Winther CX cargo bike

When considering using a cargo bike for business purposes, it’s important to evaluate various aspects to ensure it meets your needs. Here are some of the questions you may already be thinking about, along with frequent questions we get asked, to help you with the first fact-finding steps:

  1. What tasks could I use the cargo bike for?

It’s amazing to see the various ways businesses are using cargo bikes. For example, Peter from the Greenhouse Trust Fund uses them for transporting trees, Norfolk and Norwich Festival for transporting goods, bakeries for delivering fresh baked goods, laundry services for pickups and deliveries, and even first aid by St John Ambulance. E-Cargo Bikes are very adaptable and come with a range of accessories to help make most things possible (within reason)!  By creating a list of possible tasks (e.g., deliveries, transportation of goods, mobile services), you will get a good idea of the load you will need to carry and which model is the best fit for you.

Consider which of your team members will be using the cargo bike and how experienced they are; the majority are step-through low-frame designs that make it easy to jump on. By choosing a three-wheel over a two-wheel or a shorter bike over a longtail bike, it will make it a little easier overall. When considering the height or weight of the rider, most cargo bikes suit the height of most riders but may need adaptations for heavier riders (300 lbs+). It’s best to check specific manufacturer’s specifications first.

  1. What is the maximum load capacity of a cargo bike?

The majority of cargo bikes are electric-assisted, allowing them to carry heavy loads. All bikes have a maximum load capacity; a front-loading cargo bike will typically hold between 100-180 kg. You could also consider using a trailer or larger three- or four-wheeled models, which can carry up to 300 kg to accommodate heavier loads.

Most importantly, individual riders need to feel comfortable and safe with the bike, so providing training for riders could boost their confidence. Accredited training through Bikeability will not only boost riders’ confidence on the road but can help when it comes to insuring them too.

  1. What are the local regulations or restrictions regarding the use of cargo bikes for commercial purposes?

According to UK government guidelines, cargo bikes are classified as “cycles” if they meet certain criteria, meaning they are subject to the same rules and regulations as traditional bicycles. However, there are specific considerations for cargo bikes, especially those equipped with electric assist. You can read more in this article: Are cargo bikes legal in the UK: Everything you need to know.

  1. What is the range of the cargo bike on a single charge?

You can expect an average range of 20-75 miles in most models, but the exact distance will be influenced by multiple factors such as the power mode, riding environment, weight capacity, and landscape. Evaluate if this range is sufficient for your daily routes or if you will need to factor in additional charging. Legally, your top speed is 15 mph—will this be adequate for your delivery needs?

  1. How much do cargo bikes cost and what’s included?

Each bike comes with specific specifications, but you can expect to spend anything from £3K to £18K for an electric cargo bike or £2K to £4K for a manual one. Upfront, this cost can seem excessive, but you will save money in the long term. Retailers often offer flexible leasing options to help spread the cost to low monthly payments. See here for our lease offering for commercial cargo bikes.

Before you make the commitment, we suggest checking with your local Council to see if they offer a “Try Before You Buy” scheme. At Outspoken Cycles, we work with a number of local councils to encourage businesses and families to try a cargo bike over a few weeks for free. This helps riders make the right decision before purchasing. Check to see if your local council runs something similar to the Norwich E-Cargo Bike Library or Cambridgeshire County Council.

A lot of our customers ask about what safety and security features are included and how to keep them secure. As standard, you would expect cargo bikes to include wheel reflectors, a bike locking system, and integrated lights. You can take this a step further by considering a high-quality GPS tracker or Bluetooth horseshoe locks. Power Unity suggests these anti theft tips such as getting your cargo bike coded and getting a Bike Passport so it can be identified as your own.

  1. What are the running costs of a cargo bike?

The main ongoing costs you’ll need to consider are maintenance, insurance, and fuel/electricity. According to the Energy Saving Trust, assuming the e-cargo bike covers 7,500 miles a year (30 miles x 5 days a week x 50 weeks), you would be looking at £160 in servicing, £24 in fuel costs, and £134 in insurance (with £0 for congestion charges, ULEZ, and parking fines)!

Like any bike, the frequency of serving depends on the number of miles ridden. We recommend once every 6 months as a minimum for a commercial operation to help reduce downtime. 

Free perks!

By swapping a traditional vehicle for a cargo bike, you can significantly boost your green credentials to the public and your customers. This change can lead to long-term cost savings and increase your brand’s appeal to customers who value climate-friendly, bike-based delivery methods.

If you like to find out more about e-cargo bikes, do get in touch via email as we’d be happy to help!