Tern GSD Gen 1 Electric Cargo Bike Review. Tern cargo bike

A host of subtle, but highly functional, updates make an already-fantastic cargo bike option even better.

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[ct_story_highlights]What it is:The second-generation Tern GSD e-cargo bike.||Frame features:Updated and upsized TIG-welded aluminum frame, dual 20″ wheels, integrated rear cargo rack, folds and stands upright for storage, latest-gen Bosch CargoLine mid-drive e-assist motor.||Weight:34.98 kg (77.1 lb), claimed, without accessories.||Price:US6,800 / AU10,000 / £5,900 / €6,500.||Highs: Ultra-compact size combined with full-sized hauling capability, super broad array of accessories, improved ride and handling, quieter and more powerful motor, great range, generally excellent spec.||Lows:Finicky kickstand, 20″ front wheel still makes for somewhat twitchy handling, one-size-doesn’t-really-fit-all.[/ct_story_highlights]

The original Tern GSD e-cargo bike was one of the most interesting and innovative bikes I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in my 17 years as a tech editor. Despite the dual 20″ wheels and unusual proportions, it boasted a truly outsized capability – not to mention capacity – that positively dwarfed its compact dimensions. I equated it to one of those European-style microvans: small on the outside, but giant on the inside. A paragon of space efficiency.

But despite its tremendous utility, there were things I didn’t love about it. The handling was overly twitchy in my opinion, and the short wheelbase and little wheels also made for a bit of a bucking-bronco ride quality.

Tern later released a second generation of the GSD, and while it strikes so similar a profile as to be virtually indistinguishable to casual observers, there are some key changes cleverly tucked away that address some of the original version’s shortcomings and make the GSD v2 an even more enticing – yet still very unconventional – option for those looking to jump into the e-cargo bike lifestyle, but are short on space.

A recap of what makes a GSD a GSD

Longtail-type cargo bikes have long adopted 20″ rear wheels as a way to reduce the load height for their capacious rear racks. However, Tern – one of the preeminent proponents of dual-20″ wheels for its wide range of folding bikes – also went with a 20″ up for the GSD. The overall layout is still essentially a longtail, but the proportions almost make it look like Tern took a traditional longtail and applied some sort of weird image filter.

There’s some solid thinking behind the idea, though.

By going with 20″ wheels front and rear, Tern was able to make the GSD remarkably compact, with a total length roughly the same as a conventional non-cargo bike, but a wheelbase that’s much longer. The low-to-the-ground layout also makes for very easy mounting and dismounting for the rider (and potential passengers), as well as a low load height for the optional front cargo carriers.

Quite cleverly, the dual-stage telescoping seatpost and extended stem also collapse vertically (meaning the GSD can fit inside many smaller SUVs and mini/microvans), while four standoffs on the rear of the bike allowed you to stand it up on end, allowing for very compact storage. You could even fit the GSD upright in an elevator.

Despite the incredibly compact form, the GSD still boasted a substantial 200 kg total load capacity (including the rider), all motivated by a Bosch mid-drive e-assist motor with optional dual batteries and fantastic range even with just one. Even the standard front and rear lights (powered by the main Bosch battery) were reasonably bright.

I usually don’t think twice when review bikes go back to their motherships, but that wasn’t the case when I reviewed the original GSD back in 2019. In my opinion, it was a prime example of super clever and thorough engineering and design, all laser focused on a specific task.

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I seriously considered buying the thing (and it was perhaps a good thing for my bank account that Tern needed it back for another tester).

The changes

As impressive as the original GSD was, there was still room for improvement (isn’t there always?). The handling was twitchy, particularly at even moderate speeds. The ride quality was pretty rough. And in what could be perceived as the ultimate in nitpicking, the original kickstand was just woeful.

I’m happy to report that all of that has been addressed.

First and foremost, Tern gave the second-generation GSD a revamped TIG-welded aluminum frame. The larger-diameter tubing is stiffer than the old profiles, and while that might not seem important on a cargo bike, torsional stiffness is incredibly important on long tails, particularly when they’re heavily loaded. Ever tried carrying a wiggly toddler or hauling a hundred kilos of sand – in traffic! – on the back of a whippy bike that’s longer than some tandems? It’s not exactly confidence-inspiring.

Up front, Tern addressed the handling with a slacker head tube angle for (somewhat) more relaxed steering geometry. Taking a page from Electra’s original “Flat Foot Technology” concept, there’s also a more laid-back seat tube angle to make it easier for riders to put their foot on the ground while still maintaining good leg extension on the pedals.

A standard suspension fork also aims to settle things down when you hit a bump, and upper-end models get a suspension seatpost too.

The latest models also get Bosch’s more powerful – and substantially quieter – motor units, and although Tern’s catalog of accessories for the GSD was also sizable a few years ago, it’s somehow managed to grow considerably since then.

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Settle down

To a large extent, Tern’s revamps have yielded the desired effects.

As promised, the steering feels more relaxed than it did before, offering more of the buttoned-down confidence that’s so critical for bikes in this genre, and what seemed lacking to me in the first-generation version. It’s definitely less nervous and twitchy.

There are still limits to what Tern could do with that tiny 20″ front wheel, however, and anyone used to a more conventionally sized front wheel will still have to undergo some recalibration before they’re totally comfortable; small movements here can equate to big changes in direction if you’re not careful, particularly when combined with that relatively short (at least for a cargo bike) wheelbase. It’s an improvement nonetheless, though in my opinion, the GSD is still best suited for low-to-medium speeds in tight urban environments than suburban settings where you might be able to go a little faster.

Arguably offering a more substantial change is the addition of suspension. My S00 test sample was one of the upper-end build kits, featuring a 70 mm-travel Suntour Mobie A32 suspension fork up front (with a tapered chromoly steel steerer!) and a 50 mm-travel Cane Creek Thudbuster suspension seatpost out back.

You might be thinking neither is a lot of movement, and you’re right. But in this application, it’s more about absorbing the small-to-medium impacts that might otherwise bounce you off-line, not swallowing more severe stuff like inadvertently smashing into curbs. And in that sense, both bits do the job admirably.

