CleanTechnica Tested: The Flyer L885 Long Tail Cargo E-Bike
As kids, many of us grew up with the Radio Flyer brand and its iconic red wagons. Whether it was a signature wagon or another multi-wheel device designed to maximize joy for children, they’ve been around for decades.
Radio Flyer is pushing into the electric mobility space with a line of electric bikes and scooters designed to carry forward its legacy of high quality products for the masses into the next generation. Looking at its line, the L885 electric cargo bike, which does have a strange name, seemed like an innovative design, so we moved in for a closer look.
One Bike For Every Job
For its electric lineup, the company chose to simplify the brand, going simply with Flyer. The L885 electric long tail cargo bike is clearly of a different breed from the rest of the mass produced electric bikes out there. The tail has been pulled out to provide a longer cargo platform for the bike. It has accessories that allow for two children to sit comfortably, or you can attach one or two Yepp Maxi infant seats. Alternately, the integrated rear rack can be loaded up with cargo baskets and bags with a carrying capacity of 150 pounds.
The smaller rear tire has shielding around the upper with significant frame support for the long rear rack. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
To keep all that weight on the rear rack as low as possible, Flyer opted for a 20-inch rear tire. This stands in contrast with the front 26-inch tire, both of which utilize 3-inch fat tires for additional comfort as there is no suspension on the bike. The 20-inch tire in the rear keeps the rear grounded while the larger front tire gives the bike a better approach angle and better handling. It looks awkward at first but feels super comfortable when riding it.
Taking off on the first ride, the L885 feels super comfortable. This was no accident and is the result of a few key design choices. First off, the fat tires make for an extremely comfortable ride and insulate the rider from the typical blips and bumps in the road. For your rear end, the Selle Royal saddle is nice and comfortable and provides a nice base of support.
The geometry of the bike is more upright than most American bikes and works in tandem with the adjustable stem. This allows riders to adjust their seat and handlebar position to optimize the ride for their style. Finally, and somewhat surprisingly, the the oversized handlebar grips are made from a nice comfortable yet dense rubber that gives solid feedback for great control of what is a rather large bike.
Speaking of its size, the 73-pound weight of the L885 does make it a bit cumbersome to assemble. Extracting the partially assembled bike from the box can be challenging. We found that it’s best to cut the sides of the box to reveal the bike instead of attempting to lift it out the top. As for the assembly, in addition to the standard handlebar attachment, pedals, etc., the rear foot pads also need to be attached to the bike. That’s an additional six screws and while that’s not a lot, it does add weight to the bike and a bit of extra time to the assembly.
If you’re comfortable changing out a flat on a rear tire and using basic hand tools, assembly of the L885 should not pose a challenge. For others, it’s best to find a local bike shop that is willing to assemble it for you and have it shipped directly to them.
Accessorize Your Ride
The hefty weight of the bike is largely due to the fact that it was designed to carry cargo. It boasts a total weight capacity of 400 pounds, which includes the weight of the rider. Up to 150 pounds of that can be carried on the rear rack alone. Flyer has a wide range of accessories that allow you to customize the rear cargo area. A mounting plate on the front head tube makes it easy to mount a front rack for additional cargo hauling capacity.
We were sent a front and rear basket with our bike, which are great default options for increasing the cargo capacity of the bike. Our favorite accessory for the Flyer L885 is the sick two Kid Cargo Carrier option for the rear rack. It looks like a fairly standard cage that bolts onto the rear rack to give kids some protection and something to hold onto when riding.
A closer inspection shows that it has a trick up its sleeve in that the fabric liner that comes with it can actually zip up, transforming it into a cargo basket. This is a really cool hack that we haven’t seen anywhere else, but which makes a ton of sense whether you have kids or not. Using it in Carrier mode even seems like a better option than Flyer’s large basket as it is deeper, resulting in a larger storage volume.
The wide range of accessories make it possible to customize the bike to exactly your needs and as such, make it a solid option for young families, last mile delivery, as a work bike, and much more. Its aluminum frame and steel fork make it feel like a much lighter bike than it is and with its impressive 30-50 mile range per charge, it is extremely capable. In our testing, we found this rating to be a bit conservative as we were able to squeak out quite a few more miles per charge, even with a heavier rider than average at speeds of 15-20 mph, and that even held true on hilly routes.
