Bikes

Best Cargo Bikes of 2024: Unpacking the Top Picks

Cargo bike filled with stuff

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As people look for alternatives to cars, there’s one special type of bike that deserves its place as the most notorious competitor; the humble cargo bike.

Originating in the Netherlands in the 20th century, the cargo bike has seen an explosion in popularity in revent years and it doesn’t seem like anyone can stop it. Practical, economical, environmentally friendly, and super-trendy, these bikes are perfect for carrying shopping, your kids, or even your pets.

In this article, we’ll look at the best cargo bikes of 2024, including, amongst others, a mix of electric cargo bikes, non-electric cargo bikes, front-loading cargo bikes, and even the best cargo bikes for families. We’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions, ultimately helping you to decide if they’re worth the investment.

Best Cargo Bikes of 2024

  1. tern gsd s10 dual battery bike

    CAR REPLACEMENT

    Tern GSD S10

    Dual battery electric cargo bike that is a serious alternative to a car.

  2. omnium cargo

    MASTERCLASS IN STYLE

    Omnium Cargo V3

    On of the trendiest and most agile front-loading cargo bikes money can buy.

  3. urban arrow active family plus

    FAMILY FRIENDLY CARGO

    Urban Arrow Family Active Plus

    Award winning electric cargo from one of the leading manufacturers in the industry.

  4. aventon abound bike white

    STEP-THROUGH

    Aventon Abound E-Bike

    Affordable, step-through e-cargo bike that’s easy to use and comfy to ride.

  5. tern quick haul

    COMPACT CARGO

    Tern Quick Haul

    Electric Hybrid/Cargo with a small footprint that can be stored vertically.

  6. specialized haul st

    HIGH-POWER

    Specialized Haul ST

    Powerful e-bike that’s great for carrying a range of things.

  7. christiana bikes classic cargo

    CLEAN AND SIMPLE

    Christiania Classic

    Minimally designed, classic cargo bike that avoids over complication.

  8. fiido t1 pro utility e-bike

    UTILITY

    Fiido T1 Pro

    An excellent e-bike that marries a utility bike with a cargo one.


Is It Worth Getting a Cargo Bike?

Cargo bikes are really quite incredible and can be a worthwhile investment for a number of reasons.

Firstly, they essentially combine the benefits of cycling with the practicality of a minivan, allowing you to haul groceries, run errands, transport kids, or carry bulky items. They’re extremely popular in big European cities, like Copenhagen, where 1 in 4 families have one.

Cargo bikes are also versatile in terms of the types of cargo they can carry. They’re not just good for carrying passengers and furry friends, although that’s definitely a plus, but they’re also really good at carrying heavy or awkward loads. That doesn’t just mean groceries, but can also mean furniture!

They have some drawbacks. They aren’t usually designed for off-road conditions, and they’re ultimately not great when it comes to parking (with some exceptions). But compared to a car, their physical and environmental footprint is negligible.


urban arrow family active plus outdoor
credit: Urban Arrow family active plus cargo e-bike

What is the Difference Between a Cargo Bike and a Regular Bike?

Almost all bikes have at least some carrying capacity, but there are some major differences between cargo bikes and regular or non-cargo bikes.

Firstly, cargo bikes are specifically designed to carry heavy loads and bulky items. They usually have cargo platforms or boxes that extend past the frame of the bike. Regular bikes on the other hand are generally streamlined.

Secondly, cargo bikes have longer frames and wheelbases to help provide stability with the loads. Regular bikes usually have shorter frames and wheelbases, prioritising agility and maneuverability.

Cargo bikes also handle differently than regular bikes. Due to their size and weight, they might require more effort to steer and navigate, particularly when full. However, it’s worth noting that there are many cargo bikes that are handling more and more like regular bikes, thanks to continual improvements.


How Fast Do Cargo Bikes Go?

The speed of cargo bikes can vary depending on various factors, such as the rider’s strength, the terrain, and the model of the bike.

Generally speaking, cargo bikes aren’t usually designed for high-speed performance but rather for utility, for transporting goods, and for accommodating a comfortable ride.

It’s worth noting that some electric cargo bikes have a maximum speed of around 15-25 mph, but this will reduce drastically depending on the loads that the bikes are carrying.

