How to Select the Best Cargo E-Bike? (with examples)

Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by Igor Karni

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Cargo e-bikes often appeal to a lot of people (not just diehard bike riders) because they can be so reliable that they can replace an actual car. You can’t say the same for a lot of other e-bikes. Of course, its practicality largely stems from its efficient transportation capability. It marries the perks of going electric with the applicability of having a dedicated box or rack for hauling. 

You get to transport anyone or anything you like as long as it can be accommodated and within the e-bike’s capacity. And you manage to do this without having to worry about storing it in a spacious garage and, of course, you will not be toiling during those uphill climbs at the same time.

This capacity to transport extra cargo and passengers should certainly be one of the criteria you need to look at when looking for the best cargo e-bike. That is just the tip of the iceberg as you also have to be aware of others that are surely just as essential and vital.

Top criteria for the best cargo e-Bike

The best cargo e-bike showcases a balance between reliability, capacity, and value for money. For this, you need to pay close attention to the motor and drive system that is best for your riding routines, weight, capacity, battery life, price, warranty, and helpful features. 

The motor used has to be able to handle any non-flat roads with relative ease even if the maximum weight load of the cargo e-bike has already been achieved. Of course, you should also be comfortable with the weight.

A battery with a decent life and charges fast is also recommended, but this still depends a lot on how often you ride and your habits in general. Pricing should readily reflect the features and parts integrated.

Read also: How much can an e-bike carry? And, Can an e-bike pull a trailer?

The suggestions we made below easily stand out from the competition because of the smooth way they fulfill these criteria. You will certainly get the best value for money, as a lot of other e-bike pundits and enthusiasts can attest.

But, in the end, you should also learn to select what is best for you. And there is no clearer path to this than by learning more about how these criteria impact the overall value of cargo e-bikes. 

Additionally, take note that there are mostly two types of cargo e-bikes: long-tails and box e-bikes or long johns. The former has the box situated behind the rider while the latter is technically the opposite as it is in front. Most electric box bikes, especially the high-end ones, are designed to be more performance-oriented than their long-tail counterparts. 

The best cargo e-Bikes at present

Model NamePriceRiding RangeWeight
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon$1,49925 – 45 miles (40 – 70 km)73 pounds (33.1 kg)
Yuba Supermarché$2,50030 – 60 miles (50 – 100 km)78 pounds (35.4 kg)
Riese & Müller Load 75 Touring HS$8,32930 – 160 miles (50 – 250 km)85 pounds (38.6 kg)
Xtracycle Edgerunner eSwoop$4,69730 – 160 miles (50 – 250 km)62 pounds (28.1 kg)
Magnum Payload$2,79925 – 75 miles (40 – 120 km)80.5 pounds (36.3 kg)
Ferla Royce Cargo Bike$4,99935 – 50 miles (55 – 80 km)200 pounds (90 kg)

Cargo e-bike motor and drive system to help you fulfill your goals

As said before, this is important if you need an e-bike that can still get you over tough inclines even with a substantial load. Even if there are no hilly spots in your daily route, you still need to make sure the motor can provide enough assist when the bike is filled to its maximum capacity.

This might immediately mean more powerful motors in most cases, particularly the 750W varieties but 500W motors can still perform stellarly, too. 

Most drive systems other than mid-drive (i.e. front hub and rear hub) are always cheaper because they often come second to mid-drive motors when it comes to ensuring a smooth ride. This is why you often see the best cargo e-bikes using the mid-motor drive system.

Read also: Front, mid-drive, or rear e-bike motor. Which one to choose? And, What is the difference between e-bike motors?

But if you find the other types of motors more preferable then do not cross them out entirely. Front-wheel hub motors are generally better when it comes to pulling extra weight during inclines, though. 

When it comes to the motor, it is all about what you can get used to and be comfortable with. Of course, comfort in this context means not having any doubt that your e-bike will be able to manage the extra weight you place on it.

You also should not have to compensate too much (i.e. pedal more) when riding a fully laden cargo e-bike. It should be able to pull its own weight, in short. Otherwise, you will be defeating the purpose of going full electric. 

