How to find the right cargo bike
Barely any form of transport is as environmentally friendly and climate-neutral as riding a cargo bike. The bikes produce no CO2 emissions and are noiseless. And there are other arguments in favour of switching to a bike - for example, the price. A cargo bike is much cheaper to buy and to operate and maintain than a car or van. In urban areas, a cargo bike is easy to get around even in heavy traffic, as cycle paths or crawlways can be used. In addition, no driving licence is required for this type of mobility, as long as the engine does not permit speeds above 25 km/h.
Different types of cargo bikes
Good reasons to switch to a cargo bike, right? But which model suits your needs? Broadly speaking, there are three different types of cargo bike. And here again, there are different variants, depending on the intended use: tricycles, "long johns" or longtail cargo bikes, as well as versions with sturdy luggage racks or luggage baskets.
Cargo bikes with sturdy luggage racks or baskets
The bikes equipped with a sturdy luggage rack or basket are certainly known to most as delivery bikes or postal bikes. They do not differ significantly in length from conventional bicycles. Attachments such as boxes or large luggage bags can be easily added to them and offer plenty of storage space. Variants are also available with one mounted in front of the handlebars in addition to the rear luggage rack. They offer even more space for transporting shipments or goods.
Three-wheelers - comfortably to the destination
Three-wheel cargo bikes are available in two different versions. Version one has one wheel at the rear and two at the front. The transport box is mounted in front of the handlebar and - depending on the model - connected to the front axle and pivoted. This means that the entire box is swivelled together with the front axle when driving. Tricycle variant two has two wheels at the rear and the transport box is also mounted behind the rider. Cargo tricycles are particularly solid and designed for slower speeds - therefore safe and also suitable for transporting small passengers.
"Long John" or longtail cargo bike - the sporty variant
"Long John" or longtail cargo bikes have only two wheels. Compared to a conventional bicycle, however, they are significantly longer. The cargo area is either between the front wheel and the handlebars (Long John) or between the seat post and the rear wheel (Longtail). In "Long John" variants, the front wheel is set further forward. One advantage of these models is that their handling is less different from conventional bicycles than other cargo bikes, such as tricycles. In addition to the usual number of wheels, they have a significantly lower centre of gravity than other cargo bikes due to their elongated design - and are therefore more sporty on the road.
Questions that help with the decision
The difference often lies in the details. That is why interested persons should consider other things before purchasing a cargo bike. For example, they should answer these questions so that the changeover is successful:
- Intended use: For what purpose is a cargo bike to be purchased?
- Superstructures: Should there be additional baskets, boxes or loading areas?
- Equipment: Depending on the provider, there are different equipment elements such as seats with seat belts, rain and sun canopies, electric push assistance and more - which of these is needed?
- Payload: What capacity in terms of payload is required? Depending on the design of the cargo bike, models are available that allow a payload of 60 to 200 kilograms.
- Parking space: Where should the cargo bike be deposited when not in use for a longer period of time? How big can it be?
No matter which cargo bike you choose, one thing is certain: the more cargo bikes on the road, the better it is for traffic, fitness and the climate!