If you’re familiar with cargo biking, you’ll know that all cargo bikes aren’t created equal. 3 wheel, 2 wheel, long tail, the options are endless. Like the decision to purchase a road bike vs a mountain bike for different purposes, the same applies to cargo biking.
We chose 3 wheel bikes for Tribe’s needs. This wasn’t a decision made by accident, with much thought and product testing going in to our decision. Today we’ll take a look at 2 wheel vs 3 wheel cargo bikes, and why we ended up with the 3 wheel version.
What's a 2 wheel cargo bike?
The bikes that we are comparing to are the style of cargo bike you might be used to seeing ridden by bike couriers in city CBDs. The have a long front ‘box’, with the wheel right at the very front of the bike.
Well these bikes can be used to carry kids too. Generally you can fit 2 kids in the box of one of these bikes.
Below are a couple of examples:
Pros and Cons of each style of bike
We’d love to say ‘3 wheel cargo bikes are simply the best, buy one now!’, but the truth is both styles of bikes have their pros and cons.
The advantages of both compared to ‘long tail’ style cargo bikes (those that have a long cargo rack, allowing you to stack kids behind you) is that your kids are in front of you, and the cargo box just adds so much more flexibility to your riding! We think cargo box style bikes are the way to go when it comes to carrying kids.
Pros of 2 wheel cargo bikes
The biggest advantage a 2 wheel cargo bike has over a 3 wheeler is its nimbleness. 2 wheel bikes handle more like normal bikes, so you can take corners faster and zip around through traffic more like if you were riding a normal bike.
Pros of 3 wheel cargo bikes
Some of the advantages of 3 wheel cargo bikes include:
- Carry up to 4 kids: Whilst some 2 wheel bikes can fit up to 4 kids, the box on a 2 wheel bike would make it a real tight fit. They really only comfortably fit 2 kids. On a 3 wheel bike, 4 kids comfortably fit in the box.
- Carry bikes, scooters, beach gear, etc: If you don’t have 4 kids in your bike you’ve got ample room to take other stuff on your family adventures. Easily fit balance bikes, scooters, soccer balls and beach gear.
- More stability at low speeds and when stopped: The trike design gives you ultimate low speed stability. Where the weight of a 2 wheel cargo bike can require some manhandling of the bike when waiting and taking off from traffic lights, with a 3 wheeler you don’t even need to remove your feet from the pedals.
- Park or stop the bike without a kickstand: Having 3 wheels means no pesky kickstands to deal with (or trying to find a wall to lean the bike against). This is particularly useful when your child drops their banana or has a snotty nose that needs to be wiped. Quickly pull over to the side of the road, apply the integrated parking brake, sort out what needs to be sorted out and get back on your bike. No need to balance the bike or use a kickstand. It’s these little conveniences that make riding a 3 wheel cargo bike just… easy!
So why did Tribe go with 3 wheels?
Tribe’s goal is to get more families out on bikes, having fun. For us the additional flexibility of a 3 wheeler best meets these needs. The additional space alone means we leave our car at home much more than we used to and the stability of a 3 wheeler meant mum, dad and even grandma and grandpa feel comfortable riding the bikes.
The tradeoff is a bike that lacks the ‘nimbleness’ of a 2 wheel bike. However, we really don’t see it as an issue and have rarely wanted for the extra manouverability. Most of our adventures aren’t high speed adventures through city traffic, they tend to involve cycleways and quiet back streets and cruising speeds of 16-20kmh.
If this is what you are looking for, then a Tribe Bike might just be for you!
Ready for Family Adventures on 3 Wheels?
Tribe Bikes are available now. Priced from $1,990, delivered fully assembled and ready to ride. This includes free delivery to NSW, Victoria, Queensland and ACT.