Which is the best cargo bike, and how much should you budget? What should you look for, and which is the right model for you? You can find the answers in our cargo bike group test. We put the twelve hottest cargo bike concepts to the test in Paris, seeing the metropolis in a whole new light. On y va!

  1. Intro
  2. An overview of the cargo bikes on test
  3. Which is the right cargo bike from our cargo bike group test for you? 7 key criteria
  4. Paris X DOWNTOWN Mag! A typical day in the office
  5. Ocean’s Eighteen – The DOWNTOWN cargo bike group test crew
  6. What should you look for when buying a cargo bike, and what should it be capable of? Our 15 must-have criteria
  7. Details matter – The tops and flops of our cargo bike group test
  8. The test field at a glance – Losers, winners, and recommendations from our cargo bike group test
  9. Our cargo bike group test loser: The Benno RemiDemi XL
  10. Our cargo bike best buy: The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2
  11. Our cargo bike best in test: The Riese & Müller Packster2 70 Touring


Warning: Not interested in more variety, adventure, and quality of life? Then please don’t read on. For everyone else, get ready to expand your horizons!

Stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre on a cargo bike? Effortlessly host an unforgettable picnic under the Eiffel Tower? Unique sightseeing tour with the kids – like you’ve never seen Paris before? Pull up in style at the trendy Café Parisien? Or pass by rush hour traffic and park right in front of the bakery for café au lait and a croissant?

If you know us, you know. We’ve been there and done that – and much more besides! We spent a week in the cosmopolitan city of Paris, diving head first into the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle aboard eleven cargo bikes and one exciting alternative, blasting 60 km or more through the city every day – however long the batteries lasted! And we didn’t hold back, navigating 4-lane roundabouts, crossing road barriers, winding our ways through traffic jams, riding along cobblestone and gravel roads. What we found are huge differences between the various bikes, features that didn’t live up to expectations, and a few underdogs that outshone the competition. Oh, and we’ve had the Mona Lisa hanging in our office since returning from Paris. Ocean’s Eleven have nothing on us ;).

This cargo bike shootout was the most intensive and complex group test we’ve conducted to date, though we’d be lying if we said we didn’t also have a blast doing it – together with Parisian locals, our kids, Pablo Escobear, and art collector Jean-Erique Boetzleau: “Paris – we love you. We’ll be back aboard our cargo bikes. It was unforgettable.”

Nous sommes désolés – we’re very sorry. Not all cargo bikes made it to the finish line on the Champs-Élysée at the end of our cargo bike group test, only those that proved themselves in the chaos of the metropolis and its romantic suburbs. And the cobblestone promenade along the Seine, the commute through the Bois de Vincennes to Le Perreux-sur-Marne, and the steep climbs of Montmartre demanded everything from the bikes. Of course, Paris being the world’s fashion capital, they had to cut a fine figure, too, be it while running errands or cruising by the countless luxury boutiques. Fortunately, the best cargo bikes are fun, safe, comfortable, and easy to ride anywhere in the world, offering a wealth of smart features. Less convincing cargo bikes, on the other hand, are a chore to ride, even if it’s just to your local corner café.

An overview of the cargo bikes on test

So you think cargo bikes are big, bulky, and unwieldy? Or reserved for helicopter parents and painfully hip millennials? Think again! Cargo bikes are all the rage, but many myths, prejudices, and misunderstandings persist. Note: not all cargo bikes are equal.

“Cargo bike” is a collective term for a wide variety of cargo carrying concepts. And there are huge differences, even if the goal of every cargo bike is the same: to transport people and goods from A to B as conveniently and safely as possible. And of course, they should look good doing so! Meanwhile, there is a huge variety of different models that are shaking up and changing the cargo bike market, introducing numerous innovations, new motor systems, clever features, a wide variety of dimensions, cargo carrying capacities, and catering to a wide range of budgets. Small cargo runabout with a folding basket and an integrated gearbox in the motor, stylish mom-van, affordable workhorse, or full-suspension adventure mobile? There’s something for everyone. The beauty of it is that most cargo bikes are an enrichment to your daily routine and a wide range of use cases – but not all that glitters is gold.

The good news first. There’s never been a better time to find the right cargo bike for you and your individual needs.

The bad news, you’ll (still) see half-baked concepts, and the danger of buying the wrong bike is greater than ever considering the large variety of models to choose from, especially if you don’t pay attention to certain important aspects and details.

That’s why we put the most exciting and relevant models to the test, creating the ultimate market overview and buyer’s guide.

The test field at a glance:

Brand Model Motor/Torque Battery capacity (Wh) Type Weight (kg) Price Gross weight limit (kg) *
Benno RemiDemi XL Bosch Performance Line / 75 Nm 545 longtail 40 € 7,288 190
BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 Vision Industries rear hub motor / 58 Nm 672 longtail 41.8 € 2,999 208
Cannondale Wonderwagon Neo1 Bosch Cargo Line / 85 Nm 725 long john 70 € 7,699 250
I:SY Cargo P12 ZR Pinion MGU E1.12 / 85 Nm 800 long john 43 € 7,530 200
Momentum PakYak E+ GIANT SyncDrive Pro / 80 Nm 1,000 longtail 45 € 5,369 200
Moustache Lundi Bosch Cargo Line / 85 Nm 1,000 longtail 40.04 € 6,367 200
Riese & Müller Packster2 70 Touring Bosch Cargo Line / 85 Nm 750 long john 56 € 9,848 200
Riese & Müller Multitinker Vario Bosch Performance Line CX / 85 Nm 625 longtail 41.18 € 6,769 200
Specialized Porto Specialized 2.2 Cargo / 90 Nm 710 longtail 42.58 € 6,690 200
Ultima Multipath Cargo Compact Valeo Cyclee / 130 Nm 630 compact bike 35.8 € 6,138 150
VEOLO Cargo-Trailer trailer 9 € 790
WINORA F.U.B. 2W Bosch Cargo Line / 85 Nm 500 long john 63.8 € 5,199 200

* The gross weight limit indicates the bike’s maximum total weight limit. That includes the weight of the bike, the rider, as well as everything you put on the bike.

