Why Are Cargo Bikes So Ridiculously Expensive?

Ive been wanting to get a cargo bike to do the school run for years but have been put off by the prices. Cheapest brand name cargo bike you see is the Yuba Kombi - which is $1800. It is unassisted, so you supply the pedal power. Basically a normal step through frame bike with basic components.

Tandems are way cheaper. You can buy one of those for closer to the $1000 mark. Why should cargo bikes be more expensive than a tandem is anyone's guess. Thats just for the bike, by the way. Just wait till you see the accessories. Feel like paying $100 for a small sheet of plywood? Well have I got a proposition for you.

I hasten to say that this is the most affordable option. All the others, Yuba, Surly, etc, are easily double the price - hardly any of them appear on the second hand market and when they do they are snapped up quickly.


  • Welcome to 2021 and Aussie+Covid Tax

  • +3

    Can't say why these are so expensive, but then if the volume of sales are very low, then the per unit costs are high.
    How many kids are you trying to fit? Would'nt it be economical to buy a normal bike/E-bike and just add a separate Bike Trailer?

    • Three kids aged 10 7 and 4. If I had a cargo bike I could put the two big kids on the back and put the youngest in a shotgun seat at the front or I also have a handlebar mounted seat from a Japanese mamachari that I could use.

      I've tossed up whether to use a two seat tagalong but wouldn't use a trailer. Two cumbersome in real world use.

      • I think you're in the wrong country! I doubt if the gendarmes would be over impressed. Certainly, if I was a parent in the family, there would be a veto.

        • Agree.

        • Its perfectly feasible. The Japanese mama bike I have can easily take two kids, but not three.

          See here for an example:-


          • @cannedhams: The eldest one is non-verbal. He can ride a bike fine, getting him to follow consistently is a work in progress. Very difficult if I have another one riding on his bike to keep the whole group together. I wouldnt trust either of them near busy roads.

      • Sounds safe.

      • A 10 and 7 year old are surely old enough to keep up on their own bikes. Then you can put the 4 year old in a trailer.

  • …hardly any of them appear on the second hand market and when they do they are snapped up quickly.

    You've kind of inadvertently stumbled across the answer to your own question… Worldwide bicycle and component shortage.

  • Comes with a Deflopilator though

    • Had to look that up… basically a fancy name for a steering damper.

      • I had no idea either. Seems to be more for when parked?

        • Yeppers. If you're parked and on the centre stand, you dont want the steerer flopping around when the bike is loaded up with kids.

          Japanese mama bikes have a flick switch you can operate to stop the front fork from moving. Deflopilator definitely preferable though.

    • +3

      Recommended for Ornamental or decorative Use Only

    • Might have to let you take a chance on that one.

  • $1,800? Why is that expensive? What were you hoping to pay? Seems a reasonable price for a decent quality built for purpose bike. It’s a niche product for a start which will make it a little more expensive than a regular bike. Used market is going to be tight because of all the Ubereats delivery riders taking off as side hustles in COVID lockdowns/wfh.

    Buy a regular bike and put an extra seat on the back and get a bike trailer for the other two.

    • Sure, but tandems are niche and there are still affordable options there. There seem to be affordable options in North America but because of our restrictive ebike laws, its a tricky thing to import them (Radpower Radwagon and Blix Packa are the standouts).

      Youd have to think that there'd be a big market for these bikes if you didnt have to shell out so much money for them.

  • -1

    Why are cargo bikes so ridiculously expensive

    Don't people understand capitalism? There are so many posts about why this or that is priced the way that it is. The answer is simply that the price is always what the market will pay.

    You personally may not want to pay that price, but there are obviously enough people who will, otherwise the seller would drop the price and/or go out of business.

  • Take a look at the Yuba website. It's expensive for the same reason Tesla and Apple stuff is expensive. Dutch bikes are equally expensive.

    If you want a cheap bike, look for a chinese made alternative. That's not to say there's anything wrong with chinese bikes, most of the bikes in the world are made in China. They'll represent better value for the average consumer.

  • Deflopilator

  • +1

    Hipster tax.

  • It actually says on that Yuba Kombi site

    'Due to the worldwide shortage of bikes and bike components, we currently do not have an ETA of new stock for the Yuba Kombi. Sorry, we will update as soon as we hear more'

    No wonder they aren't rock bottom prices

    • Shhhhh, we are ignoring that so we can all be outraged at these obscene prices…

  • @cannedhams check local electric bike stores and dare I say, AliExpress/AliBaba. I know local places doing full 'no brand' electric cargo bikes for just under $3k. I agree that it is expensive, but electric Tern bikes are closer to $10k, so it's not too bad. Vyron in Melbourne is one such example - https://vyronelectricbikes.com.au/product/vyron-haz-e-electr...

    You can also look into hiring them to try out from Lug & Carrie, at least as a trial. These guys are great and the bikes are AMAZING, but I found we just weren't using it enough to get value from it.

    And lastly, you could pick up the pedal powered cargo bike and convert it over for like an extra $1k for all parts, but really depends how confident you feel in doing so.

    My take on it, much like the EV industry is that we are still kind of in that new phase where only early adopters are buying them at full price. I'm hoping in the next 2-3 years prices for these things will drop dramatically when we are beyond covid and batteries, parts etc become cheaper.