It’s almost as much fun as the Radio Flyer trikes from childhood. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
For folks looking to haul a ton of weight, ride more miles, or who just love going fast, Flyer built in the capability to add a second battery to the bike. The 672Wh Extended Range Battery for the L885 bolts right onto the bike and runs in tandem with the primary battery, effectively doubling the range. Most people shouldn’t need this option, but for those who do, it’s great to have the option to not only carry a second battery, but to have it fully integrated into the system.
The Flyer L885 packs in a handful of new innovations and design choices that set it apart from the masses of electric cargo bikes. The smaller rear tire and standard front tire improve the stability and handling, both of which are increasingly important as the weight being carried increases.
Flyer has built out a range of accessories that not only work well, but they look really sharp on the bike as well. On top of that, the Flyer brand brings back memories from childhood and is frankly just a feel good brand. We love that it comes in a throwback red that connects with the original red wagon, but in a modern matte finish. It comes in black, red, white, and blue and in sizes small, medium, and large to ensure a good fit for all types of riders.
The Flyer L885 long tail electric cargo bike sells for 1,999. To pick up one or to learn more about it, head over to Flyer’s website.
Disclaimer: Flyer provided the L885 to the author for the purposes of this review.
- Battery: 48V, 15Ah (687Wh) UL Tested Lithium-Ion pack built with Samsung 50E 21700 Cells
- Motor: 500 watt brushless rear hub motor
- Range: 30 to 50 miles of assisted riding per charge
- Throttle: Half twist throttle
- Pedal Assist: 5-level pedal assist with cadence sensor
- Display: LCD display that shows speedometer, battery charge level, pedal assist level, odometer, and light indicator
- Speed: Up to 20 mph with motor assistance
- Total Weight Capacity: 400 lb
- Rear Rack Capacity: 150 lb
- Passengers: up to 2 additional passengers
- Kickstand: center kickstand for stability when parked
- Lights: Front LED headlight, Rear Integrated tail light with brake light function
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Elops R500 Electric Cargo Bike from Decathlon : A good longtail?
What’s all the fuss about the Elops R500, Decathlon’s electric longtail bike? We are not going to beat around the bush: Decathlon broke the market! Yes, Decathlon’s electric longtail cargo bike costs half the price of the competition. Is this e-bike really worth it?
⚠️ Since the Decathlon Elops R500 cargo bike is not available in the US, we offer you instead the Nakto Cargo, a stylish cargo bike at a more than affordable price.
My opinion on the Decathlon Elops R500
250 high-speed brushless gear engine. 36V 10Ah r emovable waterproof battery. Front drum brake and rear disc brake. 250 lbs load capacity. 3 pedal assist modes. 1 year warranty.
Budget: | Speed: 22 mph | Range: 35 miles
At the top of this year’s electric cargo bike ranking, the R500 Elops from Decathlon is a success. The first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Decathlon Elops R500 is its price. It costs around €2500 (less than 2800) when competitors offer similar models arounf €5000 (approx 5400).
The Elops R500 electric longtail cargo bike from Decathlon is perfect for replacing a car in the city and reduce its carbon footprint. Yes, electric bikes are great to preserve the planet. It is a very pleasant bike to drive and you feel very safe in it. Whether it’s for shopping, getting to work, transporting your children or just to get some fresh air. I love its design and its color, I find the association of the light blue frame and the wooden elements very modern!
The Elops R500 longtail cargo bike incorporates a motor located in the rear wheel. It is an engine made by Decathlon so it is not from Bafang, Bosch or Schwalbe, unlike other more high-end electric cargo bikes. I find the engine very efficient and this is clearly due to a good pedaling sensor. The bike “understands” when you need help and “understands” the intensity of the help you need. The motor is a 250W which goes up to 15.5 mph and its torque is 58 Nm, a good torque for climbing small and medium climbs.
The Elops R500 bike offers 5 riding modes:
- Eco Support : 90% help. It helps a bit and it preserves the battery well.
- Standard Support : 180% help. My favorite mode to move without sweating.
- Power Support : 300% help. Allows you to go as fast as possible (max 15.5 mph.)
- Walk : Transforms the bike into a motorcycle that can climb up to 4 mph. No need to pedal to move forward.
- Without support : The bike weighs 38kg (84 lbs) so I do not recommend this mode !
The battery of the Decathlon Elops R500 electric cargo bike is a big highlight : it’s a 672Wh Samsung battery that allows you to travel up to 55 miles (it’s better than most of the more expensive competing models!). It is removable and recharges rather quickly (in less than 5 hours). To conserve the battery power as much as possible, I suggest you stay in eco mode. If you put the assistance of the Elops R500 in normal or power mode, the motor will need more energy and you will do less kilometers. (43 miles in normal mode, 31 miles in power mode).
On paved roads, the bike is very pleasant to ride (even with 2 children who yell sing the Pokemon credits at the back ). The front suspensions of the Decathlon Elops R500 longtail are a real pleasure to climb curbs or face the irregularities of the roads. The bike has 8 speeds (in addition to the assistance modes) which is very practical for tackling certain climbs.
Another point that I really like and contributes a lot to the driving comfort, is the central stand which allows you to raise the bike to install equipment or children on the cargo bike.
Hydraulic disc brakes
Another very good point of this EAB is its brakes. These are hydraulic disc brakes (the holy grail!) from the Tektro brand. Hydraulic disc brakes are the best brakes for this type of bike that carries heavy loads.
The size of the longtail
The Decathlon Elops R500 electric cargo bike is big! It is 220cm long, 68cm wide and 108cm high. It’s a little bigger than the majority of competitors, so you can carry a little more stuff. Also, it increases the comfort of the passengers in the back.
Why does this electric cargo bike cost twice as much as the competitors? There are 2 main reasons for the price of the Decathlon Elops 500: the bike was produced in Asia and most parts of it are from Decathlon.
The Decathlon longtail is a very good electric cargo bike that sets a new standard in terms of quality/price ratio. Decathlon has created the electric cargo bike that ticks a lot of boxes: accessible price safe driving solid materials large loading volume. I also like that this bike is all-inclusive (accessories such as lights, footrests, locks and even the “monkey bar” at the back which is often a €250 (approx 270) option to add to the bike).
250 high-speed brushless gear engine. 36V 10Ah r emovable waterproof battery. Front drum brake and rear disc brake. 250 lbs load capacity. 3 pedal assist modes. 1 year warranty.
Budget: | Speed: 22 mph | Range: 35 miles
Review: BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail for € 2,799 – What can Decathlon’s new cargo bike do?
With the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail from Decathlon, grocery shopping, trips with the kids or transporting crates of beer should be child’s play. A transport miracle which retails at a remarkable € 2,799? How does this cargo bike compare to high end cargo bikes? Read all the answers in our review.
Who can’t relate to this – a late dash to the supermarket on Saturday afternoon to buy the last few items for Sunday brunch with friends? But as soon as you arrive downtown, the queues of cars winding through the streets make you feel like you’ve landed in a steel snake pit. In the end, what should have been a short shopping trip becomes an hours-long odyssey and more often than not spoils the mood. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this dilemma: the cargo bike. For decades now, generously-loaded bikes have been used to transport bulky and heavy loads or additional people.
Combining them with electric motors once again significantly expanded the possible uses of cargo bikes. The sporting goods manufacturer Decathlon has recognised this potential and is launching the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail, an electric cargo bike at the attractive retail price of € 2,799. For a small surcharge of about € 50 to € 250, depending on which options you choose, you get a comprehensive equipment package with a well-thought-out transport concept to carry loads and people safely. A 58 Nm rear wheel motor that draws its power from a Samsung battery with a capacity of 672 Wh helps to power the 38 kg cargo bike.
The Decathlon BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail transport options at a glance
When buying the Decathlon BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail, you can choose between different transport options and combine them to match your personal needs. The basic version of the e-cargo bike only comes with a rear carrier, which doubles as a bench seat, complete with footrests, the front carrier and a safety bar. All storage and seating surfaces are made of bamboo. As additional transport options for goods or people, you can choose between seat cushions, child seats, and side s with a 50 litre volume. On the rear cargo area, the safety bar is standardised to fit the dimensions of Euro containers (60 x 40 cm or 30 x 40 cm). Individual combinations are possible: whether a child seat and a small Euro container, 2 children sitting behind each other, or side s in combination with a large Euro container – Tetris aficionados will be on Cloud nine because the pieces always fit.