Note: please don’t be fooled into looking for the biggest battery capacity or the lowest weight. Numbers are useless without context, and a spec sheet alone can never provide the full context. In the real world, it’s often entirely different factors and the overall concept that ultimately matter, determining how well something performs at a certain task or whether a motor can unleash its full power. On top of that, you must also consider the rider’s individual requirements, of course. We’ll give you a few examples to illustrate this.
The most powerful cargo bike motor can’t generate its peak torque on steep climbs if the cargo bike doesn’t have an appropriately easy gear (which is especially common with hub gears) or the rider doesn’t know how to shift correctly, pedalling at a slow cadence in a gear that’s too hard. This can get super annoying in hilly cities like Stuttgart or San Francisco, or when climbing Montmartre in Paris. It’s less relevant in flat cities like Amsterdam or Berlin, on the other hand, in which case it only makes a difference when pulling away at traffic lights and with heavy loads!

Which is the right cargo bike from our cargo bike group test for you? 7 key criteria

Even the best shoe is no good if it doesn’t fit. And it’s the same with cargo bikes. There are a variety of different concepts as well as technical details and features to consider. But before you get into the technical details of the bike, first ask yourself what you want and need:

1. What’s the primary use for your cargo bike?

It goes without saying that choosing the right cargo bike depends heavily on what you want to use it for. Because even though some cargo bikes cater to a wide range of use cases, you’ll still find cargo bikes that have been developed with a specific purpose in mind. Some are primarily intended to transport children, while others are ideal for transporting heavy loads and bulky items. So, are you looking to take the kids to school via cargo bike, or do you just want to use it to do your weekly shopping?

2. How adaptable does your cargo bike need to be?

Once you’ve considered what you want to transport, you should ask how adaptable you need the cargo bike to be. Are you happy with a Eurobox at the rear, or would you rather want a foldable transport box up front? Do you want the option of fitting a bench seat for kids in the cargo bin, or do you prefer individual child seats on a rack? Do you need compartments in the cargo bin for small items, or do you want to be able to detach the cargo platform with a quick-release mechanism? How important is a rain or anti-theft cover for you? Do you want the option of converting your bike from a trekking bike to a kid transporter by swapping out the fork? The choice is yours. Be aware, however, that some of these items are quick to install, plug in, or remove, while some other accessories must be fitted by the dealer in advance, and aren’t that quick or easy to change at a later stage.

3. Who will be using the cargo bike primarily?

Since all of the cargo bikes on test rely on a one-size-fits-all concept, it’s crucial to ask who you’ll be sharing the bike with, if at all. Because the uni-size concept doesn’t work equally well for every cargo bike. Some of the bigger bikes can be a bit too much to handle for a person measuring 140 cm tall, and the more compact cargo bikes can feel too cramped for tall riders. So decide in advance whether you’re the only one who’ll be using the cargo bike, or whether you’ll be sharing it with different riders of different sizes.

4. What else can you use your cargo bike for?

Cargo bikes typically don’t serve a single purpose, but can be used in a variety of ways. What we love the most is that a cargo bike can serve as a workhorse during the week and an adventure mobile at the weekend – think bikepacking & overnighters. So find out whether the cargo bike is more of a one-trick pony or everybody’s darling.

5. How much parking space do you have?

Everyone knows that a cargo bike takes up a lot of room, and some models more so than others. For example, there’s almost a metre difference between the longest and shortest bikes on test, and the bike trailer is compact enough to be tucked away underneath certain SUVs with high ground clearances. So ask yourself in advance about where your latest addition to the family will sleep. Keep in mind, with an average weight of 47 kg, you won’t want to carry any of the cargo bikes on test up or down the stairs into your apartment or basement.

6. What anti-theft functions will your cargo bike need?

As everybody’s darling, would-be thieves would also like to get their hands on it, that much is certain. So you have two options: either you can babysit your cargo bike, or rely on secure anti-theft protection. Frame locks and GPS trackers are great places to start. We’d advise going with the GPS trackers.

7. How do you want your cargo bike to handle?

Are you someone who values feeling safe aboard your bike, instilling you and your passengers with confidence, or do you like looking thrills, even exploring unmarked dirt roads to nowhere in search of the best picnic spot with a view? Or do you want maximum agility to navigate hectic city traffic? Our test field had it all, and there was no cargo bike on test that didn’t have any of these handling characteristics at least to some degree. Of course, a heavy duty pack mule won’t be as agile as a compact city runabout, but if you don’t look at the whole picture, you’ll be surprised at how manoeuvrable some heavy long john cargo haulers can be, and how cumbersome and demanding some longtail cargo bikes are despite making a compact first impression.

Paris X DOWNTOWN Mag! A typical day in the office

Have we landed up in Amsterdam? It all started so well, with a predefined test route around our editorial office in Leonberg, commuting routes past Solitude Palace, and a bit of Stuttgart city traffic for good measure. But then things started going pear-shaped as we rolled into the city of love aboard twelve cargo bikes just in time for Fashion Week and shortly before the start of the 2024 Paris Olympics. At rush hour, of course. It’s not like the French metropolis isn’t busy enough as it is.

We’d be lying if we said this group test didn’t push us to our limits and beyond – think 18-hour days and no mercy. However, with Turbo mode engaged, we made countless new experiences and probably saw more of Paris than most tourists do during two weeks of sightseeing! Above all, we visited places that aren’t on any standard must-see list. If you think Italian traffic is chaotic, you’ve clearly never been to Paris! We rode hundreds of kilometres through the urban jungle, navigated 3-lane roundabouts, and rode alongside honking sports cars and exhaust-spewing trucks. Where in the world have we landed?