It’s also ill-advised to cycle at high speeds with passengers or if the bike is heavily encumbered. This is especially true with cargo bikes as they can be a little bit more difficult to control.


credit: fiido T1 pro cargo bike

What Are Cargo Bikes Called?

Cargo bikes go by lots of different names. The most notable one is a ‘box bike’. This refers to cargo bikes that have a box-shaped cargo area attached to the front or rear of the bike; a model that you’ll see with some of the best Dutch cargo bikes.

They’re also sometimes known as freight or carrier bicycles, emphasising the ability of cargo bikes to transport heavy loads with relative ease.

One distinction that’s worth pointing out is between cargo bikes and utility bikes. Whilst the names are sometimes misused interchangeably, there are some key differences.Utility bikes generally have traditional wheelbases which are reinforced, making them suitable to carry heavy loads.

They might be good for carrying loads, but they are capable of much more. Cargo bikes on the other hand often incorporate platforms, boxes, or other types of baskets, and are more often than not designed specifically to carry, doing so very well.


Top Cargo Bikes

A good cargo bike is designed to efficiently and safely carry heavy loads, making it a practical and sustainable alternative to traditional transportation methods.

Best Cargo Bike For Daily Use

1. Tern GSD S10

tern gsd s1o dual battery bike
tern gsd s1o dual battery bike colours
  • UK Flag £4,800
  • US Flag $5,875
  • EU Flag €5,500

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: 20″

Weight: 33.6 kg

Load Capacity: 100 kg (on racks)

Gearing: 10 speed

Bosch Dual Battery system, 400 Wh/900 Wh

Bosch Cargo Line Motor

Always-on RearStop™ Brake Light

The Tern GSD S10 is an electric cargo bike designed not only to carry heavy loads, but also to provide a realistic alternative means of transportation to a car.

Featuring a Bosch dual-battery system that provides a whopping range of up to 195 km, you won’t suffer from the range anxiety that you’ll find in lower tier electric bikes.

It comes integrated with a heavy-duty frame-integrated rear rack and lower decks, making it optimal for carrying. And, thanks to it’s lower center of gravity, carry it does well. Even with passengers, it maintains its composure, balance and control.

It’s a cargo bike with versatility and utility in mind, and as such is customisable to meet various transportation needs. It also features an Atlas Lockstand that auto-locks when engaged, and users can unlock it by pressing a button on the handlebars, which is a really handle little touch.

It certainly isn’t the cheapest on this list, but for those looking for a car-killing cargo bike, the GSD S10 should be at the top of the list.

Pros

  • The swiss army knife of cargo bikes
  • Incredibly robust, solid build
  • Top of the line components, including Bosch motor and batteries

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Reasonably large footprint

Most Stylish Cargo Bike

2. Omnium Cargo V3

omnium cargo v3 cargo bike
omnium cargo v3 cargo bike colours
  • UK Flag £2,530
  • US Flag $3,100
  • EU Flag €2,900

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: Smaller front than rear

Weight: 20 kg +/-

Load Capacity: N/A

Gearing: Multiple choices, including a belt-drive option.

Double butted chromoly steel frame

Adjustable rocker dropouts

Multiple drivetrain options

If you’ve been to some of the major cities in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, you’ve probably seen one, and if you’re honest, you’ve probably wanted one.

The Cargo V3 from Omnium is a versatile, lightweight, and nifty cargo bike that’s designed to feel like a normal bike whilst carrying like a cargo one. This means it avoids one of the barriers of cargo bikes entirely in that the riding experience is a familiar one.

Thanks to its exceptionally long wheelbase, it’s really sturdy, sturdy enough that Omnium says you’ll have no problem cycling with some new living room furniture on the front.

And speaking of loading, there’s a great variety of add-ons for the flat-bed frame, such as webbing, boxes, or even an extra seat with a backrest.

Omnium certainly isn’t producing the cheapest cargo bikes, but nor do they try to. The Cargo V3 is made of some excellent components, is designed very thoughtfully, and, quite frankly, is pretty cool.

