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The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024

We tested 11 of the best electric cargo bikes on the market in 2024. Whether you need to haul gear, groceries, or kids, we've got recommendations to suit your needs and budget.

Tester Chelsey Magness on the Specialized Globe Haul LT electric cargo bike.(Photo/Chelsey Magness)
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An electric cargo bike can completely change the way you approach life on two wheels. With high weight limits, large racks and boxes, and powerful electric motors, the right cargo bike can comfortably and easily haul everything from kids to groceries.

The e-bike market has expanded dramatically over the last few years, with brands popping up out of nowhere. With so many options to choose from, finding the right electric cargo bike to suit your specific needs can be a challenge. We sifted through clunky, unwieldy, and wholly unreliable makes and models alongside bikes from well-established brands. We’ve transported everything from babies, kids, dogs, wood, tools, all kinds of outdoor gear, and even huge Costco and farmer’s market hauls to see how they perform in the real world.

Our testing runs shuttled us across smooth tarmac, broken chip seal, and occasional dirt roads on trips to and from school, running errands around town, or heading to gatherings with friends. The electric cargo bikes we tested ranged from small and nimble to e-bike versions of a freight hauler. So, whether you’re looking to reduce your vehicle dependence, spend less money on gas, or just get outside more, there’s an electric cargo bike to suit your needs and meet your budget.

Below, we highlight, categorize, and review the best electric cargo bikes we tested. They were all standouts in their own unique way. Mom and endurance athlete Chelsey Magness and GearJunkie editors Seiji Ishii and Jeremy Benson have pedaled, throttled, and weighed in on each model, assessing day-to-day usability and extolling the best uses for each bike.

If you’re new to electric cargo bikes, check out our buying guide below, which helps explain the different styles of e-cargo bikes on the market today. For a side-by-side rundown of price and specs, take a look at our comparison chart.

Editor’s Note: For our April 16, 2024, update, we’ve added the value-packed Lectric XPedition, the convenient Yuba FastRack, and the Xtracycle Swoop 2.0. We’ve also added some information to our buying advice to help you choose the right electric cargo bike for your needs.

The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024


Best Overall Electric Cargo Bike

Specialized Globe Haul LT

Specs

  • Class 3
  • Motor 700W rear hub
  • Battery size 772Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size 20” x 3.5”
  • Weight 88 lbs., 3 oz.
  • Length 53.4 inches, wheelbase
  • Carrying capacity 441 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 60 miles
Product Badge The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024

Pros

  • Large carrying capacity
  • Can haul three kids comfortably
  • Has throttle for easier stop and go riding
  • Fits multiple sized riders

Cons

  • Long for even a longtail cargo bike
  • Heavy
  • No integrated lock
Best Budget Electric Cargo Bike

Lectric XPedition Cargo eBike

Specs

  • Class 2 or 3 (can be changed in settings)
  • Motor 750W rear hub
  • Battery Size 672Wh (or 1,344Wh with dual battery)
  • Wheel x Tire size 20” x 3”
  • Weight Single battery: 68 lbs., Dual battery: 75 lbs.
  • Length 72 inches
  • Carrying capacity 450 lbs. total
  • Range (claimed) Single battery: up to 75 miles, Dual battery: up to 150 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No assembly required
  • Dual battery option for massive range
  • Comes with accessories that other brands charge extra for
  • Large range of fit

Cons

  • Handling can feel a bit twitchy at times
  • Heavy with dual battery and accessories installed
Best Compact Daily Commuter Electric Cargo Bike

Tern HSD P5i

Specs

  • Class 1
  • Motor 75 Nm Bosch Performance mid-drive
  • Battery size 545Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size 20" x 2.15"
  • Weight 61.5 lbs.
  • Length 65 inches
  • Carrying capacity 397 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 76 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/HSD)

Pros

  • Large carrying capacity
  • Breaks down and folds quickly
  • Fits into small spaces
  • Has an integrated lock

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Cannot carry passenger
Best Front Box Electric Cargo Bike

Bunch Original 3.0

Specs

  • Class 2
  • Motor 500W rear hub
  • Battery size 614Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size rear: 24” x 2”, front: 20” x 2.15”
  • Weight 152 lbs.
  • Length 83 inches
  • Carrying capacity 350 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 20-30 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/Bunch)

