I always wanted to take my little kids (I have three!) on a bike and go for a ride and maybe even do a little shopping on the road. I thought it was too much to ask for, but found out about cargo bikes aka bakfietsen (as plural from bakfiets) – these are the bikes with boxes in front. I wanted to buy one, so I did a little research in the field. Find out what are the prices of cargo bikes!
For a brand new cargo bike, you’ll have to pay from 1549€ up to 5690€. If you’d prefer something cheaper, you can try to find a second-hand cargo bike for 375 – 1250€. For a bike with the electric pedal assistance, you have to pay 2699€ while the same model without the e-assist costs only 1699€.
The prices are so different because of the “with” or “without” electric assistance option, but also because there are lots of types of cargo bikes. I’ll try to tell you in detail how much each of them costs, name a few producers for you and try to figure out the most affordable way to lay hands on one of such precious bikes.
Prices of Non-electric cargo bikes
There are few types of cargo bikes, but when it comes to Boxbikes, basically you have to choose from 3-wheelers, 2-wheelers and a “dog” version. There are also bikes built specially for transporting kids and those assigned for all kinds of, well… cargo. Moreover, there are a few producers of cargo bikes, and the prices of even the same type of cargo bike start to differ as well.
For example, for a 2-wheeler made by Babboe, you can pay either 1649 – 1959€ https://dutchbikeshop.ie/babboe/ while the same type, but made by Nihola will cost you 2749 – 2995€ https://dutchbikeshop.ie/nihola-cargo-bikes/. The cheapest option that I’ve found was 1549€ from Bakfiets.nl – https://www.beerfietsen.nl/fietsen/cargo. Accordingly, the “dog” version of a cargo bike (supplied with a dog belt and opening doors which makes it easier for a pet to jump into the box and stay safe during the ride) costs around 1799€ (Babboe) or 2595€ (Nihola).
You can also buy a bike which does not have a box to transport the cargo, but just a flatbed – a space to put something in it. If you are looking for a cargo bike to ride with your kids a lot, try out the Babboe bikes first – they were designed specifically for that purpose. The kids are safe in their three-point safety belt, and you’ll find a Maxi-Cosi adapter for your youngest.
Let’s give it a boost – the cost of e-assistance
OK, now it’s clear that buying a cargo bike it’s not a walk in the park when it comes to money. I was really wondering whether electric assistance is really necessary as it may add from 50% up to even a 100% to the non-electric bike cost. But then I started imaging myself with two kids and some groceries, in winter, cycling uphill… Yes, having a motor is not exactly a bad thing.
For an e-assist Babboe cargo bike, a 3-wheeler, you’ll pay around 2599 – 3699€. 2-wheelers cost about 2749€ whereas for Babboe Dog E you’ll pay 2699€. There are also producers who make only electric bikes – for example, Urban Arrow. Their designed for family purposes 2-wheeler costs about 2350€, but you will find many options here, with just a flatbed for 3650€ or with XL cargo box for 5050€ (https://www.busybike.com/en/shop/brands/urban-arrow). To the costs of an electric cargo bike, you have to add also the price of a replacement battery, which means additional 440 – 600€.
The battery in your bicycle should last about 3-4 years, but it’s best to have a backup from the beginning so I’d recommend for you to buy one with your bicycle. Of course to the general costs, you have to add the electricity bills that you’ll have to pay and take into consideration that the repairs may become more difficult than they were when you had only your good old plain bicycle.
But all in all, I think it’s the best option for several reasons. The internet is full of stories about how riding a bakfietsen is taking its toll on bikes owners’ health, especially by hurting the owner’s knees. Besides, you can ride a bike more often and leave your car in the garage or buy a second-hand electric cargo bike which will make the whole thing much easier on your wallet.
