4 Types of Cargo Bicycles You Should Know

4 Types of Cargo Bicycles You Should Know
E-cargo bikes inspire a new kind of lifestyle, open up unprecedented new freedoms and are considered a modern status symbol: cool, sporty, sustainable. Especially popular in urban areas because of their versatility and small size, cargo bikes can make it possible to bypass heavy traffic and easier to find safe parking - all while carrying whatever (or whoever) you need for the day! Cargo bikes, sometimes referred to as utility bikes, are enjoyed and appreciated by people from all walks of life and parts of the world. Simply defined, a cargo bike is a bicycle, tricycle, or pedal-powered four-wheeler specifically designed to transport cargo of all sizes, particularly loads that are large or heavy, including multiple passengers. Hovsco electric bike has a similar bike style.

Cargo bikes are generally unisex and come in one-size-fits-all. With basic tools, the seat and handlebars heights can be adjusted to fit most body types. There are many cargo bike designs on the market, all meeting different needs and requirements. Some bikes have lower carrying capacities of only a couple hundred pounds, while others can carry as many as 800 pounds!

Here are the main types of cargo bikes below:


Due to their relatively small size and lighter weight, longtails tend to feel more graceful than other cargo bikes. Imagine the back end of a regular bike (which can be estimated to be around 68 inches in length) being extended by 12 to 16 inches. Despite the extra length, it is impossible not to feel as if you are riding a bike that is unusually long.

Because the smaller size of longtails makes them easier to manage, you can also expect to carry a bit less cargo. (Don’t worry - most find that there’s still plenty of storage). Loads are hauled on sturdy extended racks located in the back of the bike, but a basket can also be attached to the front for additional carrying capacity. Seats can be added to the back to carry passengers of all ages. The majority of longtails can seat up to three children, but some can only fit two.

In addition to being easier to manage than other cargo bikes, longtails are more affordable, making them especially attractive to those who are on a budget. The fact that they’re available in different wheel size configurations could also be a gamechanger, depending on your needs. It’s worth noting that longtails can be difficult to transport and store, so be sure to take those two factors into account before purchasing.


A second type of freight bike to consider is the midtail. Similar to the longtail in terms of use cases, the midtail style tends to be more compact than its longtail counterpart. In fact, midtail bikes will likely look closest to that of a traditional bicycle out of all the different types of cargo bikes. This feature lends itself to fitting in well in an urban environment where style and ease of navigation are both important.

Riders of midtails appreciate the shorter length of this compact bike, which makes it easier to maneuver and carry. Having good carrying capacity with stylish aesthetics and convenience makes this type of bike an excellent choice. A midtail e-bike is a good all-around choice for those new to the world of cargo bikes or those riders whom desire a balanced experience. 

Long John (also known as Bakfiets or Box Bikes)

The Long John Bicycle, the most traditional family bike, is a cargo bike with the cargo area in front of the rider and some linkage connecting the steering to the front wheel, "linkage steering". Capacity is usually about 220 pounds (100 kg). A traditional Long John will have a smaller front wheel and a 23 or 26 in (58 or 66 cm) rear wheel, plus a 30–40 in (76–102 cm) long platform, basket, or box located low, in front of the handlebars.

The layout and design of the Long John bike makes it ideal for hauling bulky cargo, pets, and even kids and all the kid necessities (including toys, blankets, lunches, and folding chairs). Cargo boxes (or crates) are lower to the ground and can promote a sense of stability. Packing is quick and easy with the box style (just throw everything into the box and go), eliminating the need to balance your load. In the event of rain, it only takes seconds to throw on a raincover.

Long John Tricycle

Long John tricycles, also referred to as cargo tricycles or cargo trikes can be identified by their third wheel. Oftentimes you will find the cargo container situated between two of the three wheel, typically in the front.

An advantage to this setup is the ability to balance without needing to step off the tricycle. Stopping at intersections or for loading and unloading is a breeze when you do not need to get off the machine. Children or pets can safely sit in the cargo hold and observe the world as you ride. Long John tricycles have the most stability of all bikes we’ve covered today. They are becoming popular for personal use due to the ability to transport goods such as groceries or gear easily. 

You now know the different types of cargo cycles in use today. Although Longtails have excellent rear storage, they lack a convenient size, while Midtails balance the need for storage with versatility and compatibility. Long Johns are typically found in Europe and are distinguished by their large basket or bucket, while Long John Tricycles combine this feature with a third wheel for greater stability and maneuverability. (The article about How to Choose the Best Electric Bike for Women is you might want to know.)

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