9 Best Family Cargo Bikes


If you’re itching to get back in the saddle post-kids (sorry, SoulCycle doesn’t count), but don’t know where to begin, we have a solution: cargo bikes. Bicycle manufacturers around the globe have come up with creative ways to transport your entire clan on two or three wheels, making your journey back onto the bike path as easy as, well, riding a bicycle. We break down 9 of the best family cargo bikes out there with pros and cons of each. It’s time to ride!

What You Need to Know
While there are many of ways to bike with kids, from bike seats to trailers to tandem bikes, in this article, we are focused on three styles of family cargo bikes: the Long John or Bakfiets, which has a cargo area in front; the Longtail, which has a room for kids in back of the driver; and a Front Load Trike or Tadpole trike, which has a front cargo and three wheels for stability. Many of the bikes listed below are electric-assist, which makes biking with heavy loads or uphill much more enjoyable, according to cargo bike enthusiasts.

photo: Cargo Bike Lane

Let’s Talk Cost
While the high prices for many models are not for the faint-of-heart, some families justify the expense by using cargo bikes as a car replacement for daily school and grocery runs. If cost is still an issue, consider exploring the robust second-hand market, where cargo bikes can be purchased for a fraction of the cost. There is a list of second hand resources at end of the article. If you’re wondering if a cargo bike is right for your family, ask yourself these 14 questions.

Bonus insider tip: For the best options for transporting kids without a cargo bike, here’s what bike pro Kit Hodge has to say.

 

Long John Bikes (also called a Bakfiets)

 

photo: Virtue Bike

1. The School Bus by Virtue Bike, starting at $1400
This made-in-San Diego cargo bike lets kids sit in a big cargo box and go for a ride. The Virtue Schoolbus put parents at ease with in the front. It also allows them to have good quality time chatting without having to keep looking back.

Kids: 1-3 in box, + possible rear seat add-on

Electric Assist: Yes

Pros:

  • Stability of a three wheels
  • Being able to see the kids
  • Only an extra $600 to have the battery, motor and control system added to the standard Schoolbus

Cons:

  • Steering is different than many other cargo bikes
  • It’s heavy and that may add to shipping cost 

What owners say:  “There’s a lot to recommend about the Schoolbus.  I wanted to see the kids while I was riding. I can pull over if my toddler drops something, I never have to worry if a car is getting too close behind the trailer – I know right where everyone is.” Read more

What the pros say: “Designed to be stable for loading his kids, positioning them out front where you could keep an eye on them and have conversations during rides. “ Read more

Where to buy: Virtue Bike Dealers

 

 

photo: Splendid Cycles

2. Bullitt Cargo Bikes by Larry vs Harry, Starting at $3300
The Bullitt is considered one of the “most flexible” cargo bikes in the market, designed to be used as a completely customizable system, from colors, to components and accessories. Designed in Copenhagen, the Larry vs Harry team has decades of great bike building on their resume.

Kids: 1-3 in box + possible rear seat add-on

Electric Assist: Yes

Pros:

  • Narrow enough for city streets and bike lanes
  • Light enough to ride without electric assist
  • Modern interpretation of an older and tested bike design originating in Denmark

Cons:

  • Steering can feel wobbly at first (the faster you go, the steadier is gets)

What owners say: “If the Urban Arrow is a Dutch ride, upright, stable a luxury car of bikes, the Bullitt is a fast sports car. The bike is a whip though; fast and light when using it. I actually turned off the assist because it felt too fast for my test ride.”  Read more

What the Pros Say: “The Bullitt is a sexy, sporty and fun front carrier bike perfect for families with one to three kids who want to live by bike to the fullest.” Read more

Where to buy:  Larry vs Harry dealers

 

 

 photo: Urban Arrow

3. Family Bike, by Urban Arrow, $5,950
This Dutch company makes high quality cargo bikes that use the newest technology and state of the art materials to move people and freights through town in the fastest possible way. Their goal? Reduce the use of scooters and cars.

Kids: 1-3 in box, + possible rear seat add-on

Electric Assist: Yes

Pros:

  • Narrow design perfect for navigating city streets
  • New technology like Nuvinci hubgear and Bosch pedal assist
  • Lots of customization options available

Cons:

  • It is a really big bike, both width and length and we’ve heard turning is difficult

What owners say: “The Urban Arrow’s child-hauling and commuting setup is unbelievably swank. Considering all the features packed into it, the Urban Arrow feels shockingly light.” Read more

What the pros say: “With Dutch smarts, this electric motor assisted cargo bike delivers the goods for a household. This is a bike with enormous potential to take the place of a car.” Read more

Where to buy: Urban Arrow Dealers

 

 

Long Tail Bikes

1. Radwagon, by Rad Power Bikes, starting at $1599
The Seattle-based start-up is looking to disrupt the electric bike industry with a direct-to-consumer model that is more cost-efficient than competitors. They use Velofix (like a Geek Squad for bicycles) to build, tune and deliver bikes.

Kids: 1-2 on back

Electric assist: yes

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable e-bikes on the market
  • Lots of customization options

Cons:

  • Cheaper components, not having a dealer to rely on (though Velofix seems to have taken some of the pain out of assembly)

What owners say: “Overall, this bike is an amazing deal for the price.” Read more

What the pros say: “Affordable, feature rich cargo style electric bike with a stiffer and lighter frame because it’s not quite as long as some others.”  Read more

Where to buy: RadPowerBikes.com

 

 

Photo: Pedago Facebook page

2. Stretch, by Pedego, starting at $3,595
Founded in 2008, Pedego is one of the largest electric bike brand in America. They have their own dealers, as well as distribution through many bike shops and on Amazon. This makes it easy to purchase and service the bike. The Stretch has many cool features, like the powered USB port for your phone and audio.

