Frequently Asked Questions
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NOTE: Some of the most common questions we hear are answered thoroughly and objectively by Brooke Miller—a former pro racer turned cargo-biking mama—right here: “My Biggest Questions About Buying a Cargo Bike.”
Most of us do! Even if it takes a little while. It really all depends on your current lifestyle and your goals. Experience and a couple decades’ worth of rider feedback have taught us that, for most people, replacing car trips with bike trips requires some extra work at first. There’s usually some stuff to figure out.
For some folks, it’s an easy decision; it just makes sense and aligns with their values. For others, it’s a big shift but one that they want, and it takes some time to modify old habits. If the lifestyle is attractive to you and you make the decision to weather the initial challenges, we promise you’ll be rewarded far more than you can anticipate right now.
We hear this over and over again, and it always makes us smile.
(Still curious? Read our Fan Mail and see our reviews on product pages.)
Usually, yes! But, again, it depends on a lot: where, when, and how are you riding? Making good decisions goes a very long way toward keeping you and yours as safe as possible. Yes, drivers can be unpredictable, but more people riding bikes means fewer people driving cars. If you’re commuting on a bike and traffic is crazy, look for different routes; they’re usually way more fun—and safer! Stay off highways whenever possible, avoid busy streets and intersections, etc. Use common sense.
Beyond all that, we’ve set the standard for safety—in that our bikes, kits, and accessories have always been designed to be extremely safe, dependable, and long-lasting. We pioneered super-safe kid hauling with our Junior Co-Pilot Passenger System. Our bikes are super-stable and easy to ride, even when loaded down. There’s just not much of a learning curve (except for when you take a curve—the bike is pretty long!).
In general, we believe in taking every precaution around other, bigger vehicles:
- Choose smarter, quieter routes. Are those routes a little longer? Electric assist makes all the difference, shortening travel times, even if you’re carrying big, heavy loads.
- Be a careful rider. Bonus: our upright riding position makes it easier for you to look around and over your shoulder for 360-degree awareness.
- Have an anticipatory mind-set around drivers. Imagine you’re invisible to them! What can you do to anticipate where they’re going and who/what they might not see? Many drivers see streets almost like racetracks. They don’t often anticipate that pedestrians or bike riders will be in their path as they zoom to their destination.
Also, it must be said that the most rewarding experiences in life often require some risk. Cycling instead of driving is one of the risks that we all choose to take, to create a better world.
At Xtracycle, we refuse to cut corners. Our cargo bikes are meticulously designed and exactingly built to be the absolute best you can buy. We use only strong, resilient, repairable, lightweight, comfortable chromoly steel for our frames. We use the best available aluminum—lightweight yet strong—for our accessories. Our quality control is second to none. The people who build everything for us are skilled artisans who are paid well. Our goal is to give our customers the safest, most comfortable, most fun, most utilitarian, most adaptable, and most multi-functional cargo bicycle available on the planet. And we and many others believe that we have succeeded.
It’s also important to note that the bike industry has, in general, harmed the wonderful notion of utility biking—that is, riding to get around, run errands, carry stuff, etc. This is the original and eternal beauty of the bicycle as a miraculous tool for humans. Unfortunately, the perception is that only fancy carbon race bikes should cost more than a few hundred bucks. In fact, many of those bikes are produced very cheaply and marked up exorbitantly. That’s the opposite of what Xtracycle does. We produce with little consideration for the costs and every consideration for quality, durability, and safety.
And, in all transparency, this is a business, and we mark up just enough to cover our costs and help us keep rolling along, pursuing our mission of empowering people all over the world with transformational tools that move the body and spirit. We mean it when we say we’re not a bike company; we’re all about life transformation. We believe in it because we live it every day—and we’ve been at it, working hard, for more than 20 years.
In our humble opinion, here’s the magic of our design philosophy: we envision and create our bikes and our Super-Modular Accessory System so that they will grow and evolve with your changing life circumstances and needs. We make bikes that will stand up to the rigors of regular riding and still have plenty of life left in them when you (ideally!) hand them down to your kids. An Xtracycle is meant to be an heirloom, a beloved vehicle that brings more joy, health, and positive change into your life.
From chauffeuring kids around to commuting to work to running errands to heavy-duty hauling to going off on multi-day camping adventures and beyond, an Xtracycle has you covered. You can easily set it up exactly how you want it, so that it’s always there to work with you and help you accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.
Short answer: Yes, and you can get rolling again in pretty short order.
If bikes had existed in Dante’s time, we might still be reading about bike thieves’ experiences in a particularly heinous circle of Hell, possibly involving chains, gears, and oil.
All kidding aside, bike theft is a sad part of our lives. So how can you put yourself at ease when considering such a significant investment? Ask your homeowner or rental insurance agent about what’s covered. Bikes usually are, even if they’re stolen when locked up somewhere other than your home.
But, of course, invest in a good lock, lock your bike to something solid, and don’t leave it there too long!
Usually, if you want it to! Some angles to consider if things are especially tight:
- You can store a bike upright, whether hanging on a wall or, as with our bikes, tucked into a vertical storage space.
