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A Happy Dog Goes for a ride in the Yuba Cargo Bike

The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2020

Haul kids, dogs, and gear with our favorite electric cargo bikes. From front-load trikes to smooth-riding longtails, you’ll be ready to pedal in no time.

Editor’s note: This story is an update to our original piece with new products and links. Please remember for cycling or any other outdoor activity to be mindful of social distancing guidelines and safe practices in crowded spaces — like wearing a mask.

As an avid bike commuter and athlete, I die a little inside every time I have to get in my car to rush somewhere. Some days I get it together enough so that I can tow my toddler in our beloved Thule Chariot as we run errands.

Testing Electric Cargo Bikes with kids, dogs, groceries, and large loads
Testing cargo bikes hauling kids, dogs, groceries, and more; photo credit: Jason Cornell

But since I became pregnant again, that too had to be put on hold as my growing belly (and fatigue) made longer rides increasingly difficult. I needed a new way to ride. And an electric cargo bike seemed like the perfect solution.

For the past 3 months, our neighborhood has been testing a multitude of amazing electric cargo bikes. We’ve hauled everything from babies, kids, dogs, wood, and inflatable SUPs to huge Costco and farmer’s market buys. I’m happy to report I haven’t gotten in our car once for any trips around town. If our destination is within 15 miles, we go on cargo bikes.

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Since adding the bikes into our everyday routine, daily errands have been much more fun to run. So much so that my group of neighbors and kids actually volunteers to go! We no longer have to worry about rush-hour traffic. And the bikes, no matter the design, can carry nearly as much as a car without the extra impact on the environment.

Below, we highlight, categorize, and review the five best bikes we tested. They were all standouts in their own unique way. But before we dive in, check out the lingo below explaining the different styles of bikes.

Best Cargo Bike Styles

Longjohn: These have the cargo box up front with the front wheel way out. Some also have the capacity for another passenger to ride on the back. This style takes a bit of practice when you first get on, as it handles a little differently than a traditional bike.

Longtail: These ride more like a traditional bike and can fit up to three small passengers (kids) riding on the tail. Most can also fit a clip-on seat for younger kids (9 months and up).

Front-load trike: These have two wheels and the cargo box in front. This stable style can fit as many as four kids in the box and sometimes an extra kid or panniers on the back.

Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2020

Best Overall Family Bike: Yuba Spicy Curry ($4,500)

Yuba Spicy Curry Bosch Cargo Bike

Yuba’s mission is to make bikes that can easily haul kids, gear, and groceries, all while putting a big smile on everyone’s face (bystander included). Other than its awesome name, we love the Spicy Curry for its sturdy, tank-like feel. Even when it’s loaded down and our son is waving side to side on the back, we barely notice.

For some extra money, you can choose different add-ons for the bike depending on your lifestyle. We wanted to make this bike our main one for taking our son to preschool. So we opted to get the adjustable Monkey Bars ($200) as well as a Yepp Maxi Easy Fit kid seat ($220).

Our son loves the combination of the seat and the Monkey Bars. He gets to ride up high so he can see Mom or Dad and can hold on whenever he feels like it. Later, we added the 2-Go Cargo Bags ($199) and the Bread Basket ($200). This more than doubled our carrying capacity.

The frame looked big at first sight. But after adjusting the cockpit and seat to my 5’1″ height, I was pleasantly surprised at how natural and comfortable it felt. It has easily been the neighborhood’s most widely used bike. It’s simple to adjust the size of the bike, and it fits a wide variety of heights.

Hauling groceries and kids on the Yuba Spicy Curry Electric Cargo Bike
Cargo bikes are great for hauling kids and groceries; photo credit Jason Cornell

The components consist of a Shimano Deore 10-speed adjuster and Shimano Disc Brakes. And although I was wary at first of the non-internal hub, I grew to really like how much it felt like all my other bikes. The large front wheel helps smooth out bumps; it’s smooth enough that my son regularly falls asleep on the way home from school.

The motor is a very powerful and smooth Bosch Performance CX mid-drive with a 36V 400Wh battery. It has four levels of assist: Eco, Tour, eMTB, and Turbo. All of these are easy to click through on the control panel, which also displays the mileage, range, and speed.

On a single charge, I can get up to 55 miles on Eco mode or about 25 on full Turbo mode. The eMTB setting switches between all the modes depending on how it senses I’m riding, and I average between 30 and 40 miles.

Again, this bike has been the most used in our neighborhood of four families. It is easy to adjust, feels most like a regular bike, and can haul up to 300 pounds. At 60 pounds and 8 feet 2 inches in length, it’s not the easiest of the bunch to store. But it will hold its own against your average car for carrying capacity, length, and price!