Pros

  • Rides like an ordinary bike
  • Available in full titanium for ultimate cool
  • Fast and agile

Cons

  • Expensive for a non-electric bike
  • Optional extras are also expensive

Best Family Cargo Bike

3. Urban Arrow Family Active Plus

urban arrow family active plus cargo bike
urban arrow family active plus in use
urban arrow family active plus colours
  • UK Flag £4,620
  • US Flag $5,660
  • EU Flag €5,300

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: Front 20″ / Rear 26″

Weight: 51 kg

Load Capacity: 125 kg front load

Gearing: Stepless gear shifting

Powerpack 400 battery

Bosch active line plus motor with 50 Nm of torque

Bosch Purion display

For a family looking to replace at least some trips made with a car, there’s no better cargo bike than the Family from Urban Arrow. The entry-level model, the Active Plus, is actually astonishingly good value for money, even if at first glance it does seem a little expensive.

Firstly, it’s just so useful. The front-loading box can fit all of the stuff you could possibly need to take with you on any day trip, and that’s without any of the additional add-ons (which are also well worth considering).

The front compartment is secure, sturdy, and ultimately comfortable, be it for luggage or for kids. Whilst it’s a little on the heavier side, the Bosch active line motor has more than enough power to carry the bike and all of it’s luggage without any issues.

It’s also really stable. Thanks to it’s long wheelbase (nearly twice that of a normal bike) and very low centre of gravity, the bike feels comfortable to ride even when it’s at full capacity.

For anyone looking to replace a car, who doesn’t mind spending a little more for a premium product, this cargo bike might just be the model for you.

 

Pros

  • Great for carrying multiple kids
  • Super-quiet
  • Surprisingly easy to handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Battery range could be bigger
  • Heavy

Best Affordable Electric Cargo Bike

4. Aventon Abound E-Bike

aventon abound e-bike
aventon abound e-bike gear
aventon abound e-bike pedal assist
aventon abound e-bike in use
aventon abound e-bike colours
  • UK Flag £1,800
  • US Flag $2,200
  • EU Flag €2,060

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: 20″

Weight: 37 kg +/-

Load Capacity: 200 kg payload capacity (64 in carrying capacity)

Gearing: 7 speed

750W (sustained) rear hub motor

720Wh integrated battery

Up to 50 miles in range

The Abound from Aventon is a competitively priced electric cargo bike that’s one of the most popular in its class worldwide and for good reason.

With a modest top speed of 20 MPH and a powerful 750W motor, this e-bike enables efficient and swift transportation. It boasts a range of up to 50 miles on a single charge, providing ample distance for various delivery or cargo-hauling needs. It also has a payload capacity of 440 lbs (around 200 kg), making it capable of carrying heavy and bulky loads.

With integrated turn signals and lights, the Abound prioritises safety on the road while ensuring visibility for both the rider and other traffic. It also features an LCD smart display that provides really easy-to-read information about speed, battery level, and other important information.

Don’t expect to find the most premium components here, but at the price, you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised at the quality, versatility, and capability that you’ll be rewarded with.

Pros

  • Very affordable (especially for an electric cargo bike)
  • Versatile
  • Step-through frame for easy mounts/dismounts

Cons

  • Range could be greater
  • Limited colour options
  • Steering can be a little bit ‘flexy’

Best Compact Cargo Bike

5. Tern Quick Haul

tern quick haul cargo bike
tern quick haul cargo bike outdoors
tern quick haul cargo bike features
tern quick haul cargo bike colours
  • UK Flag £2,490
  • US Flag $3,050
  • EU Flag €2,850

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: 20″

Weight: 22.9 kg

Load Capacity: 150 kg +/- (50 kg on rear rack)

Gearing: Multiple options

Bosch motor

400Wh battery

Purion display

The Quick Haul is the entry-level cargo bike from industry giants Tern.

Whilst cargo bikes often suffer from storage and portability issues, the Quick Haul is a much more compact model that can actually be parked vertically to minimise its footprint.

Sitting somewhere between a cargo and hybrid, it’s got a wheelbase that’s slightly longer than a regular bike, allowing for an extended rear rack for optimum storage. Whilst it doesn’t have the storage capacities of other cargo bikes on this list, it more than makes up for it in agility and maneuverability, making it a great choice for the average city rider.

Even though it’s the entry level model, you’ll still get some great features, such as the Bosch motor system that’ll provide great additional support if you’re pedalling.

It’s a great all round bike that’s got cargo sensibilities whilst maintaining the ridability of a regular step-through bike.