- You can transport an Xtracycle via elevator by rolling it in and standing it on its tail. Consider the vertical space, not just the floor space.
- A stock mechanical Edgerunner is 83” long and weighs 45 lbs.
All that said, we find it’s usually not much of an issue for our customers. Consider our money-back Fearless Guarantee. Once you fall in love with the bike and the new way of life it opens up, it’s amazing how creative you can get.
The Edgerunner is designed and built to ride like a normal bike, but it’s more stable. And when loaded, it’s far more stable than your standard bicycle (or most cargo bikes, for that matter). Our 20” rear wheel’s hub is closer to the ground and thus lowers the effective center of gravity, which in turn stabilizes the ride incredibly well.
In fact, in 20-plus years of business, we’ve tested every kind of cargo bike imaginable as part of our research-and-development process, and we’re confident that, when it comes to carrying the vast majority of loads hauled by most cargo bikers, other types of bike are simply inferior. We design with multi-functional modularity in mind to maximize your options and abilities.
Most other bikes are fixed setups, whereas we offer an adaptable system—and we regularly create new accessories to help you do whatever you can dream of with our cargo bikes. That’s why we call them “lifestyle bikes”: they adapt to your particular way of moving through our world.
We’ve found, and our customers have confirmed, that the Xtracycle system is simply superior for carrying stuff around by bike, and it’s eminently adaptable to your changing lifestyle or different needs (commuting and camping and toting kids around, etc.)
Could you do all this stuff with that old garage bike and some other bolt-on stuff? Maybe—to varying degrees of success. But people constantly tell us that they tried going that route and it just ended up being frustrating. There are almost always unforeseen compatibility issues that burn lots of time and energy and can still come to naught. Folks usually end up selling the old stuff to invest in the right cargo-biking/utility-cycling tool, and that’s why we’re here: we invented that tool!
It must also be said that we’re not a bike company. It sounds funny, but we’re offering a life-changing experience with our cargo bikes. This is our vision and mission, and we pursue it all over the world through Xtracycle and our sister charity, Worldbike.
Well, we’re not “cyclists” any more than we’re “vacuum-ists,” to quote Mikael Colville-Andersen, of Copenhagenize.com. We see the bike as a tool, like a vacuum cleaner. But a cargo bike helps us get all kinds of different jobs done—all while having fun (unlike a vacuum cleaner).
We don’t believe riding bikes and/or being a cyclist is a club to belong to or any of that. We believe riding bikes is sustainable, fun, utilitarian, and a lot better for the planet than other modes of transport. You might find it surprising to hear that the bike industry and its business culture weren’t very welcoming to us when we started. But we’ve persevered, and we’re particularly passionate about helping people new to the bicycle lifestyle get started, have fun, and change their lives for the better.
Maybe, maybe not. It depends on your idea of fun. For many of us, weather makes any ride more of an adventure. And while most recreational bike riders take a spin only when it feels nice outside, an Xtracycle is more of a tool than a toy, and sometimes getting a job done means dealing with, ahem, imperfect atmospheric conditions.
Wanting to ride a bike on a nice day is perfectly normal, and we of course do it too. So you won’t be alone if you ride only on nicer days. But, if we may repeat, it’s a sort of secret among bicycle lifestylists that riding in non-ideal weather can be pretty magical.
Humans have been traveling in and through weather for a very, very, very long time—it’s definitely the norm—and choosing to do so is a catalytic decision that, while it might take more energy to start, multiplies and returns that energy. The folks in cozy motorized boxes might look at you like you’re crazy, but you’ll know the truth: crazy like a fox!
Enjoying electric assist with a cargo bike is like topping off a slice of banana-cream pie with fresh whipped cream! To relish the dessert analogy a little more, they go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk, chocolate and caramel…
In fact, a cargo bike is the most sensible candidate for electric assist. Sure, e-bikes help people go farther faster in general, but for some people it’s the only way they feel like they can truly replace a car—at least some of the time—because they can move faster, go farther, and climb higher, even when fully loaded. Plenty of us have cargo bikes without e-assist, and we do just fine with a wide range of gears that help us climb crazy-steep hills with gigantic cargo loads. But we love e-cargo bikes too. It’s just too much fun.
It’s true that it’s still early days in the adoption of electric-assist bicycles. But make no mistake: they are a huge part of our transportation future, all over the globe. So, while it might seem questionable to invest so much in a bike with a battery-powered, pedal-assist motor, the electric cargo bike will continue to be a more and more crucial piece of the people-moving puzzle as we approach midcentury. And just like all technology, the quality stuff costs more at first, slowly dropping in price as we reach economies of scale.
The best part is that e-bike tech has entered its golden age, and our bikes are designed to be upgraded.
Wheelbase: 56 in / 142 cm
Wheel to wheel: 79 in / 200cm
Total length: 83 in / 210cm
Weight (base model): 45 lbs.
Bosch battery weight: 5 lbs.
Bike-measurement diagrams, feature/benefit explanations, and more appear in our “Evolution of the Edgerunner” post.