One of the things we’re keen on saying here at ebiketips is that if you can replace a second car with an e-bike, it’ll pay for itself in short order. But what would your e-bike have to do to be a practical alternative? For some people a second car is only ever used for commutes and the like, and pretty much any e-bike could fill the void. For most it’s more complicated: getting shopping, running errands, ferrying kids… the list goes on. And that’s where a cargo bike comes in.
Cargo bikes vary hugely in how much they can carry, and how much they cost. There’s probably a good option out there for you somewhere though. We trawled the halls at the Eurobike show to find a nice representative sample: here are six of the best cargo bikes from Eurobike.
This is a bike you’ll be seeing a bit of on ebiketips: we rode it at the show, interviewed head of Tern, Josh Hon, about it, and we’re getting one in on test soon too. Why all the excitement?
Simply put, it looks like a great option for a wide range of people. The Tern’s big selling point is that for all its cargo capacity and versatility, it’s actually no longer than a standard big-wheeled bike. You can fold the handlebars and the seatpost down too, and even stand it on its end on the specially-designed rack.
Tern have borrowed components from their Vektron folding bike for the cockpit, and there’s a long rack at the back that comes with big-capacity panniers for a week’s worth of shopping. You can fit a bench seat for bigger kids (or your mates) and two child seats if your children are smaller. There’s a porteur rack available for the front too.
Tern have designed the GSD with Bosch’s DualBattery system in mind, so you can have up to 1,000Wh of capacity for week-long ferrying. All this doesn’t come cheap, with the bike likely to cost around £4,000 when it lands in the UK.
Riese & Müller Packster
Another bike that’s coming soon for review on ebiketips, the Packster is a versatile long-john design with the cargo area out front.
This is the Packster 40, with a cargo bed that’s 40cm long at the base. It’s designed to be amore compact option for those with less to carry or who are short on space. 60cm and 80cm builds are also available for larger load capacities.
Like the Tern, you can spec the Packster with a double battery if you’re going to need more range than a single PowerPack will provide.
Riese & Müller’s Load cargo bike has a suspended rear end for extra comfort, but the Packster makes do with a Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost to take the sting out of the potholes. Prices start at £3,599.
The Chike e-Cargo has a huge 90cm cargo platform that extends from the front of the bike around the steering column, and has a load capacity of 80kg. You can easily transform the platform into a box, as shown above, with a 200-litre capacity.
The three-wheeled Chike is built around a tilting chassis. Having three wheels makes a cargo bike more stable, but they can suffer from being ungainly round corners. The tilting mechanism allows you to lean the bike into a corner like you would a two-wheeler. Chike have repurposed a Revoshift twist shifter to act as both a tilting lock and parking brake for easier loading.
Chike offer the cargo unpowered, or with the Shimano STEPS city motor. The e-Cargo starts at €5,195. The e-Kids build swaps the platform for a covered carrier for two children. You can swap between one configuration and the other in around 10 minutes.
HSF Heisenberg CD1
The CD1 certainly isn’t cheap, at around €6,000 for the base model, but it is a beautifully-made thing. Gain, it’s based around a tilting platform, and the tilt can be locked off by a chunky foot switch for easy loading. The bike has a total laden weight limit of 240kg, so with the 45kg the bike weighs, and a 75kg rider, that’ll leave you 120kg of cargo capacity. Which is a lot.
The front of the CD1 is modular, so you can fit longer (as shown) or shorter cargo platforms, and bolt a variety of things to them including lockable boxes and child strollers.
The bike uses a Bosch motor, Gates CDX belt drive and Nuvinci Harmony rear hub with automatic shifting. So in spite of the fact that it’s huge, it’s really easy to pilot; we had a go on the Eurobike test track and were very impressed with the agility of the bike.
Yuba Spicy Curry
Using a smaller rear wheel for a lower centre of gravity, the Spicy Curry’s huge rear rack has room for up to three kids or masses of shopping in the option cargo bags. The bike has been in the Yuba range for a while but it’s now offered with a top-spec Bosch CX motor.
The bamboo sideboards fitted to this bike are an optional extra; you can also fit Yepp Maxi child seats, or handrails if you have free-range kids. With the optional carry-on bars you can extend the rack space into a 60x60cm platform for bigger loads.
As befits a bike designed to be useful, the Yuba’s build includes a double kickstand, mudguards and integrated lighting. You’re looking at around £4,000 for the basic build with extra bits a cost option.
This one’s a bit left-field: the XCYC Pickup has a cargo capacity (including rider) of a huge 250kg, and it can be specced with a Weber trailer hitch to pull more gear behind, if that’s not enough.
No clever tilting here, this is a rigid chassis with two 10-inch automotive wheels and the back, and a big triple-crown suspension fork and mountain bike wheel at the front. You sit quite high up on it, although a dropper seatpost means that you can lower your centre of gravity a bit for cornering. We had a quick rant round the Eurobike backlot and spend a fair amount of that time on two wheels, so fair to say it takes a bit of getting used to.
XCYC’s website lists various builds of the bike that are available, including one with narrower 12” wheels at the back. All use the same Bosch Performance Line motor and Shimano Deore derailleur transmission.