2016 Zeitgeist Cargo Review


Technical Specs & Ratings





Class 1


Front Suspension



Hydraulic Disc



374.4 Wh

374.4 Wh

63 lbs / 28.60 kgs



Custom Aluminum Alloy

Low-Rise, Tapered, Aluminum Alloy

Tubro Ergonomic

Aluminum Alloy


Selle Royal, Gel Active

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform, Black

Hydraulic Disc

Tektro HDC 300 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Tektro Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

Zeitgeist is a premium electric bike brand that introduced two models in 2016 including the Cargo reviewed here. This model has a top speed of 20 mph, an average sized 350 watt internally geared motor and slightly above average 10.4 amp hour battery pack with Samsung Lithium-ion cells. In addition to the ebike (which only comes in one size, frame style and one color) you get a set of top-of-the-line Thule Pack n’ Pedal rack systems with a basket and panniers… If you were to purchase them separately you’d spend over $500. I like the racks that officially convert this from more of a city style e-bike to a “cargo” hauler but they do add weight (probably around eight pounds) and the front rack especially may impact steering. Unlike the Faraday Porteur which is also a compact city style cargo bike with a front rack, the Zeitgeist Thule racks attach to the fork and add inertial forces to your steering movements. In the video I talk about this and show that when parked (due in part to the single sided kickstand vs. double leg) the front wheel may turn and the rack could get dumped or bang the frame. This front rack may also slide down as you ride over bumpy terrain which can then collide with the tire and create a buzzing noise. Honestly, it’s not truly a cargo bike in the way that the Motiv Sherpa is for example. this is another more compact hauler type of ebike but the racks are welded onto the frame and can support much heavier loads and won’t impact steering in the same ways.

Okay, so even though this isn’t truly a cargo bike… it still rides very well and may even be preferable for people who want removable racks! That’s something the Motive I mentioned earlier cannot do (at least for the rear rack). The battery is beautifully integrated into the downtube along with wires and cables for the brakes, gearing and motor. The LCD display is also impressive as it seats into the custom stem using magnets. It, and the wireless button pad can be removed quickly and easily when you park. I love the suspension fork which is light, narrow and color matched to the battery. You get lockout for riding on smooth streets (to decrease bob and improve steering) and the ergonomic grips are another nice upgrade. For the money, this seems like a niche product because you’d have to be the right size, be okay with a high step frame, really appreciate the racks and aesthetic and be okay with pedal assist only. If you’re into that then you’ll benefit from the two year warranty and have something very unique. It’s tough, the hydraulic brakes are awesome (though I hope the final version offers brake levers with motor inhibitors) and the drive system is zippy and responsive. I enjoyed it and felt like the fit was good (I’m about 5’9″) and appreciate the refined nature of the frame.


  • Awesome LCD display panel with custom stem, the display fits into a slot magnetically so you can remove it easily (to prevent damage and exposure), the wireless button pad worked well making it easy to change assist levels without taking your hand off the left grip while riding
  • Solid nine speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain (mid-range component) provides lower gears for climbing or porting around cargo but can also handle 20+ which is where the motor cuts out, pedal assist offers nine levels as well so there are lots of options for power vs. efficiency with this bike
  • Wires are integrated through the frame for improved look and feel, the kickstand is large and sturdy for loading panniers or simply propping the bike
  • The light weight suspension fork and ergonomic grips do a lot to improve ride quality but you can go one step further with a seat post suspension with 31.6 diameter like this Thudbuster from Cane Creek
  • Excellent battery integration, it looks nice, locks securely, doesn’t rattle and can be charged on or off the bike, it also positions battery weight low and centrally on the frame for improved handling and quality Samsung Lithium-ion cells
  • Large 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes are easy to pull, smooth stopping and offer extra power for those times when you’re actually loaded up with cargo
  • Sturdy Aluminum platform pedals from Wellgo with good traction, solid Aluminum chainring guard to help keep your pants clean and protect the teeth on the front sprocket
  • The pedal assist sensor uses 12 magnets vs. 5 or 6 on older models, it’s smoother when starting and stopping
  • I like that the front wheel offers quick release to make it easier to transport or perform maintenance on, I also appreciate the upgraded electronic wire connectors which should be very water resistant
  • Even though I’d call the motor and battery size “average” they felt really zippy and strong, especially considering the weight of the racks, basket and panniers I was testing with


  • The racks add utility and look great on this ebike but you could always buy them separately as well (front and rear racks $99, front basket $59 and rear commuter panniers for $119 each as well as the rear pannier blockers for $19) so that’s a ~$500 value but in my experience the front rack started to slide down and rub on the tire a bit
  • Overall, this is an extremely expensive electric bike given the average specs and traditional aluminum frame build… it only comes in one size, one color and isn’t lighter or higher performing than similarly specced bikes that cost half as much
  • I don’t love the idea of wireless on the button pad because it could run out, requiring more time and energy to swap the battery out but I’m told it should last for ~2 years and I do like that it’s removable and you also have a button under the stem for changing assist level if the button pad does run low
  • The front rack mounts directly to the fork arms vs. the head tube and frame which means the weight of your rack and cargo will definitely impact steering and easily swing to the side when parking (try to avoid this as it could dump your basket or bang the frame)
  • At the time of this review the Zeitgeist Cargo electric bike was only available in one medium ~19″ frame size and one frame configuration – traditional high-step with a pretty high top tube
  • The demo model I tested did not have motor inhibitors built into the brake levers which would be nice for a cadence sensing pedal assist drive system, the production version may have them as the other Zeitgeist City model I treid did

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