Choosing a Cargo Bike

Spellchaser

New Member
Hi. I've been running myself in circles for the last six weeks as I've been looking into and pretty much running myself in circles over the research. I'm currently running on a standard bike with a rack and a bag, but that's not enough for me right now, and I'm about to move and my need to be able to carry stuff is going to increase. I'm pretty sure I want to pick up a cargo bike because it will allow me to grab some things locally that I currently have to order online.

I live in Western NY, so the coming winter and snows are a concern in anything I decide to choose, I need to be able to ride through all but the roughest of winter storms.

I have it narrowed down to what feels like my three best options:
  • Yuba Spicy Curry – I've actually gotten to test ride this, and it was my first experience with any e-bike.
  • Tern GSD S00
  • Rad Power Bikes Rad Wagon – The budget option, but I actually ran into someone who rode a Rad and they had nothing but good things to say about it.
The Rad is the affordable option, but I've got two stores locally that actually sell (which hopefully means easily service) both Yuba and Tern.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I've run into many Rad Rover owners who are very satisfied with their bikes. Rad is doing very well for their customers. That said, I think the cargo bike with a direct drive motor will be more limited than the other two options with Bosch mid drives.

I'm not against direct drives, they can be good at speed and distance. My first ebike has a direct drive and it performed well. Not a lot of torque though for heavy loads and hills. Living in Pennsylvania I have similar hills and weather as W. NYS. One problem I did have with the DD was overheating in winter. The first time it happened I was riding up hill in snow. Due to the poor torque and tough going in the snow the motor just got too hot and shut down. It was no fun pushing a heavy ebike up hill in the snow! With the mid drive, hauling weight in rough conditions you would have the required torque.

I would buy the best quality within my budget. And buying local, with local support will be very helpful for a daily use vehicle you depend on.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I have it narrowed down to what feels like my three best options:
  • Yuba Spicy Curry – I've actually gotten to test ride this, and it was my first experience with any e-bike.
  • Tern GSD S00
  • Rad Power Bikes Rad Wagon – The budget option, but I actually ran into someone who rode a Rad and they had nothing but good things to say about it.
The Rad is the affordable option, but I've got two stores locally that actually sell (which hopefully means easily service) both Yuba and Tern.
If you were to go the Rad Route, I would also look at this bike:


 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Re: the Rad wagon, even though I'm a fan of RAD, IMHO, they've missed the mark badly offering this bike with a direct drive motor. A gear drive makes MUCH more sense for how I think this bike will be used most often.

DD's are generally most effective in a cruiser that's used as a commuter or other application where stop and go is infrequent and speeds over 10-15mph are the norm.

For city traffic, hills, speeds under 10-15mph, and carrying heavy loads, the gear drives are in their own. Pretty much exactly where I see the Wagon being used most often.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
...I live in Western NY, so the coming winter and snows are a concern in anything I decide to choose, I need to be able to ride through all but the roughest of winter storms.

I have it narrowed down to what feels like my three best options:
  • Yuba Spicy Curry – I've actually gotten to test ride this, and it was my first experience with any e-bike.
  • Tern GSD S00
  • Rad Power Bikes Rad Wagon – The budget option, but I actually ran into someone who rode a Rad and they had nothing but good things to say about it....
I've posted all over the forum that I love my GSD. But I don't plan to ride it in the snow. I don't think the Super Moto X tires would be all that great in snow although I haven't tried them. They seem a bit slick to me. So, if you consider the GSD, I'd make sure a good snow tire is available in 20" that also fits the Tern's rims/fenders.