Not only Decathlon’s own products find space on the support bar but also other bags with compatible systems can be placed securely on the side of the rear. Of course, you can also transport your own shopping bags and beer crates without any problems.The bike can carry a maximum load of 170 kg, including the rider. The rear carrier may be loaded with up to 80 kg and the front basket with a maximum of 10 kg, which at full load leaves a maximum weight of 80 kg for the rider. The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail offers an ample amount of space and can be generously packed. When fully loaded, however, getting off the kickstand is a little difficult. Thankfully, starting off with cargo is no problem due to the powerful start assist, which can also be used as a walk assist. As a little extra, Decathlon have sized the front basket to the dimensions of a six pack beer caddy – cheers! Unfortunately, the height of the beer caddy reduces the radius of the steering angle – the front basket is, therefore, more suitable for flat items no more than approximately 20 cm in height.
The Decathlon BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail motor concept in detail
Cycling uphill can leave you breathless, even when riding a light bike and without a load, that’s why electric assistance for cargo bikes makes perfect sense. With its BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail, Decathlon rely on a fairly quiet rear wheel motor from Vision with 58 Nm torque and three support levels ranging from Eco to Normal to Power. The motor draws its energy from a Samsung battery with a capacity of 672 Wh and is moderately large for a cargo bike. As we experienced first hand, the motor provides powerful support, and starting off is also no problem. The start and push assist integrated into the handlebars provides assistance up to a speed of 6 km/h and makes it easy to start moving, even with a maximum load.
Information about speed, battery status and driving mode can easily be read from the display. Additionally, you will find the estimated range, the distance covered during the trip, and the total distance travelled so far. The assistance is controlled via easy to understand plus and minus buttons beside the display. Next to them are the buttons for waking up the bike and for switching the lights on and off. The buttons work without any problems, but the material and finish feel somewhat low-quality. When the lights are switched on, the display also gets illuminated so that the information is easy to read even in the dark. Overall, the display provides a good overview of all the important information. Visually, however, it looks a little outdated and made us think of our fifth-grade calculator.
The features of the baby blue pack mule
In contrast to a four legged mule, which can quickly weigh over 400 kg, the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail only weighs 38 kg. Instead of four legs, the cargo bike is carried by a 26″ wheel at the front and a 20″ wheel at the rear, giving it a pleasantly low centre of gravity. The tyres, which are relatively narrow at 2.15″, only dampen the rear end moderately and, according to Decathlon, can vary between CST Brooklyn Pro C1996 or Schwalbe Big Ben Plus depending on the production batch and availability. The MicroSHIFT gear lever with only eight gears is a little outdated, while the TEKTRO disc brakes at the front and rear are of average size at 180 mm, and as a result you won’t really enjoy a long downhill ride with luggage. Evening shopping is also possible with the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail, as a rear light with brake light function and a front light underneath the basket are permanently installed. Thanks to the clever positioning, they are not concealed even when the bike is loaded, but they do not produce much light by today’s standards. Thanks to the standard frame lock, the bike can also be quickly parked and locked in front of the supermarket. If you want more security, you can chain your bike to the nearest lamp post with a compatible frame lock chain. For even more safety, a GPS tracker would be an advantage, but that would probably be too expensive for series production, and it’s easy enough to add one yourself. It’s also no surprise that the Decathlon bike does not allow you to let off steam à la West Coast Customs with only one colour variant available: baby blue.
Swift speedster or bulky barge? – The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail on test
In terms of design, for the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail, Decathlon seem to have been inspired by both Pythagoras and a little Bavarian sturdiness. The top tube merges straight into the seat stay and, in combination with the wooden elements, creates a modern look. The workmanship is solid, but the weld seams should not be viewed too closely. The rear wheel, including the motor and gears, is covered for a clean look. It also protects children from getting their legs in the spokes or getting dirty – Smart! Getting on and off the bike would be easier if the frame was a little lower, but, instead, the bike retains its clean lines.
In everyday use, you will notice that before starting off, you have to use your own strength to lift the bike over the tipping point of the stand. The handle under the saddle can help here, but when fully loaded you have to use some force to lift the bike off the stand. However, the position of the stand is well-engineered and the bike stands securely. When actually starting off, almost no power needs to be applied on the flat ground. The thumb-operated start assist on the handlebar provides dynamic support, even if you forget to shift to an easier gear before stopping and you are stuck in a gear that makes it hard to pedal. Once the bike starts moving, it runs quite stably. Thanks to the small rear wheel, the centre of gravity is very low even when fully loaded and the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail impresses with its smooth handling. The small rear wheel is also very advantageous for the motor concept based on wheel revolutions, as the faster the wheel turns, the more power you get. In addition, the suspension fork from SR Suntour and the wide saddle ensure a comfortable ride. The ergonomically-shaped handlebar with the short stem provides a safe riding feel.
The cargo bike is only available in one size, but it is well-suited for people from 160 to 190 cm tall. This is made possible by the continuously adjustable saddle, whereby the sloping seat tube not only adjusts the seating position upwards but also backwards, thus changing the reach – roughly the distance between the rider’s centre of gravity and the handlebars. Despite its length of 220 cm, the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail requires no training and can be ridden like a normal bike. This is a decisive advantage over many Long John bikes, which often need some time to get used to, as you can read in our cargo bike comparison test. The only thing you have to watch out for when getting on the bike is that you don’t hit the shopping or your child with your leg – or put yourself and the bike in a precarious situation. Speaking of not hitting something: The gear lever sits relatively far to the left, so that people with smaller hands may find it impossible to shift gears without repositioning their hand. Also, the buttons on the remote are a little hard to reach while riding if you don’t want to let go of the handlebar.
The hub motor gives the pack mule a good oomph and provides powerful support up to 25 km/h. Even after that, the support doesn’t just suddenly drop off, but slowly fades out, providing a harmonious feeling when pedalling. The BTWIN Cargo 500E is less suitable for mountainous areas or very hilly routes, as the 58 Nm unit reaches its limit as soon as it needs to ascend a steep incline. The cassette with its range of only 255% does not really favour uphill riding, but is somewhat compensated by the small rear wheel. However, the gears are absolutely sufficient for city riding. Unlike a mid-mounted motor, the hub motor in the Decathlon lacks torque. Especially on inclines, the disadvantage of the drive system compared to mid-mounted motors is strongly noticeable. On the straights and when accelerating, however, the rear-wheel motor of the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail is on a par with a mid-mounted motor. The Cargobike from Decathlon can certainly handle daily commutes to the supermarket and kindergarten without having to stop to recharge. Of course, it can’t compete with bikes with dual batteries, such as the Riese Müller Packster 70 Vario with 1000 Wh.
In narrow alleys you need to stay sharp, as the bike has a relatively large turning circle due to its wide wheelbase, which makes it less responsive and manoeuvrable. Attention is also needed with higher kerbs! The low ground clearance can lead to unintentional touchdowns when going over large bumps. It doesn’t take much for the stand to make a metallic grinding noise to indicate that it is involuntarily kissing the ground. Even when heavily loaded, the Decathlon cargo bike provides a stable riding experience. Thanks to the low centre of gravity, it does not lurch around. Even bends can be ridden comfortably without the feeling of tipping over. You’ll only feel limited when lifting the bike on and off the stand, on steep inclines, and in terms of the bike’s range. With a heavy load, on steep slopes, using the highest assistance level, and depending on the gear selected, the battery charge drops much faster than riding without a load on the level ground.
Tuning Tip: install a GPS tracker, e. g. Apple AirTag | high-quality security lock | Euro containers as the perfect transport option
The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail fulfils every frugal person’s dream of an inexpensive pack mule. For a highly competitive price, you get a visually-pleasing cargo bike that unfortunately skimps on the display design and the lighting. The Decathlon bike impresses with its one-size-fits-all concept and versatile transport options. The bike is ideal for a shopping trip in the city or the commute to the kindergarten. On hilly and long stretches, however, it quickly reaches its limits.
- very attractive price
- low centre of gravity
- elegant look
- compatible with Euro containers
- old-fashioned display
- the motor struggles on steep climbs
- lifting the bike off the stand is a bit difficult when loaded
- the lighting is rather dim
You can find more about at decathlon.de
Words: Gabriel Knapp Photos: Peter Walker
What Is An Electric Cargo Bike?
Electric cargo bikes are fun, practical, financially-accessible, and save people time and money. Over 500,000 electric bikes were sold to in the US in 2020.
People are using electric cargo bikes for all kinds of things instead of cars: transporting kids, grocery shopping, deliveries, adventure trips, even going on dates.
An electric cargo bike meets the following criteria:
- has an extended frame
- designed to carry one or more passengers in addition to the rider
- designed to carry the extra weight or cargo (groceries, tools. )
- has attachment points on the frame or racks to attach racks, baskets or seats
- has an electric motor to provide pedal assist and throttle-only assist.
Benefits of An E-Cargo Bike
The primary benefit of electric cargo bikes is that they are fun. That extra pedal-assist makes you feel like a kid again. You will ride more often, go a little faster, and ride further.