Whereas the first-generation GSD’s occasionally unnerving twitchiness was only further exacerbated by ground imperfections, having suspension – even just this little bit – makes for a much more planted and stable feel. Both wheels are much less likely to bounce around, and traction is more consistent when on the brakes or turning. Instead of bracing for impact as I sometimes had to do on that original GSD, I could instead relax and just glide across the tarmac and multi-use paths without having to worry as much.

There are also benefits in terms of comfort and cargo.

Needless to say, even that modest amount of suspension makes for a smoother ride, all without having to resort to lowering tire pressure more than you might otherwise want to properly accommodate heavier loads. And at least for front-mounted cargo, that suspension fork reduces somewhat how much that stuff gets tossed about. That’s not a big deal in terms of cargo damage, mind you, but rather how much all that mass moving around can potentially affect handling.

Speaking of cargo, the second-generation GSD certainly hasn’t lost any of its remarkable carrying capacity. Despite its tiny footprint, this thing can still carry a ridiculous amount of stuff. It’s not the best for carrying big items in my opinion, but it barely blinks when loaded down with a lot of mass when properly outfitted.

To be clear, Tern doesn’t include any cargo-related accessories with the GSD aside from the built-in rear rack. While that can obviously be viewed as a serious bummer, it also allows buyers to configure the GSD exactly how it makes the most sense for them.

There are the usual things like several sizes of panniers and bags, but also things like oversized running boards and basic rack pads, a dog carrier (!), an extra-wide rear tray, and even a fully enclosed compartment for keeping kids warm and dry in inclement weather (sorry, mom or dad, you’re still getting wet). Suffice to say, the complete range of accessories available for the GSD is seriously impressive, and it speaks volumes for how important Tern considers the GSD to the company’s success.

I received my test sample with the humongous Cargo Hold 52 panniers for hauling groceries, a Clubhouse for hauling my kid, a Captain’s Chair for hauling adults, and a Transporteur front rack so I could still carry stuff when I had a passenger on board. Those panniers can hold two full-sized grocery bags each. My kid could easily hop into the Clubhouse on her own (and if I wanted more stability, there are even optional outrigger feet to supplement the seriously beefy Atlas Lockstand kickstand). The front rack is big enough for a medium-sized suitcase.

No matter how you have it loaded, the second-generation GSD’s more solid frame construction keeps everything secure and stable, and somewhat remarkably, I never noticed a single hint of creaking.

This thing is just as much of a workhorse as it was before, and the improvements have only enhanced its capabilities and livability.

Spec notes

As I noticed with the first-generation Tern GSD, whoever is choosing the build kits on these things is doing a heck of a good job, as the choices made demonstrate just as much careful thought as the bike itself.

The wheels are particularly noteworthy, built with seriously burly house-brand “Atlas” 36 mm-wide rims, 13g straight stainless steel spokes, and brass nipples joined in a 32-hole (plenty for a 20″ wheel), three-cross configuration to a thru-axle front hub and Enviolo continuously variable internally geared rear hub. Wrapped around those rims are a 62 mm-wide Schwalbe Super Moto-X rear tire and 55 mm-wide Schwalbe Big Ben Plus front.

Although I’d like to see a tubeless setup straight from the factory (I regret to admit I forgot to check if the rims can even be converted), lots of prior experience has proven those to be some of my favorite cargo bike tires overall, offering an efficient roll, good grip, excellent puncture protection, and great wear characteristics.

Opinions will vary on the Enviolo CVT-style rear hub. The stepless gear ratios are somewhat funky to operate with the goofy twist shifter, and it can be difficult to shift under moderate-to-hard pedaling efforts. However, I find the 380% range to be plenty for urban use (especially with the motor assist), and particularly when heavily loaded, the ability to shift when at a standstill can be a godsend when it comes time to get moving again and you realize you hadn’t downshifted beforehand.

Nevertheless, Tern offers both conventional derailleur-based drivetrains and even a Rohloff internally geared rear hub should you so choose.

Either way, the matching Gates belt drive on the IGH hub builds makes for a fantastic low-maintenance and quiet pairing, and the full-wrap guard keeps loose clothing from getting stuck in the drivetrain, too.

Speaking of the drivetrain, I’m a big fan of the latest Bosch mid-drive motor systems. There’s more torque than on earlier models (now 85 Nm instead of 75 Nm), and now that Bosch has finally done away with the internal gear reduction system (which necessitated those characteristically tiny chainrings), the whole system is substantially quieter, emitting a barely-audible whir that quickly fades into the background. As is usually the case with Bosch motor systems, the power comes on smoothly and seamlessly with no delay when you apply pressure to the pedals, with no weird surging that can often accommodate cheaper systems.

The centrally mounted Bosch Purion computer isn’t as fancy as the company’s higher-end offerings (particularly the ultra-fancy Nyon), but the display is large and easy to read, and perhaps more importantly, it’s easy to use, particularly with the remote control pad sitting right by your left thumb.

Total range is especially impressive, all things considered. Bosch offers four different levels of assist, with 50/32/26/23 miles of stated range when fully charged. Actual range obviously can vary a fair bit depending on terrain and load, but I generally found those figures to be surprisingly close – and if you really need more, Tern offers a dual-battery option, too.

Also earning high marks are the Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes, sporting four-piston calipers more often found on enduro bikes, as well as larger-diameter 180 mm rotors front and rear. Although the lever feel is a bit spongy, there’s power for days along with a superb level of control. Magura’s hydraulic fluid is mineral oil-based instead of more finicky DOT formulations, so while annual re-bleeds are still recommended, they’re not quite as critical since mineral oil doesn’t absorb atmospheric moisture. Either way, it’s not unusual to see cargo bikes with what I feel is adequate stopping power, so it’s good to see one come stock with brakes suitable for the task.

The finishing kit is very good too.

The saddle on the first-generation GSD wasn’t all that supportive, but the one Tern includes now is a big improvement, with firmer padding and a more agreeable shape. Genuine Ergon grips can be found at the other end, and while the wing shape looks a little odd, they’re very comfortable, particularly when you’re bare-handed.

Other niceties include front and rear fenders (although the front fender could do with a flap), updated front and rear lights that are a fair bit brighter than before, a standard Abus front wheel lock, and even a standard bell that doesn’t suck.

