Mycle Cargo Electric Bike review
Electric cargo bikes come in many shapes and sizes and in recent years the longtail bike in particular has grown in popularity in the UK.
It is a great option if you’re looking to carry one or two children for everyday trips like going to school or into town.
The Mycle Cargo Electric Bike is the cheapest electric longtail bike available to buy in the UK at the time of writing and we were loaned the Mycle longtail bike by Mycle themselves to put to the test.
Mycle Cargo Electric Bike
The Mycle Cargo Electric Bike is a budget longtail e-bike made to carry one or two children (or other things) on the extra long rear rack. The bike comes with a rear hub motor, providing electric assist to help carry your precious cargo around and up hills.
Mycle is a new brand, founded in 2021, and one of their biggest successes has been the Cargo Electric Bike, which was featured in Cycling Weekly’s Gear of the Year.
The current Mycle Cargo Electric Bike on offer was relaunched in the summer of 2023 with hydraulic disc brakes, an upgraded digital screen and a new kickstand.
At just over £2,000 the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike fills a gap in the market for affordable family cargo bikes.
Mycle Cargo Electric Bike specs and review info
Weight of bike: 33 kg
Length of bike: 197 cm
Wheel sizes: 20 inch wheels
Tyres: CST puncture resistant 20x3" with reflective strips
Motor: 250W 48V brushless rear hub motor
Max torque: 65 Nm
Gears: Shimano 7 speed
Brakes: hydraulic disk brakes
Height of rider: not specified
Max weight of cargo + rider: 210 kg
Max rider weight: not specified
Max load rear rack: 125 kg
What we think: great value, entry-level electric cargo bike to carry one or two kids
Testing the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike
We were sent the Mycle Cargo bike to review for a few weeks during early 2023 during some really bad weather. We decided to get a number of people to test it, so we could get different opinions in a short space of time being mindful that the weather wasn't ideal to go out for long rides. And we did test it to the max!
Several different families tested this longtail bike, using it in a range of settings and weather conditions, but also offering different perspectives because as you all know, every family is different.
Each tester had different aged children, different needs and backgrounds as well as experience of riding cargo bikes.
Introducing our review panel
Ewen – dad of two primary school aged children and experienced mountain biker, including high-end electric mountain bikes. He usually cycles to school on a regular bike with a tagalong, trailer and his kids on their own bikes, but he’s new to cargo bikes.
Laura – mum of two young kids plus a bump. She usually rides a Tern GSD bike, which is a premium longtail e-cargo bike. She’s a seasoned e-cargo bike user and she’s written about her experience of comparing the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike with the Tern GSD as well.
Karen - founder of Cycle Sprog who had to use trailers, seats and tagalongs for her two children, because e-cargo bikes weren't a thing when they were little. Her two boys are now teenagers and over 6 foot tall.
Toby - dad of two primary school aged children who rides a box bike without electric assist. He cycles them to school in the box bike every day.
What we liked about the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike
Our first impressions were good. The Mycle Cargo Electric Bike is reasonably lightweight and was easy to set up, despite the lack of instructions in the box.
There are two battery slots, giving the bike an impressive range of up to 120km, according to Mycle, although this will depend on various factors, including the weight you’re carrying, the temperature and the terrain you’re traversing.
The security-conscious will be pleased to know that the batteries are lockable, although how robust these are remains to be seen - a recent spate of battery thefts in London suggests that standard battery locks are relatively easy to overcome.
We wrote more about the set up of this bike in our first impressions review of the Mycle Cargo. In this review we'll be talking about what it's like to ride the Mycle Cargo and carry children and teens on it.
Laura, mum of two with a third one on the way said:
“The tyres are puncture-resistant and pleasingly fat, making for a comfortable ride. There’s a rear brake light (a genius addition) and a decent enough front light, powered by the battery.
The seat and handlebars are also easy to adjust without tools, meaning it’s easy to swap between different riders.
There’s no suspension, but you may not need this and it’s just one more thing to worry about going wrong, on what is supposed to be a work-horse bike.”
Ewen, dad of two commented:
“It's clear from the start that the size, shape and capacity of the Mycle are spot on. It's similar to other long tail e-bikes and has all the mudguards, rack options, kid carrying paraphernalia.
At a glance, it looks absolutely like the urban transport solution that it is, and can sit comfortably alongside the rest of the bikes on the market. This is where the Mycle can hardly be faulted.
