Utility Bikes Buying Guide

The Definition of Utility Bikes

In this article, Utility Bikes Buying Guide, we are going to define what are these bikes and give you an insight into what you need to know before purchasing one. So, read on, and let’s cover the topic!

Defining the Utility Bikes

Utility bikes are bikes that perfectly suit the definition of practical transportation. Practical transportation essentially involves any form of cycling that is done for transportation rather than for sporting activities. An instance of the latter category is mountain bikes. Utility bikes were designed to be used while wearing any type of clothes and in any type of weather conditions.

It is a common type of bicycle that is mainly found in developing and under-developed countries of the world. The steadily increasing cost in prices of fuel, and environmental concerns over the use of motor vehicles, have spurred a resurgence in the use of utility bikes. A few countries, such as China, Denmark, and India, still produce various utility bikes.

Finally, these bikes are suitable in urban areas. The structure of the utility bike focuses more on comfort than speed or efficiency. These bikes are designed with a slightly curved, flat, and elevated handlebar that ensures an upright position. Also, they are heavier and possess lesser gears than typical road bicycles.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

History of the Utility Bikes

The origin of utility bikes dates back to 1877. The inventor of bicycles, James Starley, came up with three designs to transport people or goods. Solid, iron copies that had ball bearings replaced the wooden frames. These solid frames had no gear, small carriage capacity, and were very heavy. However, these designs remained attractive, even after the first bicycle’s invention –the Safety – in 1888. Although the cycling technique was quite expensive, it eventually played a critical role in the cargo bike’s evolution.

Cargo Bikes

During the early 20th century, cargo bikes were used in the Netherlands to deliver goods such as bread, milk, and other items. The trend spread throughout the Scandinavian regions. The use of these bikes also began to spread in the UK around the same time and eventually reached its peak during WWII, when the Americans sold over 10,000 units of the American “cycle truck” in a year.

The cargo bike eventually became a popular means of transportation in major cities. In Denmark, for instance, the idea of using cargo bikes as a means of transportation came from the fact that people want to be able to carry their children to school on their bikes. Thus, the two-wheeled cargo bikes were invented. Slowly, this mode of transportation evolved after it showed that the two-wheeled bike was not suitable to carry more than one child. Thus, the three-wheeled bike was created. Eventually, in Denmark, there became a consensus that cargo biking equals child trans.

Photo by Levi State on Unsplash

Uses of the Utility Bikes

There are various uses of cargo bikes. Let’s check it out belowe.

Short-distance commuting

With these bikes, for instance, you can go to the park with children, shop for home items, etc. In large workplaces, you can use these bikes for employee transportation. These bikes have been commissioned in some countries as a form of sharing system, in which the bicycles are made available to all individuals for a price or for free.

Post and Parcel logistics

People use cargo bikes to deliver letters, and for transportation of loads. They can have an open or enclosed box, a flat platform, or basket that is usually balanced on one or both wheels.

It’s Time for Utility Bikes Buying Guide

Do Your Homework

Firstly, before buying a cargo bike you should engage in thorough research on the kind of bike such a person needs. There are various kinds of utility bikes, such as the roadster bicycle, the cargo bike, the folding bicycle, etc. 

Thus, it is necessary to understand what type of bike would suit your needs and pocket-friendly. Other factors, such as the terrain, the rider’s stature, etc., also play vital roles in determining the type of utility bike to get. For instance, the Long-John-styled baskets are great for transporting children but would not be suitable for areas that do not have specific infrastructure devoted to such bikes. 

With regards to the price, one should budget between $1,200-6,000 USD. Within this range, one should be able to get a bike that would suit one’s needs. 

An Electric or Non-Electric Bike

Another thing one should put into consideration when buying a cargo bike is whether the bike should be motorized or not.

Although electric bikes are expensive, it should be a good option for those who live in hilly areas or those that travel with many items. Whether one adopts cargo bikes as part of his routine or not could be significantly affected by the option of an e-assist. However, when such a person has decided to buy an e-assist, there are certain factors to look out for. For instance, some cargo bikes use pedals, while some use the throttle. Thus, if one’s route is such that one usually halts at various intersections, one should opt for the bikes with a throttle.


Cargo bikes are very attractive. You should consider storing the bike to avoid theft. They are also heavy. Watch out for areas where they would have to be regularly carried. Thus, a secure, dry, ground-floor storage unit is suitable for these bikes.

Maintenance and Breakdowns

Maintaining a cargo bike is not as straightforward as a typical bike. Maintenance also costs a bit more than regular bikes. Finally, having a local hauling agency on speed dial is very necessary.


Finally, certain accessories such as a secure lock are essential. Also, getting a frame lock as a secondary lock would be a worthy investment. If the bike comes with a single kickstand, one can upgrade it to a double kickstand. A single kickstand with heavy cargo would throw the cargo off-balance.

Informed Choice

Now, that you have all this info from our article, Utility Bikes Buying Guide, you can make an informed choice.

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