Have you heard? The Ridgeback eCargo bike is the best value cargo bike available
Over the past year, we have tried and tested many electric cargo bikes, some fit for off-road, some set up for lightweight cargo, others for volume and a couple that are as big as a small car. We know from this, there is a cargo bike for every requirement, (there aren’t any hover-converted ones… yet!) So let’s look at our pick of the best value bike on the market.
Our selection criteria works on several factors:
- Value for money - as a start-up business we have to keep our costs very keen. With cargo bikes ranging from as little as £2,500 to as much as £10,000 knowing the value is important
- Road handling - safety and confidence while in the saddle makes for a more enjoyable ride
- Styling - sometimes to look good is more important and riding in style is something we all like to do
- Performance - with electric bikes there are a few different motors to choose from and they operate in similar ways and also there are advantages to many which sometimes aren’t obvious straight away
- Ready to ride? - it’s likely to be your first outing on a cargo bike, what is the ‘out-of-the-box setup like
Bike: Ridgeback Cargo 2021
Manufacturer: Ridgeback, British brand since 1983
Style: 2 wheeled, front box
Motor: Shimano Steps 2021
Value for money - 4 out of 5
The Ridgeback is priced as one of the most entry-level cargo bikes and takes the ‘Ford’ approach of “Yes, you can have it in any colour as long as it’s black”. You’re buying a bike like this to get started with cargo bike riding, the box comes to set up with secure siding and base, and is configurable to customise to your needs. Need a wider box? Pop one on! Don’t need sides? Take them off!
This is a versatile bike and represents the maximum value for money and we’ll break down all those aspects which score this bike as a punchy 4/5 for value for money. The only thing dropping from a 5 to 4 is it is set up without suspension forks, these come in handy (and come with the price tag 🙂 ) when riding off-road if you’re likely to be riding along simple paths and sticking to roads you can mark this up to a 5 no problem.
Road handling - 5 out of 5
We were pleasantly surprised by the capability of the Ridgeback and it is fantastic handling on the road, footpaths/canal towpaths. The setup of a 2 wheel cargo bike gives you standard bike versatility, easier to manoeuvre, and you can corner similarly with a lean into the corners. When turning be mindful of the cargo you have loaded, (shopping/your dog/your kids/your best mate), when fully loaded, the bike takes 150KG, that’s 3 bags of compost! If there’s heavier cargo just take the corners easier. When going straight you can ride just like a normal bike, on flats or uphill with the help of the Shimano Steps motor. The modest width of the Ridgeback Cargo Bike means sharing the road and cycle paths is very doable and you’ll feel confident and balanced in doing so.
Styling - 5 out of 5
Black is the new black! The bike comes out-of-the-box in all black, and the cargo box can be removed for easy painting, if you’d like to go fully custom we can also arrange a re-spray with our friends at Macc Powder Coating. And if you want to go a step further we can also arrange custom decals with our friends at the Binary Box, or hand-painted by Cactus Design. Personally, we like the black and accessorise with bike bags, clothing, helmet colours or even flowers… it acts a great blank canvas.
Performance - 5 out of 5
We have recently been riding over the Cat and Fiddle (highest pub in England!) to Buxton and the Shimano STEPS motor of the Ridgeback cargo bike really comes into its own, showing off its power and longevity, On 3 occasions we managed a ‘there and back’ from Macclesfield to Buxton, plus delivery runs in the hills of Buxton and surrounds (a hilly 40km/25miles) on a single charge! And “that’s great” I hear you shout! It’s important to point out that the motor eats up the hills with no problem at all. On a Flat run, you’ll get easily 3x that distance, even more, when using the ‘ECO’ setting which preserves the battery for only when you need it. If you know category climbs such as, ‘Pym’s Chair’ you’ll sail up those with very minimal effort if you want to, just switch the motor to ‘BOOST’ A very capable motor and can leave you ready for a day at work with a commute rather than dripping with sweat on pure human power, you will also happily pick up a family shop or heavier (and sometimes more precious, pets and kids).
Ready to ride - 5 out of 5
With a little practice, you will ride this bike without noticing the cargo box and you’ll quickly get used to the handling, and if you want to get some extra confidence we’ll guide you through this with one of our helpful cargo bike training sessions. The pedals tyres and saddle are very good and more than enough for most riding requirements and if you want to swap them out after riding your bike that is easily done. If you are capable of setting up a bike yourself you can receive the bike in a box and do the finishing yourself or if you want us to do it we have a team of mechanics who can do it for you for a small donation to a local charity of our choice. We’ll have you on the road in no time and you can also enjoy the wow-factor these bikes give.
OVERALL SCORE: 4.8 / 5