One of the categories of bikes that are hardly in the know-how of most people is a cargo bike. Cargo bikes are exceptionally sturdy and designed to carry two or more people and, more generally, heavy loads. That is why the name includes cargo.
Different cargo bikes vary wildly in terms of shapes and sizes. There is no “standard cargo bike”. In fact, some might have two while others three wheels to better support the load.
One thing that is common across the board when it comes to cargo bikes is that their wheelbases are distinctively longer. The wheelbase is the distance between the two wheels (more accurately, between the points of wheels that touch the ground).
Cargo bikes can have space for hauling cargo either in the front or the back.
As mentioned earlier, cargo bikes come in different shapes and sizes. Every bike will have a recommended or maximum weight capacity. You need to pay attention to this. If it is enough to haul the cargo, you’d typically be carrying on it, then move on to the other considerations.
The first one is to check the build quality. Not all frames are created equal. Fortunately, cargo bike manufacturers clarify the type of material of the frame in the description of the bike itself.
Although all cargo bikes are sturdy in general and even more so relative to normal road bikes, it does not hurt to double-check the frame durability.
Another important consideration is the frame size. You will need to get a cargo bike with a frame size that will suit you. It depends largely on your height. For example, if your height is anywhere from 5’3” to 5’7”, you need a cargo bike with a frame size of 15 - 16 inches.
Here is a full table:
This is just an approximation. You can find out the exact size of the frame and the wheel that you need by calculating your height and leg inseam. But generally, the list above will do.
There are also special cargo bikes for kids. These are not bikes meant for kids to carry their schoolbag. Instead, these are bikes meant for families and parents to haul their kids in. Carrying your kids in a kid-friendly cargo bike is a reliable and safe way to transport them. Some can carry up to four kids in one go (apart from the rider).
There is also a cargo bike electric variation for many models. Apart from that, many standalone electric cargo bikes also exist. An electric cargo bike is great for you if you do not want to peddle so much hauling your load. Electric cargo bikes are also sometimes called cargo e-bikes and are available for rent in most cities around the world.
Lastly, you need to decide whether you want a front-loading cargo bike or a back-loading one. For many, it is important to carry their kids in a front basket. If you have never used a cargo bike to haul your kids before then the front placement is ideal for you as you can always see them. If you will be using the cargo bike to run errands and carry groceries, etc. then one with the cargo space in the back will be better. Those with space in the back are slightly easier to steer and maneuver in general.
Although there are many differences, such as the ones we discussed above (longer wheelbase, space for cargo, etc.), there are two key areas where cargo bikes differ from road bikes:
The USP of a cargo bike is transporting anything from groceries to kids safely, comfortably, and easily. Cargo bikes are surprisingly easy to ride. Running errands with a cargo bike makes it much easier.
Bikes meant for hauling often heavy loads are called cargo bikes. They come with special features such as space to haul cargo and a longer wheelbase to help ease carrying heavier weights.
There are several considerations to make before you choose a cargo bike. Hopefully, you are now equipped with all the information you need to make a more informed decision. Shopping for the right fit will be easier with all that information under your belt.
Do you need a typical cargo bike? Perhaps a cargo bike electric variation? Or maybe a cargo bike for kids? No matter what you need, it can be pretty difficult to arrive at the ideal shape, size, design, and cost combination.
We have a selection of the best cargo bikes to choose from across various categories depending on your needs and requirements. Have a look at our comparisons and picking the right cargo bike for your use will be a breeze.
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