If there’s any mode of transportation that can replace cars for short to medium-distance travel, it’s undoubtedly cargo bicycles. While electric bikes may still carry attributes of entertainment and fitness, cargo bikes are designed as a solid second choice beyond cars. They have gained popularity, particularly in Europe, driven by the call for green, low-carbon travel. Cargo bikes are now considered one of the best ways for personal mobility, alongside electric bikes.
Cargo bicycles not only offer cargo capacity comparable to cars but also provide economic and lightweight alternatives that cars lack. Many electric bicycle companies have recognized the growth potential of cargo bicycles, and they are increasingly entering this market. This trend is especially noticeable in regions like Europe and the United States, where major e-bike players like Aventon, Rad Power Bikes, Lectric, and Trek have introduced their own electric cargo products. Recently, Cannondale also announced its entry into the electric cargo market by introducing two cargo bicycles: the Cargowagen Neo and Wonderwagen Neo, catering to individual and family needs.
The Cargowagen Neo is a longtail cargo bicycle, characterized by its extended rear frame. This design increases available space and allows for the addition of various accessories such as storage bags, baskets, etc., to enhance overall cargo capacity. For families with multiple children, the rear rack can accommodate child seats for up to two children. The front frame can be modularly equipped to carry goods as well. The total cargo capacity of the bicycle reaches 80 kilograms, and there is also a trailer attachment point for users who need to transport larger items.
To address the issue of weight distribution caused by the cargo being concentrated on the rear frame of longtail models, Cannondale has lowered the vehicle’s center of gravity with a low-step frame. This makes the bicycle more stable during rides. To keep the frame compact, Cannondale opted for 20-inch small wheels.
The Cargowagen Neo comes in two models, Neo 1 and Neo 2, both equipped with Bosch’s Cargo motor. The two models feature different battery sizes, with Neo 1 having a Bosch PowerPack 725Wh battery, and Neo 2 using a 545Kh battery. Both models are equipped with dual batteries. The internal gear hub varies between the two models, with Neo 1 featuring the Enviolo HD CV gearbox, while Neo 2 is equipped with the Shimano Deore LinkGlide gearbox.
Compared to box-style cargo bicycles, the Cargowagen offers a more compact form, making it feel more lightweight during rides. It combines durability and flexibility, suitable for commuting and various light transport scenarios. Currently, only the Neo 2 is available for sale in the United States, priced at $4,300. Both models are available in Europe.
In contrast to the Cargowagen, the Wonderwagen offers more modular design and comprehensive functionality. However, it tends to be bulkier, but this is an intentional choice for a family-oriented model where practicality outweighs lightweight design considerations.
The Wonderwagen is a typical front-box cargo bicycle with a cargo compartment featuring two seats for children, each capable of carrying a child weighing up to 30 kilograms. It is equipped with safety belts and headrests, ensuring a comfortable ride akin to that of a car. Additionally, the Wonderwagen takes weather conditions into account, allowing users to install a roof to shield against the elements. The cargo compartment can hold goods with a maximum weight of 100 kilograms, while the rear frame provides additional space for up to 27 kilograms of cargo and can also accommodate additional seats.
Because an overly heavy cargo compartment can impede steering, the Wonderwagen Neo is equipped with a cable steering system, which is smoother and more precise than traditional linkages. It also allows for a reduced ground clearance, enhancing user maneuverability.
The Wonderwagen uses Bosch’s smartphone handlebar, allowing users to view information such as remaining range, battery status, and boost levels through the Flow app on their phones. The handlebars also feature a remote control, and Cannondale has incorporated Garmin’s rear radar, which detects vehicles approaching from behind and sends alerts to the user’s smartphone.
Like the Cargowagen, the Wonderwagen Neo has two models, Neo 1 and Neo 2, with differences in battery and drivetrain. Neo 1 uses the Enviolo system, while Neo 2 is equipped with a 10-speed Shimano Deore system. They are priced at £7,000 and £6,000, respectively, and are currently available only in Europe.
These innovative cargo bicycles from Cannondale represent a growing trend in the electric bicycle industry, catering to the demand for sustainable and practical transportation options for both individuals and families.