- Flywheel: Cannondale enters the cargo bike frenzy | Vehicles from Electra, Blix, Magnum, Ride1Up, and HeyBike
Flywheel: Cannondale enters the cargo bike frenzy | Vehicles from Electra, Blix, Magnum, Ride1Up, and HeyBike
Exploring Cannondale’s foray into the cargo bike segment & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the owned and used micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the secondary market.
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The observation of the week explores Cannondale’s foray into the cargo bike segment. This week’s featured vehicles are two cruisers, two commuters, and a compact folding ebike.
Observation of the Week
Cannondale enters the cargo bike frenzy
Just last week, pedal bike incumbent Cannondale announced the launch of two new e-cargo bikes, the Cargowagen Neo and the Wonderwagen Neo. Cannondale already has quite a few popular ebikes in the market, but they’re either recreational ebikes like the Moterra Neo or city commuters like the Tesoro Neo X. The cargo bike form factor is one that we’ve all long been awaiting, and Cannondale has finally responded by releasing both a longtail and a bakfiets/front-loader.
The Cargowagen Neo is a class-3 longtail cargo bike, available in both the US and the EU. It retails for $4,300, and features best-in-class componentry like an 85Nm Bosch Performance Speed mid-drive motor, a 525Wh Bosch battery pack (with options for a dual battery setup or a larger 725Wh pack), and a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain. The frame is nimble and low to the ground due to its 20” wheels, and the saddle is mounted on a dropper post that makes it easy to share amongst multiple riders.
The Wonderwagen Neo is a class-3 bakfiets, and is exclusively sold in the EU market at a retail price of €6,499. It seems spec’d to be a direct competitor to Urban Arrow’s bakfiets, which is interesting given that both Cannondale and Urban Arrow are owned by the same bicycle conglomerate Pon Holdings. Its powertrain features an 85Nm Bosch Cargo Line mid-drive motor and a 725Wh Bosch battery pack (with an optional dual battery setup), and is paired with an Enviolo Heavy Duty continuously variable transmission. The Wonderwagen Neo has one of the best designed cargo boxes of any bakfiet in the market. The cargo box geometry is shaped such that it protects kids in the case of impact, and it comes with integrated foot-rails (to help kids get in and out of the box), seats (that can easily be taken out to carry cargo), and shelving/storage. From a software/controls perspective, the Wonderwagen Neo also has highly practical features like anti-rollback to make riding on hills safer and a walk mode to help relocate the vehicle. Like the Cargowagen Neo, the Wonderwagen Neo has 20” wheels, a dropper seat post, and a front suspension fork.
Notably, both come standard with integrated lights, fenders, a rear rack, and other must-have urban riding accessories that Cannondale has typically charged for in the past with other vehicle models. This is a welcome new behavior from incumbent bike brands as they try to capture customers looking for practical vehicle packages and not just recreational joyrides.
The cargo bike segment, to date, has largely been dominated by D2C brands. However, many of them have faced significant issues with reliability and maintenance. Despite their affordability, these kinds of servicing problems are hard for customers to reconcile when they’re using these vehicles as their daily all-purpose vehicles and car replacements. Cannondale’s recent launch is just the latest in a series of incumbent dealer-network bike brands entering the cargo bike frenzy (i.e. Trek’s Fetch bikes, Specialized’s Globe brand, and Giant’s Momentum brand). More and more dealer-network brands entering the cargo bike space is exciting news for customers and the industry at large. For customers, these brands offer massive servicing networks and vehicles with reliable, easy-to-find parts. For the industry as a whole, this trend raises the bar for vehicle maintainability and will (hopefully) lead to greater pressure on D2C brands to improve their servicing options.
As James Gross puts it, “the cargo ebike is the closest thing to a car we have seen in the micromobility world in terms of bundling trips.” They’re bikes that appeal to riders looking for micromobility for its utility, not just leisure. As a greater portion of micromobility customers start skewing towards this utility, cargo bikes will only become that much more popular. Selling vehicles for these types of customers has been a bit difficult for incumbent brands in the past given that their customers have traditionally been recreational riders, but it’s about time they start shifting focus to those replacing car trips with micromobility.
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Featured Vehicles of the Week
The Electra Cruiser Go! is an affordable class-1 step-thru cruiser. Electra is best known for its laidback Townie Go! cruisers, and its Cruiser Go! offers an even more relaxed frame geometry that makes it even better suited for leisure riding. Its powertrain features a 40Nm Hyena rear hub motor and a 250Wh battery pack that is integrated into the down tube. Pedal assistance is determined by both a torque and cadence sensor, and the transmission is a single-speed drivetrain. The Cruiser Go! is designed to meet the power regulations for ebikes in the EU, which is why its powertrain is weaker than that of most other cruisers sold in the US. That being said, it’s still a great recreational cruiser that is extremely comfortable. One of the most notable comfort features on the Cruiser Go! is Electra’s patented “Flat Foot Technology,” which places the pedals further forward on the frame to allow for full leg extension when pedaling while still keeping the seat low enough for riders to be able to plant their feet flat on the ground when stopped. Additionally, even though it doesn’t have any suspension, the Cruiser Go!’s fatter balloon tires help cushion rides. The Cruiser Go! is Electra’s most affordable vehicle, and offers a D2C-type price point with all the benefits of a dealer-brand ebike. Electra is actually a sub-brand of Trek, and as such has access to Trek’s massive nationwide network. This listing is brand new and is sold by Stanford bike shop The Bike Connection. It comes with 1 year of complimentary service as well as a full 2 year warranty by Electra. Listing can be found here.
