The Rise of the Midtail Cargo Bike

by Bike Shop Girl
Published: Last Updated on
Midtail Cargo Bike Article
Midtail Cargo Bike Article

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.


In my opinion, a midtail cargo bike is a bike that is longer than a standard bike, built to carry some load in the back but can also fit on a hitch bike rack. Most midtail cargo bikes 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 done by lengthening the distance between the rear wheel and the seat tube. This makes the space available for a longer rear rack or a longer custom frame to carry things much longer BUT it is still shorter than what I 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” crossover 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 Gen 1 Midtail Cargo Bike

Tern GSD

Fits 2, electric assist (Read my review)

Tern HSD

Fits 1, electric assist (Read my 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


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)


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.

Read the Cargo Bike Guide

If you are just learning about cargo bikes, I do recommend reading through my cargo bike guide to help you with your cargo bike journey!

After owning and operating a cargo bike shop for several years, I now work for Tern Bicycles – this article was written before I even owned a shop!

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Why A Family Cargo Bike Is The Best Purchase You Can Make This Year - Beautiful Brown Adventures - Families of Color Travel Inspiration and Tips April 11, 2022 - 8:13 am

[…] The mid-tail cargo bike has a shorter tail than the longtail and can fit 1-2 small kids or 1 bigger kid with space between the kid and the rider. The Yuba Boda Boda ($3,800) is a popular example of the mid-tail electric-assist cargo bike. The shorter frame of the mid-tail makes riding and storage easier, however, the extra cargo capacity is limited. […]

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