Pros

  • Tern quality at a more affordable price
  • Can park vertically to save space
  • Small but mighty, great for nimble city riding

Cons

  • Not as carry capable as other cargo bikes
  • Mix of a hybrid and a cargo
  • Expensive accessories

Most Customisable Cargo Bike

6. Specialized Haul ST

specialized haul st cargo e-bike outdoor
specialized haul st cargo e-bike battery
specialized haul st cargo e-bike colours
  • UK Flag £2,285
  • US Flag $2,800
  • EU Flag €2,620

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: 20″

Weight: 35 kg

Load Capacity: 190 kg (rider included)

Gearing: 9 speed

700 W rear hub motor

772wh battery

Up to 60 mile range (96 km +/-)

The Haul ST is a customisable electric bike with cargo sensibilities. With a range of nearly 100 km and a weight capacity of nearly 200 kg, it’s up there with the most capable cargo bikes.

With its premium aluminium frame and steel forks, it’s built to last. However, whilst it’s durable, this bike really shines regarding its accessory options.

One of the best is the school bus kit, which aims to optimise the bike for the carrying of a small passenger as well as all their school stuff.

Another favourite is the station wagon. With front and rear pannier adapters to add up to 4 different storage containers, it’s great for carrying loads of shopping while distributing the weight well.

If what you value in a bike is versatility and customisability, there are probably no better choices than the Haul ST.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Powerful
  • Big range

Cons

  • Passenger carrying capacities are limited
  • No suspension can result in a bumpier ride

Best Dutch Style Cargo Bike

7. Christiana Classic

christiana classic cargo bike
christiana classic cargo bike outdoor
christiana classic cargo bike kids

Wheel Size: 24″

Weight: 35 kg (medium)

Load Capacity: 235 kg permissible total weight

Gearing: Multiple choices (including 1 and 7 speed)

Huge cargo capacity for the front

Tight turning radius of 500 cm +/-

Four different size options for front compartment

Producing since the 1980s, Danish bike brand Christiania is legendary when it comes to cargo bikes. And if there’s a bike that demonstrates this, it’s surely the Classic.

Sometimes what you want in a cargo bike is an enormous box that can fit everything you need. In this regard, perhaps it’s best to keep things simple. In fact, it’s a design so popular that it’s barely changed in 30 years.

The model comes in 4 different sizes, from a stubby short option to a long one which can accommodate up to 4 children! This is probably why they continue to be a family favourite that you’ll regularly see on the streets of major cities in Europe. And, thanks to its tight turning circle and excellent maneuverability, it’s a bike that excels in urban environments.

Sustainably produced in Denmark using excellent components, such as the iconic timber used for the box compartment, as well as sturdy steel, the Classic is a tried and tested cargo bike that frankly does its job extremely well.

Pros

  • Beautiful, simplistic design
  • Great for carrying multiple kids
  • Maneuverable, lightweight, and user friendly

Cons

  • Design is better suited to families
  • The electric option is considerably more expensive

 

Best Utility-Cargo Bike

8. Fiido T1 Pro

fiido t1 pro utility e-bike
fiido t1 pro utility e-bike rearview
fiido t1 pro utility e-bike outdoor
fiido t1 pro utility e-bike ride
  • UK Flag £1,480
  • US Flag $1,815
  • EU Flag €1,700

Prices are approximate

Wheel Size: 20″

Weight: 45 kg

Load Capacity: 120kg for riding seat, 80 kg for rear rack

Gearing: 7 speed

750W motor

960Wh battery

150 km range

The Fiido T1 is a cross between a cargo bike and a utility bike, marrying the two concepts with some style.

It’s a high power bike, equipped with a powerful motor and large capacity battery, meaning you’ve got plenty of torque and a long range ahead of you. This really makes it perfect for long trips, which is just as well because there’s room to pack a lot of things.

Whilst you can take a passenger on the back, this bike really shines when it comes to off-road trips, such as with bike packing. The fat tyres really have some impressive grip, and thanks to the large motor it’s pretty capable of tackling some hills.

Having said that, it’s still an excellent bike for city dwellers. The rear rack has a weight capacity of 80 kg, meaning it’s comfortable carrying a passenger and some bags.

All things considered, it’s an affordable e-bike that’s a great option for those looking for the sensibilities of a cargo bike and who don’t want to suffer from the dead range anxiety.

Pros

  • Affordable utility/cargo bike
  • Big payload capacity for size
  • Fat tires

 

Cons

  • Limited colour options
  • Components are not as premium as some others on this list

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