Prices of Boxbikes around the world
Although bakfiets cargo bike is the most popular and traded in the Netherlands, you can buy it all over the world. Just watch out for the names, as it’s sometimes called a box bike or a front-loader cargo bike. In fact, there are widely known cargo bikes’ producers from the USA or Canada or other (then Netherland) European countries, so there’s one thing you can do: find one that is closest to you and check out his prices first.
The reason is simple: as you may suspect, for a Nihola (a Danish company) bicycle you’ll have to pay significantly more in the USA (3849€ which means about 4400$) than in the Netherlands (2595€, that is 2970$).
But still, you have Yubabikes (3399$ for fully equipped 2-wheeler) or Larry vs Harry. On their website http://shop.larryvsharry.com/ you can check out the prices (starting from about 2400$) by building your online version of your dream cargo bike.
Second-hand cargo bikes – is it safe?
That’s the thing, isn’t it? You can buy used cargo bikes even for about 375 – 450€ which is considerably less than for a new one. But such a low price for a bike that should really be sturdy and reliable makes you suspicious. That is why I wouldn’t recommend buying a cargo bike too cheap. Better stick to those offers that give you 50% discount compared to the original price (for example 1250€ for a Babboe cargo bike like in this offer . And of course you should always check whether the bike was properly maintained while used, and look carefully at the brakes. Sometimes it is even best to replace the gearing system, so the price – at first sight really tempting – may turn out to be higher than expected.
There’s yet another problem with the second-hand option. There are some bikes to buy, but not so many and it might be difficult to find one relatively close to you, so as you can go and check it for yourself. And you need to do this before you buy it, right? You can find cargo bikes on e-bay though or on such sites like marktplaats.nl which is a Dutch version of e-bay. Even if you don’t find your dream bike on it, I think it’s still worth looking at.
Do it yourself – ways to have a cheap cargo bike
You can also think about making a cargo bike yourself. You can do it using special kits designed by others, like here: https://argobikes.com/, where you can just add the box to the front of your own plain bicycle (and – what’s important, remove it whenever you’d like). Such a possibility will cost you about 900$, but it’s pretty handy and – which is important – easy to do.
You can also try and build the whole thing by yourself like instructed here. The cost is difficult to estimate, but it shouldn’t be more than 100- 200€ which is an extremely low price for such a bike. If you don’t feel confident enough to build your bike (my biggest consideration here would be the safety, especially if you want to ride with your kids), you can always look for some local builder. He will gladly do it for you, and it should be still much cheaper than buying a brand new cargo bike in a shop.
So, now you know a thing or two about the cargo bikes’ prices. Remember though that before you make your final decision, you should do a round of test rides. You should check whether you feel stable on it (for example it’s said that 3-wheelers are more difficult to ride than 2-wheelers) or is it fast enough for you or easy enough to manoeuvre.
How much are the accessories for cargo bikes? For a box to fit your flatbed, you’ll pay 100€ – 150€, kids and toddlers’ seats cost about 80€ and Maxi-Cosi adapter 100 – 189€. For the rain cover, you’ll pay about 149€ or 269€ for the one you can ride with. For about 200€ you can bike extra seats or benches, and for 50€ cushions to make your kids’ ride more comfortable.
Where can I buy a cargo bike? You will find your local dealer on every Internet page of cargo bike manufacturers’ site, for example Nihola http://www.nihola.com/home.html, Yubabikes https://yubabikes.com/, Urban Arrow https://www.urbanarrow.com/en, Bakfiets.nl www.bakfiets.com, Babboe http://www.babboecargobike.com/.
|Babboe||Urban Arrow||Nihola||Yubabikes||Bakfiets.nl||Larry vs Harry|
|3-wheeler||1699 – 1959€||x||2995€||x||1619 – 1789€||x|
|2-wheeler||1649€||x||x||2400€||1549 – 1949€||2126€|
|3-wheeler e-assist||2599 – 3699€||x||5250 – 5850€||x||3619€||x|
|2-wheeler e-assist||2699€||2350€ 5690||x||5230€||5.088€||3200€|