The child seats, the footrests and the accessories are all great. Even the lights are pretty good. For me, this is its greatest achievement.“
How does the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike ride?
Ewen thought the ride was fun:
“It's a sit-up-and-take-in-the-view style of riding. The big tyres are very comfortable and the steering, even when loaded, felt intuitive and stable. The small wheels mean you want to avoid the potholes, and the slick tyres mean any mud or soft verge is very risky.
The steering damper helps slow speed turns and the whole thing is remarkably manoeuvrable through wiggly urban infrastructure.”
Karen had never ridden an e-bike before:
"As I was recovering from Covid I was struggling to get up the hills in Kendal, the Lake District, on my usual bike. I thought the e-assist on the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike was brilliant!"
Having the e-assist meant that Karen could cycle for long distances and up steep hills alongside her son, who is 14 years old and over 6 ft tall.
"I really wanted to test the bike to its limits so took it riding down some Lake District valleys in the dark in the middle of winter to see what the battery range was like, the lights, and how the tyres coped on really wet and unpleasant conditions.
The bike performed really well and it was really easy for me to get up steep hills with my teenage son, even on 20% gradients."
She rode through really cold and wet winter weather on the Mycle and found she needed to bring the batteries inside to avoid them going flat due to the cold.
She added: “I got cold on the bike pretty quickly, because I was not using as much energy as I usually do on my road bike. Thicker gloves and extra layers were essential and highlighted just how much power there was to get up hills.”
Laura thought the geometry of the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike wasn’t comfortable and she couldn’t get the riding position quite right despite tweaking various bits. Laura was pregnant at the time she tested the bike and she was used to the more high-end Tern GSD.
Another tester who had a go at using the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike, Toby, who usually uses a box bike to carry his two kids, struggled more than the rest of the reviewers with the shift of the weight to the rear of the bike. Whilst his daughters really enjoyed the ride, he much preferred having them in front of him and felt very nervous when loading them up on the rear of the bike. Toby did love the electric assist though!
However, when Toby passed it onto his sister who usually rides a traditional bike with bike seats, she absolutely loved it!
As this shows, it will very much depend on your specific needs and experiences as to how comfortable and convenient you will find it to ride the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike.
Hub motor and e-assist on the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike
One of the most important components of any electric bike is the motor and the e-assist it offers the rider.
In terms of testing the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike, this is where most of the review panel agreed on the pros and cons of this bike.
For those who hadn’t ridden an electric bike before, they were very impressed with the technology and the rear hub motor performed very well on steep hills, as long as the rider didn’t start on said steep hill!
The unbranded rear hub motor offers an impressive torque of 65 Nm but because it is a hub motor, the e-assist doesn’t kick in until you’ve moved the pedals around a couple of times. The unresponsiveness of the system can be a concern if you live in a hilly area. Having said that, once the motor does kick in, all our testers loved the power of the motor and were very impressed with how easy it was to lug children and even adults up a steep hill.
Karen reported that she was very impressed with the e-assist especially when comparing it to cycling on a normal bike with a trailer behind when her two kids were little. The “e” in e-cargo bike is a true game changer for families.
Ewen said that once the e-assist kicks in it is good, but it takes two to four pedal revolutions for this to kick it. If you've used a mid-drive Bosch or Shimano motor then you will be in for a shock.
Pulling away at a junction is tricky as you have to remember to knock down the gears into something very easy to pull away.
The Mycle Cargo Electric Bike can be purchased with two batteries (at an additional £500), which is what our test version had. We liked having two batteries available because you can charge one while using the other.
Mycle Cargo Electric Bike components and finishing touches
All of our testers agreed that Mycle has clearly made this cargo bike to a very impressive low price point, which is brilliant and offers people the option to buy a cheap electric longtail bike.
Ewen said: “The saddle is very wide and perhaps the worst saddle I have ever used and the seat post isn't long enough for me (I'm 195cm).
The grips are pretty hard, weirdly shaped things that feel like wood and the gear shifter is something from a 1999 hybrid bike from a high street retailer selling cycle-shaped objects.
Most of these are me being fussy, and I can live with it, or change a few bits easily and cheaply.”
Karen commented: "When I was riding along there were a few rattles and squeaks that I'm sure you wouldn't get from a higher priced cargo bike and if you're somebody who gets frustrated or annoyed about these things you'd probably be better investing in a more premium range."
