In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a
huge fan of e-cargo bikes. Sure, they’re heavy and unwieldy, they’re expensive, and they’re nowhere near as maneuverable as a standard e-bike when it comes to commuting. But if you’re looking to e-bikes as a way for people to replace their automobiles, then you have to also provide a way for them to carry their kids and their stuff — and if this latest Eurobike show is any indication, the future is looking pretty bright.
One reason I’m so excited about the segment is the level of ingenuity and creativity that’s on display here. Unlike road or gravel bikes — or even mountain bikes — cargo bikes have very few restrictions in terms of what they can look like or how they’re designed. It’s oftentimes purely function-over-form here, and with so many different engineers and designers looking at the problem and needs, there are so many different solutions and ideas in play.
Upcoming EU rules on cargo bikes may very well tamp that down a bit — perhaps for the better — but in the meantime, it’s the veritable Wild West out there, and the wealth of inventiveness can only lead to good things moving forward.
This is our last round of coverage from the 2022 Eurobike trade show, but feel free to head over to our
main Eurobike page for all sorts of other goodies from this year’s event. See you next year in Frankfurt!
The folks behind Ergon have a new side hustle: a new front-loader cargo bike brand called Cago. The brand is definitely going high-end with these, targeting customers who might otherwise consider a Riese & Müller. The overall attention to detail is quite staggering, and I’m very eager to see where this venture ends up. It’s truly a shame they’re not available in the United States.
The molded foam box is the core of the Cago. It’s designed first and foremost as a safety cell for passengers, complete with aluminum internal reinforcements to protect against side impacts. Note the raised addition around the head area, the molded-in armrests, and the five-point harnesses.
Cago says the adjustable-height headrests are a key feature for safety, too. And whereas most front-loaders with foam boxes that are designed for carrying kids are relatively low-cut, the walls on the Cago are designed to sit up high for maximum protection.
Cago cargo bikes are fitted with massive 220 mm-diameter Magura rotors.
High-powered Supernova LED lights are fitted front and rear. The plastic housing resting above the fork crown conceals the cable-actuated steering mechanism to protect it from weather.
Most front-loader cargo bikes have a radically rear-oriented weight bias, which negative affects handling. Cago sought to move as much of the weight further forward as possible, including hiding the Bosch batteries inside sealed compartments under the cargo box floor (which also lowers the center of gravity as a nice bonus).
Don’t need to shuttle kids around? Cago has an optional hinged (and locking) foam top, too.
The side steps are intelligently located, and have metal covers on them for durability.
There’s also a heavier-duty cargo variant of the Cago, with a configurable floor and full roll cage for securing all sorts of gear.
Need to keep your cargo dry? Done.
After you’ve dropped the kids off at school, the headrests retract down below the upper edge of the box, and then you can cover the whole thing with this optional fabric cover.
Coh&Co hails from Denmark, and brought to Eurobike this wild-looking carbon fiber front-loader cargo bike.
What really sets the Coh&Co Velosled apart is its single-sided front end. According to designer Paul Harder Cohen, the configuration allows for a much lower load deck, as well as far more direct steering than a conventional fork.
According to Coh&Co, the stainless steel rack for the cargo box is heavier than the carbon fiber frame to which it’s attached.
A closer look at the Velosled’s unique layout.
Sturdy steering linkages suggest a solid and direct feel.
The fabric “box” was actually pretty comfortable to sit in.
German outfit Iumentum prides itself on its ultralight front-loader cargo bikes. This one was just 13.6 kg (30 lb), though it was also outfitted with a whole bunch of go-fast carbon fiber goodies.
Cable-actuated steering is popular for front-loaders as a lightweight and reliable means of transferring steering input from the bars to the fork. The redundancy is nice from a safety aspect, and the turning radius is almost always better than what you get with a linkage. However, I’d like to see more regular efforts to seal the mechanism from weather contamination.
Iumentum has e-assist models, too.
Iumentum’s cargo bikes can be outfitted in any number of configurations.
Got kids and want a motor? Iumentum has got you covered.
The Pendix e-Drive is an add-on system that works with standard bottom brackets and bikes that weren’t originally designed for e-assist. Multiple battery sizes are offered, and the motor unit churns out up to 65 Nm of torque.
Cangoo is a massive brand in the Netherlands.
This Cangoo trike was particularly intriguing.
Cangoo’s trike is designed to rest on its forward edge for compact storage.
The battery lives inside a weather sealed compartment at the back of the box, and it’s flanked by LED turn signals.
Side rails can be easily raised for use with a rain cover.
Eurobike’s cargo hall was chock-full of outlandish e-mobility concepts, such as this crazy four-wheeled front-loader from German company Vowag.
Double-wishbone suspension is definitely not a common sight at what’s presumably a bicycle trade show.
This thing has pedals and a crank, but I can’t imagine it’d be very much fun to ride if and when the battery dies.
I love me a good velomobile.
Black Iron Horse cargo trikes feature big boxes up front, and rear-wheel steering to enhance low-speed manuverability.
Underneath the cargo box is the requisite differential so the front wheels can rotate at different speeds, while still being driven by the e-assist motor.
This Black Iron Horse box was configured for six little kids …
… while this one was set up for two bigger ones.
The rear-wheel steering was definitely odd, but the turning radius was indeed pretty amazing.
A carbon fiber and bamboo front-loader e-cargo bike? Sure, why not? My Boo is a relatively new brand based in the UK.
Riese & Müller has been in the cargo bike game for a long time, and the company isn’t about to let Urban Arrow be the only brand known for a foam box.
Yep, I’d definitely love to try one.
This obviously isn’t remotely an e-bike since it doesn’t have a conventional crank and pedals, but wow, what a concept.
This one-off was made by none other than ZF, the second-largest manufacturer of automotive transmissions in the world. One key feature is how it uses standard automotive EV charge ports instead of a more proprietary system.