Weight: 60 lbs. (without any of the add-ons)
Length: 6′
Carrying capacity: 300 lbs.
Range: 25-55 miles depending on mode and capacity
Price: $4,500
Pros: Rides like a normal bike, can fit a wide range of people, sturdy
Cons: Can be hard to store, on the pricey side
Best for: Around town errands, kid pickups and dropoffs, dogs, big grocery or hardware store buys

See the Yuba Spicy Curry

Best Compact, Daily Commuter: Tern GSD S00 Folding Bike ($4,999-5,799)

Tern GSD Electric Cargo Bike

The Tern GSD is simply a remarkable bike all around. Many of the complaints about cargo bikes are that they are big, heavy, impossible to transport, and hard to store. All of that (except weight) gets turned upside down with the Tern GSD, which awesomely stands for “Get Stuff Done.”

Tern Bikes is known for its ingenuity in creating folding bikes. So when the brand came out with a cargo bike that was the length of a regular commuter bike and could fold down to fit easily in most midsize SUVs or minivans, many bike commuters (including us) took notice.

The bike is even made to stand vertically on its back rack so that it takes up minimal space when stored inside. For the urban family who lives in an apartment building, people with limited garage space, or anyone who just doesn’t want to deal with a big classic cargo bike, the Tern is the answer.

Other specs that set the GSD apart are its carrying capacity of 440 pounds and ability to fit two high-powered Bosch batteries on it. This gives it an impressive range of up to 155 miles. From the Green Guard non-puncture tires to the infinite-adjust internal geared hub, this bike is clearly made to last.

Tern GSD Electric Cargo Bike
The Tern GSD can be customized with additional accessories; photo credit: Jason Cornell

Like the other bikes, you can customize it however you like. We opted to try the Clubhouse basket ($200), the Cargo Hold Panniers ($175), and a Thule Yepp Maxi child’s seat ($220). We were pleased to find out that the Cargo panniers were still usable with the Yepp Maxi seat over top of them. And with the batteries, panniers, and rack all sitting lower than your average bike, the handling and riding experience for both the driver and passenger is very smooth and comfortable.

Like all the other cargo bikes on this list, it fits a range of riders from 5′ to 6’5″. The unique handlebar, seatpost, and stem adjustment make it even quicker and easier to truly find a perfect cockpit for riders of various sizes. We used this bike exclusively for an entire week to see how quickly we would need to charge it. It lasted the entire week. We clocked 90 miles, using a mix of tour and eMTB mods, and it still showed two of five battery bars.

At $4,999 with a single battery and $5,799 with a dual battery, this one comes in at the middle of the pack price-wise. But it has our vote for being one of the most versatile, longest-lasting, and smoothest rides out of all of them.

Weight: 70 lbs. (with one battery)
Length: 6′
Folded length: 71″ x 16″ x 33″
Carrying capacity: 440 lbs.
Range: Up to 200 km
Price: $4,999-5,799
Pros: Stem/handlebars/seatpost can fold down in 5 seconds, allowing it to fit in many vehicles; can carry a ton of gear and people; compact for e-bikes; attention to total detail seems highest of all bikes; just an outstanding design overall
Cons: 20″ wheels can be a little harsh on bumpy ground
Best used for: Ultimate one-size-fits-all family utility bike

See the Tern GSD S00

Best Kid-Hauler: Bunch Original Family Cargo Bike ($2,499)

Bunch Family Cargo Bike

This crowd-stopping, front-loading trike gets high points for its lower price range (compared to other e-cargo bikes) and ease of assembly. It literally showed up at my house fully assembled via a semi-truck. All we had to do was take off the packaging, adjust the seat, and it was ready to go.

The big cargo box fits up to four kids and comes with comfortable cushions and easy-to-use shoulder straps. In the span of a few weeks, we took it out with all combinations of cargo: a dog and two kids, three kids and a cooler full of snacks, and even a week’s worth of groceries. Our 2-year-old loved it because he was up high and could chat with his friend across from him.

The bike has additional add-ons like a rain cover and a sunshade, which the kiddos and dog all appreciated when the elements became too much. Unlike other cargo bikes where it’s hard to secure your stuff, the cargo box has a lockable under-storage box that can easily fit a purse, computer, and other smaller valuables.

Bunch Original Family Cargo Bike
The steering of the bike does take some getting used to. At 148 pounds, it’s not your normal ride. But with each ride around the block, I became more and more confident to take it out on the streets.

The components aren’t of the highest quality possible. But the combination of the Shimano Tourney SL- TX50 and the 500W 48V Dapu Hub motor created a smooth shifting and pedaling experience. And the easy-to-charge battery kept us motoring around town for almost 25 miles before we had to charge it up again.

The standover design and easy-to-adjust seat make it fit a wide range of sizes. I’m barely 5’1″, and I can ride it just as well as my 6′ stepdad. The control panel is also very intuitive and easy to turn on your headlight and see speed and battery life.

