How much do you need to bring? How much cargobike do you need? Among the most common questions I get, is this one: Will cargobike X have enough room for two kids aged Y and Z?

The answer isn’t always obvious, because you have to dig up the cargo box measurements from deep into the online spec lists – and you’ll often search in vain, as some bike makers doesn’t provide all the numbers you need.

Argh! If only someone made a simple comparison overview!

Thanks to Kristian Bram for these behind the scenes photos I got via email a few days later!

This summer, I tried to make one.

I had access to 16 front loading cargobikes, and shot each of them from a remotely controlled camera held on a boom above the cargo box.

The selection was more or less random: I simply picked the bikes I found available at the annual Cargobike Meetup in Oslo, Norway, which I have had the pleasure of hosting for a few years now.

I wish I had more bikes on hand, of course, as there are quite a few ones missing. I’ll try to replicate this at a later meetup to complete the gallery.

So, let’s have a look at what we got here.

We did two main measurements: The seat bench width, and the cargo floor lenght.

We didn’t measure more than that, because this is mostly a visual guide to the layout of the different bikes, to help you see how they actually look inside the box.

Huge thanks to Jon Asphjell for taking care of the camera remote and helping out with the measurements while I did video of other bikes and riders! 

Here we go:

URBAN ARROW FAMILY (above): Cargo floor 65 cm long – seat bench 52 cm wide. Max cargo load: 125 kilo + rider. (The Family box is removable. The cargo base is 76 cm long and 47 cm wide).

BULLITT (above): Cargo floor 71 cm long – seat bench 44 cm wide. Max cargo load: Listed as 180 kilo total (including rider). See my previous story on the eBullitt here.

RIESE & MÜLLER PACKSTER 60 (above): Cargo box floor 60 cm long (54 if you measure with the backrest installed, like here) – seat bench 67 cm wide (in the back). Max cargo load: Llisted as 200 kilo total (including rider). See my previous story on the Packster here.

RIESE & MÜLLER LOAD (above): Cargo floor 57 cm long – seat bench 47 cm wide (in the rear). Max cargo load: Listed as 200 kilo total (including rider). See our previous story on daily life with a Load here.

WORKCYCLES Kr8 (above): Cargo box floor 69 cm long – seat bench 47 cm wide. Max cargo load: 80 kilo + rider (+ 50 kilo on rear rack). See my previous story on the Kr8 hereFor comparison, the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike Long wasn’t present at this photoshoot, but is 68 cm long and has a 55 cm wide seat bench. 

BABBOE CITY MOUNTAIN (above): Cargo floor 66 cm long – seat bench 53 cm wide. Max cargo load: 80 kilo + rider.

ELRIDE CARGO (Norwegian brand, above): Cargo box floor 70 cm long – seat bench 50 cm wide. Max cargo load: 90 kilo + rider. See my previous story on the Elride here.

DOUZE 60 (above): Cargo box floor 58 cm long – seat bench 47 cm wide. The Douze is also available in a longer 80 cm version. Max cargo load: Listed as 200 kilo total (including rider). See my previous story on the Douze here.

TRIOBIKE CARGO (above): Cargo box floor 72 cm long – seat bench 47 cm wide. Max cargo load: Listed as 200 kilo (including rider)

PEDALPOWER E-HARRY CARGO BROSE (above): Cargo floor 82 cm long – seat bench 47 cm wide. Max cargo load: 100 kilo + rider

CHRISTIANIABIKE LIGHT(above): Cargo floor 89 cm long – seat bench 62 cm wide. Max cargo load: 100 kilo + rider

BUTCHERS & BICYCLES Mk1-E (above): Cargo floor 41 cm long – seat bench 60 cm wide. Max cargo load: 100 kilo + rider. See my previous story on the Mk1-E here.
NOTE: The floor doesn’t extend below and under the seat, as on the other bikes. The cargo room is 70 cm long, measured from door to back wall. Extra front bench is optional extra. 

LIVELO #1 (above): Cargo floor 60 cm long – seat bench 52 cm wide. Max cargo load: No information given. See my previous stories on the Livelo here and here.

BABBOE CARVE (above): Cargo floor 82 cm long – seat bench 50 cm wide. Note: The bike in the picture has a baby seat adapter installed. Max cargo load: 80 kilo + rider. See my previous story on the Babboe Carve here.

BABBOE BIG (above): Cargo floor 81,5 cm long – seat bench 58,5 cm wide. Max cargo load: 100 kilo + rider

ELRIDE CARGO 3 (Norwegian brand, above): Cargo box floor 90 cm long – seat bench 64 cm wide. Max cargo load: 150 kilo + rider

NOTE: These images are straightened and cropped to ensure a tidy presentation. The original image files can be seen here for reference.

These are our measurements, done as precise as we could. The main reason for doing this, however, isn’t about the centimeters – but as a reminder for anyone buying a cargo bike:

These bikes are different in many ways, and a test ride with your own kids or cargo is highly recommended!

When purchasing a two wheeled, front loading cargo bike, you should also note an interesting difference between two design concepts:

1: Some of these bikes are based on a flatbed design on which you mount optional seats and boxes.
2: Others comes with wooden cargo boxes and benches included, and are not meant for use without.

