How to Use an Electric Cargo Bike?

 An electric cargo eBike lets you transport goods that would otherwise be too heavy for a regular bike. They have a high payload capacity, enabling you to haul groceries, deliveries, and even pets or children. They are also an environmentally friendly alternative to cars and public transport.

In this article, we will cover all you need to know about electric cargo bikes, and the different ways you can use them.

What is a Cargo eBike?

A cargo eBike is an electric bike that places a high priority on storage. They typically have dedicated storage built into the frame. For example, a flat tray for mounting a front or rear basket. Some have long front-loading trays for hauling larger, heavier goods.

If you can ride a regular bike, you can comfortably use a cargo electric bike. There is a slight learning curve, though. The increased weight and frame size can make the bike feel “bulkier.” You may need to anticipate corners and obstacles sooner than on a standard bike.

How Does a Cargo eBike Work?

Cargo eBikes work like regular electric bikes but with some design differences.

You can attach electric cargo bike accessories to the frame. These include baskets, boxes, and containers. The bike frame is usually larger and sturdier than regular ones, ensuring stability under heavy loads.

Outside of these design choices, cargo eBikes operate just like other electric bikes. They have the following components:

  • Electric motor: Usually a mid-drive motor for a natural pedal feel
  • Battery: Provides power to the engine and the electrical assist feature
  • Pedal assist: An electrical system that automatically rotates the pedals in tandem with your pedaling effort, meaning the bike does some of the work for you
  • Throttle: A lever on the handlebars that, when activated, propels the bike forward irrespective of pedaling

What are the Different Types of Cargo eBikes?

The three main electric cargo bikes are longtail, mid-tail, and front-load. Each variation has their distinct advantages and use cases. Let’s briefly cover the differences between them.

Longtail Cargo eBikes

Longtail cargo eBikes have an extended rear rack, stretching from the seat to the rear tire. Large baskets can be mounted onto the rack to transport small-to-medium-sized goods. Kids can also sit on a mounted child bike seat.

Hauler long-tail cargo e-bike with two kid seats

Mid-Tail Cargo eBikes

Featuring a smaller rear rack than longtail eBikes, mid-tail bikes also support mounted baskets and child seats. The shorter rear rack means that its dimensions more closely match that of a regular bike frame. Some mid-tail bikes can be folded in half.

Front-Loading Cargo eBikes

By far the most unique design of the bunch, front-loading cargo eBikes have a standard-length rear frame and an extended front rack.

The front rack is long enough to support low-profile boxes and containers, which do not hinder your visibility. If you have a family, cargo eBikes are a great mode of transport for pets and children.

What is the Weight Limit for a Cargo eBike?

The weight limit of a cargo eBike depends on the make and model. In general, they have a higher payload capacity than non-cargo electric bikes. This means they can carry anywhere from 350 to 440 lbs and more. Always refer to the manufacturer specifications to determine the total payload capacity.

As a reference, the Heybike Hauler has a maximum payload of 440 lbs. This makes it our most capable cargo eBike to date. Along with the high carrying capacity, the Hauler also has an optional dual battery system. With a 1464Wh battery capacity, the dual battery can reach 85 miles on a single charge.

How to Get the Most Out of an Electric Cargo Bike?

Whether you use an electric cargo bike for work or leisure, there are many ways to make the most of the experience. They are incredibly versatile, able to transport all kinds of things from groceries to camping supplies.

Here are just some of the many ways to enjoy your cargo eBike.

Carrying Kids

Use your cargo eBike to safely take your kids to school, to the store, and to wherever else you need to be.

Front-loading cargo eBikes support large, low-profile boxes and containers, which have seatbelts to keep passengers secure. In addition, you can mount child seats to extended rear racks, which also have seatbelts.

Depending on your choice of cargo eBike for carrying kids, you may be able to transport up to three passengers. To ensure your children’s safety, never exceed the recommended passenger capacity of your cargo eBike.

Commuting

Electric cargo bikes are a safe, practical mode of transport for daily commuting. Even if you don’t always need the extra cargo space, you can still use them like a regular electric bike.

Remember, some models may be harder to carry upstairs and bring on the train. This issue is most common with front-load cargo eBikes.

Hauling Groceries

Using a cargo eBike to haul groceries is a convenient, eco-friendly alternative to cars and public transport. You can use a front or rear large basket to haul small-to-medium goods, including fresh produce, snacks, and beverages.

In addition, if you have a front-load cargo eBike, you can transport groceries AND pets or children at once.

Delivery Services

Make more deliveries in less time with a cargo electric bike. With the electric motor and pedal assist, you can climb steep hills and maintain speed with less physical strain. As a result, you can ride further than on a regular bike, and you can reach your destinations sooner.

Plus, the higher payload capacity lets you carry more items, meaning less time restocking supplies.

Heybike Hauler cargo e-bike features higher payload capacity

Tips on Riding a Electric Cargo Bike

Cargo eBike safety is vital to protecting yourself and others. While the experience of riding a cargo eBike is similar to that of a regular model, there are a few points of difference. Here are some important tips to remember.

Advice for Beginners

If you’re buying a cargo eBike for the first time, choose a model that suits your unique requirements. Consider the type of supplies you intend to carry and total payload capacity you require.

Also, learn how to ride the eBike in a safe and secluded area, away from traffic and pedestrians. This way, you can get used to how the bike feels, especially the weight shifting on bumpy surfaces.

Stay Safe

Just like you would on any bike, always wear a helmet, practice safe riding habits, and wear highly visible clothing at night.

Be mindful of your surroundings when you ride, especially cars and pedestrians while crossing the street. Also, cargo electric bikes tend to be heavier than standard electric bikes, so you may need to anticipate corners and obstacles sooner than usual.

In addition, stay up to date with your local electric bike laws. Most parts of the United States have laws surrounding the use of electric bikes. For example, you may be restricted to a top speed of 21 mph on streets.

Keep Within Payload Limits

Under no circumstances should you ever exceed the maximum payload capacity. You may increase the risk of damage to the bike and increase your risk of injury. You may also experience reduced performance and travel range under heavy loads.

Be Aware of Weight Distribution

Even weight distribution is vital to keeping your balance while you ride. When loading up, spread out the cargo evenly. If you’re using a front or rear basket, avoid placing all supplies on one side. Otherwise, you may lean to one side and fall over.

Be sure to distribute your cargo evenly on both sides. And secure your cargo to prevent it from moving in transit.

How Do You Maintain an Electric Cargo Bike?

There are many ways to maintain your electric cargo bike. These range from washing the frame to lubricating the chain. With the right tools and knowledge, you can do most of the work yourself. But more advanced tasks may require the expertise of an eBike mechanic.

Here is a brief electric bike maintenance checklist to get you up to speed.

  • Regularly clean your eBike frame and components with a mild soap solution
  • Tighten loose nuts, bolts, and spokes
  • Lubricate the chain with official bicycle lubricant
  • Maintain correct tire pressure in line with manufacturer specifications
  • Store your electric bike in a dry, secure area
  • Avoid exposing the eBike battery to extreme temperatures and charge it regularly

Wrapping Up

A cargo electric bike is a great way to increase your storage capacity and rider further with less physical strain.

With a 440 lbs payload capacity, the Heybike Hauler lets you tackle even the most daunting hills under heavy loads. And the dual battery system can take you 85 miles on a single charge. In addition, the 20x3” fat tires provide the support you need to absorb rough surfaces.

Explore our full electric bike range to kickstart your cycling journey.

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