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Cero One E-Bike Review: A Slim Cargo E-Bike

Author: Blair Burton

Updated:

 E-bikes have taken the cycling world by storm and for good reason. They are tons of fun and extend our rides with miles and smiles.

If you’re looking for a family commuter that can haul a small child and all of their gear, but not wanting the cumbersome nature of a long-tail bike, then the Cero One might fit the bill. It’s competitively priced for a higher end cargo bike, and has top shelf components that provide a reliable bike that will last for years to come.

After making a recent move to a bike friendly city, we have been pedaling out our very best effort to commute as much as possible. That means we’re riding every day for function, and then later on for leisure on our mountain bikes.

Using an e-bike for the functional, city rides has helped the fatigue in my legs from the miles I am putting in every day. Being able to haul the kiddo to and from school, picking up groceries, meeting friends at the brewery along with a casual river path cruise has kept me from driving our shared car much at all over the past 18 months. I love it!

The Cero One is a standard size frame with hauling capacity in the front and back of the bike. A smaller front wheel allows the capacity of a large front basket and the rack over the rear wheel can haul up to 55 lbs.

With a seat on the back rack one can carry their little rascal and a whole load of groceries or other cargo. That said, I cannot haul my 9 year old on this bike as he weighs too much for the capacity of the racks.

Read on to see the nitty gritty details and component features!

cero one review

Review In A Nutshell

Pros:

  • Quality built aluminum frame
  • Cargo carrying capacity
  • Integrated front and rear lights
  • Shimano E-steps motor
  • Quality Components
  • Belt drive is low maintenance

Cons:

  • Heavier than a standard bike
  • Different sized tires require different sized tubes
  • Limited to hauling younger aged children

Price: $3,799

Buy at* https://cero.bike/*


The Design

The Cero One uses a popular design that is seen around the world and most prominent in Asia with its smaller front wheel and larger rear wheel and is known as a “cycle truck.” This is an extreme mullet design that allows for ample cargo carrying capacity over the front wheel. The frame is comprised of aluminum and has an outstanding, clean paint job.

The bike itself is designed to carry cargo front and rear, be it a small child on the back, groceries in the front, or some other combination via the modular basket design. The possibilities and combinations of how the bike can be used let the owner be quite creative. The Cero One is a reliable, cargo carrying, commuter e-bike that is great for urban adventure and utility.

To top it all off, this mid-drive e-bike has a belt drive that keeps maintenance needs low. Other than charging the battery and periodic brake pad changes, it shouldn’t need much attention besides those urban adventures it longs for.

cero one cargo bike

Different Size Wheels

The Cero One has a 20-inch wheel in the front that accommodates a large, modular front basket or rack. This is combined with a 26-inch rear wheel. The differently sized wheels gives the bike a unique look, but it still rides very comfortably and efficiently. The oddly matched sizes do not have a negative effect on the bike’s handling.

The geometric specifications of the frame account for the wheel size change and the bike rides in a comfortable upright position. Steering is comfortable and steady. Both tires are Schwalbe Big Bens paired to Alex rims and work well with the Cero One.

The one caveat to having a smaller wheel in the front is that it is slower rolling and cannot roll over obstacles as easily as a bigger wheel. The contact patch comes at a much lower height and curb maneuvers might be difficult.

That said, this bike is designed as a commuter and was not intended to climb stairs anyhow. Another potential issue could be carrying two sizes of tubes in case either the front or rear tires go flat.

A powerful mid-drive motor

Being an e-bike, the featured component of the bike is the Shimano Steps E6100 mid-drive motor paired with a 504wh battery. This nearly maintenance-free electric motor carries the passenger in a natural feeling manner. Pedaling input is required as it is a class 1 e-bike, and the glide at 20 mph that it administers is smooth and calm.

Some e-bikes have a jerking feel when the assist kicks in and this bike is not that. The Gates carbon belt drive paired to an internally geared hub and drive train makes for a clean, maintenance free experience. This is one of the nicest e-bikes we have ever tested, and the build/component choice really stands out and displays the level of quality and comfort.

The motor is one of the nicest I have pedaled and the quality shows in all of the components. There are 3 power settings one can run through on the Shimano display and the handlebar control is easy to use. The display is easy to read and keeps the rider informed of all the current settings.

Components of Quality

The Cero One is a fantastic looking bike and everything from the 6061 aluminum frame to the adjustable Satori Up stem exudes quality. The stem and Satori handlebar are easily adjusted to fit various sizes and needs.

The frame has a very low standover and the battery fits nicely between the top and down tubes. Shimano, hydraulic disc brakes serve stopping duties and the previously mentioned Gates carbon belt drive assists in keeping the bike moving with ease. Ergon grips and saddle round out the cockpit.

The drivetrain is comprised of an internally geared Shimano Nexus 5 speed hub and shifter, the Gates belt drive system, and the Shimano Steps motor and battery. The Nexus 5 speed shifter is a grip shifter.

Cargo Carrying Capacity

The Cero One was designed as a cargo carrying commuter bike and there is definite room for some loads to be lorried down the road. With a rear rack that could be equipped with saddle bags or a crate and the front rack’s modular design, this bike has been created to haul stuff!

