Electric Cargo Bike Buying Guide

Top Features to Consider When Buying an Electric Cargo Bike

It's 2024, and electric cargo bikes are on their way - empowering us to go car-lite or even bid farewell to driving all together - as one can pedal their way to their destination. 

Whether you're tired of sacrificing precious riding hours for unavoidable errands or seeking an eco-friendly alternative to traditional transportation, e-cargo bikes are here to revolutionise your commuting experience. 

With their advanced features, including customisable options, e-assist capabilities, and modular mounting systems, the latest generation of e-cargo bikes present a compelling case for trading in your gas-guzzling cars and embarking on a greener, more efficient journey.

Why an Electric Cargo Bike?

Electric cargo bikes also known as cargo trikes. Their popularity in Australia is undeniable - both domestic and commercial. The combination of electricity and cargo bikes is a match made in riders' heaven. 

While manually hauling heavy loads on a regular bike can be a great workout, e-cargo bikes take things to a whole new level. These innovative bikes utilise pedal-assist electric motors, boasting an impressive range of over 50 miles. 

In a nutshell, riders can enjoy the convenience of a car, neatly packaged in a bike-sized vehicle, while effortlessly transporting hundreds of pounds/kgs of cargo. Moreover, electric cargo trikes are: 

Viable Alternative: Electric cargo bikes can effectively fulfil the requirements of short-distance deliveries.

Fast as a Van: Electric cargo bikes can maintain a similar pace when navigating urban environments.

Non-Polluting: Unlike motorised vehicles that contribute to air pollution and emissions, electric cargo bikes produce zero tailpipe emissions.

Cheaper: Using electric cargo bikes is more cost-effective; including savings on fuel costs, maintenance expenses, and potentially lower insurance premiums.

Parking Convenience: Electric cargo bikes present an advantage in terms of parking. They require less space than traditional vehicles.

Features To Look Out When Buying An Electric Cargo Bike

Cargo Capacity

You have bought your cargo e-bike for hauling, of course. So, make sure this feature doesn’t go overlooked. Opt for convenient storage options that make loading and unloading easy. 

With generous cargo capacity (big storage cases), you won't have to think twice before transporting bulky items, whether it's large loads of groceries or even your furry friends.

Storage Accessories

The inclusion of racks, baskets, and other storage accessories provides versatile storage options, making it easier to organise and secure your belongings. From bags and backpacks to specialised cargo storage cases, these add-ons ensure that you can transport a variety of items with convenience and peace of mind.

Protection Of Your Belongings

You are considering buying an electric cargo bike, but have you taken into account the safety of your belongings?  To safeguard your items and prevent theft while on the go, it's essential to consider the inclusion of lockable storage cases. Some of the lockable storage cases are:

Hard-shell cases: These are durable and robust cases made from materials like plastic or metal.  Hard-shell cases provide excellent protection against external elements and potential theft.

Soft-shell cases: These are fabric-based cases with integrated locking mechanisms, offering flexibility and versatility while still providing a certain level of security for your cargo.

Removable cases: These cases can be easily attached or detached from the cargo bike, allowing for convenient loading, unloading, and secure storage when needed.

Integrated cases: Some e-cargo bikes have built-in storage compartments with lockable lids, providing a seamless and secure solution for carrying and protecting your cargo.

Choose the Motor Wisely

The motor power of an electric cargo bike plays a crucial role in determining its performance. Before you invest in an e-cargo trike, scrunitising your specific usage patterns and requirements is a must to select the appropriate motor power. Consider factors such as the weight of the cargo you typically carry, the distances you travel, and the frequency of uphill climbs.

    • If you live in a predominantly flat area and intend to use the cargo bike for family transportation or lighter loads, a motor with moderate power would be sufficient. It will provide the necessary assistance for a comfortable ride without the need for excessive power.
    • If you reside in an area with steep hills or frequently carry heavier cargo, opting for a more powerful motor becomes essential. A higher-powered motor will deliver the extra torque required to tackle challenging inclines and provide optimal performance under demanding conditions.

An Adequate Battery System

If you don't want to be left stranded midway your journey, the battery capacity of your e-cargo trike needs to be given special consideration. To determine the right battery capacity for your needs, consider the following factors:

Travel Distance: Evaluate the average distance you plan to cover on your electric cargo bike. If you frequently embark on longer trips, opt for a higher battery capacity. 

Payload and Terrain: Hauling heavier loads or tackling hilly terrains will consume more energy, so take into account the weight of your cargo and the terrain you typically encounter.

Range Anxiety: If you are prone to experiencing range anxiety or want the flexibility to explore without worrying about running out of battery, choose a higher-capacity battery. It will provide peace of mind and allow you to comfortably complete your trips.

Charging Options: Assess the availability of charging infrastructure in your area or along your planned routes. If charging stations are scarce, a larger battery capacity becomes even more important to extend your range and reduce the frequency of charging.

Priortise Your Safety 

Safety comes first and foremost, always. One should never ever forget to prioritise qualities like responsive brakes as well as proper equilibrium. There are three types of common brakes that e-cargo trikes come equipped with: 

Disc brakes: known for their powerful stopping ability and consistent performance, are highly recommended for cargo e-trikes carrying heavier loads or traveling on hilly terrain.

Drum brakes: offering reliable and low-maintenance operation, are a suitable option for urban environments and moderate cargo weights.

Rim brakes: though less common, are often found on entry-level models and are suitable for lighter loads and less demanding riding conditions.

Although responsive brakes are quite necessary, an e-cargo bike's steadiness is also essential. 

Strong Stability Before Anything Else

With the additional weight of cargo, maintaining stability becomes even more crucial. A well-balanced e-cargo bike minimises the risk of tipping over and reduces the chances of accidents or mishaps. Here’s are a few features that contribute to a well-balanced e-cargo trike. 

Frame Design: A well-designed frame that accounts for the weight distribution of the cargo is essential for achieving equilibrium. Look for cargo bike models with sturdy and balanced frames specifically designed to handle the additional load.

Cargo Placement and Mounting: Consider how the cargo is placed and mounted on the bike. Ideally, the cargo should be positioned low and centered to maintain stability and minimise the impact on the bike's balance. E-cargo bikes that offer secure and adjustable mounting options are the best option offering proper equilibrium.

Test Rides and Reviews: If possible, test ride the e-cargo bike or read reviews from trusted sources. Pay attention to feedback on the bike's stability during turns, manoeuvrability with a loaded cargo, and overall handling. This firsthand experience or user feedback can provide valuable insights into the equilibrium of the bike.

Electric Assist Modes and Controls

Electric Assist Modes and Controls are crucial for the riding experience of an electric cargo bike. They provide convenience, flexibility, and control over the level of assistance while pedaling.

      • Basic electric assist modes (eco, normal, high) are found in conventional and budget models, offering selectable levels of assistance. Preferred for casual riders, urban commuting and lighter cargo loads
      • High-end models offer advanced control systems with customisable assist levels, intuitive interfaces, and additional features. Preferred for more demanding terrains, heavier cargo loads, and riders seeking a more personalised riding experience. High-end models may include regenerative braking and smart sensors for enhanced performance and efficiency.

 

In conclusion, when purchasing an electric cargo bike, don't forget to consider important features like cargo capacity, lockable storage cases, motor power, battery capacity, responsive brakes, and stability. These factors ensure convenient cargo transportation, security, performance, safety, and customisable assistance, making your riding experience more enjoyable than ever. Choose wisely and elevate your e-cargo bike journey to new heights.

Related:

Benefits of Electric Cargo Bikes
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