Laura also thought the components didn't live up to the ones on their premium counterpart: "Several components feel cheap and not as robust as the Tern GSD, especially the gears."
However, if you're looking for a workhorse to get you and your children around and you're not expecting premium final touches, this is the bike for you.
Mycle Cargo Electric Bike brakes
Please note we tested the previous version of the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike with mechanical disc brakes. The bike has since been upgraded to hydraulic disc brakes.
Both Laura and Karen thought the brakes were great, and they were both confident in stopping the bike even when they were carrying a heavy load.
Ewen wasn’t very impressed with the brakes though:
“The brakes were just (and only just) enough for me and a fully laden bike. They are stiff, offer little modulation and have only just enough power going down steep hills.”
Please note: The brakes have been upgraded from mechanical to hydraulic disc brakes on the latest version of the Mycle Cargo.
Seating options for kids on the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike
Like most other electric longtail bikes, the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike can be configured to suit your needs as a family. Any rear bike seat that clamps onto the sides of a pannier rack will be suitable to use with it, including the popular Thule Yepp 2 Maxi bike seat (£120).
If your children are over 4 or 5 years old they can sit on the optional seat pads (£30 for a single) with or without the caboose (£129), a metal enclosure to keep your children where they are supposed to be and something to hold on to as well.
The deck pads (£55 for a set of two) don’t come with a backrest, which is common on other longtails and is pretty essential for comfort, especially when your children are tired. Mycle does offer a metal passenger handle, which would offer some back support.
We found the seat pads moved around a bit causing children to move slightly on the rear rack.
Mycle Cargo Electric Bike accessories
A wide range of accessories is available for the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike to suit families:
There are other accessories available for when you want to use the bike to carry stuff instead of your children, including rear baskets and bags in three sizes.
Karen used the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike for day to day trips to move around town, general commuting and picking up groceries. Her regret was that she didn’t have any accessories like panniers or a front rack or basket. If she would buy the bike she would buy some accessories to make carrying stuff easier.
A note of warning; whenever we go on to the Mycle website, some accessories are out of stock. So buy them when you buy the bike, because the Mycle website is the only place you can get Mycle’s own accessories.
Final verdict: Mycle Cargo Electric Bike review
It may not have the most power or the smoothest delivery, but it gets me and the kids up some very steep hills, in comfort (let's forget about the saddle) and it's fun!
It lacks the smooth power of a more expensive motor and needs better brakes for big riders, but it is essentially everything you need to ditch the car and start pedalling.
Would I buy it? The short answer is yes, partly because I don't have a spare 5 grand for a posh ebike with my wish list of components and a mid-drive motor. For me, I would take the Mycle and put aside some cash for a saddle, seat post, brakes, grips, and shifter and be left with a pretty awesome bike.
Our founder Karen was impressed with how well the bike withstood the elements when she left the bike outside in heavy rain for weeks on end with no protection and only a little bit of rust showed up. (Note to future self; buy a rain cover to protect a cargo bike.)
She also thought the bike handled very well; safe and secure due to grippy, stable tyres made for very confident riding in all weather conditions.
Here at Cycle Sprog, we want to get more people cycling and that’s exactly what the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike can offer busy parents.
We think it is an excellent entry-level cargo bike to carry one or two kids for day to day journeys. We don't think it can compete with a top-of-the range electric longtail bike, but this clearly reflected in the price. At just over £2,000 and with fairly cheap accessories, you can't go wrong with the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike.
We would always recommend testing a cargo bike before you buy it, especially if you have never tried an e-bike before. If you live in a very hilly area, we would particularly recommend testing the Mycle Cargo Electric Bike before you buy, to see how you find the bike on hill starts. Mycle has been developing their network of test locations, so you can hopefully find a location within reach.
Mycle has been listening to customers and have made improvements to the bike accordingly. The stock levels for accessories may not always be up to scratch, so we do recommend you buy all the accessories you think you need when you purchase your bike.
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Other articles you might be interested in:
- Best electric longtail cargo bikes to carry kids
- Mycle release new family cargo bike
- Electric cargo bikes: can the budget Mycle Cargo compete with the high-end Tern GSD longtail?
- Mycle launch new accessories for cargo bikes
- How to start cycling with a small child in a bike seat, cargo bike or trailer
- 7 reasons to ride an electric cargo bike with your kids
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- Top things to look out for when buying an electric cargo bike