We navigated narrow alleys, raced along busy boulevards, and felt like real Parisians. We rode 40 to 60 kilometres through the city centre every day, and visited the best clubs and bars while we were at it, until the batteries of our bikes and our bodies were drained. The coolest thing about it? The amazing level of order amongst the chaos. People may drive like maniacs in Paris, but the bike path network is fantastic. So much so that we’ve started referring to Paris as the new Amsterdam. From the city centre to the suburbs: you’ll find bike paths everywhere. Brilliant!

We raced against 7.5-toners at traffic lights, jumped red traffic lights with the precision of a bomb squad, and risked more than ten cat lives in the process. But why all this madness? And how did the Mona Lisa end up hanging in our office?

The story begins in 1911, when the famous painting was stolen from the Louvre and only rediscovered in Italy in 1913. For over a century, the Mona Lisa has captivated people with its mysterious smile and the countless theories that surround it. Paris is synonymous with the Mona Lisa and vice versa: they simply go hand in hand.
And now? Now we’ve got the Mona Lisa hanging in our office. Art collector Jean-Erique Boetzleau joined us in Paris, and he’s assured us that our Mona Lisa is the original ;). How did that happen? Well, that’s a story for another day!

Ocean’s Eighteen – The DOWNTOWN cargo bike group test crew

Free tickets to the Burning Man, anyone? When we announced, “we’re going to Paris!”, everybody in the editorial office immediately raised their hands and wanted to come.
But we weren’t handing out free tickets. We had a clear mission, and important tasks to delegate, after all. Ocean’s Eleven isn’t just a random group of people either, is it? 😉 Since George Clooney and Julia Roberts couldn’t make it, we had two extra spots to fill for our Paris mission, and so the world-renowned art collector Jean-Erique Boetzleau, aka Erik Bötzle, stepped in without a moment’s hesitation, bringing with him many years of test riding experience with our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE.

And since our mission involved much more than just stealing the mysterious lady with the mischievous smile from the Louvre, we put together a team of 18. Ultimately, we managed to gather a colourful test crew made up of locals, cargo bike newbies, our experienced editorial team, friends, and mama Karin with her kids. We transported everything that wasn’t bolted to the floor – our friends, our children, and even our mascot Pablo Escobear, the cuddly teddy bear. Please allow us to introduce our test crew!

Mike Hunger
I can usually be found blasting down the trails, and as an editor of E-MOUNTAINBIKE magazine, I’m not impartial to a bit of pedal assist. If I want to transport something, it has to be quick. The VEOLO Cargo Trailer is the perfect solution for me.
For me, riding a cargo bike must be as easy as riding a normal bike, and I want to transport everything from my daughter to furniture, and other bulky items. Adaptability is key.
Rudolf Fischer
Smart Home technology and ebikes are an absolute must for me. As a connectivity expert, I’m your guy when it comes to technology, which is why I love the Specialized Porto – the complete system including the frame, motor, and connectivity features are developed in house, offering a seamless package that plays well together.
Juliett Bruley
I enjoy being outdoors with my family and child, and love being creative as a painter. What I look for in a cargo bike is a large cargo platform and intuitive handling, letting me navigate Parisian city traffic safely.
Antonia Feder
My inner city apartment isn’t big, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do my weekly shopping by bike. Thanks to its folding transport box, I can park the i:SY Cargo P12 ZR in the garage next to my car. Cool!
Pablo Escobar
Hmmmm, I’ve got to have my honey, so I want a bike that will let me transport honey jars without breaking them.
Robin Schmitt
As the founder and editor-in-chief of DOWNTOWN Magazine, I have a busy schedule. I haven’t got time to waste playing Tetris when loading things onto a cargo bike. That’s why I loved the Moustache Lundi with its simple MIK quick-mounting interface, even dispensing with the need of a basket when shopping at the weekly farmers market.
Martin Mailänder
As a passionate mechanic and owner of a bike shop in Leonberg, I know bikes through and through and have even built my own cargo bike made of bamboo. As a dad, I also enjoy carting my kids to kindergarten, which is why the Cannondale Wonderwagen Neo1 integrates perfectly into my daily routine.
Hendrik Stüwe
As a fashion photographer, my cargo bike should look good too. However, intuitive handling is just as important to me as having enough storage space to safely transport my photography equipment.
Andreas Tirler
I love to race my bike and then enjoy the relaxed atmosphere when I pass by for a few drinks on my cargo bike. Besides delivering packages as a full-time bicycle courier, I also like transporting my kids by cargo bike, and, as a native Parisian, I know city life like no other.
Felicia Nastal
As a mom who does the weekly shopping for the whole family, the R&M Multitinker is just the thing. My kids no longer ride on the back bench and have long since graduated from kindergarten, but that means I have all the more room for a Euro crate. Thanks to its compact design, I can almost ride this cargo bike like a standard bicycle.
Ymane Yenga
I love using a cargo bike to transport snacks and drinks to the park for a picnic with my friends. Although I don’t own my own cargo bike, I increasingly use those of my friends’ and have noticed how important it is to me to have the weight evenly distributed on the bike.
Benedikt Schmidt
As a youngster in the test crew, I was drawn to the more affordable cargo bikes like the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2, where I get all the necessary features and enough cargo carrying capacity without having to reach as deeply into my pocket as with the other bikes on test.
Erik Bötzle aka
Jean-Erique Boetzleau
As a native Frenchman and art collector, I live in the city of love, of course. Ohh toi, la belle ville de Paris. Although the Mona Lisa is insured at 800 million euro, I would still hate for La Joconde to break down when I transport it. The full-suspension Riese & Müller Packster2 is the perfect choice for my needs.
Alex Valcko
I’ve been working in a bike shop for over 13 years, and I’ve sold almost every cargo bike there is on the market. As a result, I’ve witnessed the evolution of cargo bikes up close and personally, and found that a Bosch motor is a must-have for me.
Karin Nehls
As a mother of three, my top priority is a safe means of transport for my kids. Easy entry, loading and unloading of the cargo bike is just as important to me as my kids having while riding. A drivetrain with easy gearing is a must, too. Otherwise, my kids will have to cheer me on up the climbs.
Alma & Lotta Nehls
“I’m a caterpillar”, “Uhhhh, and I’m a unicorn”✨.

