Cargo bikes have been picking up momentum in the United States over the last 3-5 years. There are bike shops dedicated to them and the “family cyclery” bike shop model can now be found in most major cities.

At Bike Shop Girl, we have 5+ cargo bike reviews in the works, and 4 of those are on the “midtail” cargo bike. Midtail bikes have a longer wheelbase which is typically by lengthening the distance between the rear wheel and the seat tube. This makes the space available for a rear rack or a custom frame to carry things much longer BUT it is shorter than what we would call a “longtail” cargo bike. Midtail cargo bikes typically carry 1-2 kids max instead of the 3 kids that you would see on an Xtracycle or Yuba Spicy Curry. With so many midtails in for review we couldn’t happen to ask ourselves, is there a rise of interest in this “in-between” bike?

What is a Midtail Cargo Bike?

In our opinion, a midtail cargo bike is a bike that is longer than a standard bike, typically built to carry a load in the back but can also fit in a bike rack with the front wheel flipped around if necessary. Most carry 2 small kids but some carry 1 kid with extra space between you and the child.

Midtail Cargo Bikes in 2018

There are few very compelling midtail cargo bikes either readily available or entering the market as we write this. We will link to all of them as we finish their review but here is a summary of what we have in to try or hope to try before the end of the summer.

Yuba Boda Boda Cargo Bike

Yuba Boda Boda

Fits 1-2 passengers, pedal powered

Yuba Electric Boda Boda Cargo Bike

Yuba El Boda Boda

Fits 1-2 passengers, electric assist

Benno Boost Cargo Bike

Benno Boost E

Fits 1 passenger, electric assist

Benno E Joy Cargo Bike

Benno EJoy

Fits 1 passenger, electric assist

Benno Carry On Cargo Bike

Benno Carry On

Fits 1 passenger, human powered

Bike Friday Haul a Day Cargo BIke

Bike Friday Haul a Day

Fits 1 or 2 really small passengers, human and electric assist options

Tern GSD Cargo Bike

Tern GSD

Fits 2, electric assist

Pedego Stretch Cargo Bike

Pedego Stretch

Fits 2, electric assist

The Pros and Cons of a Midtail Cargo Bike

Cargo bikes have evolved so much in the past 10 years. The fact we are able to publish an article talking about SEVERAL midtail cargo bikes is so very exciting to me.  One big reason that there are so many options for cargo bikes is that every person, family, and lifestyle is unique. With that in mind, I’m keeping the pros and cons very high level and we will talk about each bike’s individual quirks in the upcoming reviews!

Major Pros

  1. A shorter wheelbase can fit in a bike rack or vehicle easier
  2. A shorter wheelbase means the bike doesn’t feel so “beefy” as a longtail may
  3. Beefier than a standard “single” bike and designed to carry a human or two on the back

Major Cons

  1. A midtail is for 1 child or 2 young children
  2. Not as much “cargo space” as a longtail (for kids or Costco)

Is a Midtail for You?

Personally, I am excited about the growth of midtails. A standard longtail cargo bike isn’t for most people but it is what has been most readily available from brands like Xtracycle, Yuba, and Surly. Depending on what you are carrying, and if you are carrying kids, you have to ask yourself how many kids you have, how far apart they are in age, and how devoted you are to riding a cargo bike without your kids or owning multiple bikes for when you ride bikes without your kids strapped to the back of your bike.

We are currently debating a midtail cargo bike in our family after riding several great options recently. I like the flexibility of a shorter bike that allows us to put it on a rear hitch rack, into a train or simply ride it without kids and feel like I’m on a normal bike. On the other end of the spectrum, this bike will be either for my wife to ride as a daily commuter with an occasional single kid drop off at school or for me when I need to record Bike Here routes and need to carry a lot of gear.

I would speculate that there are a LOT more people that could benefit from a good midtail cargo bike than a full-blown longtail cargo bike and that speculation will be exactly what we are reviewing for as we finish up several midtail cargo bike reviews.

Do you own a midtail or have you ridden one? I would love to hear from you!

5 COMMENTS

  1. I have a Felt Tot’em that’s similar in design (predated I think) to the Benno Boost. I bought the unusually wide cargo bars and use it with a modified Yepp Maxi seat. It definitely feels smaller than the full-sized cargo bikes and rides like a regular city bike even with heavy locks, library books, light groceries and such. I swapped out the included panniers for CarSick slings (Yuba-sized) and discovered they work great in an ‘outrigger’ position with the cargo bars. It definitely is only for one kid, but for a short pre-school drop-off then switch to ‘commuter mode’ there’s not a lot of other bikes that fit the bill. I can also ‘self-rescue’ if I get a flat since it does fit on our car rack (if everything is taken off).

    • Tim – It seems that many brands (Trek, Felt, Kona) were ahead of their time with the midtail. I hope they all jump on the bandwagon like gravel riding has taken off 🙂

  2. I ride a Pedego Stretch (disclaimer: I am a Pedego dealer).I’m only 5′-1″ tall. I really appreciate the stability of this bike — it’s really well balanced and the 24″ tires are 2.5″ wide. It’s a heavy beast but the 48v-17ah battery is powerful enough to haul two full-grown adults up some fairly steep hills. It also comes standard with niceties like wheel skirts, backrest, floor boards that can be removed or put up on top to create a true cargo (non-passenger) bike when needs be. The frame-mounted front rack is fantastic, giving you carrying capacity while still keeping passengers comfortable. And there are quite a few aftermarket accessories that make it really passenger friendly for all ages.

  3. I’m currently scratching my head on the choice between a Benno Boost or a Radwagon. Neither bike is available to test ride in DC. The only Benno nearby is a drop frame version. Big question is frame size. At 6’2″ I’m at the high end of bike fitting and the online info indicates that all of the short tails on the market are right at the edge of fitting a tall rider. Does anyone have experience with tall riders on these bikes? The Jump rental bikes that got me on the e assist bandwagon are a fine size for tall riders ( Limebike please note).

    • Riley – Call SloHi Bikes in Denver and ask to talk with Ruda. He’s about your height and rides a Benno Boost daily!

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