According to ADAC, around 80,000 e-cargo bikes were sold in Germany in 2020. The range of models is wide. Among other things, models with two or three wheels, a long luggage rack or a transport box at the front are on the market. The ADAC testers examined five three-wheel cargo bikes with three different steering systems in the categories “Driving”, “Drive system and engine”, “Handling and comfort”, “Safety and workmanship” and “Pollutants”. The ADAC testers particularly focused on transporting children.
The winners are the two most expensive models, both with tilting technology. The Chike e-kids model comes off best with a grade of 2.1. The ADAC’s driving behavior, good brakes, manoeuvrable and direct steering and the equipment of the transport box, which is particularly suitable for transporting children, were convincing here. The second wheel with incline technology also scored “good”. The Butchers & Bicycles MK1-E automatic (grade 2.4) is the most expensive model in the test, but it is not as agile in the corners as the Chike. The Butchers & Bicycles was able to convince with high-quality, comprehensive equipment, powerful motor, short charging time, stable brakes and low-maintenance belt drive.
Dangerously weak brakes
The Vogue Carry 3 failed with “poor”. It had to be devalued because of its dangerously inadequate brakes. In general, the brakes, especially on heavy cargo bikes, should be designed so that there are always enough safety reserves even when fully loaded and when driving downhill. Even the worst lighting in the test field and a long battery charging time of around 7.5 hours mean that the ADAC expressly warns against buying the Vogue Carry 3. The Niholae family-e, a model with stub axle steering, and the Babboe GO-E are rated as “satisfactory”. The Babboe wheel, like the completely inadequate Vogue wheel, is equipped with a turntable steering.
Due to their higher weight, e-cargo bikes have less electric range than comparable motorized e-two-wheelers. In the test, the average range was between 40 (Babboe) and just under 65 kilometers for the Nihola. The loading times also differ. The Nihola takes the longest to fully charge (almost eight hours), while the Butchers & Bicycles model only takes 3.5 hours. All models caused problems for the ADAC employees, especially at the beginning of the test, with driving behavior that took a lot of getting used to. Especially when turning and cornering, a special posture and an adapted speed are necessary in order not to tip over.
Test drive is a basic requirement
Test drives before buying are therefore a basic requirement, also in order to find out which steering system is best for you personally. The requirements and needs of a cargo bike should definitely be clarified before buying anyway, writes the ADAC. Because not every transport – from shopping to heavy loads to children – can be easily carried out by every model. In order to be able to transport children safely, the ADAC believes that manufacturers need to improve the seat belt situation in particular. There is also still some catching up to do when it comes to accident protection in the head area of small passengers. The ADAC emphasizes that a helmet is an absolute must for children and drivers.
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