The Rise of the Midtail Cargo Bike

June 10, 2018 1 Comment

The Rise of the Midtail Cargo Bike

Cargo bikes have been picking up momentum in the United States over the last 3-5 years. I personally really love the midtail cargo bike and think it could be the cargo bike to fit into every family. Let’s dive into what a midtail (mid-tail?) cargo bike is and who I think it could be for.

WHAT IS A MIDTAIL CARGO BIKE?

In my 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 on a hitch bike rack. Most midtail cargobikes can carry 2 small kids but some carry 1 kid with extra space between you and the child.

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 still 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 Edgerunner. With so many midtails hitting the market we couldn’t happen to ask ourselves, is there a rise in interest in this “in-between” bike?

MIDTAIL CARGO BIKES IN 2019 (Updated Dec 13, 2019)

There are few very compelling midtail cargo bikes either readily available or entering the market as we write this. Here are a few that we keep in stock or have ridden!

Benno Boost E

Fits 1 passenger, electric assist

Benno EJoy

Fits 1 passenger, electric assist

Benno Carry On

Fits 1 passenger, human powered. Soon these won't be available in the United States.

Tern GSD

Fits 2, electric assist (Read our review)

Tern HSD

Fits 1, electric assist (Read our review)

Xtracycle RFA Midtail cargo bike

Xtracycle RFA

Fits 2, electric assist only - you can swap the rear rack and make it shorter to fit just one and have a standard size electric bike

Yuba Boda Boda / el Boda Boda
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, we are keeping the pros and cons very high level. The best thing you can do is to come test ride or rent a cargo bike for a day or 2 to assess your personal situation!

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 younger 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 and the cargo market. There are at least 3 new midtail cargo bikes coming out in early 2019 that I know about! 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 until recently. 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.

Personally, I like the flexibility of a shorter bike that allows my family to put it on a rear hitch rack, into a train or simply ride it without kids and feel like you are on a normal bike. 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 I am looking for as I finish up several midtail cargo bike reviews.

Disclaimer:
I own/operate a family and kids’ focused bike shop in Denver, Colorado. In the area? Come visit me and test out some cargo bikes! 

 



1 Response

Riley Casey
Riley Casey

July 09, 2018

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).

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