Anybody use their compact/cargo bike for general fitness and commuting?


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3:48 PM
Apr 21, 2024
Was at a LBS store today where I explained my dilemma. I live on a second floor condo with many doors and a winding staircase between myself and the exit, wanted a ebike that was at least somewhat lighter. One of the options, he showed me was a 20" tire cargo bike a Turn Quick Haul D8. I took it out for a spin and found it surprisingly a fun bike to ride. A little twitchy with the small tires but not unbearably so. At 50 lbs not exactly light but think still within the upper limit of carribility. Also I think I could put the seat and handlebars all the way down and fit it in my car trunk without removing the front wheel.

So I was wondering if anybody used this sort of bike for general fitness and transportation in addition to or instead of it's intended use of carrying cargo? If you go out 15-20 miles or more, are you going to notice major short comings that you don't at a LBS ride? I would use this as a fun/fitness bike and also a car replacement on a 10 mile or so commute to visit friends in better weather conditions. I doubt I would ever carry much cargo. On the other end of the scope, I also test drove a Veloric T1 ST but found the pedel/motor engagement to be a bit wonky but maybe that is just me and not fair to compare a hub drive motor with the Bosch mid drive that is present on the Turn. I see similar, cheaper cargo/folding bikes from companies like Velotric and Aventon as well as others but they are all heavier. The Turn is not cheap at $2500. Another drawback is it's locked at 20 mph. I test drove a 28 mph Gazelle a couple of weeks ago but a fairly large bike and I think with battery, pushing close to 60 lbs. I picked up both the Turn and another Gazelle today and the lighter weight of the Turn was noticeable.
Wow, you are in a no-win situation. I tend to optimize for one thing and deal with the details later.
You stated your goals clearly, but they are at odds with each other. You can have a great commuter bike, or you can have a light bike which is easy to get up and down stairs through a twisty path.

I am aware of no bike that excels at both those roles.
If your condo had some kind of SECURE ground-level storage, then you could optimize for the ideal commuter eBike, but this does not seem to be your case.
No ground floor safe storage options unfortunately. The Tern (misspelled in original post) rode more like a traditional bike than I had anticipated but wondered if differences between that with the 20" tires and a more traditional 26-27" tire ebike would be more apparent on longer rides than a quick bike shop test ride.
I'm lucky enough not to have to use a lightweight bike for cargo.

HOWEVER, I DO have a bike that I think would fit the bill nicely, as long as you don't have too much cargo: The Lectric XP Lite. It costs $800 and weighs only 46 lbs.

You would have to add the $370 worth of accessories, and that would likely put the weight up around 50 lbs.

Another angle you might consider is just getting a PROPER cargo bike and investing in PROPER locks to go with it, so you don't have to even contemplate carrying up stairs all the time. Even a 50 lb. bike would not be pleasant to do this with. Your back will not be happy with your brain's decision, before long.

How about an Xpedition, along with a LiteLok and heavy chain? The batteries detach easily and you would bring them upstairs with you to charge. (which also makes the bike less attractive, as the batteries are the most expensive components; no one wants to pedal this beast without battery power.

Edit: Here are my thoughts on the Lectric XP Lite:

Another thought would be to get a regular folding bike. Priority makes a belt-driven one that is closer to 30 lbs. and would be LOT lighter to drag up stairs than any eBike, as well as not getting chain grease on you or your clothes:
I use a cargo bike for everything. Its like having a car with a back seat. You don't switch to a 2-seat coupe if you are not carrying passengers, and having that back seat available means if you decide to detour to the store on a whim you can readily put your bags in the back without a care.

For the same reason, I always carry my lock.

Having electric assist means I don't have to care that it is not suited to whatever purpose it is being used for at that moment. The assist allows it to work just fine under a vastly more broad set of circumstances.

If I may make an observation: Pegging a bike to a single use case is old thinking. My analog road bike (which I still have) would make a horrible bike for just about anything but a fast, light commute or a long trip with just a couple bottles of water out to the lake and back. An unassisted cargo bike would have a similarly more narrow use window.