Above is an assembly picture of the Workcycles Kr8 without the box, showing the single frame tube on which the box is mounted. This is more or less the way all the two-wheelers with wooden boxes are designed. If you need to carry a tumble dryer home, you’ll have to stuff it inside the box…

The frames of Bullitt, Triobike, R&M Packster and Douze, however, are built with a wider, flatbed base up front – which can also be utilized as an open cargo space without the box. Which means that wider loads are pretty easy.

These bikes requires you to pay extra for seats and boxes/side walls, though.

Here is a local Bullitt as an example – with an open load area that is easy to customize for different needs:

MADNESS: This is Arne and his old Bullitt, picking up some leftover materials from my garden project. Yes, he rode all of it home, with pure muscle power. Photo: Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien

The Load is different, with its lattice girder tube design around the cargo bay for maximum frame stiffness, which keeps you from placing wider boxes directly on the cargo bed. You’ll have to strap them across the top rails.

The Urban Arrow is a bit special, too, as it comes with the family box included on top of the flatbed. It also requires quite a bit more dismantling work to remove this box, so simply popping it off for a quick spin with huge loads on the flatbed isn’t exactly the way this bike is meant to be used.

Back to our photoshoot: We had longtail bikes on site as well, of course, but that’s a different breed – and not quite suited to join this comparison.

But I really, really dig this couple that arrived at the meetup aboard the family´s *two* Surly Big Dummys, one with a Bafang drive – one running on pure muscle power. Splendid!

Meetups like this are awesome for many reasons, and I’ll get back to that in another story later – where I’ll share my best tips on how to make it happen where you live (or at least in the nearest city).

So, that’s it for today, apart from one last detail:

In case you’re the kind of photo geek (like me) who always wants to know how specific images are taken, here’s the quick and simple lowdown:

I used a 35mm lens on a full frame camera (in this case, a battered Canon 5DMkIII) mounted to a tripod ballhead, which in turn were put on a spigot held by a grip head on a C-stand boom.

The camera were triggered by super cheap Youngnuo RF-603 remote controls (the receiver going into the camera were duct taped onto the boom arm).

I also put a flash with a 60 cm softbox off camera at the same height, pointing down to the cargobike, to bring out the details and make sure the photos would look more consistent, as the natural light were changing during the shoot.

And yes, of course: I brought all this gear on my Surly Big Dummy longtail bike.

Posted by Geir Anders

Geir Anders started Cargobike Magazine – formerly known as Transportsykkel – back in 2012, to stoke up the new boom of electric bikes and cargobikes. He is also co-founder and the first editor of Scandinavia’s leading mountain bike magazine Terrengsykkel, and works as an independent writer and photographer in Oslo, Norway.

11 Comments

  1. This is fantastic! Id love to know the weight capacity of each bike as well – I’ve found that many bikes can’t carry much of a load.

    Reply

    1. Great suggestion, James – thanks! I’ll see if I can find numbers for each bike and add those to the story.

      Reply

    2. Done. Check the article, James, and you’ll find the numbers you need!

      Reply

  2. Javier Peletier 5. October 2017 at 07:59

    Good work. Thankyou!

    Reply

  3. Nice idea. Thanks for the breakdown. But if longtails are a different breed then I definitely think trikes are too, with quite different handling. Plus I notice you call them all bikes… I guess they all have a box and it’s a box size comparison so that’s the point.

    I bought an Edgerunner partly because I felt like any box would be a bit of a limitation. Too bulky for our often-narrow UK infrastructure – silly gates and so on – and the longtail fits larger/older passengers because it isn’t trying to contain them.

    Reply

    1. You are right, Tim – I wanted to compare box sizes between both two- and three-wheelers, as people often consider both for the same purposes.

      Personally, I’ve ridden longtails for the last six years, now on a electrified Surly Big Dummy, for the same reasons you mention. I like that I can easily give adults a lift, bring with me all my photo gear in bags and backpacks while keeping the bike narrow – and not at least; be able to ride through the winter with my fave studded tires in 26×2,3 up front.

      Reply

  4. Hello Geir, I like the article as I have been using several brands in the past. I think it would nice if you could see the capacity of each bicycle in liters too. It will give a figure that’s easier to compare. Great article!

    Reply

    1. Thanks Koos, I really like your suggestion – but calculating the volume of boxes with curved and slanted walls is probably more math-intensive than what I’m capable of pulling off, I’m afraid!

      Reply

  5. Philip Bentley 11. October 2017 at 09:24

    thanks very much for this. I have been going back and forth over the Buillit v Douze and what to buy. So really useful to see this comparison on the box size as it would be used to for my kids mostly.

    cheers

    Reply

  6. Great article, thanks a lot for your effort.
    We could add our kids box for the Bullitt: 59 x 60 cm.
    Pictures on our website http://www.rad3.de/kidsbox-bullitt.

    Reply

  7. Hi Geir,

    Great article! Are you interested in more models? We could provide you the dimensions of our long-john bikes, that we build from recycled mtb frames (www.officinerecycle.com).

    Ciao!
    Giulio

    Reply

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