15 years ago, Xtracycles was the first builder of longbikes in the US. They’re well known for their patented retrofit kit that can convert a normal bicycle into a cargo carrying longbike. More recently, they’ve been building complete bicycles that are ready to ride without any modification. Their “Radish Eco” model starts at $1000 and comes complete with cargo bags and extended frame.
Overall, we’re a real fan of longbikes. They take up much less space than a bicycle & trailer combo and are more maneuverable in crowded traffic. Also, they look and ride more conventional than cargo tricycles and bakfiets.
- Size: Smaller footprint than bakfiets or cargo tricycles.
- Ride: Conventional ride similar to a tandem or regular bicycle.
- Stability: Can lean into turns which means better stability at higher speeds than a tricycle.
- Simplicity: Simpler design than a tricycle, which means easier to maintain.
- Price: Affordable retrofit kit option.
- Capacity: Less cargo capacity than a tricycle or bakfiets.
- Configuration: Load is behind rider which means more difficult to monitor cargo or young passengers.
- Stability: Higher center of gravity which means more unstable at very low speeds compared to a tricycle. Also means more tip prone when parked.
One thing to consider is that buying a longbike vs. a front load tricycle or bakfiets is a personal preference. They all have advantages and disadvantages. Generally at slow speeds or when parked, all bicycles are tip prone and tricycles are stable. At high speeds and when riding on un-level surfaces, tricycles become tip prone and unstable, while bicycles are in their element. If you’re looking for something that rides similar to a regular bicycle, you travel long distances, or you don’t mind the slow speed instability of a bicycle carrying a heavy load, than a longbike would be a good choice. If you’re looking for something to carry large loads, you tend to ride slow, and prefer to keep an eye on your cargo, a front load tricycle would be a good choice.
Overall if you chose a longbike, Xtracycle longbikes are a fantastic choice. They’re affordable, built with good quality, and are a great alternative to driving a car locally.