Overall, it’s a solid assortment of kit.

What I didn’t like

Surely you didn’t think I found the revamped GSD to be perfect, did you? Well, truth be told, it’s a pretty short list of complaints.

That new Atlas “Lockstand” is so named because of how it securely locks in place for additional security. It’s easy to engage – just push the kickstand foot to the ground and rock the bike rearward – but to release it, you need to push a remote lever on the handlebar. It’s neat when it’s working properly, but the one on my test sample was frustratingly finicky. It required perfect cable tensioning for proper functioning, and even then, there was more friction in the cable and housing than I would have liked (and keep in mind that my sample was new). I think I would have preferred Tern spec the non-locking standard Atlas kickstand and left the Lockstand as an available upgrade.

The bike wasn’t the only thing that underwent a lot of changes from the original to version 2.0; the monster-sized panniers went through a revision too, and I unfortunately liked the older ones better. They were easier to fold up when not in use, and the buckles were easier to use. You also can’t just leave the buckles undone on the new panniers either, as they’ll drag on the ground while you’re riding.

What else? Well, as convenient as that front wheel lock is, it hardly counts as even moderate security. Abus offers a heavy-duty chain that plugs into that same wheel lock for additional peace of mind, but I wish Tern just included the thing.

There’s also that not-so-small elephant in the room. Like many cargo bikes, the Tern GSD is only offered in a single size that the company claims will work for riders ranging from 1.5 to 1.95 m in height (roughly 4’ 11″ to 6’ 5″). Recommendations are one thing, real-world experiences are another. I fall right in the middle of that range, and even I find the GSD to feel a little small, if only due to those little wheels and the compact form factor of the bike in general. I think riders at the lower end of that range will still be ok thanks to that very neat adjustable handlebar setup, but I just can’t imagine riders at the upper end can avoid feeling like they’re a circus bear on a mini-bike.

Go get things done

Otherwise, I remain as impressed with this second-generation GSD as I was with the old one – more so, in fact. The small-on-the-outside/big-on-the-inside concept is brilliant, the execution is incredibly well thought-out overall, and the range of available accessories is beyond generous.

To come up with just a fantastic (and very clever) cargo bike like this is one thing, but to put in the effort to create a complete ecosystem like this just puts this thing over the top. I still adore my Urban Arrow, and firmly believe there are inherent advantages to a front-loader in a lot of situations. But if I didn’t have a garage to store that massive thing, I almost certainly would’ve purchased one of these instead.

Tern GSD Gen 1 Electric Cargo Bike Review

The Tern GSD electric cargo bike is considered a midtail cargo bike, you can learn more about midtail cargo bikes over here. It isn’t too big but it is certainly more capable to carry things than a standard single occupancy bike due to the longer rear end.

The Tern GSD information was released in 2017 and was rated a top product by many media outlets. I finally took delivery of a review bike in mid-spring and much to Tern’s PR agency’s frustration – I wouldn’t give it back until our production model came in. (Sorry!!)

Key Details of the Tern GSD (Gen 1 version)

This is a mid-drive Bosch electric-assist cargo bike (motor is in the middle of the bike). It can carry 2 kids, uses 20″ wheels front and back, and has an aluminum frame with either 1 or 2 batteries mounted under the rear deck.

MSRP: 4,799 (two batteries) or 3,999 (one battery)

Riding and Using the Tern GSD

I had a preproduction Tern GSD for a couple of months and that truly shifted my outlook and requirements for cargo bikes.

Tern really did their homework on this bike and most importantly, they took feedback well and are implementing small changes quickly with each production run. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the GSD was the kick I needed to open a family and transportation bike shop (now closed). Finally – there is a good selection of readily available products to help families bike more and worry less – I just needed to create a bike shop experience to show them off!

Looking at the bike, the GSD has an uncommon look to it. The wheels are small and the frame has an angular step-through design. If you are too stuck on what a bike “should look like” then you may not get over the design of this bike. If you let go of these notions and embrace the electric, little bike, hauling machine. This bike will surprise you.

The little wheels make the bike seem less cumbersome. The shorter length and handlebar that folds out of the way allows it to be stored and transported easier than a long tail. Now the shorter length rear end doesn’t allow you to carry as much as say the Xtracycle Edgerunner that could carry 3 decent size kids and room for tons of bags or groceries in the side bag. The Xtracycle though is hard to transport or store and most importantly, it is sometimes TOO much bike for people, especially if you are smaller or ride in tight places. These are clear pros and cons to both and really come down to your particular needs.

I must also mention that the little wheels and the “midtail” design make this bike only slightly longer than a single-occupancy bike (SOB.) This matters for storage, carrying on bike racks, trains, and locking to bike racks. It also allows you to take the bike on more adventures in our experience than a typical cargo bike that doesn’t easily fit in the SUV or camper without taking up too much space or being taken apart.

The ride quality is what I consider quick and stiff. This is great for efficiency and if you want a cargo bike that steers more like a single occupancy bike (SOB). The tires can be run at a lower PSI to add some cushion and I will be stocking suspension seatposts to help take the edge off if the bike is TOO stiff. In general, 90% of people that have ridden this bike love the ride quality. It feels like a normal bike, even with a load on the back compared to say a Yuba Spicy Curry or Xtracycle Edgerunner. The shorter length, smaller aluminum paired with 20″ wheels makes it handle better in dense (city) situations but does make the bike stiffer than the Xtracycle Edgerunner or RFA.

The Fit of the Tern GSD Cargo Bike

The GSD was designed around an electric motor which means that it wasn’t designed to make the rider super aggressive or in the “most efficient position” because that’s what the electric assist is for! The fit is easy to adjust with the multi-direction adjustable stem but in general, the fit is upright and comfortable. Why? An upright position allows you to see better in traffic and gives you a more stable platform to maneuver around with extra weight on the bike.

The handlebar has a nice sweep to it where the bar sweeps back towards the rider giving you a more ergonomic fit. Speaking of ergonomics, the Tern GSD comes with Ergon grips that have this nice natural fit to give you more support for your hands.

Parts Selection of the Tern GSD S10 Electric Cargo Bike

The components and “build” of this bike are where I started getting excited as a bike nerd. The bike is purpose-built to be used for mobility or simply – getting places. Accessories like fenders, kickstand, comfortable grips, a bell, and durable tires are standard.