Special thanks also to Nicolas Baisin and Fabrice Fuego Levannier for their helpful tips and support!

What should you look for when buying a cargo bike, and what should it be capable of? Our 15 must-have criteria

1. Cargo bike ≠ cargo bike

One thing is clear, there are different cargo bike types, like long johns, longtails, and trikes, but trailers are an exciting and usually much more cost-effective option, too. But you shouldn’t choose a cargo bike based on type because you will find huge differences, variety and transport options within a type. And just because one representative of a certain type is good doesn’t mean all models of that type are! Insider tip: Don’t commit to a general cargo bike type, but always opt for an exact model that meets your requirements and intended uses. Ultimately, it’s choosing the right overall concept that counts and determines whether it works for you or not!

2. How much battery capacity do you need on a cargo bike?

First of all, a cargo bike’s range doesn’t just depend on the battery capacity, but also on countless other variables like the weight (payload, rider, and bike), motor, and support mode. Your gear selection is particularly important as it relates to the efficiency of the motor, which all comes down to the pedalling cadence. To increase a bike’s range, many brands also rely on a modular battery system. That is, they allow you to increase the total battery capacity by letting you add a second battery as an optional upgrade. The likes of Cannondale and WINORA ship their bikes with brackets for a second battery already fitted, just in case you decide to buy a second battery at a later stage. Riese & Müller, on the other hand, let you add an additional battery in their online configurator before placing your order. The modularity of the cargo bike batteries can be a decisive factor when deciding which bike to buy. Because who wants to constantly watch the battery level indicator during a weekend trip to the lake with their cargo bike instead of taking in the scenery. With that in mind, we recommend being clear about the distances you want to cover aboard your future cargo bike. If you’ll only be travelling short distances with light loads in flat terrain, then a modular battery system probably won’t be worth it to you. However, if you want to be flexible and cover many miles in hilly cities, a modular battery system can make all the difference. If in doubt, a bigger battery capacity also means more riding time.

While the Moustache Lundi rides circles around the Eiffel Tower with its two removable batteries (totalling 1,000 Wh), the Ultima Multipath makes do with one permanently integrated 630 Wh battery.

3. Which is the best cargo bike motor?

„You can do this, mom!” Picture this: You’ve packed your cargo bike to the brim, you’re in the blistering sun, and faced with a super steep climb. Which motor do you pick? Mama Karin, whose kids regularly cheer her on up the climbs, knows all too well that it can be difficult even with the most powerful motor.

Before you start comparing kWs and torque specs, you should know that it isn’t just down to the motor. While the drive unit is at the heart of your cargo bike, even the most powerful motor won’t get you far without the right gearing and a smart battery concept. And that’s just scratching the surface of things to consider before buying your cargo bike. Before you can even ask yourself whether the motor will play well with the drivetrain and the bike as a whole, you should first familiarise yourself with the different types of motors on the market:

Hub motors on cargo bikes

As the name suggests, hub motors are integrated into the hub of the wheel, usually at the rear, instead of being bolted to the bottom bracket. One example of a hub-motor-powered cargo bike in our group test is the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2. Like everything in life, hub motors have pros and cons. Some offer regenerative braking, for example, and they’re often quite efficient. However, this is usually only the case in certain situations and riding conditions. A common drawback is they have a relatively narrow power band, with their performance dropping sharply outside of the ideal cadence range, offering minimal and unsteady support. For example, the BTWIN feels very powerful on flat terrain at over 20 km/h, although you wouldn’t expect that from the bike with the least maximum torque output in the group test (58 Nm). However, if you approach a steep climb too slowly, the motor bogs down.

Motor/gearbox units on cargo bikes

Motor/gearbox units combine the gears and motor into a single unit. The planetary gears allow you to shift while stationary and can also shift automatically because the motor knows which gear is the most efficient thanks to a wealth of sensors measuring your speed, cadence and power. Alternatively, you can predefine your preferred pedalling cadence, based on which the drive unit selects the appropriate gear. Since the gearbox is encapsulated in the housing and protected from the elements, such systems may require less maintenance. Thanks to the integrated gearbox, there’s no need for a derailleur either, allowing bike brands to pair them with low-maintenance belt drives instead of chains. This would also save you from having to lubricate the chain. Another advantage that benefits cargo bikes in particular is that an internal gearbox can be designed to withstand very high forces, which means that ebikes with motor/gearbox units can be real powerhouses. Examples of cargo bikes with motor/gearbox units on test include the i:SY Cargo P12 ZR and the Ultima Multipath Cargo Compact, both of which rely on the Pinion MGU E1.12 drive unit, and the Valeo Cyclee, though the Ultima comes specced with a chain.

Mid-mounted motors on cargo bikes

Mid-mounted motors have become that standard and absolute all-rounders. Mid-mounted motors come in many guises and configurations, with three different units and a total of six models from industry leader Bosch alone making it into this group test. The Bosch Cargo Line motor can be found on four of the bikes in our test field, specially developed for cargo use. But other large manufacturers like Brose, Shimano, and Yamaha also offer purpose-built cargo bike motors. They bolt to the bottom bracket and can be found on almost every kind of ebike you can think of, whether urban, cargo, or eMTB. The big players offer whole ecosystems of accessories for their various drive units. This allows you to configure the motor systems to suit your needs with different batteries, drivetrain, displays, and remotes. This kind of versatility is a great advantage because it caters to a wide range of needs and preferences. Modern mid-mounted motors are – or can be – real powerhouses too, providing a lively ride with plenty of thrust, even on a cumbersome cargo bike. Their power output is limited by regulations or the limits of drivetrains and gearboxes. If the gears aren’t already integrated into the motor as with a motor/gearbox unit, there are two different types of drivetrains to choose from.