A total carrying capacity of 300 lbs with rider/s and equipment is the limit with a cargo/passenger limit of 77 lbs. There should be no more than 55 lbs on any one rack, front or back.

This makes for a fairly useful family commuter if you have little ones. A parent can pair a Thule Yepp Maxi or Burley Dash RM to the rear of the bike and haul kiddos about to the age of 5.

Past that and they will have to be riding their own bike or humming along in a trailer. The weight restrictions do limit the carrying capacity of this sleek machine, but not many people want to be carrying an additional 80 lbs anyhow.

If just looking to carry gear, Cero offers modular baskets for both front and rear that could be very handy.

One thing to consider is that the Cero One does not have a throttle. When transporting cargo, the starting motion from a stopped position can be a bit challenging with extra weight and e-bikes that have a throttle are easy to accelerate.

The Cero relies on pedal input alone to move. Not a deal breaker, but definitely worth mentioning.

A Weighted Decision

At 58.2 pounds, the Cero One is in the realm of average for an e-bike. As a comparison, the Radpower Radcity weighs in at 63 pounds.

A near 5 pound difference makes the Cero a bit more nimble and easier to handle, but with electric motors the weight is not as noticeable as standard, analog bikes. That said, if you are new to e-biking, they do weigh significantly more than standard bikes.

The best part of the Cero One is that it doesn’t feel heavy when riding it. I am a big guy, and I can feel flex in wheels and frames. I put bikes to the test and break parts. This bike is solid, light on the wheels, and quick.

Something to consider is traveling with it will require a truck or heavy-duty rack that can accommodate the added weight. Most people will use the bike as an around town commuter, but you may want to take it on vacation or use it as an alternative form of transport from your RV lifestyle.

If you run the battery down, there is added weight in trying to pedal back up that hill without the assist and it gets tiring quickly. Luckily the range is 105 miles on the low assist setting if there are any real issues trying to get home.

A Quality Kickstand for Big Loads

E-bikes, especially cargo bikes, need a way to keep them standing. Kickstands of old were basically weighty junk hanging off of a chainstay.

Not the Cero’s kickstand. It is lightweight, center mounted, spring loaded, and dual legged. This kickstand is easy to use and supports the bike on both sides.

Being able to park the bike anywhere, use the wheel lock and know that it is stable and safe with a load of cargo while you run into the convenience store is what this bike is all about.

Integrated Lights Are a Must

The Cero One has both an integrated head light and taillight. Being a commuter bike, this rig is intended to go all over town, day or night.

Night riding can be dangerous for cyclists and having quality lights that are easily seen by cars assists in that safety. Of course, conspicuous clothing and reflectors help, but the lights will show you the way.

One Size Fits All

Several bikes in this category only come in one size and the Cero one is no different. With a low standover height, an adjustable stem both vertically and horizontally, and a seat that adjusts quite far, the Cero One can fit a range of riders from about 5’ to 6.5’. It has a fairly big range though the handling characteristics might change slightly with size adjustments.

Both my wife and I have been using this bike. She is 5’5” and am 5’11”. We don’t change any settings other than seat height.

I probably could find a more comfortable setting with the stem and handlebar, but I just leave it for her and it hasn’t bothered me at all. One item to mention is that there is not a quick release seatpost collar, so it will take a tool to make that adjustment.

Fenders Keep the Dirt Down

Without sounding like a broken record, this bike is perfect for commuting. Fenders are included in the build and provide ample protection against puddles, splashing water and debris flying out of nowhere.

These often-overlooked components provide comfort and a clean look on the bike. They also assist in protecting the frame and one’s clothing and their little person in the rack mounted seat behind them.

Wheel Lock for the Win

E-bikes are definitely heavier than your standard fair pedal machine and being able to lock yours up to a crowded bike rack can truly be challenging. Having a wheel lock allows one to simply park the bike in a safe location and engage the lock.

It won’t go anywhere. Some e-bikes like our Radwagon don’t have this feature and it is certainly an added benefit that I would like to include on some of our other bikes.

Going Flat

Our Radwagon has a rear wheel that is quite difficult to remove. If I get a flat tire on it, the job is easily an hour to change the tube.

This scenario is not the case with the Cero One. Though the rear wheel is secured to the frame with a bolt/nut axle interface, they are easy to loosen, and the belt drive can be slipped off of the drive ring easily. A tire change will still be a bit of a challenge, but it certainly won’t take an hour to remove all the necessary bits just to get a wheel off.

My Wife’s Video Review

My wife also did a review of the Cero One over at FemmeCyclist.com. Here’s the video she made on it.

Bottom-Line: A Quality E-bike That Can (Almost) Do It All

E-bikes are a great way to commute around town. Not only do we reduce our carbon footprint and help the environment, but we get to have fun doing it too! The Cero One does it with class and style.

A quality component build, reliable motor, and clean aesthetic make this bike perfect for errands, commuting to work, and hauling all the gear and kiddo along. (As long as the kiddo is young). The belt drive keeps the chain lube out of the equation providing a near maintenance free adventure every day.

A versatile steed like this in every home would change the way we travel locally and make a happier population of people. Consider the Cero One for your family when you look for a new e-bike.

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About Us

The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.

Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.

If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!

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