This matters because those accessories add up to make a bike an actual functional daily commuter before adding on the accessories for your unique lifestyle like hauling kids or business supplies. It sometimes leads to difficult conversations to show a customer a great electric bike for 3,000 and then tell the person to make it reasonable to ride through the city of Denver every day they should upgrade the tires, lights, and fenders to add 200-400 to their bike.

The Products and Parts That Matter to Us and Why

Bosch Performance Line Mid-Drive Motor – If you listened to the podcast with Josh Hon you know that this little cargo bike was built from the ground up with the Bosch motor in mind. Bosch really has the market cornered right now for excellent electric motors and you’ll love the instant response it provides when pulling a heavy load.

20″ Wheels – This allows the bike to be lower to the ground for stability when you have 2 wiggling kids on the back. The step over of the frame is one of the lowest in class to carry 2 kids and it also allows for a stiffer yet playful ride because the smaller wheels turn quicker but are stiffer by design.

Gearing – Tern uses a 1×10 mountain bike drivetrain which is very common on electric cargo bikes. The Shimano Deore Shadow rear derailleur is commonly used for aggressive mountain biking. It is very durable but also provides precise shifting for many miles. The “” in the derailleur name means it has a lever that stiffens up the derailleur to stabilize the chain during bumpy terrain. If you ride over rough terrain or take the path less traveled then use this feature! It does slow down the shifting oh so slightly (most people don’t notice) and I wish more cargo bikes with an extra long chain had it.

Magura MT5 Brakes – I love Magura for their 4 piston brake calipers. These 4 pistons (vs 2) have a longer pad surface to really grab the 180mm rotors. Some shops aren’t too fond of Magura brakes because they aren’t as simple to set up. I, fortunately, have been using Magura on our mountain and city bikes for over 10 years and the setup is no problem.

Cockpit – The handlebar and seat post design were borrowed from Tern’s folding bikes like the Tern Vektron. The handlebar rear and height are easy to adjust on the fly with “Tern Andros (G2), adjustable, forged construction, patented technology” and the whole handlebar folds down for storage using a massive lever on the handlepost.

Boosted Wheels – “Boost” is a design feature borrowed from mountain bikes. The hub (center of the wheel) is wider than an atypical bike allowing the frame to be wider (stiffer/stronger) and the wheels have thru axles which also allow for a much stiffer wheel mounting than a quick release. This design was initially released for mountain bikes to help with limit flexing in the frame or fork when turning or braking. It makes the Tern GSD feel like a stiff cargo bike when under load and it also makes for a more durable wheel build.

Lights ALL The Time – I am a big fan of using lights all the time, just as cars have daytime running lights, I wish more bike riders would use lights during the day. Most good city electric bikes have built-in lights that run off the battery. The Tern lighting system is bright and a clean install.

Double the Battery, Double the Fun – The GSD is one of the few bikes equipped with Bosch’s latest Dual-Battery technology. You can connect up to two batteries for a range of over 155 miles your miles may vary depending on what you are carrying, terrain, and speed. What is VERY cool is that if you buy a single battery GSD it already has the battery harness for a 2nd battery to save you time and money in the future. Most brands charge you 200-400 extra for this 2nd battery harness.

Hidden Battery – The batteries are cleanly tucked into the frame which is visually very appealing!

Tern GSD Accessories

Accessories are really what make or break a great cargo bike. As of the original posting of this review, I haven’t received all the newest accessories and will update in a couple of days once I have them in. Below is what I have tried and our feedback on the products, I will update as I try more accessories! Also, please note pricing for all things can change so check your local bike shop for the most updated pricing!

Yepp Seats – These aren’t Tern accessories but they are required to talk about because many people will be using the GSD to haul kids. The Tern GSD can hold TWO Yepp Maxi Easyfit seats with the adapter built into the frame. This is the only midtail cargo bike I know of that can do this.

Cargo Hold Panniers 150 – These are the massive side bags (sold as a pair) for the sides of your bike. They can be folded up and out of the way when not in use which is very slick. Yepp Maxi Easyfit seats can slide over the flap of these so that the kid’s feet are sticking inside of the bags. These bags (or something comparable) are a requirement in our opinion if you are carrying small kids without Yepp seats. It keeps their feet from the rear wheel. While the Tern GSD has the most protected rear wheel of any cargo bike without a wheel guard, I don’t chance it and do recommend a bag is there.

If you are carrying a lot of weight in these panniers I do recommend using the Sidekick Lower Deck to support the bags.

Sidekick Lower Deck 50 – Used as a footrest or to support the Cargo Hold Panniers

Sidekick Seat Pad 45 – Pretty straight forward seatpad that has an easy on/off mounting system. Use 2 pads to cover the entire GSD deck or 1 with a Yepp seat.

Sidekick Foot Pegs 25 – Give the kids (or adult) a place to put their feet. These fold in and out like a motorcycle footpeg.

Clubhouse 190 – This railing system keeps your kids or cargo contained. We will post a dedicated review of this once it comes in as the hoops/rails of a cargo bike are often the most loved/hated piece of long and mid-tail cargo bikes.

Sidekick Bars 60 – A mini-handlebar and stem that mounts to your seat post for a kiddo to hold on to. It comes with everything needed including grips and a built-in multitool!

Transporteur Rack 120 – An overbuilt front rack/basket to haul all the things – up to 44lbs of things!

Shortbed Tray 120 – If you are using the GSD for business or the business of hauling non-child cargo, this may be for you. It mounts to the frame of the GSD providing a wide platform and carries Eurocrates with ease.

Batten Straps 16 – I personally feel that bungee cords should be banned for safety concerns. Use a batten strap on all the cargo to batten down the hatches!

Who is the Tern GSD Cargo Bike For?

As I am in the business of getting more families on bikes I am often asked, “What is the right cargo bike for me?”

The Tern GSD to us is a bike that could fit into most households, this is opinion is based off being a family and transportation-focused bike shop. It isn’t too big but it can still haul a trunk load of groceries. You can carry 2 kids and all the camping gear. If you don’t have kids you need to tote then it works well as a single occupancy bike (SOB) that can carry all of your stuff like a computer bag, gym bag, lunch, and all while keeping you sweat free thanks to the Bosch motor.