Geared hubs on cargo bikes

As the name suggests, geared hubs have the gears integrated into the rear-wheel hub. As a result, the gears are well protected from the elements and service intervals are further apart. A useful feature of geared hubs is that they usually allow you to shift gears while stationary. As such, you can easily engage the most appropriate gear for pulling away while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. However, one significant disadvantage is the limited gear range offered by many geared hubs, which means that they’re often unsuitable for hilly terrain.

Derailleurs on cargo bikes

A derailleur-based drivetrain is the most common form of gears you’ll find on almost every bike. It consists of a cassette and a rear derailleur. The advantage of this type of drivetrain is that it usually offers a relatively wide gear range, which makes easier work of steep climbs. However, because the derailleur is completely exposed to the elements, it requires regular maintenance and short servicing intervals.

Insider tip: Mid-mounted motors with derailleurs or motor/gearbox units are best for mountainous topography. Geared hubs usually don’t offer a wide enough gear range for demanding terrain. As a result, they quickly reach their limits in hilly areas with steep climbs. Having the wrong drivetrain for the terrain gets super annoying. However, if the bike is specced with appropriately easy gearing ratios, there’s nothing to stop you from conquering steep climbs with a geared hub either. Thanks to the wide ranges offered by derailleurs, however, they let you maintain the optimal cadence in undulating terrain, always allowing the motor to unleash its full power, whether you’re on a flat section or a steep incline. This is especially important when hauling heavy loads because it will let you winch your way uphill even if you don’t have your own personal cheerleading team on board, like our tester Karin.

You’ll find an extensive motor group test of all current motors available on the market in our sister publication E-MOUNTAINBIKE.

4. Flexibility is king – How versatile is the bike’s cargo carrying concept?

A cargo bike must be as flexible as its owner. So, if you use your cargo bike to transport the same items every day, your cargo bike needn’t be very flexible at all, it just has to be designed to fulfil one specific purpose. But what if you want to take the kids to the nursery in the morning, then quickly commute to work with nothing but a briefcase, navigating hectic city traffic, and eventually hit the barbeque at the lake for a well-deserved post-work drink, all with your cargo bike? Then your bike must have the necessary tricks up its sleeve. Fortunately, the brands featured in our group test offer various solutions for optimising your transport system – a large and level platform generally makes transporting a wide range of items much easier.

While some of the bikes on test had large transport boxes, they tapered downwards, neither accommodating a Eurobox nor two crates of mineral water next to each other on the floor. This makes transporting and loading goods unnecessarily difficult. Some transport bins have high sidewalls, which helps protect small passengers but makes loading goods more difficult. Cannondale show that you can have the best of both worlds with the Wonderwagen Neo1, featuring a low sidewall and foot rails. This allows children to get into the bin on their own, and you don’t have to lift heavy objects too high to load them into the bin. Nevertheless, the rear wall of the bin rises far above the headrests and thus keeps the little ones out of harm’s way.

The narrow racks on the back of longtail cargo bikes are a lot less versatile in terms of what you can stack on to them. However, they often come with safety rails inside which you can place a box, into which you can then place your goods. If the size of the rail is standardised accordingly, there is room for a commercially available crate, or a Eurobox measuring 40 x 60 cm at the base, which is very convenient. That’s enough room to easily accommodate a six-pack of sparkling water and several full shopping bags. Insider tip: Dividers like on the Riese & Müller Packster2, which allow you to compartmentalise the large cargo bin, usually offer a more reliable way to secure your load.

5. One size fits almost everyone – How well can the cargo bike be adapted to the rider’s size?

160 vs 210 cm? A 50 cm difference in height seems relatively insignificant compared to the 215 cm average length of the cargo bikes on test. But it makes a huge difference in practice. A cargo bike should therefore be able to adapt to riders of different sizes, considering that most cargo bikes come in just one size. In fact, all the cargo bikes on test take the one-size-fits-all approach. It may seem a bit ham-fisted at first, but cargo bike manufacturers have developed a host of clever solutions to adapt the fit of their cargo bikes to suit a wide range of rider sizes, nonetheless. The saddle height of almost every bike on test can be adjusted via a quick release clamp on the seat tube. A few of them even rely on a remotely operated dropper post, allowing riders to adjust the saddle height on the fly, and put their feet on the ground a lot more easily when coming to a stop at traffic lights. Unfortunately, however, not every cargo bike featured here lets you adjust handlebar height by means of a quick release mechanism on the steerer tube. Of the bikes we tested, only the Riese & Müller Multitinker offers handlebar height as well as angle adjustment, both tool-free. Ultimately, whether you can really accommodate riders of all sizes on just one frame size depends heavily on whether the one-size-fits-all concept offers the appropriate adjustment options. So, before forking over your hard earned money, ask yourself whether you’ll be sharing your cargo bike with others, and if so, who they are. Insider tip: A test ride can never hurt. Make an appointment with your trusted (cargo) bike dealer, invite everyone who’ll be using the bike, and each take it for a spin.

6. What must a cargo bike have?

For a cargo bike to meet your needs not just in traffic, but also in your day to day life, it must be sufficiently well equipped with the necessary accessories. In addition to a bike stand, mudguards, and anti-theft protection, this includes an adequately bright set of lights (front and rear!), above all. But there’s more to it! Visibility and how it’s achieved is crucial too, i.e. passive or active via reflectors or lights, and where these are positioned. If your lights are obscured on the cargo bike, even the best lighting system won’t help. Overall, there are two different approaches to the positioning of the lights, but both cast light and shadows. If the headlight is attached to the mudguard on the front wheel, it’s unlikely to get obscured by your cargo or the bin in most cases, and it points wherever you point the handlebar. However, the light is relatively low, so it’s less visible to other road users and only illuminates the road directly in front of the bike. If the light is attached to the handlebar or the head tube above the cargo bin, it usually illuminates a lot more of the ground ahead of you and offers a wide field of vision. However, if you pack the cargo bin full or you’ve got cables dangling from the cockpit, the light can quickly get obscured. If your cargo bike doesn’t have any lights at all or just very bad ones, here is our insider tip: almost all motor systems – and thus all motor systems featured in the cargo bike group test – allow you to connect a light that’s powered by the bike’s main battery. Even if the battery runs low, the system always leaves a residual charge to power the lights, which would be silly not to take advantage of. Whether it’s Supernova, Lupine, Busch + Müller, or others: almost all bike light brands offer StVZO (German road regulations) approved ebike lights with a high- and low-beam function. The Supernova taillight has a brake and emergency brake light function, making it well suited for riding in traffic, and it’s even won a Design & Innovation Award. The choice is entirely yours, but make sure that the light isn’t obscured, so you can see and be seen at night. Tires with reflective sidewalls, such as those on the Riese & Müller Packster2, offer a reliable alternative to reflectors on the bike.

