Bike Life

How did you choose your cargo bike?

How did you choose your cargo bike?

First, click here to read our detailed post about different types of cargo bikes - and how to choose the right bike for your family!

Below we've also shared feedback from folks in the cargo bike community about how they chose their bike formats.

Read on for opinions from box bikers, longtail lovers and more.

Box bike owners say... 

We went with a box bike for the "grab and go" convenience. Kids inevitably want to bring 5 extra things with them at the last second, with the box bike you can just be like "sure, fine, throw it in the box," with a longtail you have to find a place for it, or say "no.” - Chris S. 

I went with a box bike over a long tail because it seems like injury to my kids is less likely if the bike is dropped or tipped over. Mine are also very young, so I wanted to be able to see them while riding without looking back. - Michael J.

We went with a box bike after going into our cargo bike search more interested in long tails. We wanted it to really be instead of a second car, and we realized we would get that more with a box bike. It easily fits our now three year-old plus groceries, and I definitely think we use it more outside of just commuting to work/nursery school than we would with a long tail because of that. We've been really happy with our decision. - Lauren

I have three kids, which makes the options a lot more limiting. With a long tail, I had balance issues, had a hard time getting going from a stop and my kids were anxious the few times we tried to ride together. After getting the second stimulus check, I pulled the trigger on a Bunch. Am happy with the purchase and wish I had held out and gone with a box bike in the first place. It feels much more stable and secure and I like not only being able to see kiddos but actively engaging with them on our rides. - Julie M.

My specific goal was to find a cargo bike to accommodate two medium-large sized dogs. That didn’t seem practical or safe with a long-tail. I went with a B&B MKI because it seemed less “tippy” than the other front loading cargo trikes I tried. Weight was a consideration too. My B&B weighs 110lbs, but that is less than most front-loading trikes. - Robert G. 

We went with a box bike because our kids were little and were best protected from the elements in the box under the cover. The box can also accommodate a car seat for our then-infant. We can keep an eye on them and interact more when they're in front of us. They can drop their toys (or food) in the box and it's not lost forever. Ours happens to have a tray that they use extensively for food, toys, and even a Bluetooth speaker for tunes! - Laura S. 

We got a box bike because I wanted it easy for groceries and kids. - Lauren M. 

I got a box bike because I have three children and still need room for bags and gear. - Stephanie H. 


Longtail bike owners say... 

Storage space was a huge concern for us. We maybe could have squeezed a box bike in our shed but the long tail fits much easier. Easier = more likely to use it. - Erin S.

Storage and use beyond kids were the major factors in our decision to go long tail. Also, I felt a long tail would be easier to maneuver on sidewalks that are sometimes narrow or have two-way traffic. - Maren P.

I tried a box and ultimately decided I didn't like riding something that felt so bulky after I dropped off kids. I loved that my longtail felt like a normal bike when riding without kids. I felt much more comfortable with the steering on a longtail than with the boxes. - Sierra F.

We needed a bike that was on the low end of the price points because we weren’t sure how much we’d use it and whether we would all like family biking. For that reason, we went with a Radwagon because it was the cheapest entry point into cargo bikes. - Theresa W.

I wanted a box bike but after trying one out, felt like it would be more difficult to manage on my pretty urban commute, so went with a long tail. Price/ease of parking was also a concern. - Stephanie 

As avid adult bikers, we wanted something that seemed the closest to a “normal” biking experience, especially when we didn’t have kids on/in it. Box bikes are very functional, but I can ride around and do errands on the long tail (like after I drop the kids off for school) and feel like I’m on a more or less normal bike. - Danielle 

I went for a small longtail (GSD) over a box bike because we didn’t have great storage, so I didn’t want the unwieldy-ness of a box bike. - Abby N.

Local infrastructure helped in deciding. I’ve got to go up and down sidewalks and around lots of narrow entrances or awkward pedestrian poles that make a narrow bike a better fit. – Megan H. 


And finally… 

We couldn't decide so we got both 🤪. And we use both based on the situation, # kids, what we haul. We almost never use our car so it's nice to have 2 bikes and choose based on the scenario. - Kasey V. (That's her crew in the photo at the top of the page!) 

We were deciding between a box bike (Babboe city mountain) and longtail (Tern GSD), and we got both! The advantage for the front box was that it was easier to keep an eye on both kids and greater cargo space, and we bought that first. The advantage for the longtail was its agility and speed, so it was better for a longer commute to work after dropping off the kids. (My wife has a shorter commute to work so she takes the Babboe; mine is longer and on more dangerous roads so I take the Tern) - Jonathan W. 



What are the advantages of a longtail cargo bike? 

Easy to maneuver, easier to park and to carry, feels more like a normal bike. Can also be a less expensive option.

What are the disadvantages of a longtail cargo bike? 

Harder to balance. Can’t see kids. Can only fit two, or three as a tight squeeze. Packing cargo takes more careful planning.

What are the advantages of a box bike or front-load cargo bike?

Fit more kids and more stuff, including infants and pets. Can see and talk to your kids. “Grab and go” cargo without packing into pannier bags.

What are the disadvantages of a box bike or front-load cargo bike? 

Bigger, heavier, less agile, harder to store. Less like a normal bike.

Why choose a two-wheeled cargo bike?

Agility and speed. 

Why choose a three-wheeled cargo bike?

Stability, easy to stop/start and more carrying capacity.

Will I eventually become a cargo bike fanatic and end up talking to everyone I know about the joy of family biking and/or owning multiple bikes? 

It's a real possibility!


Comment below to let us know what factors your family is considering!

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