New compact electric cargo bike features modular hauling options and a 90+ mile range

CERO One electric cargo bike

Choose a small basket, a big basket, or just a flat rack for either the front or the rear, depending on the cargo, and add a child seat to the back if needed.

A bike is a bike is a bike, except when it's a cargo bike. For some reason, when people think of the term cargo bike, they often conjure up an image of a huge bulky bike, and perhaps something with three wheels like a pedicab or the adult tricycles marketed to older folks, but that's not always the case. Sure, there are tricycle-style cargo bikes, and pedicab-style cargo bikes, as well as the low-slung bakfiets versions, but there are also two-wheeled cargo bikes that are pretty much the same length as a standard bicycle, but which have been built specifically to haul stuff to and from work, play, or shopping.

Calling all of these kinds of bicycles cargo bikes might be accurate, in that they can and do carry cargo, (and they can and do help cars go away) but there are a lot of variations on the utility bike theme. The French porteur bike and the Dutch semi-transportfiets bicycle are two similar designs that look and feel (mostly) like riding just about any other bike, yet can also carry heavy or bulky loads on frame-mounted racks, and new to that mid-sized cargo bike category is a fresh entry that adds the leverage of an electric drivetrain to create what the company calls "your new S.U.V. (Super Utility Vehicle)."

CERO One electric cargo bike© CERO

The CERO One is referred to as a compact cargo bike, as its physical dimensions and weight are well within reason for a standard bicycle, and it incorporates a space-saving handlebar twist function for storage in tight spaces. It also has a 20" wheel on the front of the bike, which allows the cargo rack to have a lower center of gravity for a more stable ride, while also enabling tighter maneuvering. The empty weight of the aluminum-framed One is 46 pounds, plus the weight of any baskets or racks, so it's not entirely unwieldy and could be carried if necessary, although hauling up and down flights of stairs every day might be a bit of a stretch for all but the most dedicated riders.

The rear wheel is full-sized (26"), and is driven at speeds up to 20 mph by a mid-mounted 250W Shimano STEPS electric motor, transferred through a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain. Dual disc brakes provide stopping power, and the electricity for both the electric pedal assist and the head- and tail-light is provided by a 504Wh Shimano battery pack, which gives the One a riding range of up to 93 miles per charge. Three pedal assist levels are available, plus a walk-assist mode, with the average riding range per charge determined by how much boost is provided by the motor, ranging from the Eco mode (93 miles) down to 44 miles in "High" assist mode.

CERO One electric cargo bike© CERO

The CERO One has a step-through frame, which offers ease of mounting and dismounting, especially when fully loaded, and incorporates a two-legged kickstand to hold the bike vertical when parked. The company offers three options for cargo space -- a small basket, a large basket, and a platform -- any of which can be mounted on either the front or the rear racks, depending on the cargo. An optional Yepp Maxi Child Seat can be mounted to the rear rack without requiring an adapter, and so can panniers, although maybe not at the same time. No total cargo weight limit has been released at this point.

CERO is launching the One cargo bike via a Kickstarter campaign, where the company is offering a "Super Extra Early Bird" perk to backers at the $2799 level (said to be $600 off full retail price), and bikes are expected to begin shipping in November of 2017. Both the bike frame and fork and the electric drivetrain will be covered by a 2-year warranty.

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