How much innovation and storage space can you cram into a compact package? i:SY asked themselves just that with the Cargo P12 ZR, an agile and compact bike that offers ample carrying capacity. It relies on the Pinion MGU E1.12 drive unit, an 800 Wh battery, and features a host of clever details besides. Has it got what it takes to crush the competition?

i:SY Cargo P12 ZR | Pinion MGU E1.12/800 Wh
45.0 kg in size One Size | € 7,530 | Manufacturer’s website

Space is a rare commodity in today’s cities, rental prices are skyrocketing, and parking spots are scarce. Cities depend on clever ideas and new approaches. This is where the i:SY step in. Their aim is to make people’s lives easier, and cover a wide range of urban use cases with their compact ebikes. They’ve got a variety of models for this, from the lightweight i:SY Skyfly made of carbon, to the s-pedelec Speed models that offer support up to 45 km/h, and pack mules of the Cargo range. With the i:SY Cargo P12 ZR cargo bike, the Cologne based company want to offer maximum practicality in a compact form, while remaining agile and manoeuvrable through traffic even when loaded, like all of their bikes. The Cargo is powered by the innovative Pinion MGU E1.12 drive unit, combined with an 800 Wh battery, and is available from € 6,999. With its accessories, our test bike costs € 7,530, which is considerably more than the test field average of € 6,536. At just under 45 kg, it is the lightest long john cargo bike in the group test, with a permissible total weight of 200 kg, 157 kg remain for the payload.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best cargo-bike – The 12 hottest models in our comparison test.

Transformation artist – What sets the i:SY Cargo apart?

Looking at the i:SY Cargo P12 ZR alongside the other models on test, it seems very compact. This is confirmed by the numbers, as it’s by far the shortest long john cargo bike in the test field, measuring 218 cm. When it comes to the design, i:SY remain true to their look, relying on an aluminium frame with round tubes and their signature horizontal braces. The rear end especially looks like one of the standard compact models from i:SY, with the cargo platform sitting in front of the handlebar to make room for your goods. The frame is finished in a classy white, which makes the cargo bike’s remaining black components stand out.

It’s a match
The powerful Pinion motor with its integrated, wide-range gearbox offers the perfect setup for steep climbs, even with a full load.
The large FIT display isn’t just feature rich, but also remains clearly visible in the rider’s field of vision, placed directly on the stem.
Thanks to the folding Butterfly Bag, the i:SY Cargo can be transformed into a standard bike, and takes up minimal space in the garage.

For € 6,999, you get the basic configuration with a rear rack, but it only becomes a fully fledged cargo bike with the optional accessories from the i:SY shop. Our i:SY cargo bike came equipped with the folding Butterfly Bag for an additional € 530. It consists of a metal cage covered with a sturdy fabric. The Butterfly Bag can be folded up in seconds and in a few simple steps.
However, the capacity of the main compartment doesn’t come close to the size of the other long john cargo bikes in the test. The floor of the Butterfly Bag isn’t big enough for two drinks crates. For that you’d have to get the bigger brother, the i:SY Cargo Maxi, with a 60 rather than a 40 cm base. The Butterfly Bag also has small pockets sewn into it for small items like keys or purses. As an alternative to the foldable bag, i:SY also offer a wooden box (€ 320) with an easy entry and seat for the kids, or just a flat platform (€ 35) for the Cargo P12 ZR. Furthermore, you can get a front rack that sits above the main compartment, for € 110. The front and rear racks are both MonkeyLoad ready, which allows you to attach various accessories like the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi child seat (€ 150) in just a few simple steps and without tools. Whether going on a picnic, taking the kid to kindergarten, or running errands, the i:SY provides a versatile platform, though you’ll have to budget for the additional accessories to adapt the basic configuration to your needs.

For young and old
Thanks to the easily adjustable saddle and handlebar, the i:SY can be adapted to different riders in the blink of an eye without any tools, so it can serve the whole family.
The powerful TRP brakes bring the i:SY Cargo safely to a halt even when fully loaded.

The Pinion MGU E1.12 drive unit powering the i:SY Cargo is beautifully integrated into the frame. And thanks to the integrated gearbox, the Pinion MGU reduces maintenance to a minimum. The powerful 85 Nm motor is powered by an 800 Wh battery, which is placed between the seat tube and the rear wheel in typical i:SY fashion, where it’s easily accessible. It’s secured with a lock and allows you to charge the battery in your apartment without hassle. The large display on the handlebar indicates the selected gear and even issues ice warnings in winter, in addition to displaying the basics like your speed and battery level. It’s clearly visible without being distracting. The FIT E-Bike Control app can also provide navigation instructions via arrows on the display, though it doesn’t display a rudimentary map, as with the navigation functions of the Bosch Kiox 300/500 displays. Only the joystick on the slightly chunky FIT remote takes some getting used to.

i:SY Cargo P12 ZR

€ 7,530


Motor Pinion MGU E1.12 85 Nm
Battery FIT CompactCore 800 800 Wh
Display FIT Comfort
Fork Original i:SY-Starrgabel
Seatpost i:SY Alu
Brakes TRP C 2.3 180/180 mm
Drivetrain Pinion MGU E1.12 1x12
Handlebar i:SY Alu 670 mm
Wheelset RYDE Andra 40 Disc 20"
Tires Schwalbe Pick Up, Super Defense 2.35"

