Cannondale is announcing its first electric cargo bikes today with the Cargowagen Neo long-tail model launching in the US, and the Wonderwagen Neo front-loader headed exclusively to Europe. They aren’t cheap until you compare them to the $12,000 annual cost to own and operate a car, which these heavy haulers are designed to replace.
Having the 52-year-old Connecticut-based bicycle maker — owned by Dutch giant Pon Holdings — finally release not one but two cargo bikes is just the latest sign that we’re truly entering a golden age for e-cargo bikes.
The Cargowagen Neo is coming to the US “this winter” with a price that starts at $4,300, or €4,000 when it lands in Europe a bit earlier this fall. It’s a long-tail e-cargo bike powered by a 10-speed Shimano Deore transmission connected to a mid-drive Bosch motor and up to two batteries. The small but wide 20-inch wheels, low step-thru frame, heavy-duty kickstand, upright and adjustable handlebars, and saddle with a dropper post (allowing it to quickly raise and lower using a lever on the handlebar) should combine to make the Neo stable and super easy to get on and off for riders of all sizes — that’s important when balancing heavy loads, including precious cargo like rambunctious kids.
The US model is equipped with a 545Wh Bosch battery pack and a Bosch Performance Speed motor capable of hitting 28mph. The European model swaps in a Bosch Cargo Line motor with a 25km/h max speed to conform to the EU’s more stringent regulations. Cannondale also offers a 725Wh Bosch battery option.
The Cargowagen Neo spec sheet lists a max load total of 440 pounds (200kg), which includes the weight of the rider and bike. It can carry two kids — about 60 pounds (27kg) each — with compatible Thule Yepp seats sold separately.
Fortunately, the bike comes fitted with 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes for controlled stops when fully loaded. It also comes standard with integrated lights, chain guard, fenders, and a front suspension offering to help smooth out bumpy roads in all kinds of weather. It’s also offered with a wide variety of accessories to extend functionality and hauling capacity, including a $30 passenger seat pad, front cargo racks that cost either $89 or $115, a $130 pannier bag, and $235 surround rail for more mounting options. A trailer hitch comes as standard.
The bigger Wonderwagen Neo is skipping North America entirely for Europe, where these elongated “bakfiets”-style e-cargo bikes are all the rage. There it will go head-to-head with the extremely popular Urban Arrow e-cargo bikes also owned by parent company Pon Holdings.
The Wonderwagen Neo is designed to carry up to three kids — two in the box, one on the rear rack. The large front box is designed to protect your kids and property with loads of cargo capacity, with more on the rear rack, center console, and lower box shelves. The low-slung cargo box with integrated step makes it easy and safe for kids to enter on their own. The cargo seat can be removed to maximize hauling space, while an anti-rollback feature takes the worry out of starting on hills.
Like the Cargowagen, the Wonderwagon also features 20-inch wheels, mounts for up to two batteries, a dropper seat post, and front suspension. It can also be equipped with an optional rain cover to keep your kids and groceries dry, and rear-facing radar to alert you of approaching cars. Pricing will start at €6,499 when the Wonderwagen Neo begins shipping in Europe this fall.
Cargo bikes have long been a way of life in many European cities, and the addition of an electric motor in recent years holds the potential to transform cities everywhere. Not only do e-cargo bikes allow even the daintiest of parents to haul their entire brood over long distances, but they’re also rapidly being adopted by a range of companies for urban deliveries of food and parcels, helping to eliminate toxic traffic-snarling cars and trucks from roads for the benefit of all.