The world of electric-assist bicycles has evolved far beyond simple transportation, and electric tandem bikes are a perfect example of this transformation. Whether you are looking for a longtail bike to transport your children in the back or an electric cargo bike to carry luggage, equipment, or the whole family, the range is vast.
What is an electric cargo bike?
A cargo bike is designed to carry heavier loads than a traditional bike, often thanks to an extended platform at the back or front. There are many types of electric cargo bikes, each responding in its own way to the constant search for a compromise between carrying capacity and size. Some, like the Yuvy, are both more compact and can carry up to 2 adults and 2 children! All of this on a vehicle weighing around 30 kg, their efficiency is remarkable.
Why choose an electric cargo bike?
The answer is simple: flexibility. Whether it's an electric tandem bike to ride around town with a friend or a longtail electric bike to carry your groceries, these bikes have the advantage of offering unmatched versatility. Cargo or longtail electric bikes are very practical for urban families, combining the efficiency of an electric-assist bike with the carrying capacity of a small car.
Different types of electric cargo bikesWhen you dive into the world of electric longtail bikes, you will encounter several terms. What is the difference between an electric cargo bike longtail, a midtail, and a tandem or 2-seater bike? Here's a brief explanation:
The trike is equipped with a platform and 3 wheels, allowing it to transport considerable loads while remaining stable. They have the advantage of not needing a kickstand and accepting bulky and heavy loads. Their limit is that they are relatively wide themselves, which can make circulation difficult, especially in the city between cars or on a crowded bike path.
The biporteur also has a platform, but has 2 wheels, which makes it narrower and easier to maneuver in traffic. It is, however, less stable and can be difficult to maneuver, especially when carrying heavy loads.
Longtail are electric-assist bikes that look like traditional bikes but are extended at the back, allowing passengers, cargo boxes, or saddlebags to be mounted on the rear frame. They have the advantage of being as narrow as a traditional bike. However, longtails are about 2.20 m long, which can limit parking options, whether on the street, between bike racks, or even at home or on a car bike rack. For this, midtail e-bikes are slightly shorter and offer an interesting compromise.
Electric tandem bikes are as compact as traditional electric-assist bikes, but are designed to comfortably ride two adults, or even three people including one or two children. The ergonomics are studied to maximize maneuverability and comfort for family travel. These bikes can be equipped with accessories that allow for configurations as varied as they are useful for daily logistics.
What criteria to consider when buying an electric bike?
It's not just about choosing between a used or cheap cargo bike. Your cargo e-bike must perform in all situations, so it's best to check its features in detail beforehand. Consider the autonomy, weight, carrying capacity, compatible accessories, brake quality, motor power, wheel size, safety features, and of course, price.
Autonomy: it can vary greatly depending on the load carried, the slope, temperature, tire pressure, and many other criteria. So, make sure to choose a battery with a capacity greater than 600 Wh.
Weight: It plays a role in maneuverability, but it's also a guarantee of robustness, an essential criterion for a cargo bike that must ensure maximum carrying capacity. Bikes suitable for cargo or family use generally weigh between 25 and 35 kg.
Compatibility with accessories: The interest of a cargo bike is its ability to carry almost anything you want (your groceries, sports gear, children, pets, and maybe above all, your partner!), so it's essential that it is compatible with many accessories available on the market, including luggage, saddlebags, top cases, and child seats.
Safety: a priority often considered as number one, rightly so. Opt for a model with efficient and well-known brand brakes, ideally hydraulic disc brakes. Control of your speed is essential, it's a determining factor for riding safely. We often think we ride cautiously (sometimes overestimate), but we often underestimate the danger that other people can represent, as not everyone knows how to anticipate the movements of a loaded cyclist. Also, choose wheels equipped with wide tires to avoid getting stuck in tram rails.
Ease of maintenance: Cargo bike users will tell you that they expect a lot from their machine. These are bikes that are heavily solicited, put to the test and must not fail in their mission. Ease of maintenance is an essential criterion so that it can be used as long as possible and be as useful as possible. Choose a bike equipped with efficient brakes, a powerful motor, and components widely distributed by major brands that all bike mechanics know well (Shimano, Tektro, Bafang, ...). A bike that rides needs maintenance, and maintenance can be a formality if the bike is designed for it. Otherwise, it can turn into a nightmare ... Some tech startups won't tell you otherwise. Choose a brand that will seriously support you, offer the services of a mechanic near you, ensure good quality service and availability of parts. If that's the case, you can ride with peace of mind.
Motor power: In terms of power, plan for the long term. It takes a minimum of 60 Nm of torque for a cargo e-bike to do its job properly. The motor can be in the pedal if it's a bike designed to optimize pedaling performance or in the rear hub if the idea is to limit effort and rely as much as possible on the motor's power.
Price: You might be tempted to buy a used longtail e-bike, which can be a great deal if the brand or a professional assures you that everything is in perfect working order and can establish a warranty. However, note that some subsidies for buying your e-bike are only eligible on the purchase of a new model. With this subsidy simulator, discover in a few clicks the list of state aids to which you are eligible and the steps to follow to benefit from them. The state offers aid of up to 500€, which can greatly reduce the price of your investment. In your consideration of the price, consider the different financing options offered by merchants. Some offer to pay in 2, 3, 4, or even 10 installments, which sometimes allows you to avoid limiting your choice to entry-level models.
The urban bike for the whole family: is it possible?Absolutely! Some models of electric family bikes offer excellent transport options for everyone. For parents who need to shop, go to work, and transport a child, or two, or even three! But also for teenagers who need to travel safely and independently to go to middle school or to attend extracurricular activities. With the right equipment, even a trip to school becomes an adventure. Some accessories even allow you to bring your cat or dog! Cargo bikes have undeniable advantages over cars, but also over scooters or traditional bikes, especially when it comes to effectively meeting the multiple needs of urban life.
Conclusion: Try it, you might love it!
Whether you are a professional needing an extended cargo bike or a family looking for the best electric bike for adults and kids, the world of longtail cargo bikes has some advantages to offer. Do your research, test some models of your choice, really put yourself in a situation of use, and find your perfect match.