Easy E-Biking - cargo e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

Find your riding range sweet spot

If you already have an inkling about the distance that you need to travel regularly, this should not be that difficult. One obvious benefit of knowing the riding range that is just right for you is you do not end up paying thousands more for a high-powered battery you might end up not using efficiently. 

Can you really say without hesitation that you need a bike with a maximum range of 160 miles (250 km)? If not, then it is best to err on the side of caution since we are talking about the most expensive part of most e-bikes here. 

Read also: Why are electric bikes so expensive? And, Does it make sense to buy the cheapest electric bicycle?

A lot of cargo e-bikes also already fetch top dollar, and the best high-end models (like the Riese & Müller Load 75 Touring HS) only cost that much because of their formidable dual-battery systems that extend riding range. Take note that most of these models do not come with an extra battery. 

A case can be made for fast-chargers as well because they will be able to make up for their limited range with their ability to recharge quickly. Pretty useful for emergency scenarios when you need a speedy fill-up. 

As long as you can find a model that gives you adequate range and manages to be lightweight (the battery remains one of the main determinants of an e-bike’s weight, after all), that is certainly a winner. Of course, it also has to not disappoint in the other criteria here.

Accessories are great, as long as they are useful and do not increase weight

Wheel locks and folding capabilities are neat features to have, but if you think you do not really need them, then they should not be part of your priorities when making your decision. As much as possible, make sure you get models with accessories that you know you will actually be using consistently. 

This includes the accompanying main compartment. You may end up paying more for capacity that you rarely fill to its limit, for instance. We are not saying you should go for cargo e-bikes that you will always be able to fill to their maximum weight capacity. Just make sure you find the model with just the right amount of space and weight support for your purposes. 

Read also: Best e-bikes for 260 lbs / 120 kg riders. And, Best e-bikes for 330 lbs / 150 kg riders. And, Best e-bikes for 400 lbs / 180 kg riders.

It is also recommended to opt for models that are well designed in such a way that they keep their weight low as a direct result. For one, besides limiting the battery’s weight, they also incorporate smaller tires or do not add unnecessary components. 

Certain cargo e-bikes add extra cargo bags and child rails too, but most of them are optional. Other useful accessories include displays that can give you range estimates. 

Hydraulic brakes are generally more powerful than other types and can also be very invaluable for any cargo e-bike rider.

Easy E-Biking - cargo e-bike with basket, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

Always make price considerations congruent with your needs

Since this e-bike is brimming with practicality, it is only apt that you should adopt this quality and have a similar stance when gauging its value for money as well. The ones we recommended above only serve as great examples of what can be deemed as solid-built cargo e-bikes for they satisfy most (if not all) the criteria we listed.

But if you think that they have features that you do not really need, then try to look for models that you think will fulfill them better.

Will you be using it as a regular family vehicle for instance? Then you definitely have to be on the lookout for more family-oriented cargo e-bikes. Know that there are models specifically built for this purpose. 

Read also: How much does it cost to own an e-bike? And, What is the difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes?

If you prefer a more heavy-duty cargo electric bike that is all utility, then the mid-range and high-end models may be the most suitable for you. These models can even be used for business in the way a pickup truck serves the same purpose. 

Arguably, this is the only kind of scenario that makes them well worth shelling out those extra dollars for; unless you intend to use them for a multipurpose reason (i.e. use them as a passenger vehicle as well). Yes, the cargo e-bikes can be very versatile because of this. But make sure you get to capitalize often on that versatility.

Lastly, make sure you do not lose out on warranty terms as well. Any cargo e-bike with a two-year comprehensive warranty is an eye-turner, to say the least, considering they will be carrying that extra heft regularly. 

A few words in conclusion

The fact that most cargo e-bikes can help save loads on gas by serving as a complete alternative to cars only seals the reason why they can be an invaluable addition to your store of vehicles. What more if you get to own a model that fits all your daily riding needs to a tee? As long as you remember our tips, this should be a piece of cake. 

Read also: Ever considered offering e-bike as a gift? Or gifting one to yourself? Check out our suggestions – in this e-bike gift guide.

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