Family Bikes: The Best Cargo Bikes for Hauling Kids

Best Family Cargo Bikes

Photo Credit: News Oresund

Imagine a world in which it is convenient and practical to forgo the minivan and pick up a bike instead.  Of course, a cargo bike won’t magically improve the bicycle infrastructure and culture in your city, but it will allow you to easily haul kids, groceries, soccer balls, school backpacks, and whatever else parenthood may throw your way.

There are lots of cargo bike options out there, but some are better than others for hauling your most precious cargo: kids.  Here are our top picks for family bikes, and some tips on how and why to choose a cargo bike for cycling with your offspring.

Why Choose a Cargo Bike for Cycling with Kids

Cargo bikes are ideal for families that do a lot of bike commuting, who try to minimize car use (or live car free), and who need a way to haul kids.  Unlike most child bike seats or trailers, cargo bikes can be used for babies and “big” kids which means that the investment can be recouped over a lot of years.  They are also great for hauling all that stuff that comes along with having kids–library books, backpacks, balance bikes, groceries, Christmas trees, you name it.

Who shouldn’t buy a family bike?  If you are new to bike commuting, and just want to get your feet wet, you might want to consider a bike trailer or child bike seat first before you spend a lot of money investing in a cargo bike.

To E-Bike or not to E-Bike

While I am generally not a fan of e-bikes (call me a good old fashioned luddite), the one case in which I think they make a lot of sense is cargo bikes.  If you plan on using your cargo bike as a primary source of transportation, have a long commute, live in a city with a lot of hills, have multiple children to haul, or are just otherwise motivated by an electronic assist, go for it.

The couple of downsides of an electronic assist is the extra maintenance involved, and the price.  But when you consider the cost of an e-bike compared to a car, they are downright cheap.

Types of Cargo Bikes

There are three general styles of cargo bikes: the longtail, the longjohn, and the front-load trike.

The longtail is generally the most agile and lightweight of the three types of cargo bikes.  It generally can fit one to three children on the rear in either a bike seat or via a “cage” on the deck.

The longjohn is the most traditional family bike, and is also commonly referred to as a “bakfiets.”  These aren’t seen a ton in the United States, but are very popular in the Netherlands and other European countries.  They can be heavy for pedaling uphill, but can fit lots of kiddos and gear.  For parents wanting to bike with babies, you can even strap a carseat in.

The front-load trike is ideal for parents who aren’t super comfortable on a bicycle and want a lot of stability or have a lot of kids to transport.  Again, the biggest downside to these bike is that they can be heavy.

The Best Family Cargo Bikes

Xtracycle Edgerunner

Xtracycle Edgerunner cargo bike

While I haven’t gotten one yet, the Xtracycle is the long-tail cargo bike on my wishlist.  You can get it with or sans e-assist.  For young kids, you can easily install the Thule Yepp Maxi on the rear deck, and for older kids the Hooptie cage provides a fun ride.

Price and Where to Buy:

Surly Big Dummy

Surly Big Dummy

Photo by Timothy J

The Surly Big Dummy is another long-tail that should be on your shortlist of options.  Like the Xtracycle, the Big Dummy accepts the Thule Yepp Maxi seat on the rear or allows passengers to sit on the deck with a rail system.  This one is popular amongst mountain bikers, and folks who hope to ride dirt with the kiddo in tow.

Price and Where to Buy:

The Yuba Spicy Curry

Yuba Spicy Curry

If you are looking for an e-bike, consider the Yuba Spicy Curry.  True to it’s name, the bike comes in a bright “green curry” color which helps with visibility on the road.  It’s not cheap, but compared to a car it is–and it comes with all the extras: lights, fenders, kickstand, wheelskirt, etc.

Price and Where to Buy:

Taga 2.0

Taga 2.0

The best thing about the Taga is the price.  This is the only bucket bike on this list under $1,000.  It fits two children and they can be figured in a variety of positions in the box.  And the best part about the Taga?  It easily brakes down for transport in a car or storage in a small apartment.

Price and Where to Buy:

Madsen Cargo Bike

Madsen Cargo Bike

We’re partial to the Madsen bike because they are based out of our hometown of Salt Lake City, UT.  They also happen to look really, really cool.  The Madsen is unique in that it comes in lots of pretty colors and that the “bucket” is located at the rear of the bike instead of the front.  If you want to bike around town with the kids, and look good doing it, the Madsen is your bike.

Price and Where to Buy:

Pedego Stretch

Pedego Stretch

The Pedego Stretch is an electric family bike that can help you phase out your reliance on a car.  It has five levels of pedal assist, Shimano 7-speed drivetrain, and a USB charging part–just like your minivan.

Price and Where to Buy:

Bike Friday Haul-a-Day

Bike Friday Haul a Day

Smaller riders and cyclists in hilly cities, rejoice.  The Bike Friday Haul-a-Day is a lightweight and nimble family bike option.  The 24-speed drivetrain provides plenty of allowance for big climbs, and the low standover height is awesome when juggling a bike and kiddos.

Price and Where to Buy:

Babboe Big

Babboe Cargo Bike

“By parents, for parents,” reads the motto of this family bike company.  The Babboe Big can fit up to four small children with seatbelts.  It comes standard with a rain cover so you can protect all those tots even in inclement weather.

Price and Where to Buy:

Yuba Boda Boda

Yuba Boda Boda

For riders who don’t need an e-assist, the Boda Boda is Yuba’s answer to a mom-mobile.  The bike has an easy step-over frame which is nice for smaller riders.  The back-swept bars and upright geometry make it easy to maneuver and control.

Price and Where to Buy:

 

Kristen

Kristen is a project manager and writer. She spends all her free time mountain biking with her family on the trails in Salt Lake City and Park City, UT.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *