Originally written for BikeShopGirl.com
Cargo bikes have been picking up momentum in the United States over the last 3-5 years. I personally really love the midtail cargo bike and think it could be the cargo bike to fit into every family. Let’s dive into what a midtail (mid-tail?) cargo bike is and who I think it could be for.
WHAT IS A MIDTAIL CARGO BIKE?
In my opinion, a midtail cargo bike is a bike that is longer than a standard bike, built to carry some load in the back but can also fit on a hitch bike rack. Most midtail cargo bikes can carry 2 small kids but some carry 1 kid with extra space between you and the child. Midtail bikes have a longer wheelbase which is done by lengthening the distance between the rear wheel and the seat tube. This makes the space available for a longer rear rack or a longer custom frame to carry things much longer BUT it is still shorter than what I would call a “longtail” cargo bike. Midtail cargo bikes typically carry 1-2 kids max instead of the 3 kids that you would see on an Xtracycle Edgerunner.
With so many midtails hitting the market we couldn’t happen to ask ourselves, is there a rise in interest in this “in-between” crossover bike?
THE PROS AND CONS OF A MIDTAIL CARGO BIKE
Cargo bikes have evolved so much in the past 10 years. The fact we are able to publish an article talking about SEVERAL midtail cargo bikes is so very exciting to me. One big reason that there are so many options for cargo bikes is that every person, family, and lifestyle is unique. With that in mind, we are keeping the pros and cons very high level. The best thing you can do is to come test ride or rent a cargo bike for a day or 2 to assess your personal situation!
- A shorter wheelbase can fit in a bike rack or vehicle easier
- A shorter wheelbase means the bike doesn’t feel so “beefy” as a longtail may
- Beefier than a standard “single” bike and designed to carry a human or two on the back
- A midtail is for 1 child or 2 younger children
- Not as much “cargo space” as a longtail (for kids or Costco)
IS A MIDTAIL FOR YOU?
Personally, I am excited about the growth of midtails and the cargo market. A standard longtail cargo bike isn’t for most people but it is what has been most readily available from brands like Xtracycle, Yuba, and Surly until recently. Depending on what you are carrying, and if you are carrying kids, you have to ask yourself how many kids you have, how far apart they are in age, and how devoted you are to riding a cargo bike without your kids or owning multiple bikes for when you ride bikes without your kids strapped to the back of your bike.
Personally, I like the flexibility of a shorter bike that allows my family to put it on a rear hitch rack, into a train or simply ride it without kids and feel like you are on a normal bike. I would speculate that there are a LOT more people that could benefit from a good midtail cargo bike than a full-blown longtail cargo bike and that speculation will be exactly what I am looking for as I finish up several midtail cargo bike reviews.
Read the Cargo Bike Buying Guide
If you are just learning about cargo bikes, I recommend reading through my cargo bike buying guide to help you with your cargo bike journey!
Search the Cargo Bike Database
If you are looking for midtail cargo bikes, make sure to check out the Cargo Bike Database “midtail” category.