I strongly believe the GSD will allow many households to go down to a single car. It will also potentially replace several bikes with just one bike. This can easily be your city, kid hauling, weekend enjoying, do-everything bike. Now, it won’t replace a road bike, you shouldn’t mountain bike on it and it isn’t fully enclosed for kids like the Urban Arrow for winter riding. Our youngest child (8 months as of writing this) can’t ride on the Tern GSD yet so I have the Urban Arrow with car seat adapter for him.

Who is This Bike NOT For?

  • If you want to carry all the kids until they are very big (check out the Xtracycle eSwoop)
  • You want a Class 3 electric bike that goes to 28mph
  • You want a classic looking electric bike (check out the eSwoop)
  • You want a more comfortable ride (check out the most recent Tern GSD with suspension!)
  • You want to start riding with kids really young (check out the Urban Arrow)
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No Bike is Perfect

There are a few small quirks of the GSD that I should mention because no bike is perfect. Here is my list of “improvements”!

  • The kickstand isn’t the best we have tried but it certainly isn’t the worst. (Update: Check out the new Tern Atlas Kickstand that solves all of these issues!)
  • The rear light wiring comes a bit too close for comfort to the rear disc brake. This isn’t something a consumer would ever know about but I have personally been throwing an extra zip tie on the wiring so it doesn’t have the chance to move.
  • Ironically, I wish this bike came in a more classic color like black or white. This is completely different than what I said with the Tern Vektron review!

Additional Tern GSD Resources

Read the Cargo Bike Guide

If you are just learning about cargo bikes, I do recommend reading through my cargo bike guide to help you with your cargo bike journey!

Disclaimer: First off, since writing this article I have gone to work for Tern Bicycles. This article was written before this, and in no way biased. If anything – I went to work for them because they make such wonderful bikes!! The blue/grey model was loaned to us by Tern as a pre-production sample.

Another disclaimer: The orange bike was my personal ride for a couple of years and we did switch out pedals. The grey model was preproduction.

Tern GSD

With more power, more suspension, and more options, the newest GSD is better than ever. In this review, Brett Karen, owners of The New Wheel, discuss the exciting improvements to an already impressive family and cargo bike.



The higher the speed rating, the more power, acceleration, and top assist speed (max 28mph) for quicker riding. The lower the level, the more leisurely paced.

The higher the commute rating the longer the service intervals, allowing for less maintenance overall. Bikes with a lower rating may have sportier ride characteristics but require more maintenance.

Bikes rated higher in this category allow for riding anywhere across any terrain. Suspension, quick handling, and appropriate quality components define all-terrain electric bikes.

The higher the rating, the longer the max range on a charge. Higher range is accomplished with larger capacity batteries paired with efficient drive systems.

Bikes rated higher have increased carrying capacity to haul cargo but also stronger drive systems to make the journey enjoyable, no matter how steep the hill or heavy the load.

Higher rated family bikes can easily handle the everyday reality of life with one, two, or even three children no matter how old or young.

Optional Upgrade


Designed to meet the German EFBE Cargo Bike Standard for safety and durability, this bike is rated for 440lbs of total payload including the rider and up to two passengers.

Tackle any hill with ease

The GSD uses Bosch’s 4th Generation Cargo Line motor to give you maximum torque. This means superhuman strength that gets you over any hill and easily rolling from a stop.

Agile even with heavy loads

The key to handling on a heavily loaded bike is frame stiffness. That’s why Tern has added extra gussets on the downtube and additional struts in the rear cargo area. This is the attention to detail that pays dividends to you as the rider.

Smooth ride

The GSD is fitted with a custom Suntour front suspension to take bumps out of the road and give you superior handling. Add a seatpost suspension for a full luxury ride that glides over any street or gravel.

Fits in tiny spaces

Most cargo bikes are big and hard to store, but Tern bicycles are unique. They can easily go vertical (think elevators and closets) for ultra slim storage. If you have tight space requirements then the GSD is the perfect bike for you.

the new wheel advantage


We are dedicated to support you and your Tern GSD for years to come with exceptional service. Our job is to keep you on the road and we hold that responsibility close to our heart.

Your new electric bike comes standard with 6 months of complimentary service. To help ensure that your bicycle works great over its lifetime, we’ll include a useful service schedule and can even send you handy reminder emails.

At The New Wheel our commitment to service is paramount. Throughout the lifetime of your bike, beginning with our exacting build and tune, we work to ensure that your bike performs reliably and enjoyably.

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Bikes purchased at The New Wheel are eligible for our unique Service Plans. You get unlimited tune-ups, 24/7 nationwide roadside assistance, and an annual comprehensive service so your bike always rides like new.

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The team at New Wheel is awesome from sales to service. everyone is there to meet your needs while doing it with a smile, kindness and respect. They know my name, greet me and it feels like I’m visiting a good friend.

Props to The New Wheel for ensuring this team of remarkable individuals is supported in ways which foster a ‘relationship-based’ environment while empowering all to provide such wicked-great service.

The best ebike shop in the city hands down. The staff is friendly, supportive but never pushy. Make sure to book an appointment online and give yourself lots of time to test ride.

Everyone I interact with, whether it’s on the phone, in email or in person, is friendly, responsive, dedicated and highly knowledgeable. This is not your average ebike shop. This is the BEST ebike shop.

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The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2022

Haul kids, dogs, gear, and groceries with our favorite electric cargo bikes. With options ranging from front-load trikes to smooth-riding longtails, we’ll have you ready to pedal in no time.

For more than a year, our neighborhood has been testing a multitude of amazing electric cargo bikes. We’ve hauled everything from babies, kids, dogs, wood, inflatable SUPs, and even huge Costco and farmer’s market hauls. If our destination is within 15 miles, we go on cargo bikes.

Below, we highlight, categorize, and review the best bikes we tested. They were all standouts in their own unique way. But before we dive in, check out the lingo below, which helps explain the different styles of electric cargo bikes on the market today.

