +
- 750W geared hub motor, 80Nm Torque
MSRP $1,599 Availability – RadPower
Tern – HSD P9
Aluminum / Shimano Alivio / 20″ x 2.2″ / 9-speed
The Tern HSD P9 is a compact yet feature-packed longtail cargo bike with front suspension and electric assistance. The long rear rack can carry a small child or luggage up to 132lbs (60kg). The handlebars fold down so the bike fits easily in an SUV or any large vehicle with storage space.
With the new Enviolo AutomitiQ shifting system, you needn’t worry about changing gears – simply do the pedaling and it shifts for you. Extra features include hydraulic disc brakes, puncture-resistant tires, an integrated frame lock, and onboard lighting.
- 70mm suspension travel
- Pedal-assist range: 26-69miles
- Weight: 57 lbs
Fits riders 4’11” to 6’5″
MSRP $3,199 Availability – REI
Tern – GSD S10
Carries 2 kids – Max load capacity: 400 lb
Aluminum / Shimano Deore / 20″ / 10-speed
The ultra-compact Tern GSD 10 is a mini electric cargo eBike with enough space to carry four panniers or two child seats up to 400 lbs (181kg) in weight. It uses a top-quality Bosch Performance Line 250W motor and 400Wh battery that will take you up to 68 miles (110km) on a single charge.
Despite its strong frame and weight capacity, the bike is no larger than a normal bicycle and weighs only 60lbs (27kg) making it easy to store when not in use. Shimano provides a 10-speed Deore groupset for pedal assistance with Magura MT-4 hydraulic discs for braking.
- Motor: 250W @63Nm
- Battery Capacity: 400Wh
- Pedal-assist range: 31-68 miles (Single or double battery)
- Weight: 60 lb
Fits riders: 4’6″ – 6’4″
MSRP $3,999 Availability – REI
Yuba – Mundo Cargo Electric Bike
Steel / Shimano Deore / 26″ x 2.15″ / 10-speed
Mundo Cargo is Yuba’s best electric cargo bike on their range, and for a good reason. Known as the ‘minivan of cargo bikes’, the Yuba Mundo is a powerful steel bike that can carry up to four passengers with a max weight of 550lbs (250kg). To help the load along, it includes a Shimano Steps E8000 motor and a 504Wh battery that will take you 62 miles (100km) on a single charge.
The groupset features highly responsive Magura MT32 hydraulic disc brakes and a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain. The strong WTB rims and 2.15″ Schwalbe Big Ben tires ensure you have a comfortable and puncture-free ride. Other extras include fenders, a dual kickstand, and integrated lights.
- Pedal-assist range: Up to 62miles
- Motor: 250W @70Nm, 504Why battery
- Weight: 69 lbs
Fits riders: 5’3″ – 6’6″
MSRP $4,400 Availability – REI
Tern – GSD S00
A foldable electric cargo bike
Aluminum / Rohloff Internal Gear Hub / 400% gear ratio
This compact cargo bike with electric assist can carry two passengers or cargo up to 440lbs (200kg). Its key feature is the Gates CDX Belt Drive system that provides a smooth and quiet ride with minimum maintenance required.
A Bosch Cargo Line motor provides 85Nm of torque and the 1000Wh dual-battery system will take you 128 miles (206km) on a single charge.
With Magura MT5 eSTOP disc brakes, integrated lights, and an ABUS wheel lock you’ll feel safe at all times on the road.
- Pedal-assist range: 32-62mi (Dual-battery system)
- Motor: 250W @85Nm / Battery: 500Wh
- Max gross weight: 440 lb
Fits riders 4’11” – 6’5″
MSRP $4,999 Availability – REI
Surly – Big Easy’
Electric longtail cargo bike
The Surly Big Easy lives up to its name, as it’s one of the biggest yet easiest to ride cargo bikes available. The huge frame and rear cargo rack are built from Surly’s proprietary ‘Natch’ Chromoly steel tubing with clearance for 3″ tires and tons of mounting points. At over 2 meters long, it’s one of the biggest cargo e-bikes you can find and will carry almost anything you put on it!