Pros

  • Comes fully assembled
  • Has a secure lockbox
  • Durable, flat-resistant tires
  • Can haul up to 4 kids

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Hard to back up
  • Takes up a lot of storage space
  • Handling takes some getting used to
Lightest Weight Electric Cargo Bike

Tern HSD PS9

Specs

  • Class 1
  • Motor Bosch Active line mid-drive
  • Battery size 400Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size 20 x 2.15”
  • Weight 57 lbs.
  • Length 67 inches
  • Carrying capacity 375 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 69 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/Tern)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Carries large load while being small
  • Folds to fit into small areas

Cons

  • Pricey for what it is
  • Can only haul one child
Another Great Value Electric Cargo Bike

Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4

Specs

  • Class 2
  • Motor 750W rear hub
  • Battery size 672Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size 22” x 3”
  • Weight 76.7 lb.
  • Length 78.7 inches
  • Carrying capacity 350 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 45 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/Rad Power Bikes)

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Reliable
  • Lots of available accessories

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Lower carrying capacity than other electric cargo bikes
Best Convertible Rack System

Yuba FastRack

Specs

  • Class 1
  • Weight 76 lbs. (claimed)
  • Motor Shimano Steps E7000 mid-drive
  • Battery size 500Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size 20" x 2.4"
  • Length 74 inches
  • Carrying Capacity 440 lbs. total
  • Range not specified
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024

Pros

  • The tool-free convertible rack system is super usable and convenient
  • Stands up on end for storage
  • Good power for intended use
  • Great looking

Cons

  • Front rack in stock form could be inadequate for larger or heavier loads
  • Expensive
  • No throttle, limited to 20mph

Best of the Rest

High Weight Capacity

Xtracycle Swoop 2.0

Specs

  • Class 1 or 3 options available
  • Motor Shimano Steps EP6 mid-drive
  • Battery Size 630Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size front: 26" x 2.4", rear: 20" x 2.4"
  • Weight 62.9 lbs.
  • Length 83 inches
  • Carrying capacity 470 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 30 – 60 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024

Pros

  • High weight capacity
  • Stable
  • 30” long rear rack
  • Lighter weight than most
  • Swappable components
  • Comes with some accessories

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Proprietary battery plug
  • Limited color options
  • Geared to climb/haul over speed

Velotric Packer 1

Specs

  • Class 2 or 3 (can be changed in settings)
  • Motor 750W rear hub
  • Battery size 691Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size front: 26” x 2.4”, rear: 20” x 3”
  • Weight 75 lbs.
  • Length 82 inches
  • Carrying capacity 440 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 52 miles pedal-assist, 45 miles throttle-only
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/Velotric)

Pros

  • Good carrying capacity
  • Easy assembly
  • Stable ride when loaded
  • Extremely versatile rear cargo area

Cons

  • Bars felt narrow for how long and heavy the bike is
  • Power cuts in abruptly
  • Tires only good for paved surfaces

Yuba Spicy Curry

Specs

  • Class 1
  • Motor Bosch Cargo line mid-drive
  • Battery size 500Wh
  • Wheel x Tire size 26” x 2.4”, 20” x 2.4”
  • Weight 60 lbs.
  • Length 72 inches
  • Carrying Capacity 440 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 50 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/Yuba)

Pros

  • Rides like a normal bike
  • Can fit a wide range of people
  • Sturdy
  • Smooth power delivery

Cons

  • Can be hard to store
  • On the pricey side

Tern GSD S00 Folding Bike

Specs

  • Class 1
  • Motor Bosch Cargo line mid-drive
  • Battery size 500Wh (or 1,000Wh with dual battery)
  • Wheel x Tire size 20" x 2.15"
  • Weight 70 lbs. (single battery)
  • Length 72 inches
  • Carry capacity 440 lbs.
  • Range (claimed) 62 miles
The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2024(Photo/Tern)