The Vika+ Flex is a class-2 folding ebike by Santa Cruz-based brand Blix. It’s an upgrade to the original Vika+, and features a better folding mechanism, better integrated electronics, and all around improved accessories. The Vika+ Flex’s powertrain consists of a 50Nm Shengyi geared rear hub motor and a ~614Wh battery pack made of premium Panasonic cells, giving it the torque and hill-climbing capabilities of a commuter or larger form-factor ebike. Its folding mechanism is easy to use and solid with little frame flex when riding, and its 20” wheels make the Vika+ Flex zippy. One con for the Vika+ Flex is that its ~55lbs weight is a bit heavier than most other folding ebikes, but that’s primarily because it comes with an integrated rack, lighting, and fenders. Blix used to be a dealer brand, but it now primarily sells D2C while still offering excellent servicing options. The Vika+ Flex is a higher quality folding ebike than those of most other D2C brands, and it’s a compelling option for riders living in dense, space-tight cities. This listing has a Flywheel Estimated Mileage of ~571.65mi and was bought new 2 years ago. Listing can be found here.
The Magnum Cruiser 1.0 is a class-2/class-3 hybrid cruiser. Although it’s called a cruiser, the Cruiser 1.0 is really designed to be a commuter with the comfort of a cruiser. Its plush balloon tires, extra wide seat, cruiser frame geometry, and suspension fork make riders feel like they’re gliding when riding, and its pedals are positioned a bit further forward (think of it as a subtler version of Electra’s “Flat Foot Technology” configuration) to help maximize leg extension and keep the stand-over height low. The Cruiser 1.0 features a 60Nm Das-Kit internally geared rear-hub motor and a 624Wh swappable battery pack. Both are larger than the powertrain components found on other cruisers, and are furhter indicators of the fact that the Cruiser 1.0 is designed to be a highly practical, everyday vehicle. Magnum is the leading affordability-minded brand with a sizeable dealer network, and their Cruiser 1.0 is a great combination of utility and comfort. For those looking for a nimbler vehicle with a similar powertrain, consider the Magnum Metro. This listing was bought 1.5 years ago and has a mileage of 190mi. Listing can be found here.
The Ride1Up LMT’D is a hybrid class-2/class-3 performance-focused commuter and the the muscle car of ebikes. As that title would suggest, the LMT’D’s powertrain is monstrous, featuring a 95Nm rear hub motor and a 672Wh battery pack. Paired with an 8-speed Shimano transmission, the LMT’D has plenty of torque to get up even the steepest of hills or trails. The motor is controlled by a torque sensor instead of a cadence sensor, which makes the pedal assistance significantly more responsive and intuitive. Torque sensors are rare for ebikes with a hub motor or throttle because they can be difficult to integrate on such vehicles. In that vein, many riders have complained that there’s a decent amount of lag with the pedal assistance on the LMT’D. However, it’s still a nice addition that is smoother than a cadence sensor. The LMT’D also has a suspension fork and quick-rolling tires, which help riders take full advantage of the powertrain and tackle roads or trails with ease. Unlike many other D2C ebikes, the LMT’D doesn’t come with a rear rack or fenders. However, those are understandable design compromises given that they allow Ride1Up to offer an amazing powertrain, drivetrain, and suspension for <$2K. This listing was professionally assembled and has a Flywheel Estimated Mileage of 196.38mi. Listing can be found here.
The HeyBike Cityrun is a capable budget class-2 commuter. What stands out about the Cityrun is that it retails for an ultra-affordable price point of $1,299 despite having components that are either normally found on more expensive bikes or are sold for an extra charge as accessories. Its powertrain features a 500W (~50Nm) geared rear hub motor and a 720Wh battery pack. The step-thru frame is solid and even has a cargo bike-esque payload capacity of 350lbs. Combined with hydraulic disc brakes, turn signals, a hydraulic front fork suspension, and an integrated rear rack, the Cityrun is ultimately one of the best value vehicles in the market. HeyBike mostly sells their vehicles D2C, but it has a respectably large dealer network to make servicing a bit easier than it is with many other D2C brands. This listing has a mileage of 136mi and is only being resold because it’s too large for the seller. Listing can be found here.
That’s it for this edition. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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