Gotta run an errand? Get your kid to practice? Get to the grocery store? Check out this video of Car Versus Electric Bike to see how one rider saves over 10 minutes of time riding an electric bike.
Electric cargo bikes are saving people gas money, parking fees and other expenses related to automobile use. You might not ditch your car completely, but with an electric cargo bike, you’ll ride more and drive less.
As New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie Комментарии и мнения владельцев on his account: “since getting my ebike (I) almost never drive. (I)t has really transformed my daily life.”
(What’s that, Jamelle, a 50-lb bag of charcoal?)
Most electric cargo bikes are setup to carry adults as passengers. If your passenger is a smaller child, you can easily attached a child bike seat to the rear platform.
Want to really haul some gear? Attached a flat bed bike trailer to your e cargo bike.
Perhaps most importantly, electric cargo bikes are helping people get more movement and exercise.
How To Buy An Electric Cargo Bike
When you start your electric cargo bike buyers journey, think about what is most important to you. Consider:
- Type of frame style
- Fat tires versus skinny tires
- Components (motor, battery, brakes, etc)
- Quality of frame finish, styling and personalization
- Factory-assembly versus USA hand-built quality
Types of Electric Cargo Bikes
Electric cargo bikes fall into three primary categories:
Longtail electric cargo bikes are the most similar to regular bikes, with an extended frame behind the seat to allow for a longer rack to support extra riders or cargo. These perform most like a regular electric bike, and are more versatile than box-bikes or trikes.
Since longtails are by far the most common electric cargo bike found in the US, we’ll FOCUS on those.
Image: Longtail electric cargo bike.
Fat Tire Versus Thin Tire Electric Cargo Bikes
Think of thin bike tires as up to 2.5” wide, and fat tires as those over 3” to 4” wide.
Thin tires are the tires you are likely used to riding. Thin tires are cheaper, lighter, and have less air and road resistance than fat tires. The upside is that you can achieve higher speeds with less effort (human or electric). The downsides are you have less traction, longer emergency stopping distances, and are limited to smooth surfaces.
Many people fear the extra weight of fat tires on bicycles. With an electric cargo bike, that issue becomes moot, as you have the pedal assist and throttle options to help you pedal your electric cargo bike from stops, up hills and across further distances.
Image: 4 fat tires give your electric cargo bike comfort, traction and stability when braking.
Fat tires provide more comfort and safety for electric cargo bikes:
- comfort due to lower tire-pressure requirements
- traction on all surfaces
- Shorter stopping distance, and more controlled emergency braking
With fat tires, you will ride with more confidence over all surfaces.
Components For Electric Cargo Bikes
As with any complex machinery you buy (cars, dishwashers), there is a balance between quality and price of components that make up that item. For your electric cargo bike, you want quality and long-lasting components right at the ‘sweet spot’ of performance and price.
Electric Cargo Bike Motor and Battery
While mid-drives (motors positioned in the middle of the bike) may provide a smoother feel to the pedal-assist, they put a lot of strain on the chain and gear set. You’ll break chains and get stuck out there, unable to pedal or power home.
Rear-hub motors eliminate strain on the drive train. You can still power the bike with a broken chain (again, less likely to happen). We recommend going with a rear hub-drive motor for your electric cargo bike.
A 750w motor will provide ample power and torque to help you move your cargo.
Battery: Most of your cargo bike riding will be relatively close to home, though may use more juice than a standard electric bike. We recommend a 48V, 14.5 Amp/h battery, unless you expect longer rides with a lot of cargo, then upgrade to a 19.2 Amp/h.
Most electric cargo bikes come with disc-brakes. Hydraulic versus mechanical brakes? For your electric cargo bike, we recommend mechanical disc brakes as the best value for the purposes of your cargo bike. That said, hydraulic brakes will generally feel a little smoother, so you can opt to upgrade to a hydraulic option.
Image: Mechanical disc brakes on front wheel of an electric cargo bike.
There are a lot of components that go into an electric cargo bike. Ask a lot of questions about the selections made for any bike made. Where do you install the controller? Why? Where is the kickstand positioned? A lot of these ‘little things’ can make a big difference in the long-term performance and your overall happiness with your bike.
Quality of Frame Finish, Styling Personalization
Your electric cargo bike frame should last a lifetime. How it looks over time is another matter. Most manufactures use urethane-based paints, which eventually chip, fade and peel.