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

Cons

  • 20″ wheels can be a little harsh on bumpy ground

Electric Cargo Bike Comparison Chart

Electric Cargo BikePriceClassMotorBatteryWheel x Tire SizeWeightCarrying CapacityRange (claimed)
Specialized Globe Haul LT$3,5003700W rear hub772Wh20″ x 3.5″88 lbs., 3 oz.441 lbs.60 miles
Lectric XPedition Cargo eBike$1,880- 2,1042 or 3750W rear hub672 or 1,344Wh20″ x 3″68 – 75 lbs.450 lbs.75 – 150 miles
Tern HSD P5i$4,599175 Nm Bosch mid-drive545Wh20″ x 2.15″61.5 lbs.397 lbs. 76 miles
Bunch Original Family Cargo Bike$5,3992500W rear hub614Wh24″ x 2, 20 x 2.15″152 lbs.350 lbs.30 miles
Tern HSD P9$3,6991Bosch Active line mid-drive400Wh20 x 2.15″57 lbs.375 lbs. 69 miles
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4$1,9992750W rear hub672Wh22″ x 3″76.7 lbs.350 lbs.45 miles
Yuba FastRack Cargo e-Bike$4,000160 Nm Shimano Steps E7000 mid-drive500Wh20″ x 2.4″76 lbs.440 lbs.Not specified
Xtracycle Swoop 2.0$4,499- 5,4991 or 3Shimano Steps EP6 mid-drive630Wh26″ x 2.4″, 20″ x 2.4″62.9 lbs.470 lbs.30 – 60 miles
Velotric Packer 1$1,9992 or 3750W rear hub691Wh26″ x 2.4″, 20″ x 3″75 lbs.440 lbs.52 miles
Yuba Spicy Curry$5,199185 Nm Bosch mid-drive500Wh26″ x 2.4″, 20″ x 2.4″60 lbs.300 lbs.55 miles
Tern GSD S00 Folding Bike$5,599185 Nm Bosch mid-drive500Wh or 1,000Wh20″ x 2.15″70 lbs.440 lbs.62 miles

Why You Should Trust Us

Chelsey Magness, Seiji Ishii, and Jeremy Benson did the bulk of our electric cargo bike testing. In addition to the models they tested, we also include a few other electric cargo bikes in this guide that have recently been tested by other members of the GearJunkie editorial team.

Magness is an adventure racing world champion and mother of two. She lives a two-wheeled life at home, both while training and running family and business errands via pedal power. She is a long-time contributor to GearJunkie in the cycling category and draws from an extensive and deep well of experience and knowledge in both the competitive and lifestyle branches of cycling.

Ishii has been involved with cycling for nearly 4 decades, starting with road racing in the 1980s. He has watched mountain biking explode, road racing implode, and witnessed the emergence of both gravel and electric bikes. And through it all, he has been a cycling dork through and through. He started as a freelance cycling and climbing contributor to GearJunkie and now resides as the cycling and climbing editor.

Benson is also an editor at GearJunkie and has been professionally testing and reviewing bikes and related gear for the past 8 years. In addition to mountain and gravel bikes, he’s tested over 30 electric bikes of all styles, 10 of which have been cargo models. His experience has given him a deep knowledge base and a keen sense of what differentiates to performance of the electric bikes he tests.

The Lectric XPedition parked outside a building while running errands during electric cargo bike testing
Our testers used these bikes just like you would. Here, the Lectric XPedition is parked while running errands around town; (photo/Jeremy Benson)

How We Tested Electric Cargo Bikes

Magness, Ishii, and Benson have tested and continue to test countless bicycles and all related gear at GearJunkie, including e-bikes. For this buyer’s guide, our experienced team ran personal, business, and family errands aboard as many electric cargo bikes as they could get their legs over.

They ran short errands across smooth pavement in urban areas to longer missions in remote areas (Ishii had to ride over 2 miles on dirt to get his mail and five times further to get groceries). Magness often carried multiple children and pets, while Ishii hauled tools all over his property while maintaining wells, fences, and outbuildings.

Benson pushed the bikes he tested to their cargo and power limits getting groceries and running other errands in the hilly terrain near his mountain home. All of the electric cargo bikes proved to be insanely useful and appreciated.

