multi-use adaptable commuter compatible with trailers and **front** kid seat?

wolftune

New Member
Okay, I've done my homework. Looking for advice. [UPDATE: I've changed my focus since initial post]

My situation:

I already bike on a commuter/fitness non-ebike and sometimes do 30+ mile round trip with my guitar (I teach music lessons) on my back and laptop in panniers and more.
On the way home, the final mile has a 400' elevation increase which sometimes takes me 30 min. (only 2-3mph average!) when I'm exhausted at end of day.

I'd like a bike my wife can borrow on occasion and also for her to take to keep up (with me on regular bike) on family rides

I want to minimize use of our shared car, even in rainy parts of the year here in Oregon.
I bike (and even get out) less than I want because of how long it takes to get various places currently, ebike should help with that.
It's more a time and distance issue for me, I don't mind the effort and exercise.

I have uses for a cargo bike, but considering other options too.

My 3-year-old rides in front with the awesome WeeRide seat, but he's about to outgrow it.
UPDATE: I found out that other non-strapped-in options exist to continue having kid in front without getting a front-loading box-bike setup!!

While I don't mind being reasonably upright. I want pedal efficiency and good ergonomics. I don't want the beach-cruiser feeling; I don't prefer swept-back bars, though that may be more compatible with the kid seats.

So, goals:
  • compatible with https://mac-ride.com/ ideally
  • shareable with 5'2" wife and me at 5'9"
  • rack(s) for substantial groceries etc
    • don't need more than 50lbs though, since kid could be in the middle and not on rack
    • capable of supporting my Jandd Large Mountain panniers
    • prefer also to have support for a front-rack / basket
  • capable of trailer support
    • I'd like to be able to attach a trailer for carrying music gear, guitar etc
    • maybe eventually options for kid like Weehoo's ride-along recumbant things
    • trailer support isn't strictly required, but would be nice flexibility
  • prefer torque-sensing, but wouldn't pay double just for that
  • prefer generic enough battery for less risk of future difficulty buying 2nd / replacement (given companies changing etc)

Bikes I thought about:

Mid-tail or other cargo bike? (would it make sense with a trailer too?) Among other things, could eventually carry kid + friend or other things, but I'm not buying it for that reason now.
  • Tern GSD
  • RadWagon
  • CERO One
  • Blix Packa
  • Eunorau Max-Cargo

More general cargo-capable commuter?
  • RadCity (probably step-through for wife)
  • Wallerang
  • Amego Infinite step-through
  • CIVI Runabout
  • Eunorau E-torque
  • Ariel Class-C or Class-M
    • These seem totally amazing for the price, only thing in that range with their feature-set
  • Blix Aveny
  • Magnum Metro

Incidentally, the ones that I could get from local shops (with the benefits that has) include: Tern, CERO, Blix, and Magnum
I'm also in service area for Velofix, but not liking that idea quite as much
Overall, I don't want to go for the wrong bike just to buy locally, but I see the arguments for getting reliable stuff from big brands with local shop support.

Anyone with any of those bikes have insights on which would best be compatible with my hopes? Or any other suggestions?
 
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wolftune

New Member
Update: tried a used RadCity today that was pretty great, but decided that sharing with my wife requires a mid-step or step-through. I doubt the step-through RadCity will work with the ARGO since it has funny large frame around the pedals where the ARGO puts one of its attach-points.

We also tried a Blix Packa, and it really is a usable, great value, competes with RadWagon, but we would have the benefit of a semi-local (15 miles away) bike shop instead of what RadCity does with VeloFix (though that's supported where we are too).

Found that people here discussed the ARGO at https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/argo-cargo-box-bike-conversion-kit.14623/

As much as I'm sure that the ARGO would be amazing, it seems frugal and practical to just get the Blix Packa and make things work. It's possibly a better first thing. I don't need to have everything just right immediately. I can trade it in, adjust later… maybe eventually still go for the ARGO some future time…
 

wolftune

New Member
I just figured out that the worst hill (which I avoid taking) around here is probably 25% grade for a chunk. The preferred route up the elevation where I live is more like 7-10% grade most of the time, with sections less than that. It would be nice to be able to go on 15% grades ever, just knowing that I can successfully make it. I'm not worried about going fast up those hills, anything that is a real boost over my non-e-bike is acceptable to me.

I hate to report that I'm hemming and hawing. Just about decided with the wife to go ahead and buy the Blix Packa and file away the ARGO idea as an unnecessary luxury.

Now, I'm having doubts mostly because I didn't like the feeling of being pushed along and not really being engaged in biking. The RadCity that I tried felt a bit more engaged, just because it was slightly less upright, more flat bars. But the step-through of that is probably more like the Blix. Obviously, mid-drive torque-sensing is what I need to really feel more like I'm doing the work, but I think I'd be fine with decently engaged position even with hub-drive.

I'm wondering about options like this:
  • Go for the Tern GSD after all just to get all the higher-end stuff and especially the torque-sensing mid-drive that will feel more like a real bike
  • Get a CERO One for similar but more mid-budget
  • Get a not-so-cargo functional commuter and a trailer for when I really want to haul more
  • Get the Blix Packa but see about swapping out the swept-back bars for something flatter
Overall, I'm not feeling the need for more power from a motor, I'm feeling the desire to be able to put in better power in pedaling along with the motor. That said, I'm working to undo my hunched posture. I want to keep my spine more straight, but that doesn't mean I want all the weight sitting on my butt. I want a somewhat engaged position.

The Blix Packa and Radwagon are clearly direct competitors, and either could be changed to bar that isn't so swept-back (like if Rad would just swap out for the bar they use on the non-step-through RadCity). Would that do it? Maybe I should go all the way and get the Tern. Just seems not frugal to spend twice as much when the cheaper bikes will work.
 

wolftune

New Member
UPDATE: I'm dropping the dream of ARGO compatibility since I found usable front-seat options cheap! I edited my initial post to reflect where I'm at now. Would love help narrowing this down!
 

wolftune

New Member
So, most of the front-seat things could be an issue with the sort of bike that has a wider battery that's in the center of the frame. The seats have footrests that have to go around that and not be touching the battery.

Are the wider batteries as in Ariel or Rad Power still less than 90mm wide?
 

wolftune

New Member
Okay, final update: We got to try kid in the back and he was happy enough, so we're going to accept that if necessary. And we decided to not compromise the overall experience of riding, so we got a Giant Explore E+ from a local shop. With a step-through frame option, it's everything in terms of advanced-pedal-assist and good engaged position, not a sit-on-your-butt cruiser style.

Unfortunately, without a mid-tail or long-tail cargo bike, a rear seat gets in the way of using large panniers. But I'm going to see if one of the front seats is still an option for sometimes. We'll probably add a front rack, and I'll be looking to get a trailer for larger hauling.

In hindsight, the Juiced CrossCurrent might be almost perfect and better budget, but I don't know if the non-step-through frame would have worked for my wife.

The Giant definitely has some downsides in features, only 400wh battery, no display, all accessories extra cost, no integrated lights etc. but it's all around an excellent bike that will really work for both of us and give us the best ride. I don't know if it was the very best decision, but I'm glad we made a decision and will move forward.