The best frame finishes are powder-coated for durability and long-lasting beauty. Powder-coating is also environmentally friendly, as it is a zero-waste process that doesn’t use any solvents. We recommend a powder-coated electric bike frame.
You will ride more often with fenders installed on your electric cargo bike. Fenders keep you. and your bike. clean from dust and dirt, and dry from rain or snow. Many companies give you plastic fenders. Yuck! While cheaper and lighter, these will fade, crack and ultimately break. We recommend a bike that has durable, aluminum fenders.
Seats and Grips and other Styling Options
Seats: Electric cargo bikes come with either velo-style or cruiser-style seats. Velo-style tends to give you more control, particularly during turns and riding on rougher terrain, while cruiser-style seats give you more comfort. Pick the seat style that best suits your style of riding.
Grips: You’ll also find round sport grips or ergonomic-shaped grips. We recommend ergonomic grips for long-term comfort.
Seat post: Most electric cargo bikes will come with a seat post you can manually adjust. Consider adding a dropper-seat post so you can make getting on and off your bike easier, while enjoying full-range of leg motion while pedaling.
Handle-bars: Most electric cargo bikes come with standard straight, or slightly bent handle bars. These give you maximum control over your front wheel, which can be great for rough terrain. Swept-back handlebars reduce the need to reach and lean forward, so you have a more comfortable ride. Pick the handlebars that will be most comfortable for you.
Lights: Look for bikes with brake lights and at least one headlight included. We recommend dual headlights for the highest visibility.
Mirrors: If you ride in traffic, mirrors help you not only see behind you, but be seen. We recommend dual mirrors for most electric cargo bike riders.
Regardless of your styling options, the important thing is to find an electric bike company that enables you to choose these options. so you aren’t stuck with somebody else’s decisions.
Overseas Factory-assembly Versus USA Hand-built Electric Cargo Bikes
Overseas factory assembly lines result in limited quality control, zero personalization. and bikes that have never been tuned by a professional bike mechanic. The bikes ship unassembled, with your to figure out the rest.
Bikes are part art and part mechanics. Ride a professionally tuned bike and you’ll immediately notice the difference. The brake rotors are perfectly aligned with the wheel rim for smooth braking. The motor is tuned with the main bracket for smoother pedal-assist. the bike runs and rides smoother.
Fortunately, you can get an electric cargo bike built in the USA. Not just ‘designed in the USA’, but BUILT IN THE USA by Master Bike Mechanics and tuned by Master Bike Mechanics.
A hand-built USA bike will feel better when you ride it, and the components will last longer. Budget a little more for a USA built and tuned bike and you’ll get a lot more and save money over time.
Image: Master Bike Mechanic building an electric bike in the USA.
Bike Assembly Difficulty Meter? What?
Many companies ship unassembled electric cargo bikes. That means either you build it and have an untuned bike, or you have to find and pay someone to do it for you. That’s extra cost and extra hassle.
We recommend buying a fully-assembled electric cargo bike, so you can ride on day one.
Frequently Asked Questions About Electric Cargo Bikes
Are Electric Cargo Bikes Hard To Ride?
Electric cargo bikes are much easier to ride than regular cargo bikes, especially when you have passengers and the extra weight of your cargo.
The pedal-assist of an electric cargo bike makes going up hills a breeze, and having a throttle makes starting up from a stop-sign or other stops much easier and safer, as you get up to enough speed to have balance much faster. Crossing four-way stops is faster and easier with an electric cargo bike.
Is it Hard to Pedal a Fat Tire Bicycle?
Fat tires add traction and comfort to your riding experience, though the added traction translates to added friction. Electric fat tire bicycles eliminate the added difficulty of pedaling a fat tire bike by adding electric-assist to your pedaling effort.
What are Electric Cargo Bikes Used for?
Electric cargo bikes are good for basic transportation like running errands, grocery shopping or transporting kids and friends to school or other events. You can even use your e cargo bike for work if you need to carry goods or tools around. Many businesses use electric cargo bikes for deliveries.
Are Fat Tire E Bikes Good on Pavement?
The lower air pressure provides a more comfortable ride and more traction, making fat tire e bikes excellent for riding on pavement, and ready to ride on other surfaces easily. With a fat tire e bike, you can pick your own routes, from pavement to dirt, gravel, sand and snow. The fat tires also give you shorter emergency stopping distance, if you need to stop quickly.