Some bikes operated flawlessly and smoothly for the test duration, while others fell apart or failed within the first few miles. This curated list represents thousands of miles of cumulative riding, hundreds of hours of assembly and maintenance, and equal amounts of frustration and joy. We did the hard work for you, suffered the disappointments, and reported the good finds so you can spend your hard-earned money wisely. We realize any bike on this list is a significant investment.

Hauling the family around the neighborhood with the Bunch Original Cargo Bike; (photo/Chelsey Magness)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose an Electric Cargo Bike

Before delving into our buyer’s guide, it’s wise to discern how you will really use a cargo bike. The type, size, and weight of your intended cargo will help determine the style of electric cargo bike that will suit you best. The terrain, road or off-road surface, time of riding, urban versus rural, and weather also impact significant choices like wheel size, tire type, lighting needs, seating, and security. Storage space is also a concern, especially in urban environments.

The first thing to consider, though, is the style of electric cargo bike you need. Looking for a sleeker e-bike for commuting, or maybe something with more off-road capabilities? Check out our guides to the Best E-Bikes and the Best E-Bikes for Hunting.

Electric Cargo Bike Styles

Electric cargo bikes fall into three general styles. All of them are functional for transporting yourself and plenty of other items (including children), but they vary in where and how they support cargo.

Long-Tail

An example of a longtail electric cargo bike
The Velotric Packer 1 is a capable, maneuverable long-tail bike with a range of up to 52 miles; (photo/Seiji Ishii)

Long-tail cargo bikes are arguably the most common and popular style of electric cargo bikes that we see in the U.S. These look and ride more like traditional bikes and have a large rear cargo rack — the long tail — and can typically fit up to three total passengers. One of these is the rider and the rear rack can usually be configured to fit up to two kid-size passengers with additional accessories like pads, handles, and seats (depending on the bike and length of the rear rack).

Most can also fit a clip-on seat for younger kids (9 months and up). They aren’t just good for transporting the family, however, as the rear rack can also be configured to haul pets, groceries, and other cargo with various baskets, bags, etc.

Long John

Example of a long-john electric cargo bike
An example of a long-john electric cargo bike; (photo/Jason Cornell)

Some front-loading bikes are also known as long-john or bucket bikes. As the name suggests, they have the cargo box up front with the front wheel stretched out in front of you. Some also have the capacity for another passenger to ride on the back. This style takes some practice when you first get on, as it handles a little differently than a traditional bike. Long-john bikes are typically extra long and heavy, and they also happen to be among the most expensive options.

Front Box Trike

Front box trike cargo bikes are similar to the long john models in that they carry cargo in a box at the front of the bike. They differ in that the front cargo box sits between two front wheels. It depends on the model, but this style can fit as many as four kids in the box and sometimes an extra kid or panniers on the back. If you’re not transporting kids, loads of other gear can quickly and easily be loaded in the box.

We tested the Bunch Original Family Cargo Bike and really appreciated the utility and family-friendliness, though the three-wheel design limits its maneuverability. This style of bike handles quite differently from a traditional bike and is best suited to slower speeds and cautious riding.

What Are You Hauling?

Before starting your search, ask yourself what you will use 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.

The Tern GSD loaded up with a kids seat and racks for child and cargo hauling
Knowing what you’ll be transporting with your cargo bike will help you decide which model is right for you and the accessories you’ll need; (photo/Jason Cornell)

The size of what you are hauling can determine the type of e-cargo bike, while the total weight of passengers and items plays into the carrying capacity. You will need both the ability to hold the sheer volume of your items and the weight of intended cargo plus passengers. You’ll also need to consider the size and type of cargo, as most bikes require accessories to customize the cargo-carrying capabilities to your needs.

E-Bike Classes

In the U.S., electric bikes are separated into classes based on top speed and whether or not they have a throttle. Whether or not you have the convenience of a throttle and how fast you want to go is up to you, and it may also be influenced by the surfaces you ride and the cargo you’re carrying. Likewise, you may also want to consider the regulations where you live, as many bike paths have speed limits, etc.