I've seen a Spicy Curry or two around my parts. Nice looking bike ...
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Other options are xtracycle swoop pedego stretch Kona Ute. Reiss & mueller has a very expensive one. Front bucket cargo IMHO is for areas without wind - say the horse lattitudes? My bags are behind my legs and theoretically don't drag much in the wind more than my round body. I went to a stretch cargo bike because loading up groceries (soda) in my steel baskets led to 20 lb front 100 lb rear loading of my MTB. That configuration pitched me over the handlebars on my chin thrice when the front wheel whipped sideways on a limb, a speed bump, a ridge of gravel. Hasn't happened yet on the bodaboda that loads my weight on the front tire and leaves the back to handle the cargo. I hung the battery up there on the yuba special hard basket mount bosses in the frame. The motor is up front, too.
I ride a yuba bodaboda left that I converted with a ebikeling geared hub drive kit and luna battery. I go in all weather except when there is ice on the roads. Didn't happen last winter in S. Indiana. Takes serious gloves near zero F. I wear a helmet liner from the welder shop. I use knobby kenda tires, and discard them when the knobs get below 1/16". The thick knobs prevent most flats. I warm the battery in the garage with a heating pad set on low when the temperature is below 40. Cold batteries lose a lot of range and current capacity.
One thing about geared hub, if there is a thermal or electrical failure, you can pedal it home without fighting the motor. Calling a cab is not an option in my more country routes, and fitting one in a cab trunk may get resistance from the driver.
If your legs are over 30" you do not want the yuba drop frame left, it is made for small people. I have 28" pants inseam and a long torso, ending up at 68" high. Figure out what size frame you need on non-cargo bikes, also what size wheel you want. I like 26" front and back because the bigger wheels smooth out the bumps more. I ride 2.1" tires if I can get them. The small rear tire on the yuba mondo would make loading squirrely children in car seats easier. I use the yuba 2 leg stand, backed up by the cart rack at the grocery & HD store, when I am loading. Balenced loads ride better but 16 lb off balance is doable.
Having service from a dealer makes life easier but leaves you without your bike for weeks potentially. The only electric bike dealer within 120 miles is pedego, and he is in another state. I've thrown away 2 batteries and put away a DD drive I didn't like because it drug unpowered. The battery failure process is free with a warrenty, although a dealer won't convert a dd drive bike like radwagon to a geared hub like I've got. The geared hub uses about 30% less electricity over the 77 hills & 30 miles from town to my summer camp: over the DD hub. No hills, no traffic lights or stop signs, they might use about the same. BTW the quality of the yuba bodaboda was superb. brakes & shifters adjusted correctly, precise SRAM shifting instead of the cheapo 7 speed shimano I had previously (which the radwagon comes with). No broken spokes or rim dents with gross weight up to 330 lb (I weigh 160). Front drive maintains the 8 speed rear sprocket cluster that allows pedal speeds of 32:32 (steep hllls) to 52:11 (flying down a steep hill with no cross traffic possibilities). Mid drives in general don't allow you to have 3 speed front sprockets. I can get 330 lb up several 15% grades without electricity, did it for a year before I bought the electricity. electricity is for 25 mph wind in the face days, which doubles the time of my ride home without power.
Warning the yuba products have non-standard seat post diameter, seat mount, handlebar diameter, steering stem diameter. So suspension posts won't work and non-yuba seats require a converter. I didn't like their seat, I'm male and besides I lost all the fat in my hips about age 62. A seat post converter requires two angle irons, two rods eight set collars, a shoulder bolt to be the seat stem. If you buy a yuba and hate the seat, post under parts & accesories I'll show how to make a seat post converter with a drill & hacksaw.
Happy shopping.
 
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6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Don't overlook the Pedego Stretch Dual Drive:


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It's dual motors increase both torque and traction.

I'm not sure where you are located in western NY. but there are Pedego dealers in Buffalo and Geneva.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I'm sure you will get too many bike suggestions and will likely not make your ebike choice any easier. I'm curious how much winter riding you have done? I've ridden enough to know tires are the biggest decision, but really tied with personal gear. I bought a fat bike with the idea it would be perfect for snow. But snow is just a fraction of the equation because the perfect riding snow does not come often here in Central Illinois. It's very similar to what skiers look for, but no one is grooming trails and edges of streets. For every winter ride with precip I take, about 10% or less feel comfortable and safe. Because I ride for pleasure, that means the bikes stay warm like I do until I have a clear path. Last January I rode too late in the day, and lost traction around a curve that was shaded by trees. It took until August before that shoulder completely stopped hurting. You'll need a selection of tires for precip, including a set with studs. Of course you don't want to ride studs that much on dry pavement, so something soft and good in water from snow melt. Disregard all this if you are an experienced winter rider, you already know the peril of deep slush, frozen tire tracks/frozen human tracks, and fluffy snow or water on top of ice. Western New York makes me think of lake effect snows and snowfall measured in feet.
 