7. More expensive isn’t always better

All of us have a budgetary limit. Exploiting it and emptying your piggy bank rarely pays off, because the more expensive models aren’t necessarily better. Price is not the most important criterion when buying a cargo bike. It’s the overall concept that matters. Through clever design and sensible savings, seasoned manufacturers can develop higher quality bikes than new players who only spec the latest, most expensive components.

8. Choose wisely: form or function – or both?

Do you prefer stylish looks, smooth welds, and bold design, even if it comes at the cost of functionality? Or are usability, clever features, and a sophisticated transport system more important to you than looks? It’s entirely up to you. In the best case, however, this doesn’t have to be an either-or situation, because good design combines form with function.

This is what buying the wrong bike looks like! 10 out of 10 for creativity, though! 11 out of 10 for arm pump!

9. Transporting kids on cargo bikes

When transporting your kids on a cargo bike, you don’t want to compromise on safety. Here, too, different manufacturers offer different transport solutions. While the kids are well protected by the high back and sides around the bench seat of the Cannondale, they’re a little less guarded on the WINORA F.U.B. 2W. Although the kids sit comfortably on a padded bench and are strapped in securely, their heads are exposed. You can also distinguish between cargo bikes on which the kids are placed in front of or behind you. Long john cargo bikes are most commonly used to transport small children, whereas longtails are useful from about seven years of age because the children often have to hold on by themselves.

10.NO FAT SHAMING! – Not cargo bikes either!

The weights of the bikes in our cargo bike group test vary significantly, ranging from bikes tipping the scales at just under 36 kg to cargo bikes weighing almost twice as much, totalling 70 kg. Small riders tend to prefer the featherweights on test, but our group test reveals why you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you judge a bike by its weight alone. Our verdict: Many of the heavier yet well balanced cargo bikes on test are easier to ride than their lighter counterparts with less even weight distribution. And the higher the payload, the more the bike’s dead weight is put into perspective. You’ll notice this most clearly when trying to get the bike up onto the centre stand, which quickly made us realise how heavy a light bike can be and vice versa. A good centre stand that is easy to get the bike on and off of has clear advantages. The Specialized Porto, for example, is difficult to prop up, whereas the almost 30 kg Cannondale Wonderwagen is relatively easy to place on the stand. Therefore, the weight alone shouldn’t be (erm) weighted too heavily when buying a cargo bike. When it comes to handling, it’s not just how well the rider is integrated with the bike, but also the height and position of the cargo platform that are critical. If your cargo bike’s centre of gravity is too high, the bike’s handling becomes more unstable and wobbly. If you then increase the payload and keep stacking your cargo higher, the effect increases. As with the fit, it’s important to consider this before taking the plunge and, if possible, take a bike for a test ride at your nearest dealer. Insider tip: If you want to transport your kid(s) with the cargo bike, a test ride with all your passengers on board is a good way to get a feel for the handling. This takes us straight to the next point.

11. Safety first – How important is safety on a cargo bike?

ABS, fat tires, and full suspension are among the components that increase cargo bike safety. However, the most important factor cannot be reduced to individual components.

Because if you’re new to cargo bikes, you’ll have to get used to the handling, though you needn’t worry too much about your safety – at least if you read the individual reviews carefully. Among other things, we’ll discuss safety-critical aspects and provide practical tuning tips for each bike. Some of the cargo bikes on test even boast clever safety features like ABS. Speaking of which, you’ll find a detailed review of the Bosch ABS braking system in E-MOUNTAINBIKE, our sister publication.
Full suspension on a cargo bike? You only need that on a mountain bike, right? Wrong! Though you might think full suspension is a feature reserved for analogue or electric MTBs on the trails, it offers advantages in both city traffic and suburban roads. It doesn’t just take the sting out of speed bumps, potholes, and curbs, but also improves handling stability. Even big balloon tires don’t have the same shock-absorbing capabilities as front and rear suspension that’s been specially tuned for a cargo bike.

12. How to keep calm – The right theft protection for cargo bikes!

Café au lait, summer, sun, Paris! If you can’t switch off to enjoy the moment, worrying about your cargo bike instead, you need better theft protection!

The batteries of all the cargo bikes on test, which are usually worth well over € 500, are secured with a key, and the glove compartments on some of the bikes are lockable, too. To offer further peace of mind, many brands also rely on frame locks for their cargo bikes. Increasingly, others make use of the electronic immobilisers and alarms integrated into the motor systems, especially on bikes that are powered by Bosch or Specialized units. This a clever and convenient solution, which you can easily control via the associated app. However, Riese & Müller offer the most comprehensive theft protection package together with their RX chip, enabling additional services like a replacement guarantee, though for a monthly fee (from € 60 up to € 120). GPS trackers like the optional FIT E-Bike Tracker of the i:SY or Velco Onitrax GPS tracker of the Ultima, are also becoming a common feature on cargo bikes.

13. Find your way around – Integrated navigation on cargo bikes!

Exploring the city on a cargo bike is better than on any sightseeing bus. We experienced this firsthand in Paris. And when exploring new places, a navigation function is a huge advantage. But not all cargo bikes in the test field can deliver on this point. Bikes like the Riese & Müller Multitinker or Packster2 offer a rudimentary navigation function via their Bosch Kiox 300 displays. However, all the other bikes in the group test with Bosch systems can be retrofitted with displays, thus giving you access to a navigation function. With the Cannondale Wonderwagen and its factory-fitted smartphone mount, all you have to do is clip in your phone. Insider tip: Get an aftermarket smartphone mount if necessary!

