The best and most affordable cargo bike you can buy is also made to stand the test of time.
From hauling groceries, to taking the kids to the park, riding a friend around town, or expanding a small business’ goods transportation capabilities, a cargo bike makes all the difference. This practical design adapts to different needs to make life easier, especially in a busy city environment. Simply put, when it comes to convenience, you just can’t beat a good cargo bike. However, finding the cheapest cargo bike that feels comfortable to ride and also has the quality build to withstand years of heavy use can be a challenging task. Well, not any longer. Designed by Nepal-based Portal Bikes, the Long-Tail is a special kind of bicycle. This durable and sturdy but cheap cargo bike can handle the heaviest of loads with ease in complete comfort and stand the test of time.
We’ve had the chance to test the bike, so we can offer you a first-hand account of how good it is to ride on a day to day basis. To make the review easier to read through, we’ve put together a list of 10 reasons why you should get your hands on the Portal Long-Tail cargo bike.
#1 Good Cause
Before we list all the reasons why you should get this cargo bike that offers the perfect blend of durability and function, we think you should know a bit more about the company behind the design.
Founded by Colorado native Caleb Spear, Nepal-based Portal Bikes started out as a social business focused on improving the lives of people living in rural areas. The brand’s first bike featured a PTO (power take-off) drive which allowed the user to easily power anything from a washing machine to a corn shelling system. The simple but ingenious design provided an easy solution to switch from time-consuming manual labor to pedal-powered machinery.
In 2017, after making a range of shelters for disaster-stricken areas and accessible prefab structures that could be used as homes or schools, the company launched the first Portal Bikes collection. The bikes are designed to make everyday living – whether in rural Nepal or NYC – as easy as possible, for cycling fans, people with families, and small business owners. Finally, keeping true to the social business concept, the brand uses only high-quality materials from both environmentally and socially responsible sources to craft each Portal Bikes cargo bicycle.
Maybe the first thing most people look for in a practical bike is an affordable price. After all, a cheap cargo bike is meant for everyday use, to haul stuff and get things done. It’s certainly not on the level of a state-of-the-art cyclocross or mountain bike. So let us assure you that this is, without a doubt, the best cargo bike you can buy for a budget of under $900. While it’s accessible in terms of price, the Long-Tail cargo bike is incredibly well-built. Which takes us to number 3.
Built with durability in mind, the Portal Bikes Long-Tail cargo bike can handle just about anything. It’s solid as a rock and incredibly sturdy thanks to the hi-ten steel frame, so you’ll keep patting yourself on the back for not going with a $3k bicycle. And the best part? The Long-Tail feels great to ride. During our tests, we never felt that we were riding the cheapest cargo bike. What we DID experience was a well-built, rugged, and tough cargo bicycle that feels more expensive than it actually is.
#4 Weight Capacity
If you want to buy a cheap cargo bike, you need one that can carry some heavy loads. And the Portal Long-Tail bike truly shines when it comes to cargo capabilities. Most of the other cargo bikes on the market offer anything from acceptable to good load hauling capacities. However, not many other bikes come even close to the load weight magnitude of the Long-Tail. This monster can handle up to 308lbs of cargo plus the rider and features 12 gauge spokes that can withstand extra-heavy loads. This opens up endless cargo carry options, especially for people with families or small business owners.
Sure, the Portal Long-Tail cargo bike scores extra high marks where it counts (price and heavy load capacity), but how about riding comfort? After riding the bike for a couple of days, we can say that it’s extremely comfortable. The design and frame geometry take into account a wide range of cyclists, from tall to short, man or woman, experienced cyclist or amateur. Long-Tail feels great to ride, no matter who you are. Plus, the 7-speed gear set paired with a Portal Bikes mega-range gear makes even the steepest hills easy to overcome without breaking a sweat.
You may not conquer mountain trails while commuting or hauling gear, but safety matters on every bicycle you ride. Even on the cheapest cargo bike you can buy. So you can rest assured that the Long-Tail cargo bike comes with a front disc brake to help you stop safely when you need to, regardless of terrain or weather conditions. Rain or shine, smooth concrete or muddy path, city traffic or steep downhill, you can always count on this cheap cargo bike and its reliable front disc brake.
If you’re starting to worry about the stability of extra-heavy loads while parking this cheap cargo bike, relax. The heavy-duty, spring-loaded kickstand is extremely stable and robust, so you can park your fully packed bike with ease. Long-Tail will stay put and secure when you reach your destination, whether you’re carrying toddlers, groceries, or merchandise.
Designed to last and to be there for you for years, the Long-Tail cargo bike can take virtually anything without missing a beat. You can beat it up, ride it out in any kind of weather conditions, throw heavy gear on top of it, and more, while knowing that you can always rely on your practical cargo bicycle. This bike is made for the long run, so it will be by your side as your family and/or your business grows.
#9 Functional Design
When we first saw the Portal Long-Tail bike, we thought of the Land Rover. The comparison came naturally, as both this cheap cargo bike and the popular Land Rover have a sensible, utilitarian design rather than a sleek, stylish appearance. After all, this bike is specifically designed to carry heavy cargo and perform well in any conditions. On the other hand, the simplicity of the design also makes it easy to adapt the bike to different needs for many years to come. One can’t compare the Land Rover to a Ferrari in terms of good-looks, but both of these cars are icons in their own right. As far as we’re concerned, Long-Tail is truly the Land Rover of cargo bikes.
The Portal Bikes Long-Tail cargo bike comes with an array of extras, including a mud guard, safety bell, removable side wings, and wooden running boards. However, you can also add many accessories to enhance the functionality of this cheap cargo bike and make it look fancier at the same time. The company offers panniers that can handle almost any weather conditions and feature reflective strips for extra safety at night.
More interestingly, Portal Bikes also provides a special range of accessories. You can order the Portal PTO that transforms the bike into a pedal-powered machine and get the grinder attachment to grind things like coffee or wheat. Of course, you can also add standard accessories to customize this cheapest cargo bike as you see fit. Your new bike will not look cheap OR lack the convenience of more expensive models.
You can find out more about the Portal Bikes Long-Tail cargo bike and how to order your own model by going to the brand’s official website. Photographs© Portal Bikes.