Sea Otter 2024: Cargo bikes set to lead the urban mobility revolution

There were more than a handful of brands showcasing their vision for environmentally aware urban transport

Clock04:05, Monday 22nd April 2024
Even at the mountain-bike biased Sea Otter Classic, plenty of brands had cargo bikes on display

© GCN

Even at the mountain-bike biased Sea Otter Classic, plenty of brands had cargo bikes on display

If you live in a town or city, the chances are that you will have seen the amount of cargo bikes being used steadily rising. With more and more people actively looking to use cars less for a myriad of reasons, cargo bikes represent a new age of urban mobility.

At Sea Otter 2024, it was clear that, although cargo bikes are very on trend right now, how individual brands have approached the emerging niche is open to interpretation. Along with some of the bigger brands, such as Specialized which showed off its latest in utilitarian bicycles, there were also plenty of lesser-known brands looking to showcase their vision of what a cargo bike should look like.

Here's a pick of the most interesting cargo bikes we spotted at Sea Otter.

Omnium Cargo

Copenhagen-based brand Ominum had a full range of cargo bikes on display.

Interestingly, the brand makes each bike with or without pedal assistance, giving prospective consumers the option to add support from Shimano’s range of e-bike motors. With the majority of the brand's sales coming from Germany, it was intriguing to learn that it sells more non-e-cargo bikes than those fitted with a motor.

The Ominum brand was established 12 years ago in Copenhagen by a cycle courier who was used to riding track-style bikes to navigate across the city.

Currently the brand's range is made up of four bikes, with the Cargo offering the greatest load area. In a real nod to the bike's city credentials, the bike is available with a belt drive and hub gear, providing long-term maintenance-free riding.

Specialized Turbo Porto

Specialized took the opportunity to show off the versatility of its newly launched e-cargo bike, the Turbo Porto. Using a ‘long tail’ design, most of the Porto’s load-carrying capabilities are positioned behind the rider. This area of the bike is also highly customisable with a whole range of accessories converting the rear of the bike from a flat-loading area to an additional seat or a large basket-style loading platform.

At the brand's display at Sea Otter, it was keen to show off how much cargo the Porto can actually carry, with the two bikes fully laden with everything from a two-burner gas stove to a croquet set.

Through clever geometry, the Porto only needs to be manufactured in one frame size. The brand claims that this can accommodate riders from 155cm through to 195cm. With cargo bikes often shared by multiple users, much like a car would be, having a frame that can accommodate a wide range of people is a neat addition.

Tern Orox

Tern has been in the cargo bike game for a few years now with the brand best known for its GSD however, earlier in the year, the brand launched an adventure-ready cargo bike called the Orox. This bike can be thought of as a go-anywhere cargo bike that uses up to five-inch wide tyres to keep you rolling, even when the road runs out.

When the bike was initially released, one of the headline features of the bike was its quoted range. With two 800Wh batteries fitted inside the bike's frame storage unit, Tern is confident the Orox can provide assistance for up to 300km between charges.

With a total carrying capacity of 210kg, that drops down slightly to 180kg when heading off-road, the Orox can be used to carry either additional luggage or an additional passenger with a second seat fitted to the rear loading area.

Benno 46ER

Hailing from California and founded in 2015, Benno is a relatively local brand to Laguna Seca where Sea Otter is held. Benno is a brand with the sole intention of creating e-mobility solutions with five bikes in its current range.

Taking centre stage at the brand’s booth was the 46ER. The bike gets its name from the combination of using a 24-inch rear wheel and a 26-inch front wheel. Even though the 46ER is able to carry up to 190kg and has space to accommodate an additional seat behind the rider, it measures in at a comparable length to a regular bike.

For people who need to store their bikes inside a house where space is limited, cargo bikes are often too big and bulky to be a viable option. The 46ER looks to solve this problem through efficient use of space. It is powered by Bosch’s proven CX performance line motor and a 500Wh battery to provide up to 85Nm of torque.

Flyer Folding Cargo

One of the more novel cargo bikes that grabbed our attention was the Flyer Folding Cargo. As the name suggests, this bike can be folded in half with a central hinge allowing the bike to shrink in size when not in use. The brand said that the exact reason behind the Folding Cargo was for portability as well as storage. With the folding mechanism greatly reducing the bike's overall footprint, it has the potential to open up cargo bikes to users who do not have the luxury of space to keep a traditional cargo bike.

With a weight limit of 300lbs (130kg), it has a lighter carrying capacity than more traditional cargo bikes but is still compatible with the brand's catalogue of accessories, including the Kid&Cargo carrier and a trailer. Available currently only in the USA, the bike uses a 350-watt brushless hub motor to provide assistance for up to 40 miles between charges.

Have you replaced any car journeys with a cargo bike or would you in the future? Let us know your thoughts on the latest wave of urban mobility solutions in the comments section below.

For all the latest tech news and developments make sure to head over to the tech news section of the GCN website.

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