Electric bikes are great for lots of things, but perhaps where they shine the most (aside from zipping effortlessly up hills) is in their ability to haul heavy loads.
Be it people, groceries or even the components of a rolling small business, electric cargo bikes have become critical tools for those who wish to pedal lots of weight from one place to the next. Whatever they’re being used for, they’ve become wickedly popular.
At this year’s Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, electric cargo bikes had a notably increased presence in the event’s expo area. There weren’t tons of them on show, but the fact they were being featured at all at the traditionally racing and high-performance oriented event made us perk up.
Electric Bike Report scoured the expo area for the coolest electric cargo bikes we could find, here’s what we came up with:
Benno says their Boost model is an “etility” bike, which blends cargo hauling capability, looks and handling into a very versatile and fun package.
The Boost uses a Bosch Performance Line motor instead of a Bosch Cargo Line motor.
The Benno team had the Boost loaded for a beach day at Sea Otter.
Benno Baenziger is adamant that the bikes that bear his name are not simple cargo bikes. They’re etility bikes.
The Benno Boost is the largest of the four bikes in Benno’s lineup, and though it has several unique characteristics that do make it slightly different from other cargo bikes, its large rear rack and 440 lb payload capacity make it undeniably cargo-y. What makes it different from the others is its relatively short wheelbase, which gives it handling much closer to that of a more traditional e-bike, and its use of Bosch Performance Line motors instead of Bosch’s cargo motor.
The thought behind those changes, according to Benno, is that riders aren’t always going to be hauling cargo or passengers. Sometimes a rider is going to want a snappier powerband and handling that isn’t bogged down by a long wheelbase or odd weight distribution. The“etility” idea, according to Benno, is the marriage of looks, hauling capability and handling. The Boost aims to hit all those marks and more.
Riese & Müeller Load 60
The Load 60 may be the Cadillac of front-loading electric cargo bikes.
Riese & Müeller says the Load cargo bikes are some of the only full suspension front-loading cargo bikes on the market.
The Load 60 can carry two children in the front basket.
Boasting the title as the only full suspension front-loading cargo bike on the market, the Riese & Müeller Load 60 is an ultra-lux cargo hauling option.
The Load is sold stock as essentially a naked cargo bike that can be outfitted for a particular job, such as people carrying or cargo carrying. The one we saw at Sea Otter was fitted with a set of child seats in the cargo bay that were covered by a retractable shroud. The larger Load 75 can handle a third child seat.
The advantage of a front loading cargo bike is that you’ve got a very low center of gravity and that you’re always pushing your cargo instead of pulling it. Cargo bikes in general almost all have handling idiosyncrasies, but the front loaders in particular seem to handle loads very well.
Like all of Riese & Müeller’s e-bikes, the Load is very customizable with available drivetrain options from Rholoff, Enviolo hub or traditional Shimano XT Deore setup. Riese & Müeller’s Load series is specced with the Bosch Cargo Line mid-drive motor that makes 85Nm of torque and is tuned to be especially grunty at low speeds. You can also add an optional second battery to increase range, which the Riese & Müeller rep we spoke with highly suggested as heavy cargo bikes require a lot of power.
Urban Arrow Family
The Urban Arrow Family model has become a near iconic front-loading electric cargo bike.
The cargo box is made of EPP foam and is specifically designed for carrying kids (hence the “family” name).
Another Bosch powered bike.
Another front-loader, the Urban Arrow Family model is arguably one of the most iconic cargo bikes on the market. It also happens to be, in my opinion, one of the best handling when carrying big loads.
It too features a very low center of gravity, which helps the handling under load. Unlike many e-cargo bikes that position themselves as do-it-all workhorses, the Urban Arrow is specifically designed for hauling kids (hence why they call it the “Family” model). The box is made of EPP foam, which in addition to looking like a big bathtub, will absorb impacts and thus help protect passengers.
The Urban Arrow is also powered by the grunty Bosch Cargo Line motor.
Tern Quick Haul
Less of a cargo bike and more of a versatile city bike, the QuickHaul is compact but with enough hauling capacity to be useful.
Every cargo bike we saw was Bosch powered.
Tern is big on adjustable cockpits, and the Quick Haul features a new adjustable stem.
Less cargo bike and more capable city bike, the Tern Quick Haul e-bike is a compact city bike with just enough hauling space to tackle your daily tasks.
Specced with the Bosch Performance Line or Bosch Active Line Plus motor, depending on the spec level you choose, the quick haul is designed to be a quick and capable e-bike. Size wise, it looks much more similar in stature to a folding city e-bike (though it doesn’t fold), but sports a decently large rear rack. That rack mates with many of Tern’s modular accessories and can be outfitted to carry kids or cargo.
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