This is Worth the Hype, where our writers and editors put popular products to the test to see if they are, in fact, worth the hype.
I’ve undergone two notable life changes in the past year. First, in late 2021, I became a father. This supercharged my already cascading drive to reduce as much of my environmental impact as possible in order to help preserve a better planet for my daughter. This led directly to change number two: Over the course of 2022, I’ve become a full-on e-bike evangelist.
E-bikes are excellent for speeding up bicycle commutes without any extra exertion as compared to even the best fixie bikes. Where they often fall short is on grocery day, or when you’re bringing a case of beer over to a buddy’s house and don’t want to do the cool-looking but uber-annoying one-handed ride so that you have a free arm to carry the goods.
Enter the CERO One electric cargo bike. This bike is built to carry up to 77 pounds of cargo – whether that be produce from the farmer’s market or lumber from the mill – and its Class 1 pedal assist power reaches up to 20 mph via three levels of boost. The bike’s bulky Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires hold their own on paths, gravel, and neighborhood streets. The Shimano drive train and user interface is 5-speed belt-powered, and displays the battery level, the remaining range for each of the three power levels, the total trip distance and time traveled, and an odometer so you can track your total car-free miles. All of this has helped the CERO One earn high recommendations from experts at places like Wired, Men’s Journal, and Bicycling magazine.
Stylistically, the CERO One hits more like a pickup than a minivan. With a smaller 20-inch wheel up front and a larger 26-inch wheel in the back, the ride is what’s called a “reverse mullet” bike (a mullet bike, on the other hand, has a bigger wheel in front than in back, and is used on some mountain bikes for more control). The CERO One’s reverse mullet optimizes its balance for when you’re carrying a full load of, say, groceries on the front while towing a baby carriage behind.
The bike comes with a rear flat rack that serves as a base for strapping goods. On its own, this isn’t sufficient. So I ordered an extra-large basket to install on the platform. Now I can easily cart groceries, diapers, and my gym bag all in the same load. As a bonus, the basket looks much more legit than strapping a milk crate to the back of the bike. There’s also an optional platform rack on the front for extra carrying capacity.
For those concerned with such details, in two months of bike-powered commuting via the CERO One, I’ve eliminated 65 car trips and saved an estimated 2.5 tanks of gas by leaving my Tacoma parked in front of the house. And hey, if my writing career collapses tomorrow, this bike is perfect for delivering pizzas around the neighborhood.
Specs: CERO One electric cargo bike
- Shimano E6100 motor, disc brakes, and STEPS crankset
- 680-millimeter-wide riser handlebars
- 2.15-inch Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires, 20” up front and 26” in back
- Range up to 105 miles per charge
- Simple plug-and-charge works in standard home electrical outlets
- Basket: 16.6” by 15.5” at base, 18” wide at top, 7.6” high