Electric Cargo Bike Styles

Long-john bike: These have the cargo box up front with the front wheel stretched out in front of you. Some also have the capacity for another passenger to ride on the back. This style takes a bit of practice when you first get on, as it handles a little differently than a traditional bike.

Longtail bike: These ride more like traditional bikes and can fit up to three small passengers (kids) riding on the tail. Most can also fit a clip-on seat for younger kids (9 months and up).

Front-load trike: These have two wheels and the cargo box in front. This stable style can fit as many as four kids in the box and sometimes an extra kid or panniers on the back.

Scroll through to see all of our recommendations for the best electric cargo bikes or jump to the category you’re looking for. At the end of our list, be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

The Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2022

Best Overall Family Bike: Yuba Spicy Curry

Yuba’s mission is to make bikes that can easily haul kids, gear, and groceries, all while putting a big smile on everyone’s face (bystanders included). Other than its awesome name, we love the Spicy Curry (5,199) for its sturdy, tank-like feel. Even when it’s loaded down and our son is waving side to side on the back, we barely notice.

For some extra money, you can choose different add-ons for the bike depending on your lifestyle. We wanted to make this bike our main one for taking our son to preschool, so we opted to get the adjustable Monkey Bars (200) as well as a Yepp Maxi Easy Fit kid seat (259).

Our son loves the combination of the seat and the Monkey Bars. He gets to ride up high so he can see Mom or Dad and can hold on whenever he feels like it. Later, we added the 2-Go Cargo Bags (199) and the Bread Basket (200). This more than doubled our carrying capacity.

The frame looked big at first sight. But after adjusting the cockpit and seat to my 5’1″ height, I was pleasantly surprised at how natural and comfortable it felt. It has easily been the neighborhood’s most widely used bike. It’s simple to adjust the size of the bike, and it fits a wide variety of heights.

The components consist of a Shimano Deore 10-speed adjuster and Shimano Disc Brakes. And although I was wary at first of the non-internal hub, I grew to really like how much it felt like all my other bikes. The large front wheel helps smooth out bumps; it’s smooth enough that my son regularly falls asleep on the way home from school.

The motor is a very powerful and smooth Bosch Performance CX mid-drive with a 36V 500Wh battery. It has four levels of assist: Eco, Tour, eMTB, and Turbo. All of these are easy to click through on the control panel, which also displays the mileage, range, and speed.

On a single charge, I can get up to 55 miles on Eco mode or about 25 on full Turbo mode. The eMTB setting switches between all the modes depending on how it senses I’m riding, and I average between 30 and 40 miles.

Again, this bike has been the most used in our neighborhood of four families. It is easy to adjust, feels most like a regular bike, and can haul up to 300 pounds. At 60 pounds and 6 feet in length, it’s not the easiest of the bunch to store. But for carrying capacity, length, and price, this is easily one of the best electric cargo bikes money can buy.


  • Weight: 60 lbs. (without any of the add-ons)
  • Length: 6′
  • Carrying capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Range: 25-55 miles depending on mode and capacity
  • Best for: Around town errands, kid pickups and dropoffs, dogs, big grocery or hardware store buys



Best Budget Cargo E-Bike: Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4

While this cargo e-bike (1,999) is still a major investment, it’s one of the most affordable options we’ve found. And although it may lack some of the capacity and extras of other higher-end bikes on this list, we’ve found it’s a solid contender and a great ride for most people.

The 750 W geared hub motor provides plenty of power, even when loaded up to the max 350-pound payload. It has five pedal assist levels, and we found it very easy to change between modes.

Weighing in at nearly 77 pounds, our smaller riders were worried it would feel unmanageable. For riders of all sizes, however, it rode smoothly and never felt overly heavy. The double-leg kickstand is sturdy and provided enough stability to load and unload wiggly children.

The 22X3 inch tires gave a very smooth ride while keeping the ride low and stable. It’s worth noting that these unusual tire sizes can be hard to find in local bike shops. It’s not a bad idea to have a spare on hand just in case.

Like other electric cargo bikes, the RadWagon 4 has integrated lights, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting your bike light at home.

The battery for this bike charged quickly, and we easily got 30-45 miles of travel, even when loaded down and traveling along hilly terrain.

All in all, this is a quality electric cargo bike at an unbeatable price.


  • Weight: 76.7 lbs.
  • Length: 6.5′
  • Carrying capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Range: 25-45 miles depending on mode and capacity
  • Best for: Around town errands, kid pickups, and dropoffs



Best Compact, Daily Commuter: Tern GSD S00 Folding Bike

The Tern GSD (4,999-5,799) is simply a remarkable all-around bike. Many of the complaints about cargo bikes are that they are big, heavy, impossible to transport, and hard to store. All of that (except weight) gets turned upside down with the Tern GSD, which aptly stands for “Get Stuff Done.”

Tern Bikes is known for its ingenuity in creating folding bikes. So when the brand came out with a cargo bike that was the length of a regular commuter bike and could fold down to fit easily in most midsize SUVs or minivans, many bike commuters (including us) took notice.

The bike is even made to stand vertically on its back rack so that it takes up minimal space when stored inside. For the urban family who lives in an apartment building, people with limited garage space, or anyone who just doesn’t want to deal with a big classic cargo bike, the Tern is the answer.

Other specs that set the GSD apart are its carrying capacity of 440 pounds and the ability to fit two high-powered Bosch batteries on it. This gives it an impressive range of up to 155 miles. From the Green Guard non-puncture tires to the infinite-adjust internal geared hub, this bike is clearly made to last.

Like the other bikes, you can customize it however you like. We opted to try the Clubhouse basket (200), the Cargo Hold Panniers (175), and a Thule Yepp Maxi child’s seat (220). We were pleased to find out that the Cargo panniers were still usable with the Yepp Maxi seat over top of them. And with the batteries, panniers, and rack all sitting lower than your average bike, the handling and riding experience for both the driver and passenger is very smooth and comfortable.

Like all the other cargo bikes on this list, it fits a range of riders from 5′ to 6’5″. The unique handlebar, seatpost, and stem adjustment make it even quicker and easier to truly find a perfect cockpit for riders of various sizes. We used this bike exclusively for an entire week to see how quickly we would need to charge it. It lasted the entire week. We clocked 90 miles, using a mix of tour and eMTB mods, and it still showed two of five battery bars.

