Buy a cargo bike now or get a hybrid & move up in 2-3 years?

BikeSnail

Pedelecer
Aug 6, 2021
32
8
Hello there,

I'm trying to pick a bike that could get me (5.2ft 62kg F) and my toddler (11 kgs, 2yo, on a rack seat) up double digit inclines. Childcare and work are on my doorstep so we only need the bike for leisure trips, playgrounds and running some light errands, but the problem is that to get to all those places we need to tackle some very steep hills -- anything up to 22% incline. So while overall I don't need that much cargo capacity (the standard 25 kg rack is plenty at the moment) I do need lots of power. The bike also needs to be stable and have good breaks. Oh, and I don't like a trailer -- we have very little storage space in our home/garden.

Now all of internet seems to think that parents should get a cargo bike, but I tried a Tern GSD and decided it's a bit of an overkill (too heavy!). I liked the Tern HSD more but I would need to dish out 5.5 k on one with a Performance Line engine and in all honesty I would much prefer a Performance CX or Cargo Line engine for my hills. I also considered the Benno Boost and Multicharger but they are not fully step through and that's a big minus.

All this made me think -- do I really need a cargo bike for traveling with my tiny toddler? We're not planning a second child. My son's weight is predicted to increase to 15kg in the next 2 years. That's still doable with a standard rack & seat, so I'm now considering buying a hybrid with Performance CX engine and using it until we outgrow it in 2-3 years. Coincidentally the cycle to work scheme with my employer is only for 2 (rather than 4) years.

Does buying a hybrid for now sound like a bad idea to cargo bikers? What would be the reasons to start using a cargo bike straightaway, given my case and requirements?

Many thanks for your input,
 

Peddlin' Pedro

Pedelecer
Jan 22, 2017
135
59
West Sussex, UK
A really good question, and there are undoubtedly a few people who’ve spent big on a cargo bike and never fully realised its potential. Also worth considering that many people find they can and want to do more and more with their cargo bikes, as good ones are astonishingly capable and versatile. However, if you’re confident that you only need it for leisure riding - assuming your local shops are as close as work and childcare - then, no, there’s no reason a hybrid wouldn’t work well for you. Potential disadvantages might be if you’re planning big days out and want to take more bits with you then you may run out of luggage space, and on hills as steep as those you mention and with a growing child on the back you might find the front wheel gets light and wanders a little. Worth seeing if you can test ride the bikes you’re looking at on similar terrain and with a comparable load on the back.
 

BikeSnail

Pedelecer
Aug 6, 2021
32
8
Thanks for the helpful tips. The wheel feels very light with the kid at the back on my normal bike but less so on loaned bikes, e.g., a 2018 Raleigh Motus. I'd be looking for a frame mounted battery in the hope that this would address this problem a bit. Luckily the local shops have let me do some test rides already and one is even open to test rides with my little passenger.
 

Peddlin' Pedro

Pedelecer
Jan 22, 2017
135
59
West Sussex, UK
I'd be looking for a frame mounted battery in the hope that this would address this problem a bit. Luckily the local shops have let me do some test rides already and one is even open to test rides with my little passenger.
That’s great. Good to hear they’ll work with you to get the right bike for your needs. Have fun with the test rides and let us know how you get on
 

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