14. Which cargo bike will fit in my parking space?

With a rain cover or the like, it shouldn’t be a problem to park your cargo bike outdoors. However, cargo bikes with derailleurs and chains are somewhat more susceptible to rust. This is where belt-driven cargo bikes are at an advantage, requiring less maintenance. If you’re short on space in your garage, you might be interested in the cargo bikes on test that can be propped upright onto the rear rack for storage. And if you don’t have a power outlet nearby, there’s no need to fret because all but one of the models on test have removable batteries, which is a good thing. In most cases, cargo bike riders remove the battery from the bike to charge it indoors.

The most important dimensions of the cargo bikes on test:

Brand Model Length (cm) Width (mm) Height (cm)
Benno RemiDemi XL 194 680 115
BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 220 660 105
Cannondale Wonderwagon Neo1 260 700 123
I:SY Cargo P12 ZR 218 670 113
Momentum PakYak E+ 192 740 100
Moustache Lundi 200 635 111
Riese & Müller Packster2 70 Touring 254 680 128
Riese & Müller Multitinker Vario 187 630 115
Momentum PakYak E+ 192 740 100
Specialized Porto 206 700 119
Ultima Multipath Cargo Compact 175 660 112
VEOLO Cargo-Trailer 125* 780 43
WINORA F.U.B. 2W 265 700 115

*doesn’t count as a cargo bike

15. Transporting dogs on cargo bikes

Of course, if your passenger has four paws instead of two legs, a long john cargo bike with a large cargo bin up front is better suited than a longtail model, unless you’ve taught your dog to “sit” and “stay” on the rear rack. You’ll find transport boxes for small dogs featuring quick-release systems like the MIK interfaces on the Specialized Porto and Moustache Lundi. With those, your furry friend can also travel safely on the rear rack. Insider tip: Most of the cargo bikes on test are approved to pull dog trailers, which frees up space on your bike for groceries and other goods. You can find the right dog trailer for you in our big dog trailer group test.

Details matter – The tops and flops of our cargo bike group test


A lockable frame compartment like on the Riese & Müller Multitinker and Packster2 is convenient to secure your valuables.
The Garmin radar on the Cannondale and Specialized improves rider safety on the road by warning you of approaching traffic from behind.
A suspended seat post like on the Moustache and Momentum provides more comfort on bumpy roads.
With the Pinion MGU on the i:SY Cargo, the motor and gearbox are combined into one unit, keeping maintenance to a minimum.
The MIK quick mounting interface on the front and rear luggage racks of the Specialized and Moustache makes it quick and easy to adapt the transport system to your needs.

The ABS braking system on the Riese & Müller Packster2 increases cargo bike rider safety.

The fit on the Riese & Müller Multitinker can be easily adapted to riders of different sizes thanks to quick-release clamps.

Thanks to the foldable transport box on the i:SY Cargo, the cargo bike is compact enough to park next to your car in the garage.

The front and rear suspension of the Riese & Müller Packster2 offers increased comfort and handling stability.

A dropper post like on the Moustache, Cannondale, and Momentum, makes it easier to put both feet on the ground when coming to a stop at traffic lights, providing more stability.

The centre stand on the Cannondale makes it particularly easy to prop the cargo bike up.

Keeping it local – the Ultima Multipath is made entirely in France and specced with a wealth of locally-sourced components.


The Cannondale Wonderwagen, Momentum PakYak E+, and Ultima Multipath can be hardly adapted to suit different rider sizes.

The Specialized Porto takes a lot of effort to jack up onto the centre stand.

The outdated motor systems on the WINORA and Moustache are largely lacking in connectivity features.

Your feet tend to catch on the stands of the Riese & Müller Packster2 and WINORA while pedalling.

Not everyone will be able to cope with the demanding handling of the Ultima Multipath.

The rigid system on the Momentum is difficult to adapt to different transport tasks.

The weak two-piston brakes on the WINORA are combined with small 160 mm rotors, making them clearly underpowered for a heavy cargo bike and resulting in unnecessarily long stopping distances.

The test field at a glance – Losers, winners, and recommendations from our cargo bike group test

Now we get to the exciting part! Below, you won’t just find an overview of all the bikes on test, but also the test winner, best buy, test loser, and other interesting recommendations. Note, however, there is no such thing as the one best cargo bike for everyone, and even our best in test may not be everyone’s favourite. But everyone will find a good cargo bike that’s just right for them! Read on for an overview and brief introduction of all the models in our cargo bike group test:

The Moustache Lundi 20 Cargo 3

The Moustache Lundi is a stylish-looking long john cargo bike with a modular 1,000 Wh battery concept, thereby offering a long range. Thanks to its intuitive and agile handling, the Lundi also accommodates beginners. With the MIK interface, things like boxes or child seats can be quickly attached to the rear rack. However, the overall impression is clouded by the somewhat outdated Bosch Cargo Line motor system and limited ergonomics.

The Specialized Porto

The Specialized Porto is a longtail cargo bike that offers stable and confidence inspiring handling, convenient everyday features, and a well-thought-out size and cargo carrying concept. The Porto’s motor system is developed in-house, and it’s beautifully designed. Considering the high-quality workmanship, the slightly higher price point of € 6,690 seems justified. On the other hand, the somewhat cumbersome centre stand, inflexible 710 Wh battery concept, and limited ride comfort leave room for improvement.

The Ultima Multipath Cargo Compact

The Ultima Multipath isn’t a cargo bike per se, but the ebike can be converted into one, offering a clever transport solution. Despite its powerful Valeo Cyclee motor and speedy commuter capabilities, it only serves for small cargo bike tasks, and offers limited ride comfort and poor handling when exploring beyond urban environments. Although it doesn’t have what it takes to come out on top in our cargo bike group test, it found a place in our hearts thanks to its local and innovative manufacturing process.