At 4,999 with a single battery and 5,799 with a dual battery, this one comes in at the middle of the pack price-wise. But it has our vote for being one of the most versatile, longest-lasting, and smoothest rides out of all of them.


  • Weight: 70 lbs. (with one battery)
  • Length: 6′
  • Folded length: 71″ x 16″ x 33″
  • Carrying capacity: 440 lbs.
  • Range: Up to 200 km
  • Best for: Ultimate one-size-fits-all family utility bike


  • Stem/handlebars/seatpost can fold down in 5 seconds, allowing it to fit in many vehicles
  • Can carry a ton of gear and people
  • Compact for e-bikes
  • Attention to total detail seems highest of all bikes
  • Just an outstanding design overall


Best Kid-Hauler: Bunch Original Family Cargo Bike

This crowd-stopping, front-loading trike (4,285) gets high points for its lower price range (compared to other e-cargo bikes) and ease of assembly. It literally showed up at my house fully assembled via a semi-truck. All we had to do was take off the packaging, adjust the seat, and it was ready to go.

The big cargo box fits up to four kids and comes with comfortable cushions and easy-to-use shoulder straps. In the span of a few weeks, we took it out with all combinations of cargo: a dog and two kids, three kids and a cooler full of snacks, and even a week’s worth of groceries. Our 2-year-old loved it because he was up high and could chat with his friend across from him.

The bike has additional add-ons like a rain cover and a sunshade, which the kiddos and dog all appreciated when the elements became too much. Unlike other cargo bikes where it’s hard to secure your stuff, the cargo box has a lockable under-storage box that can easily fit a purse, computer, and other smaller valuables.

The components aren’t of the highest quality possible, but the combination of the Shimano Tourney SL-TX50 and the 500W 48V Dapu Hub motor created a smooth shifting and pedaling experience. And the easy-to-charge battery kept us motoring around town for almost 25 miles before we had to charge it up again.

The standover design and easy-to-adjust seat make it fit a wide range of sizes. I’m barely 5’1″, and I can ride it just as well as my 6′ stepdad. The control panel is also very intuitive, making it easy to turn on your headlight and see speed and battery life.

For the family who wants something to replace their car for short, local trips, this bike is the perfect ride. However, it’s not for the person who wants to get to where they’re going fast. While the motor will assist up to 20 mph, it comes with a factory set max of 15 mph (this is easily changed via the settings).

And because it’s a trike, the bike’s handling is a bit unstable at higher speeds, especially in corners where you can’t lean like a normal bike. So we’d recommend keeping that 15mph limit for a while until you learn the limitations. Think of this bike as more of a “take it easy and enjoy the sights” bike. It’s a super fun experience to share with your kids.


  • Weight: 148 lbs.
  • Length: 6′
  • Carrying capacity: 220 lbs.; four kids, a mixture of one medium dog and one kid, or two kids and a big grocery buy
  • Range: 20-30 miles depending on load and speed
  • Best for: Taking multiple kids to the local park, dogs, and big grocery buys


  • Comes fully assembled
  • Has a secure lockbox
  • Thick, durable, flat-proof tires
  • Can fit up to five kids (with one on the back)


  • Heavy
  • Harder to back up and turn around than other more bike-like models
  • Can take up a lot of space in the garage

Smoothest Ride for Big Loads: Yuba Electric Supermarché

For hauling a big grocery buy, transporting your SUP to the local surf wave, or taking your dog and kiddo to the river for a hike, this bike (5,999) is the ticket. With a Bosch Performance CX mid-drive motor and PowerPack 500 battery, the ride is fast and smooth.

For ease of use, there is a range of gears and four levels of pedal-based electric assist. Like all the others, it only can get up to only 20 mph, but it feels like you’re going much faster. And at stoplights, it was the easiest of the bikes to start due to the internal hub that allows you to switch gears while stopped.

It takes a bit to get used to the longer and heavier front end, but after a few practice runs, it felt very natural. The hard part is recalibrating your turns on your conventional bike!

The control panel is the fanciest of all of the interfaces. It lets the user see how much power they’re using, how long the trip is, total milage so far, and how many miles you have left on your charge. The Magura MT5 Next Hydraulic Disc brakes and the always-charged LED lights keep the parents happy and the kiddos safe.

The range on the Supermarché lasts anywhere between 20 and 40 miles. For our family, we used it three to four times a day with an average of 7-mile outings carrying 200 pounds. We drained the battery down to one bar almost daily. Luckily, it’s very easy to park it in the garage and charge for another round. The step-through frame and easy-to-adjust cockpit fit the entire neighborhood, with heights ranging from 4’9″ to 6’5″.

Although 5,999 sounds like a pretty high price, when we compared this to other premium-brand long-john bikes, it was actually one of the lowest prices. And if you know you’re going to use it daily (and save some money on gas), it may just be worth the cost. The Supermarché is also available in a non-electric option for 2,999.


  • Weight: 78 lbs.
  • Length: 8’5″
  • Carrying capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Range: 20-55 miles depending on load and power-assist mode
  • Best for: Big Costco buys, giving the kids a ride to school, food or paper deliveries



  • The passenger can feel the bumps more than if they’re on the back of the bike, as it lacks shocks
  • It’s long and on the heavy side

A Great Value: Radio Flyer L885

While the new L885 cargo e-bike (1,999) from Radio Flyer is still a big investment, it’s one of the more affordable options at the moment. Other bikes in this price range arrive without any carrying capacity included. Radio Flyer adds in the kid/cargo carrier which is a major bonus for many families. And although it does not have the higher range like some of the other bikes listed here, we’ve found it a very solid choice for many families out there.

The 500W brushless hub motor coupled with the five-level pedal assist and a half-twist throttle provide plenty of power to ride up any hill or pick up speed at the start of an intersection. We found that even when loaded down at its full capacity of 400 pounds, we could get a full 40 to 45 miles out of it before charging it again. And if more battery power is needed, there is an option to buy another battery for 499. For our daily use, however, we have yet to feel like we need this.