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Spellchaser

New Member
I'm in Rochester, so not as much snow as Buffalo, but still the occasional heavy layer of it.

I don't have much experience riding in the winter; I ended up using the bus to get all my grocery shopping done last year. That's not going to be an option anymore. I can keep to mostly plowed streets, but the first winter is going to be a learning experience, I know.

The dual motors of the Pedego are interesting if I can make it out to Geneva, but that leaves me wondering about an ability to use the warranty if anything goes wrong. I can get the bike to my local REI if I have to, much further becomes more problematic.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
If you have some mechanical skills, Pedego is willing to send warranty repair parts directly to you. That's what I do since my nearest dealer is 3 hours away.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I'm in Rochester, so not as much snow as Buffalo, but still the occasional heavy layer of it.

I don't have much experience riding in the winter; I ended up using the bus to get all my grocery shopping done last year. That's not going to be an option anymore. I can keep to mostly plowed streets, but the first winter is going to be a learning experience, I know.

The dual motors of the Pedego are interesting if I can make it out to Geneva, but that leaves me wondering about an ability to use the warranty if anything goes wrong. I can get the bike to my local REI if I have to, much further becomes more problematic.
Winter riding you'll use more battery. Cold, slogging through snow and ice will reduce your range. Even restrictive heavy winter clothing will reduce your physical range. Make sure any bike you settle on has the efficiency and range you require. Carbide studded tires are a necessity when riding in the northeast winters. Not so much for snow, it's the ice! Unplowed bike paths and lanes quickly become packed ice. Even a small patch of ice can cause an accident. No tire, fat or thin, works on ice. Studded tires are required.

Fresh snow on a rail trail commute:

39769

Unplowed quickly becomes rutted ice in a few days:

39770
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
That unplowed picture is exactly what I've experienced. Notice the glare? What till that gets an inch of snow over it, or a slight drizzle of rain. That makes it unrideable for me! Hope you have a big pantry Spellchaser if the cargo bike will be your only way to get groceries. Of course around here, the grocery store will bring it right to your door. It would take a lot of years to justify buying a cargo bike vs grocery delivery if that is the main purpose.
 

Spellchaser

New Member
Most of what I'll be riding are city streets during the worst months of the year. That's mostly fresh snow or slush, wet, and salt.

Outside that, I'm looking for the ability to not need to buy a car at some point, shift some online purchases to local, and have the ability to make longer trips on my bike in general.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I tried grocery delivery when I had a broken jaw January 2018. The buyer (shipt?) missed about a third of what I ordered, "out of stock", and the prices were straight list, no sale items like I usually find. I'm sorry I eat such weird stuff, but I'm diabetic and meijer's caters to us by stocking special things. Amazon does NOT have those. My weird diet has gotten me down to almost normal sugar levels without insulin. Next winter if the snow melts then turns to ice, I'll ride the bus. They pile the snow up in the bike lane because nobody rides a bike in the snow right? They close the bike bridge to Louisville with snow too, so I can't go to the symphony. Last bus home is 20:40. I start laying in a stack of 2 liter diet soda about now, because those are a p*** to carry on the bus.
Otherwise, I don't drive a car. Went to Home Depot Saturday, bought a 40 lb roll of tar paper for roofing, brought it home on the rack. See the extra 1/2" aluminum angle on top of my kiddie rack? handles long stuff without bending it. Sticks out 10" behind the back wheel. Longer items like 8' boards I sling through a loop off the front handlebars and tie to the back rack. Then my leg straddles it.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Most of what I'll be riding are city streets during the worst months of the year. That's mostly fresh snow or slush, wet, and salt.

Outside that, I'm looking for the ability to not need to buy a car at some point, shift some online purchases to local, and have the ability to make longer trips on my bike in general.
You've got a lot figured out for not having much winter riding experience. I hope it goes as planned for you. Me? I'm of the impression that we have no idea what the weather will bring. We had 10" of rain in just a little over 2 days the end of September. 2 1/2" hail a county west of us, we had 3/4" hail. I've lived in this house for 42 years, never had a 10" rain event. Texas had 3'+ of rain from this storm before it came up to Illinois. The Illinois River runs through Peoria. It was above flood stage for 3 months this spring.