Technical Data

Size One Size
Weight 45.0 kg
Perm. total weight 200 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 155 kg
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

FUXON lighting system
MonkeyLoad luggage carrier
Abus frame lock

Tuning tip: suspended seat post

Cargo bike or city bike? – The i:SY Cargo on test

Almost everyone is familiar with the problem that no matter how big the house, apartment or garage, you can never have enough space. Thanks to the folding basket, the space requirements of the i:SY Cargo P12 ZR are kept to a minimum, and you’re not necessarily forced to decide whether you’re going to park your car or your cargo bike in the garage, but can accommodate both vehicles depending on their size. With its folding pedals, you could almost hide the i:SY Cargo between the pages of a book ;). At 45 kg, it’s the lightest long john cargo bike in the test and is much easier to manoeuvre than the larger models. This allows you to navigate between tightly parked cars without accidentally scratching any of them, and you’ll stay on good terms with your neighbour. If you want to share the i:SY Cargo with family or roommates, the saddle and handlebar offer easy, tool-free adjustment, providing a comfortable Dutch bike riding position.

Hopping aboard is easy thanks to the low step-through, and the i:SY Cargo scores for its leisurely hop-on/hop-off feeling when cruising from one market stall to the next. However, it cannot keep up with the likes of the full-suspension R&M Packster2 in terms of comfort. The rigid seat post and beefy seat tube do little to mitigate impacts from curbs and potholes, and the small 20″ wheels typical of i:SY aren’t known for their rollover characteristics – we recommend upgrading to a suspended seat post for more comfort at the rear.

Simple, simpler, i:SY – the i:SY Cargo can be adapted to any rider size in the blink of an eye.

Thanks to the compact dimensions of the i:SY Cargo, you can keep a cool head through bottlenecks and navigate the cargo bike through tight alleys with precision.
The i:SY Cargo lets you conquer steep climbs without breaking a sweat, even with a heavy load.

That said, the i:SY is much more agile and manoeuvrable than cargo bikes like the Riese & Müller Packster2, Winora F.U.B., and Cannondale Wonderwagen, making it a blast to ride. Even for newcomers to cargo bikes, you’ll quickly get used to the intuitive handling, always responding to input in a predictable manner. The short wheelbase gives you a good overview of the front and you can easily weave your way through the tight alleys of historic districts or the iron girders of the Eiffel Tower. A heavily loaded cargo bike requires powerful brakes to keep your speed in check. Fortunately, i:SY make no compromises here and equip the Cargo P12 ZR with powerful TRP brakes that can safely bring it to a halt even at high speeds.

Hilly terrain is no problem for the i:SY Cargo, thanks to the 85 Nm Pinion motor and wide range gearbox, allowing you to conquer even the steepest climbs. The gearbox also shifts under load without batting an eyelid. If you get caught in the worst kind of weather, there’s no need to lube the belt after the ride as you would with a chain. Instead, you can take a seat in the nearest café to enjoy a hot beverage. To this end, you can secure the i:SY Cargo against theft with the ABUS Ring Lock. Ebike systems providers FIT also offer a digital key function via the app, which can be used to lock the motor. If you haven’t got any luggage and fold up the Butterfly Bag, the i:SY turns into a leisurely commuter that lets you travel through the city almost like you would on a normal bike – pure joy.

The i:SY Cargo P12 ZR is a blast to ride, allowing you to zig zag through tight alleys with ease – even for cargo bike newbies.

Helmet Dashel Ocaean Edition | Jacket Carhartt Relaxed Fit Duck Blanket Lined Detroit | Pants Carhartt WIP Newel Pant | Shoes Reebok Classic CLUB C 85 Leather

Who is the i:SY Cargo for? – And who better steer clear?

The i:SY Cargo is not a pack mule for big and heavy loads. However, anyone who doesn’t need a ton of cargo carrying capacity and is looking for a compact and manoeuvrable cargo bike will find a good companion in the i:SY Cargo. Thanks to its low-maintenance drive unit, this bike also offers a care-free ride for those who prefer to spend time on the bike instead of pampering it. Those who transport bulky loads or are looking for a delivery vehicle are better off with the Riese & Müller Packster2.

Our conclusion on the i:SY Cargo

The i:SY Cargo P12 ZR is not a cargo workhorse, nor is it the most affordable bike on test, but it’s compact, cleverly designed, functional, and extremely charming. It features a well-thought-out, space-saving cargo concept, and the Pinion drive unit suits the intended use to a tee. The i:SY Cargo is the ultimate cargo bike for commuters and everyday adventurers who don’t just want to master their daily commute to work, but also their weekly errands with ease.


  • practical and incredibly compact for a cargo bike
  • low-maintenance drive unit
  • very agile and intuitive handling on the descents
  • appealing design


  • lacking in comfort
  • a necessarily limited cargo capacity

For more information, visit

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best cargo-bike – The 12 hottest models in our comparison test.

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 | 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: Mike Hunger Photos: Antonia Feder, Robin Schmitt