Cargo eBike

June 8, 2024

I recently purchased and took delivery of a cargo ebike. I got the Benno Boost 10D EVO5 Easy-On. While it’s not a full car replacement, I should be able to use it for short rides in the area when I need to take a kid or two with me. So, one less excuse to take the car and one step closer to a more active lifestyle. Related YouTube link.

When I visited the bike shop originally, I thought I was going to look at front-loading cargo bikes, but it turns out my kids heads were really close to the handlebars and I thought I would get more life out of a back loading one. I liked the handling of the Benno Boost more than the Riese and Müller ones I tried. From what I remember, on the short test-rides that I did, I preferred a traditional chain/derailleur setup without suspension. It felt like the alternatives lost too much power through the drivetrain, but I don’t feel like I’m experienced enough to call myself a connoisseur of such things either.

One of the other Riese and Müller bikes I test drove had CVT-like shifting. It was a stepless shifter by Enviolo, and the bike I rode also featured an ‘auto’ mode for how much power assist to add. It was super smooth and I could see it being useful to reduce the cognitive load when the grade is rapidly changing. But for longer durations in a set gear, it felt like there was a little drivetrain loss and top end speed loss. Maybe I’ll regret my decision if I have chain issues or have to change my chain every thousand miles. There were also cargo bikes with anti-lock brake systems, something I wouldn’t have thought of 10 years ago, but makes a lot of sense for riding in slippery conditions. I could imagine a future where a lot of car technologies come to bikes to make them safer and more fun. Power assist is just the first step. Bringing the price down is probably the next step, because no one wants to drop $10k to get the version with a belt-drive internal hub transmission and ABS.

It will be interesting to see how the upcoming tariffs on electric cars and bikes will affect ebike production. If you want a sub-$1k USD ebike, it’s most likely going to be made in China because no one else is able to compete on cost at that level. The price goes up quite a bit once you spec a mid-drive Bosch motor and battery, Shimano components, and Magura hydraulic disc brakes. Maybe once battery assist becomes more common place, the market for lightweight components will shrink, helping durability and cost.