For the family who wants something to replace their car for short, local trips, this bike is the perfect ride. However, it’s not for the person who wants to get to where they’re going fast. While the motor will assist up to 20 mph, it comes with a factory set max of 15 mph (this is easily changed via the settings).

And because it’s a trike, the bike’s handling is a bit unstable at higher speeds, especially in corners where you can’t lean like a normal bike. So we’d recommend keeping that 15mph limit for a while until you learn the limitations. Think of this bike as more of a “take it easy and enjoy the sights” bike. It’s a super fun experience to share with your kids.

Weight: 148 lbs.
Length: 6′
Carrying capacity: 220 lbs.; four kids, a mixture of one medium dog and one kid, or two kids and a big grocery buy
Range: 20-30 miles depending on load and speed
Price: $2,499
Pros: Comes fully assembled, has a secure lockbox; thick, durable, flat-proof tires; can fit up to five kids (with one on the back)
Cons: Heavy; harder to back up and turn around than other more bike-like models; is big and can take up a lot of space in the garage
Best for: Taking multiple kids to the local park, dogs, and big grocery buys

See the Bunch Family Cargo Bike

Smoothest Ride for Big Loads: Yuba Electric Supermarché ($5,500, $400 Off)

Yuba Supermarché Cargo Bike

For hauling a big grocery buy, transporting your SUP to the local surf wave, or taking your dog and kiddo to the river for a hike, this bike is the ticket. With a Bosch Performance CX mid-drive motor and PowerPack 500 battery, the riding is fast and smooth.

There is a range of gears and four levels of pedal-based electric assist. Like all the others, it only can get up to only 20 mph, but it feels like you’re going much faster. And at stoplights, it was the easiest of the bikes to start due to the internal hub that allows you to switch gears while stopped.

It takes a bit to get used to the longer and heavier front end. But after a few practice runs, it felt very natural. The hard part is recalibrating your turns on your conventional bike! The control panel is the fanciest of all of the interfaces. It lets the user see how much power they’re using, how long the trip is, total milage so far, and how many miles left. The Magura MT5 Next Hydraulic Disc brakes coupled with the always charged LED lights to keep the parents happy and the kiddos safe.

Yuba Supermarch electric cargo bike
Hauling dogs, gear, and kids with the Yuba Supermarché; photo credit: Jason Cornell.

The range on the Supermarché lasts anywhere between 20 and 40 miles. For our family, we used it three to four times a day with an average of 7-mile outings carrying 200 pounds. We drained the battery down to one bar every day. Luckily, it’s very easy to park it in the garage and charge it for another round. The step-through frame and easy-to-adjust cockpit fit the entire neighborhood from 4’9″ to 6’5″.

$5,999 sounds like a pretty high price, but when we compared this to other premium brand longjohn bikes, it was actually one of the lowest prices. And if you know you’re going to use it daily (and save some money on gas), it may just be worth the cost. The Supermarché is also available in a non-electric option for $2,799.

Weight: 78 lbs.
Length: 8’5″
Carrying capacity: 300 lbs.
Range: 20-55 miles depending on load and power-assist mode
Price: $5,500 on sale (does not include the box)
Pros: Large capacity, can fit anything from a large keg to two kids in the front
Cons: The passenger can feel the bumps more than if they’re on the back of the bike, as it does not have any shocks; it’s long and on the heavy side
Best used for: Big Costco buys, giving the kids a ride to school, food or paper deliveries

See the Yuba Electric Supermarché

How to Choose a Cargo Bike

What Kind of Family/Rider Are You?

Before starting your search, first ask yourself what you will be using the bike for most. Grocery shopping? Kid pickups and dropoffs? Delivering pizzas? Taking your dog to the dog park? Hauling the boards to the local surf wave? All of the above? When you narrow your search down in this way before you start looking at the options, it makes it less overwhelming.

Electric Cargo Bikes
Testing cargo bikes; photo credit: Jason Cornell

What Is Your Budget?

New electric cargo bikes can range from as low as $1,800 to as high as $8,000. Cargo boxes, panniers, front boxes, kickstands, and kid seats all cost extra and can add up quick. However, after doing a quick search on my local Craigslist and Facebook online market groups, I have seen some pretty good options out there that are much cheaper than buying them brand new.

How Long Is Your Average Commute?

Identifying how long your longest average commute is will give you a good idea of what kind of range you’re looking for. There are a lot of options as far as battery and motor power are concerned. And more and more bikes are coming out with the option of attaching another battery to the frame.

How Much Space Do You Have to Store It?

Making sure you have enough space to store it is very important. Other than the GSD, many take up a substantial amount of space in your garage. Some like the Bunch Bikes have an outdoor cover that protects them if you are storing them outside.

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