What is the difference between a cargo bike and a three-wheeled bike? 

If you clicked on this article it’s because you want to understand the difference between a cargo bike and a three-wheeled cargo bike… Well, it’s simple, there is none! A three-wheeled bike is a cargo bike.

Are you lost? Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything to you.

The cargo bike: what is it ?

To make it simple, it’s still a bike, it can have 2, 3 or even 4 wheels. What makes it different: it allows a much more consequential transport capacity than a classic bicycle! Children, pets, groceries, suitcases, toolboxes, even small pieces of furniture… the cargo bike can carry a lot of things.

It’s a real asset in everyday life! It is a safe and practical alternative to a car, especially for young parents with busy lives who alternate between trips from school to work.

But it can also be just as useful in the daily life of professionals (craftsmen, delivery drivers, etc.), since it allows them to travel quickly in the city over reasonable distances. A cargo bike is certainly more cumbersome than a classic bike, but don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, it is very easy to drive and remains well adapted to the traffic and bicycle paths in cities.

In the last few years, the cargo bike has diversified with more and more innovative and adaptable models!

You will find in its range:

  • the compact longtail or midtail bike: it has a sturdy frame and is extended at the rear. It allows the transport of heavy loads on the luggage rack. You can add a basket at the front or saddlebags to further increase its capacity.
  • the two-wheeled bike: with two wheels, it is stretched out to the front. A loading box is positioned in front of the front wheel and can carry up to two or even three children. Its particularity: it has an offset wheel at the front, but it is easy to drive after getting the hang of it!
  • and… the famous three-wheeled bike: classic or pendular, it has three wheels and a loading box between the two front wheels. It is the largest of the cargo bikes and can carry up to four, even six children!
triporteur velo cargo addbike

How and why to choose a three-wheeled bike ?

As you can imagine, the choice of a cargo bike is usually according to its intended use and the commute: distance, type of roads…

You can find it under different names: cargo bike, three-wheeled bike, cargo tricycle…

Questions to ask yourself before buying a cargo cycle:

  • Do I need a cargo bike for personal or professional use?
  • What type of loads will I put in my bike? Errands? Groceries? Children? How many children? My pet?
  • What kind of trips will I do on a daily basis? Trips in the city? On a bicycle path? A commute with lots of hills? 

To help you see more clearly, we answer the most frequently asked questions about the three-wheeled cargo bike.

Is it easy to to ride?

This bike is certainly less manoeuvrable than a two-wheeled bike since it is wider (about 90 cm) but some models are lighter (up to 78 cm) and it weighs on average 40 kg. But that’s without counting its considerable storage capacity! A bit of practice is necessary beforehand to get the hang out this type of bike. However, it takes very little time to adapt to it! And above all, with three wheels, no more need to put your foot down while waiting at a red light!

What about security?

Whether you choose a two-wheeled or a three-wheeled solution, don’t worry: your children (and your pets) will be transported in complete safety!

The trunk is designed to be rigid, protect from bad weather and, of course, they are equipped with seat belts!

Moreover, as the trunk is placed at the front of the tricycle, children can be supervised at all times.

However, we must not forget the indispensable and obligatory element: the helmet!

Tilting or not tilting? 

Pendulum systems on cargo bikes have been developed more and more over the last few years.

But what is it for? With a tilting system, your wheels will now be able to tilt when turning. This will bring the maneuverability advantages of a tandem bike with the storage capacity of a cargo bike!

The advantages: hills and turns will limit you less in your journeys, this will allow you to have more control during turns, to make them faster and therefore adapt more easily to all styles of riding!

For more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3J0_19hnqw&vl=fr.

And for the transport of loads?

The three-wheeled cargo is the model with the largest load volume!

Depending on the model, it can be used for transporting :

  • Children: it is possible to carry up to four, or even six for some models in all your travels.
  • Loads: shopping, professional deliveries, small furniture, everything is possible!
  • Your pets: many models are nowadays adapted (and comfortable) for our little companions. Find the Carry Dog here.

Is it a comfortable bike?

In addition to offering you a more comfortable riding position, children have more room than on a tandem bike and are protected so they can enjoy the ride!

Indeed, there is no lack of accessories to improve the comfort of your little passengers (cushions, secure baby seats, support bars, foot support, waterproof covers…).

Is it more stable than a conventional bike? 

It all depends on the model you choose. As previously mentioned, options with tilting-wheels offer excellent handling and better road holding during turns. But it won’t offer more stability than a two-wheeled bike. The non-pendular three-wheeled cargo bike will offer total stability, especially if it is loaded! Be careful, however, during turns, especially when empty, it is necessary to take it more slowly.

Electrical assistance, with or without? 

Electrical assistance is not essential, but depending on your needs, it can be more than practical!

If your journey involves hills with loads or children, if the path is uneven or if you prefer, for comfort, to arrive at work without sweat… An electric bike may be the right choice for you! Combining an electric motor with your bike can replace the daily use of the car.

In a nutshell,

The three-wheeled cargo bike requires a learning period to adapt compared to that of a conventional bicycle. While its price can sometimes be a deterrent, keep in mind that it easily replaces a second car and a transit pass. With the current subsidies from major cities and the mobility package, it is becoming increasingly accessible. It also makes it possible to get around in an environmentally friendly way, an eco-friendly daily gesture that is good for our morale and our planet!

At AddBike, our specialty is family-friendly bikes! Come and discover our products.

Still need advice? You can contact us here.

Go cargo !