Kids: 1-3

Pros:

  • Pedego has a great reputation and many shops are familiar the brand for service and repair
  • The Stretch has can be accessorized with products from the Pedego line

Cons:

  • We’ve been told the frame is stiff, so may not be as comfortable as other rides 

What owners say: “It is a powerful, beautiful, cruiser style and is not only fun to ride but I get to choose how much I exert myself.” Read more

What the pros say: “ Pedego hit the price point well and make a bike that is as smooth as silk.   The way E-bike control systems work is a big deal for me and I am happy to report this one is spot on.” Read more 

Where to buy: Amazon, or a dealer near you.

 

 

photo: Yuba Bikes

2. Spicy Curry ($3,999) by Yuba
This Northern California-based company has rolled out it’s first e-bike, a lightweight and stylish cargo bike that lets kids sit on the back of the bike while Mom or Dad pedals.

Kids:  1-3 on back

Electric assist: yes

Pros:

  • Lightweight (about 55 lbs)
  • a low rear deck over a 20” wheel for greater stability 

Cons:

  • The side-loaders (where kids place their feet) can scrape up against curbs and other objects. 

What owners say: “The Spicy Curry was built from the ground up as an assisted cargo bike for hills. It is very different from their other models, from my perspective in a good way.” Read more

What the pros say: “The Spicy Curry is a mid-drive powered electric cargo bike from Yuba! The primary benefit is efficiency and power because the drive system leverages the same eight speed drivetrain that you do as a rider!” Read more

Where to buy: Yuba Bike dealers

 

 

Front Load Trike (also called a Tadpole)

 

 

1.Taga bike, starting at $849
You’ve probably seen this one on your Facebook feed, considered the “Ultimate Affordable Family Bike,” Taga 2.0 is the follow-up to an already successful Taga bicycle/stroller. The 2.0, which raised $1MM on Kickstarter in its first day, allows for multiple kids in a variety of positions (including using your car seat) and lots of fun accessories, even a watergun.

Kids: 1-2 in box, + possible rear seat add-on

Electric Assist: Coming soon, or as an add-on kit

Pros:  

  • The price. This is the only cargo tricycle on the market for under $1000
  • The community of Taga owners helps with questions about assembly, performance and accessories

Cons:

  • The kickstarter process can be frustrating, from delivery schedule to communication, the Taga team is overloaded by demand.

What owners say: “The best thing about the Taga is the wide range of accessories that they make. For instance, you might start riding with a baby in the carseat adaptor, later convert to the regular child seat, and then a few years later buy a second child seat when baby #2 comes along.” Read more

What the Pros Say: “Taga 2.0 brings flexible family cargo bike to the masses” Read more.

Where to buy: Their Indiegogo page

 

 

 

photo: Yoyo-mom.com

2. Family, by Nihola, starting at $3,999
For 18-years, this Danish company has developed, produced, sold these proprietary tricycles for families, as well as for rehab/handicap-, institutional- and commercial use. There are over 10,000 Nihola bikes in Copenhagen alone, so this bike is tried-and-tested.

Kids: 1-3 in box, + possible rear seat add-on

Electric assist: yes

Pros:

  • The solid frame design built to withstand impact
  • front door opens for easily onboarding kids and pets
  • The Nihola Flex version can transport a wheelchair

Cons:

  • Few US distributors may increase delivery cost

What owners say: “Nihola Electric Family Cargo Bike is an excellent bike for leisurely strolls around town when you are not in a rush.  It’s very handy for transporting heavy goods and also more than one child on the bike.” Read more

What the pros Say: “The Nihola is a better value and lower cost, it’s really the the best three-wheel solution available.” Read more

Where to buy: Nihola dealers

 

 

 

photo: Vie Bikes

3. Butchers & Bicycles MK-1E, Starting at $4,995
If Apple designed an electric bicycle, it would be the MK-1E. From beautiful design, to performance and state-of-the-art utility (a tricycle the leans), the MK-1E has taken the biking world by storm since it launched in 2015.

Kids: 1-3 in box, + possible rear seat add-on

Electric assist: yes

Pros:

  • Tilt steering makes it really fun to ride
  • Beautiful design attracts attention
  • Attention to details, like lockable glove box

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive e cargo bikes on the market
  • It’s wide, so can be diffcult to maneuver on narrow city streets

What owners say: “When I saw the Butcher, I was blown away. It was fast. It was sexy. It hauled a ton of cargo. It handled like a two wheeler. It was the coolest cargo bike I had ever seen.” Read more

What the pros say: “This is such a well-made bike. Butchers & Bicycles has truly thought of every little detail to maximize the quality of the experience for both the rider and the child passengers. We see both first time riders and everyday riders fall in love with the way this bike handles. We find that the customers who really love this bike tend to appreciate the fact that it’s a full package of awesome.” Read more

Where to buy: Butchers & Bicycles dealers

 

Where to Find Second Hand Cargo Bikes

From DC to Nashville, Chicago and Portland, there Facebook Family Biking Groups that share local tips, trails as well as buy and sell used gear. Search for “Family Biking” on Facebook under “Groups.”

In bigger biking communities, like San Francisco and Seattle there are also “Family Bike Swap” Facebook Groups, focused exclusively on selling gear online and at swap events.

 

Tell us about your thoughts on family cargo bikes. Which one would be the best fit for your family? Do you own one? Do you have friends who own cargo bikes? Leave a comment below!

—Jacqui Boland

 



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