Electric Cargo Bikes: Carry It All - The Perfect Working Vehicle

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The primary feature of a cargo ebike is the ability to carry cargo, gear, or passengers. Are you seeking an ebike that can haul it all? Leave the car in the garage and save money on fuel, while making every trip a fun adventure. Seek no further. An electric cargo bike can do it all. 

Defining an Electric Cargo Bike

Ecargo bikes are specifically designed to carry large, heavy loads and passengers. Riders love their versatility for transporting one or more children, carrying goods, or having another adult passenger hop on. Powerful and functional, these ebikes help our customers take care of life and replace car trips. Electric cargo bikes also operate well as delivery vehicles for food, packages and more.

Cargo Ebike Design and Styles

Long-tail ebikes feature a sturdy, low and long frame design specifically with a longer, rear rack base for cargo or passengers. These frames are typically designed with mid-step frames to provide a lower standover height for rider accessibility. It also helps with stability while stopped or biking with heavier loads. The longer frame and smaller-diameter wheels create a lower center of gravity, to help avoid tipping and increase stability.

Moped-style utility ebikes are typically designed with a step-through frame. A utility ebike is capable of handling a slender adult passenger on the back, a child with bike seat, or a platform packed with parcels. The step-through design provides easy rider accessibility and balance, a lower center of gravity, and additional stability to help ride with an adult passenger.

Bakfiets or front-loading box-style ecargo bikes that are popular in Europe and gaining popularity in North America. They are known for their large passenger basket at the front of the bike that can fit multiple small children or cargo. (Rad Power Bikes does not currently offer a front-loading model.)

By design, electric cargo bikes come with a motor, a (removable) rechargeable battery and controllers to provide pedal assist of various levels of additional power riding with heavy loads. Some bikes come with gears to shift your pedaling cadence, but there are some single speed ecargo bike options available. The best choice can vary based on your riding ability and terrain.

Frame designs and materials are built to be durable and handle more payload capacity than other ebikes or traditional bicycles. Payload capacities for electric cargo bikes usually max out around 150 kgs (330lbs) except for Bakfiets-style ebikes where basket payload capacities typically start around 100 kgs (220lbs). For this increased weight carrying capacity, the rear rack is welded to the frame and can not be removed. This gives the bike and rack extra safety when fully loaded to its limits. 

These ebikes typically come with smaller diameter wheels to provide a lower-center of balance with the frame while also providing increased stability while riding on uneven terrains or climbing hills. (Keep in mind: smaller wheels don’t mean these ebikes go slower.)

Benefits and considerations 

The primary feature of a cargo ebike is the ability to carry cargo, gear, or passengers. Payload capacity, electric power for heavier loads, and the ability to customise your ecargo bike with baskets, bags, child seats, passenger protection, and more, are key features our customers tell us they consider when choosing a cargo or utility electric bike. Another consideration is accessibility, quality and price point. Our customers want to ensure they are choosing a quality ebike that fits their needs, at a price they can afford.

Our RadWagon, a mid-step long-tail ebike is known as a family hauler. It’s also designed to carry heavier loads of gear. The 250 watt motor powers this 158kg (350lbs)  payload capacity bike with a battery range of 72km+ (45+ miles) per charge. It comes with five levels of pedal assist to add power to your pedaling up to 25km/hrs (15 miles per hours) and a twist assist to give you a boost as you’re getting pushing off from a red-light stand still with heavier loads or to cresting a big hill on your route. 

The RadRunner (and RadRunner Plus) moped-style utility ebike is an innovative leader in this category with 300+ accessory combinations to customize your ride experience for passengers, cargo, comfort, and style. This model also comes with a 250 watt motor powering 136kg (300lbs) of payload capacity with a battery range of 72km+ (45+ miles) per charge. 

Similar to standard bicycles or other ebikes, the RadWagon and RadRunner Plus models, both come with 7-speed gearing to dial in your pedal cadence and pedal assist power. 

Carrying passengers

If you are considering an electric cargo bike to carry kids, teens or even adults, both of our models are designed specifically for this purpose. We have a Family ebike category which provides all the information you’d need to consider an ebike and accessories for this purpose. Beyond cargo ebikes, most standard Rad Power Bikes models are compatible with a child seat for younger, smaller kids.

Our people-carrying models are both fully-customizable for passenger safety and comfort like a water-resistant protective cover to keep kids dry on a RadWagon during bad-weather rides to school. The RadRunner moped-style ebike fits a child seat on the rear rack or comfort saddle, passenger bar, and foot pegs so you can head out in style with your best friend (weight restriction apply). 

Carrying Cargo and Gear

The more carrying flexibility your ebike has, the more it’s possible to integrate it into your daily life and potentially replace car or transit trips while having fun and being able to travel with big, heavy loads. Don’t break a sweat, just because you overdid the shopping. Our customers tell us they can carry their twin children, a week's worth of groceries, pets, stacks of pizza, remodeling supplies, band gear, and even surfboards. The variety of cargo carrying possibilities are astounding. Carrying big, heavy loads requires a sturdy ebike frame as a base plus custom accessories like baskets, bags, and platforms.

Our Storage & Transport accessories include products that bolt onto your bike to hold cargo. This includes racks, platforms, baskets, plastic storage containers and drink holders. Customers can then choose to add a variety of water-proof bags to attach directly to racks or place in baskets.

Larger, heavier cargo items like a guitar and amp, a mini fridge, or a bunch of boxes going to the post office can be strapped to platforms, baskets and racks with cargo straps and cargo nets. We also offer insulated bags for food delivery or your own picnic.

Our Help Center has an in-depth article covering Carrying Cargo: Payload Capacity and Accessories.

Carrying Pets

Cargo bikes are also a good solution to carry your four-legged friends, but make sure you get them used to moving by bike slowly and with patience. Smaller dogs can be carried in baskets with pet basket liners and blankets and bigger dogs should be towed in a trailer. 

Electric vs Nonelectric Cargo Bikes

Not all cargo bikes are electric, so which one is right for you? Ultimately all cargo bikes are the same, they are built so that you can carry heavier loads (passengers or parcels) on your bike. So it comes down to your personal preference and fitness level, whether you want to tackle that hill with the extra weight on the backseat by your own strength or a little extra umph from the motor. We think a little support can take you further, faster.

Cargo Bike Grants in Europe

Many European countries offer subsidies, grants and loans to people who purchase (electric) cargo bikes for personal or professional use. In most cases you need to have an official invoice and sometimes a certificate of conformity (with the EU laws) to apply for such grants. Check out your local government’s rules, as sometimes grants have to be requested ahead of the purchase, and others are authorized after you took possession of the bike. These subsidies can be significant, in some cases into the thousands of euros, so don’t miss out on your local support.

Featured Customer & Media Reviews

  • “Great bike. High quality and well equipped. I've added 2 mirrors and the child seat. Just perfect to go to work, school, around the city, park, wherever.” - Cardei S., RadWagon 4 Owner
  • “The RadWagon has been perfect for our family. Highly recommend it.” - Vincent B., RadWagon 4 Owner
  • “Replaced one car in my household with a Radrunner Plus. Replaced 40 minutes of snail pace driving with a nerve tonic of 25 minutes. Can use the rad for shopping and dropping off the kids. Best money spent on self so far.” - Joe B., RadRunner Plus Owner
  • RadWagon 4 - Ebike News
  • RadRunner Plus - Ebike News
  • RadWagon 4 - RTL