Cargo bikes: designed for people who want to carry stuff on their bikes – groceries, bags, children or dogs.
A cargo bike is designed to carry kids or cargo, or both. Already popular in bike-friendly cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, cargo bikes are becoming more popular in Melbourne and are great for commuting, especially if you need to carry lots of stuff. Whether that’s two kids, a laptop and a bunch of heavy textbooks, a load of groceries or a dog – there comes a time when even the best quality panniers on a standard bike just can’t carry enough.
Cargo bikes are a fun, safe, affordable and environmentally-friendly transport option suitable for everyone. There are many types of cargo bikes for people or urban families who want to ditch the car or at least the second car – from utilitarian, mountain bike styles to uber-trendy Danish-designed three-wheeled cargo trikes complete with all-weather hoods and leather seats.
Different types of cargo bikes
Box bikes and box trikes: these are two-wheeled bikes or three-wheeled trikes with a large box up the front for kids, dogs or cargo – and are a little wider than a standard bike. If you live in the inner city you may have seen food delivery box bikes or couriers on cargo bikes.
Longtail cargo bikes: Similar to a regular commuter or mountain bike, these two-wheeled cargo bikes are longer and have space at the back for a child seat or bench seat for 2-3 kids (or an adult) on the back. They usually have the ability to have a large front basket that can carry loads too.
Electric cargo bikes: Perfect for riders who need to travel a bit further on their commute or want to carry heavier loads. A pedal-assist electric motor means there’s no need to wear lycra or take a change of clothes as you don’t need to break a sweat if you don’t want to. Most of our longtail bikes are fitted with Bosch or Shimano mid-drive motors as these are the biggest manufacturers in this space. We do also have some hub motor e-bikes which tend to be a little cheaper.
Box cargo bikes
Longtail cargo bikes:
Cargo Bikes FAQs
Is a cargo bike difficult to ride?
Not at all. Cargo bikes ride pretty much like a normal bike – but it can be a little different to riding a normal bike — depending on the style of cargo bike. Cargo bikes are the station wagons of the bike world, and because the geometry of the bike is different from a standard bike you’ll find that they’ll handle a little differently. Two-wheeled box bikes or ‘bakfiets’-style bikes (two-wheelers with a low tray or box between the handlebars and the front wheel) are a little different to ride – because of the increased length, there will also be a larger turning circle.
Longtail cargo bikes are constructed very much like regular bikes except with a longer frame that provides extra carrying capacity between the saddle and the rear axle. As a result, they handle identically to normal bikes, and with greater stability under a load.
Three-wheeled cargo trikes are very stable at low speeds and can be the best option for very heavy loads, but they can feel surprisingly different to regular bikes because they are sensitive to uneven surfaces, and they don’t tilt when they corner (except the Butchers and Bicycles MK1E tilting tricycle!) Three-wheeled trikes are closer to driving a car in that you need to actively steer them. The steering mechanism is designed to handle the longer frame or box out the front.
The best way to find out what it’s like to ride a cargo bike is to visit the Cargocycles shop in Brunswick East and do some test rides.
Is a cargo bike difficult to ride when it is loaded up?
Not necessarily, although it will take more effort to get to higher speeds or up hills (E-bikes will help with this!) and it can be more difficult to walk the bike or ride it very slowly with a big load or a high load. When you come to the shop for test rides we recommend you try riding with a passenger or other load on board if that is how you intend to use the bike.
Can a cargo bike climb hills?
All bikes are easier to ride on flat land, and a cargo bike is no exception. Within reason, a cargo bike’s wide range of gears allows it to be ridden up hills. That being said, if you are regularly going to be hauling cargo up hills, a pedal-assist electric cargo bike is an ideal choice. You’ll still need to pedal but your encounters with those hills will be pain-free.
How old does my child need to be to go on a cargo bike?
In Australia, mandatory helmet laws require all bike riders and passengers to wear helmets. There is no exception for passengers travelling in bike-mounted car seats so in this country there remains no option for carrying children under around 12 months on bikes that is both safe and legal.
At around 12 months many babies can sit in a properly adjusted bike seat and wear a helmet, and at this point, a cargo bike may be an ideal transport option for you.
These bikes are the business!
Cargo bikes are perfect for businesses too – whether you need a promo bike or a delivery bike for your cafe, restaurant, bakery or bottle shop – your customers will appreciate direct to the front door deliveries that only a cargo bike allows. Avoid traffic congestion and parking hassles and reduce your business’ carbon footprint too – see our business bikes here.