  • Class 1: Class 1 bikes provide pedal assistance only and are limited to a top speed of 20 mph. They do not come equipped with a throttle, so they only provide power output when the rider is pedaling.
  • Class 2: Class 2 bikes also have a top speed of 20 mph but in addition to providing pedal assistance, they are also equipped with a throttle. The throttle can propel you with pure electric power (no pedaling) and may be helpful for some riders when starting from a stop with a loaded bike.
  • Class 3: Class 3 differs from classes 1 and 2 in that they provide pedal assistance up to 28 mph. These bikes may or may not have a throttle. If equipped with a throttle, the top throttle speed is still 20 mph.

Motor Type: Rear Hub vs. Mid-Drive

There are two main types of motors used on electric bikes, rear hub and mid-drive. Both have their pros and cons.

Rear Hub Motors

The rear hub motor on the Lectric Xpedition electric cargo bike
Rear hub motors are contained in the rear hub of the bike. They are typically a bit less expensive and typically provide the option for the bike to have a throttle as well as pedal assistance; (photo/Jeremy Benson)

As the name suggests, rear hub motors are contained within the hub of the rear wheel. These are super common because they are less expensive and provide the option to have a throttle on the bike. Since their power delivery is often based on a cadence sensor, it typically doesn’t feel quite smooth or refined as mid-drive systems. That said, they work well, have plenty of power, and are usually pretty low maintenance and easy to replace if needed.

Mid-Drive Motors

Looking at the mid-drive Shimano Steps EP6 motor on the Xtracycle Swoop 2.0
Mid-drive motors, like the Shimano Steps EP6 on the Xtracycle Swoop 2.0, are typically more expensive and provide a smoother and more refined power delivery; (photo/Cameron Martindell)

Mid-drive motors are typically integrated into the frame of the bike by the bottom bracket and connect to the cranks to transfer power into the drivetrain. This type of motor typically costs more and is found on high-end bikes. Mid-drive motors usually work with a torque sensor and have smoother, more natural feeling power delivery than the less refined rear hub motors. The motor location also helps to distribute weight in the bike better. Beyond the higher cost, one of the primary disadvantages is that they typically can’t incorporate a throttle.

Range

A bike’s range is an important factor to consider so you can be sure to make it to and from your destination without running out of battery before your next charge. Range is highly variable and depends on a combination of battery capacity and the amount of power you’re using.

If you simply twist the throttle and make the bike do all the work, you’ll drain the battery much more quickly than you will if you push hard on the pedals in a low pedal assist mode. It’s best to err on the conservative side when considering the range, as load, wind, and other factors can all have an effect. And, it’s important to note that the manufacturer’s claimed range of an electric bike is usually an over-estimation of what you’ll get in the real world.

More electric cargo bikes are coming out with the option of either attaching or hot-swapping an additional battery to extend the range between charges. For example, the Lectric XPedition and the Tern GSD S00 are both sold with either a single or dual battery. Even with single batteries, these bikes are plenty capable of going 30+ miles between charges, which should be more than adequate for most people’s daily needs.

Battery Size

A major factor in your bike’s range potential is the storage capacity of the battery. This is generally expressed in Watt hours (Wh), and the higher the number, the more juice it holds. The bikes we tested have batteries ranging in size between 400Wh and 772Wh. A few outliers have the option for dual batteries for up to 1,000 or 1,344Wh!

The dual batteries on the Lectric Xpedition electric cargo bike
The amount of battery storage capacity is directly related to how far you can ride an electric cargo bike between charges. If you need to go the distance, consider a bike that has a large battery or check out a dual battery option like the Lectric XPedition; (photo/Jeremy Benson)

Power Output

How quickly your battery drains and the amount of range you can get from your bike depends entirely on how much power you use. So, by pedaling harder and using lower assistance modes, you’ll be able to ride farther than you will if you use higher modes and don’t put in as much of your own effort. Makes sense, right?

Storage Space

An often overlooked factor is the storage space an electric cargo bike will require, which is typically much more than a standard e-bike. You’ll definitely need to consider your storage space when choosing an electric cargo bike. Some, like longtail versions, require substantial length, and front load trikes are much wider.