The drive unit is a Bosch Performance CX with an 11-speed SRAM GX gearset and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. On the wheels, you get strong WTB i29 rims and durable Surly ExtraTerrestrial 26×2.5″ tires.
MSRP $5,000 Availability – Surly
Tern HSD S+ Folding
One of the highest-end of foldable cargo bikes 🏆
Aluminum / 20″ x 2.2″ / Integrated automatic shifting
The Tern HSD S+ is a small electric cargo bike with a long-range battery that will take you 74 miles (118km) on one charge. The Bosch Performance Line motor and 9-speed Gates CDX Carbon drivetrain will carry you along at speeds up to 20mph (32kph) and features a modern Bosch Intuvia display.
The Atlas H rack has a max load of 132lbs (60kg) and includes front and rear lights plus fenders and a dual kickstand. Braking is provided by Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes and the tires are Schwalbe Big Ben.
- Pedal-assist range: 32-74mi
- Fork travel: 70mm
- Weight: 59 lbs
Fits riders 4’11 – 6’5″
MSRP $5,199 Availability – REI
Larry & Harry – Bullitt
Best front-load e-Cargo bike
Aluminium / 26″-20″ x 2″ / Internal gearing
This Copenhagen based cargo bike company is among the most popular choice for front-load electric bikes. The Bullitt is a Dutch cargo bike frame with a long front-loader designed specifically for carrying a large amount of cargo. The front-loading section can fit a 710mm crate, cage, racks, or seating accessories.
It combines a 26″ rear wheel with a smaller 20″ front wheel which is controlled via a cable running under the loader. It can carry up to 400 lbs (180kg) including the rider a fits a 145-liter convoy box. Various builds are available with SRAM or Shimano groupsets and hydraulic disc brakes.
- A Brooks Saddle can be purchased as an extra
- Weight: 66 lbs
MSRP from $2,600 (Non-Electric) Availability – Riese&Muller
How to transport a cargo bike?
Most cargo bikes have large, inconvenient frames that make them difficult to transport but these days foldable cargo bikes are becoming more popular. The best transportation method is in the rear of a truck or large SUV.
How to lock a cargo bicycle?
Due to the unusual size, it’s often impossible to lock a cargo bike on a normal bike rack. However, many cargo bikes come with integrated wheel locks which make them easy to park and lock on the street.
How to use a cargo bike rack?
Most cargo bike racks with fit basic strap o-on or clip-on pannier bags without the need for any extra accessories. However, if you want to carry larger loads like passengers or unusual cargo then you should find out what add-ons can fit your cargo bike rack.
Which cargo bike is the best?
The RadWagon electric cargo bike by Rad Power bikes is most likely one of the hardest bikes not to consider buying. Depending on your requirements, different cargo bikes are better for certain activities. For the most luggage space, the Surly Big Dummy or Larry vs Harry Bullitt is best. If you need something compact to carry just a small child or a bit of luggage, the Tern GSD or RadWagon is perfect.
Where to buy a cargo bike frame?
For custom builders, Aventuron offers a selection of the best cargo bike frames from Surly and Salsa.
Cargo bike vs. bike trailer
Some people prefer to pull a trailer on a normal bike rather than use a cargo bike which has some advantages and disadvantages. A cargo bike is not as versatile and can’t be used as a normal bike when carrying cargo but a trailer can be more cumbersome and difficult to cycle with. It also involves more moving parts and therefore, more possibility for breakdowns.
Cargo bike vs trike
Trike’s can be useful if carrying heavy weight or extra passengers as they are self-standing and much easier to balance when moving. However, they are very big and include more complex moving parts, making them harder to maintain and store.
Cargo bike vs. touring bike
Some cargo bikes are almost interchangeable with touring bikes although typically they can hold more weight. Many cargo bikes are built to carry passengers so they have stronger, heavier frames.
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