The i:SY Cargo P12 ZR

The i:SY Cargo P12 ZR long john cargo bike is compact, well thought-out, and extremely appealing. Although it hasn’t got the most carrying capacity, it’s got a clever cargo bin that can be folded up, a low-maintenance Pinion motor system with an integrated gearbox, and a big 800 Wh battery capacity. It’s ideal for everyday adventures as well as commuters who don’t just want to cycle to work, but also run their day-to-day errands. As such, it’s the best commuter in the group test.

The Riese & Müller Multitinker Vario

Despite its compact design, the Multitinker longtail cargo bike impresses with its large side pockets and clever transport concept, offering agile yet confidence inspiring handling, and plenty of riding fun. It’s the most manoeuvrable cargo bike on test. Thanks to the well-thought-out sizing concept, it can comfortably accommodate riders of all sizes. Thanks to the extensive online configurator, it meets the needs of commuters and cargo haulers alike, though it isn’t the most capable trekking bike when venturing beyond the asphalt.


The WINORA F.U.B. 2W is a classic long john cargo bike, offering a 500 Wh battery capacity. The handling is demanding, and the size and motor concept are outdated. On a positive note, the practical cargo rails are ideal for benches and child seats, and the bracket for a second battery on the cargo bin makes sense. Overall, however, the transport concept isn’t the most versatile or visually appealing.

The Cannondale Wonderwagen Neo1

The Cannondale Wonderwagen Neo1 cargo bike is the ultimate long john family van. It comes very well equipped for transporting children as standard, and boasts many clever details. The handling is easy to get accustomed to, and the specced components and motor system leave little to be desired. You can even upgrade the Wonderwagen to a dual-battery system. However, it’s less suitable for trekking, and it would benefit from an easier gear for hilly terrain.

The VEOLO Cargo Trailer

The VEOLO Cargo Trailer may not be a cargo bike as such, but it’s a serious rival for cargo bikes nonetheless. Although it isn’t exactly cheap for a trailer, it offers excellent value for money thanks to a wide range of accessories. The trailer is the most compact “cargo bike” on test. It’s flexible, versatile and easy to handle. It’s incredibly stable and offers first-rate damping, both on- and off-road.

The Momentum PakYak E+

The PakYak E+ is a longtail cargo bike with a whopping 1,000 Wh battery capacity, good for asphalt cowboys, but less so for off-road trekking. Due to its lack of handling stability, it’s best suited to city traffic. Considering the rigid transport and size concept, you’ve also got to make sure it meets your needs before buying. The Momentum PakYak E+ feels most comfortable as an urban commuter and prefers asphalt to dirt roads.

Our cargo bike group test loser: The Benno RemiDemi XL

Due to its demanding handling and limited ride comfort, the RemiDemi XL only serves a small niche of cargo bike riders. It’s ideal for those who have fallen in love with the retro look and only intend to use it for light transport tasks on flat terrain. It also cuts a fine figure as a stylish beach cruiser, and boasts an impressive 1,090 Wh dual battery concept. Compared to the more versatile all-rounders in the test field, however, the Benno can’t keep up and couldn’t deliver throughout.

Our cargo bike best buy: The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2

How much money should you budget for a good cargo bike? In our opinion, it’s exactly € 2,999. Because that’s what our best buy, the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 cargo bike, goes for. The longtail cargo bike offers unbeatable value for money. What sets it apart is its extensive range of standard accessories, and the wealth of equally affordable optional extras. Thanks to its flexibility, it’s an attractive option for riders who want an affordable cargo bike that they can customise to suit their needs. The intuitive and stable handling of the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 is a big plus too. Even cargo bike newbies will quickly feel comfortable aboard this bike. Despite it’s affordable price, the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 delivers a high level of performance, and comes specced with a 672 Wh battery. Given its sensible spec, it’s easy to see why we chose the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 is our best buy. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable yet capable cargo bike.

Our cargo bike best in test: The Riese & Müller Packster2 70 Touring

The Riese & Müller Packster2 may be the most expensive bike in our test field, but its price is justified by its outstanding performance. Its versatility lets it cater to various transport tasks with ease, while the ride comfort is unparalleled thanks to its well-specced and high-quality components. The Packster2 boasts numerous clever features that make it easier to transport your goods, and thanks to full suspension and knobby tires, it excels in a wide range of scenarios. The Packster2 comes with a 750 Wh battery as standard, and can be expanded to a tremendous 1,500 Wh in the configurator. You’ll find other useful features in the online configurator besides, like an RX chip for anti-theft protection, and an ABS braking system. The Packster2 70 Touring is the most versatile all-rounder on test, well-deserving of the best in test title. The Packster2 is a worthwhile investment for anyone looking for a top-notch cargo bike that meets the highest demands.

Wow! Our cargo bike group test has certainly given you an in-depth look at the world of cargo bikes. So what are the next steps?

  1. Take time to answer the 7 questions above.
  2. Dive into the individual cargo bike reviews and compare the various criteria with your answers.
  3. Follow our tips, and buy the cargo bike that’s right for you.

We caught the bug after our trip to Paris and are already looking forward to more cargo bike fun. Are you ready for your own personal cargo bike adventure? We are!

All bikes in test: Moustache Lundi 20 Cargo 3 (Click for review) | Specialized Porto (Zum Test) | Ultima Multipath Cargo Compact (Click for review) | i:SY Cargo P12 ZR (Click for review) | Riese & Müller Packster2 70 Touring (Click for review) | Riese & Müller Multitinker Vario (Click for review) | BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 (Click for review) | WINORA F.U.B. 2W (Click for review) | Cannondale Wonderwagen Neo1 (Click for review) | VEOLO Cargo Trailer (Click for review) | Benno RemiDemi XL (Click for review) | Momentum PakYak E+ (Click for review)

Words: Benedikt Schmidt, Robin Schmitt, Rudolf Fischer, Mike Hunger Photos: Antonia Feder, Robin Schmitt