The Yuba FastRack electric cargo bike can be tipped on its tail to stand upright for storage
Electric cargo bikes are big, so storing them requires more space than typical bikes. Some models, like the Yuba FastRack, can be stood up on their end to reduce their footprint and fit into tighter spaces; (photo/Toby Hill)

Some electric cargo bike brands like Bunch understand that their models demand significant storage space and offer an outdoor cover to protect them while being stored outside. Thankfully, other brands like Yuba and Tern have designed their bikes to stand on their end so they can take up much less space in your garage or apartment for storage than when they are on their wheels.

Accessories

The point of cargo bikes is to carry cargo, and it is typically necessary to purchase add-on accessories to customize them for your specific needs. It depends on the brand or model in question, but some come with certain accessories included so you can carry passengers or items picked up on your errand runs without needing to shell out more cash right off the bat. The Lectric XPedition we tested came with seat pads, running boards, an Orbitor rail, an Orbitor bag, and a frame pack included with the purchase. This bike is pretty much ready to carry just about anything once you install them.

A look at some of the included accessories that come with the Lectric XPedition
Lectric adds a lot of value to the XPedition with included accessories like seat pads, the Orbitor rail, running boards, a frame bag, and a cargo bag; (photo/Jeremy Benson)

Included accessories aren’t the norm, unfortunately. For most of the other models we tested, you’ll need to purchase seats, baskets, running boards, and the specific items you need to transport the people or cargo you’re intended to carry. Thankfully, most brands offer a range of accessories made to fit the bikes they sell, so you can carefully curate the perfect kid hauler, grocery-getter, or beach-going machine.

Thule’s Yepp child seats are a very popular option for small children, and some brands even make racks that can carry surfboards to the beach. Consider what you’re hoping to carry with your electric cargo bike and check the accessories pages to see which brands offer compatible add-ons to cover your needs.

Safety Concerns

Safety is another factor to consider when discussing electric cargo bikes. Not only are the bikes themselves longer and heavier than regular bikes, but adding significant weight in the form of child passengers or bulky cargo can further impact the bike’s handling.

We always recommend wearing a properly fitting bike helmet, not exceeding the weight limits of the bike or cargo areas, riding in control, and obeying the rules of the road. Ultimately, your safety is up to you, so use good judgment.

Riding With Kids

Putting a helmet on a child passenger on the Yuba Spicy Curry electric cargo bike
Safety first. Thankfully there are a variety of seating options to transport kids on electric cargo bikes.; (photo/Jason Cornell)

Cargo bikes are often marketed as being great for transporting kids and other passengers, and they definitely can be. Riding with passengers, especially children, can be dangerous. A huge variety of accessories are available for children including child’s seats, railings, handlebars, etc, and we recommend looking into the available options and choosing the proper size for your children.

The weight of passengers will also affect the bike’s handling, so familiarizing yourself with a loaded bike by practicing in a more controlled environment may be a great idea before heading out into traffic. Again, we strongly recommend that all passengers on the bike wear properly fitting helmets and to ride cautiously to keep themselves and their passengers safe.

Riding With Cargo

The Yuba FastRack electric cargo bike loaded up with lots of cargo
The Yuba FastRack loaded up with lots of heavy cargo on an errand run during testing; (photo/Toby Hill)

Adding heavy weight to the front or rear of the bike in the form of non-human cargo can also impact the handling of the bike. Always ensure that your cargo is properly secured to keep the weight from shifting while you ride and to keep it from falling off the bike.

Most cargo bikes are quite stable as they are designed to carry heavy loads, but again, it may be beneficial to practice riding with a loaded bike to get used to the way it handles.

Security Concerns

Security of both the bike and cargo can be an issue, especially in urban centers. Many electric cargo bikes can be virtually locked via an app; this means the bike is electrically actuated to prevent someone from either riding it or rolling it away.

Some bikes include a built-in security cable or wheel lock for physically and visually protecting the bike from theft. Of course, you can always use a standard bike lock and cable to protect your investment. Electric cargo bikes are not cheap, so we always lock ours wherever we go.

Some electric cargo bikes can also have locking cargo areas. This is relatively uncommon, but a nice feature to have.