The bike weighs in at 73 pounds but feels surprisingly light and nimble, especially when compared to the Tern GSD. The 26-inch front wheel and the 20-inch back wheel are both standard tire sizes, which is nice for changing out the tubes and tires if needed. So far, after about 200 miles of riding — some on dirt and sharp rocks as well as over some glass (on accident) — I have yet to have a flat thanks to their 3” puncture-resistant liner.

The L885, like many electric bikes these days, has integrated lights, which adds to its carefree nature. The dual leg kickstand is also great for stabilizing the bike while unloading wiggly kids.

The battery charges on par with the other bikes listed here. As long as I remembered to plug it in at night every two to three days, we were good to go for another couple of days of riding.

All in all, this is an amazing electric cargo bike at a very affordable price.


  • Weight: 73 lbs.
  • Length: 83.78″
  • Carrying Capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Range: 45-50 miles
  • Best for: errands around town, picking up and dropping kids off, nearby adventures



  • Front basket and rear basket are a little small for carrying large amounts of groceries.
  • One bike does not fit all sizes

Lightest Weight Ecargo Bike: Tern HSD P9

The new Tern P9 HSD (3,699) is the younger sibling to the older dual-battery GSD model. Where the GSD is longer and heavier, the HSD is more compact, much lighter, and has less carrying capacity. The P9 HSD can fit into many different categories.

With one wheel in the commuting realm and one in the cargo category, this bike can wear many hats, depending on the user. For our purposes, we turned it into the ultimate kid, gear, and grocery hauler. However, Tern has many different configuration options on its site for carrying cargo. With a 115 cm wheelbase, 170 cm in length, and coming in at just under 57 pounds in weight, this bike is the lightest and most compact e-cargo bike we have tested yet.

Tern is known for their unique bikes that can be easily stored and have the ability to fit many different riders on one single frame. The HSD can fit me, at 5′ 1″, and my stepfather, who is 6′ 1″, thanks to an easy-to-adjust cockpit and seat.

Unlike other cargo bikes, this bike was amazingly nimble and easy to maneuver. With a custom Suntour suspension fork, it made the bumpy roads a bit more enjoyable for both me and my passenger. The battery, a Bosch Powerpack 400, and the motor, a Bosch active line, both helped power myself, my five-year-old son, and a ton of farmer’s market goodies around town with no problem thanks to its 375-pound carrying capacity. With a range of 69 miles, I have yet to worry about running out of battery even after a full day of back and forth commuting.

The HSD features integrated lights and a double-sided kickstand for easy on and off for cargo and passengers.

Overall, this little bike packs a powerful punch. It’s easy to store (as with all Terns, it can be stored vertically), can haul everything from gear to dogs to one kid, and is surprisingly very light when compared to other e-cargo bikes. It’s also fun to ride!

While it is not the most expensive bike, it does still dent the wallet. For those looking for more bells and whistles, the HSD comes in 5 different models with the P9 being the most affordable of them all.


  • Weight: 57 lbs.
  • Length: 170 cm
  • Carrying Capacity: 375 lbs.
  • Range: 69 miles
  • Best for: Daily commuting, grocery trips, single kid drop off and pick up, and can fit every adult in the family


  • Very light
  • Can still carry a large load even though it is so small
  • Can fold and fit into small areas


Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose an Electric Cargo Bike

What Kind of Family/Rider Are You?

Before starting your search, first ask yourself what you will be using the bike for most. Grocery shopping? Kid pickups and dropoffs? Delivering pizzas? Taking your dog to the dog park? Hauling the boards to the local surf wave? All of the above? When you narrow your search down in this way before you start looking at the options, it makes it less overwhelming.

What Is Your Budget?

New electric cargo bikes can range from as low as 1,800 to as high as 8,000. Cargo boxes, panniers, front boxes, kickstands, and kid seats all cost extra and can add up quickly. However, after doing a quick search on my local Craigslist and online market groups, I have seen some pretty good options out there that are much cheaper than buying them brand new.

How Long Is Your Average Commute?

Identifying how long your longest average commute is will give you a good idea of what kind of range you’re looking for. There are a lot of options as far as battery and motor power are concerned. And more and more bikes are coming out with the option of attaching another battery to the frame.

How Much Space Do You Have to Store It?

Making sure you have enough space to store it is very important. Other than the GSD, many take up a substantial amount of space in your garage. Some, like the Bunch Bikes, have an outdoor cover that protects them if you are storing them outside.

What About Bad Weather?

Cyclists and commuters know that the weather makes no guarantees. What starts as a dry ride can quickly turn into a downpour. Aside from packing a good rain jacket, there are a couple of accessories we’ve found particularly useful.

For the colder months and mornings, Yuba bikes came out with the only rain cover to fit over a long tail bike. We have been using ours for the past couple of months and our kids love to be cocooned up in it. While it doesn’t cover their legs, it does keep the cold wind and rain off their faces and upper body.

The setup is super easy. It attaches to the monkey bars and can either be left on or taken on and off. We have kept ours on all winter long. On warm days we can roll up the sides for more airflow and on super cold days, we just zip it all up.

And if you’re looking for a cargo basket cover, check out Argo’s rain canopy. It takes a few minutes to set up for the first time, but after everything is installed, it takes just two minutes to put up or take down or stow away. Our boys absolutely love the cover. They call the Argo their “spaceship” and love being all cozy underneath their “magic” cover.


What is an electric cargo bike?

An electric cargo bike, or cargo e-bike, combines the best of both two-wheeled worlds. It’s a larger, gear-hauling bike with a motor. So, you can load it up with kids or groceries, and still be able to pedal uphill on the way home.

Cargo bikes are very popular in bike-friendly countries like Denmark, but their popularity is growing rapidly in the United States.

What is a pedal assist bike?

Pedal-assist is a common mode or design for many electric bikes. As opposed to running the motor with a throttle, the power is integrated with the pedaling.

Generally, you can choose from assist levels ranging from Eco to Turbo. The higher the level, the more assist you’ll get (and the faster you’ll drain the battery).

What is the best electric bike for the price?

This varies widely depending on your use and needs. For the ultimate family and gear hauler, the Yuba Spicy Curry is hard to beat.

If you’re looking to get a budget-friendly cargo e-bike, the RadWagon 4 is reliable, durable, and among the lowest-priced electric cargo bikes around.

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