The Rise of the Midtail Cargo Bike

Originally written for

Cargo bikes have gained 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.


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. A midtail bike can carry 2 kids and often 1 small adult, with weights over 100 lbs. Midtail bikes have a longer wheelbase 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.

With so many midtails hitting the market, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves: Is there a rise in interest in this “in-between” crossover 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 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 test ride or rent a cargo bike for a day or 2 to assess your personal situation!

Major Pros

  1. A shorter wheelbase can fit in a bike rack or vehicle easier
  2. A shorter wheelbase means the bike doesn’t feel so “beefy” as a longtail may
  3. Beefier than a standard “single” bike and designed to carry a human or two on the back

Major Cons

  1. A midtail is for up to 2 younger children or one small adult
  2. Not as much “cargo space” as a longtail or bakfiets (for kids or Costco)

Difference Between a Midtail and Shorttail Cargo Bike

This section was added in 2024 after many new cargo bikes have come to market, and we honestly need to be a bit more defined when we talk about types of cargo bikes.

A shorttail (short-tail?) cargo bike is designed to carry 1 human or heavy cargo on the rear rack area. These are often looked at as utility yet fun cargo bikes. Great examples are the Benno Remi Demi, Tern HSD and Quick Haul, and even the Riese & Muller Tinker. They are designed to carry cargo with a dedicated rack and the bike is outfitted with quality parts to help the bike perform well with the additional load.


I am excited about the growth of midtails and the cargo market. 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.

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 a LOT more people 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 learning about cargo bikes, I recommend reading the cargo bike buying guide to help you on your journey!

Search the Cargo Bike Database

Check out the midtail cargo bike category and the longtail and shorttail options to determine what is best for your situation.

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