Riding in Adverse Weather

Die-hard cyclists and dedicated commuters know that the weather makes no guarantees. What starts as a dry ride can quickly turn into a downpour. There are a couple of accessories and features you should consider if you plan to roll, regardless of whether the sun shows or not.

Fortunately, most electric cargo bikes come equipped with fenders to protect the rider from road spray, and most also come with integrated front and rear lights for changing light conditions. These features are appreciated and ensure that you’re ready for changing weather and that you’ll be able to see and be seen if you’re out after dark (or when it’s still light out).

Looking at the front light and fender on the Lectric XPedition cargo e-bike
Fortunately, most electric cargo bikes come equipped with fenders and lights to handle changing weather and light conditions; (photo/Jeremy Benson)

Regardless of the electric cargo bike type, you will undoubtedly need to protect whatever you are hauling from precipitation at some point. Some brands offer dedicated and fitted covers for their bikes’ storage areas. If not, the bike will need a way to attach some type of cover or secure a dry bag, etc.

Some brands have accessories that can help protect the passengers from the elements as well, such as canopies. It’s worth noting that such accessories can create a lot of drag, reducing both speed and battery life.

Price

New electric cargo bikes can range from as low as $1,800 to as high as $8,000 or more. And, they all work pretty darn well. So, what makes some bikes so much more expensive? The biggest thing separating the more budget-friendly models from the high-end models is the motor type and the quality of the components.

Less expensive bikes usually have rear hub motors and lower-end components, both of which get the job done but can be a little clunky at times. Higher-end models almost always have mid-drive motors for smoother power delivery and typically come with name-brand components that work well and are more durable. Some also come with cool features like app connectivity and integrated locks.

Still, even the affordable models we tested are great options that absolutely get the job done while costing less than the price of fancier models. And along with the price of the bike itself, consider the price of the accessories you’ll need to purchase to set it up for your cargo-carrying needs. Cargo boxes, panniers, front boxes, kickstands, and kid seats can add to the total cost quickly. However, after doing a quick search of our local Craigslist and Facebook online market groups, we found accessory options being sold at significant savings over new.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an electric cargo bike and a standard e-bike?

Electric cargo bikes can carry more volume and weight than a standard e-bike. They have baskets, platforms, and other means to accommodate cargo and can be equipped with a variety of accessories to suit your specific cargo-carrying needs.

The frames, motors, wheels, and other components must be able to handle the added stresses from carrying potentially hundreds of pounds more than a single passenger e-bike. As a result, electric cargo bikes are often heavier and also longer than non-cargo models.

Is an electric cargo bike worth it?

The assistance provided by the electric motor of an electric cargo bike makes riding with heavy loads much easier and feasible, especially over longer distances. The baskets, platforms, seating arrangements, and the large carrying capacity of electric cargo bikes truly open up possibilities that cannot exist on a standard bicycle or e-bike.

Many electric cargo bikes can replace cars for daily errands, especially in urban environments which can reduce your dependence on your vehicle and lower your spending on fuel. There are more electric cargo bike options than non-electric cargo bikes for these reasons.

But, an electric cargo bike is only worth the cost if you actually use it. Otherwise, it just becomes a large and expensive piece of gear taking up storage space. That said, they are typically quite durable and should provide many years of faithful service so we feel they are a sound investment that can actually save you money in the long term. On top of that, riding a bike can also do wonders for your health and well-being.

Why are some electric cargo bikes so expensive?

The additional and higher quality chassis and wheel materials, larger battery and motor capacity, and extra features and accessories to handle the higher load ratings and passengers greatly add to the costs of electric cargo bikes.

Higher-end models use higher-quality mid-drive motors and name-brand components that both drive the price up. It’s also worth considering that you’ll probably need to spend a little more on accessories to dial in most cargo bikes to your needs.

How fast can an electric cargo bike go?

Most e-bikes can go 20 mph, but some can go as fast as 28 mph. Some brands limit the speed of cargo bikes for safety reasons beyond what the class rating demands. For instance, the Bunch Original 3.0 is limited to 15 mph by the factory but can be changed by the user. Similarly, some bikes, like the Lectric XPedition and the Velotric Packer 1 come in class 2 settings but can be changed by the user to class 3 (up to 28 mph) through the display.


Biking

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