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As someone who loves the outdoors (and has secret desires to live somewhere in the countryside), I have always been cycling-curious. While I have several friends who advocate for bicycles as their primary mode of transportation, cycling alone is a bit impractical for my LA-based, mother-to-two-kids-under-five lifestyle.
But, when our family moved to a quieter neighborhood, I couldn’t wait to try the electric Bunch Cargo Bike. My goal wasn’t for it to replace our car altogether, but to give us another mode of transportation for lazy weekends, breakfast runs, and even rides to school. As I came to quickly realize, Bunch Bikes get my heart pumping, provide more family bonding time, and make a great fresh-air thrill for the entire family.
Fun For The Whole Family
I originally ordered the Bunch Bike Original ($3,999) for my husband. I surprised him one day as a semi-truck arrived to deliver the massive package. He opened the box with a look of awe–a perfect gift for dad if there ever was one.
A Shark Tank success story, Bunch Bikes creates electric tricycles that are designed to haul whatever you can fit – children, pets, a huge grocery order – into the cargo box. The bike arrives fully assembled, and our delivery person even took away the massive box it came in.
Before embarking on our first adventure, we had to charge the bike. Note: this bike is definitely not small, and you must have a proper place to store it (we keep it charged in our garage).
As far as the technicalities go, the bike weighs 152 pounds and is 83 inches long. It’s powered by a 500 watt rear hub motor, designed for moving heavy weight with 45 nm of torque. The total load capacity of the bike is 350 pounds, including 55 pounds on the rear rack. If my husband is driving, I can fit in the cargo box with my two kids. If I’m driving, my mom and full grocery haul can fit in the cargo box. Part of the fun is seeing how much you can fit in this thing – spoiler alert: it’s a lot!
The cargo box also has removable locking storage benches, plus removable 3-point seatbelts with no-slip shoulder clips for safe riding. It’s made of marine-grade plywood (designed to last in humid, wet, and coastal conditions) and protected with a rubber liner to avoid wear-and-tear from bikes, boxes, and whatever else you may be transporting.
Taking Things For A Spin
I took it out for a test ride before my husband and was extremely impressed by how stable and smooth the ride felt. As a 5’9” female rider, I felt completely in control of the wagon and was able to navigate turns and slopes flawlessly (and with a big smile on my face). Riding a tricycle is a bit more difficult than riding a bike, but I actually find it to be more enjoyable after learning the ropes (which took about a half hour).
Learning to ride the Bunch Bike is a breeze thanks to flawless design: the cargo box is made to interact with the frame through an anti-tipping smart frame, keeping the bike upright even as it turns. It also includes a steering damper mechanism that reduces wobble. With Schwalbe Big Apple Tires and front and rear hydraulic brakes, getting moving – and slowing down – both feel safe and efficient (the brakes also feel extremely responsive considering how much weight they can carry).
I can’t imagine riding this bike without the 8-Speed Shimano Acera Gears, especially in our hilly neighborhood. But, with the electric assist level up to its highest point at a 5, no hill (or driveway) is unconquerable. While it looks bulky, I’m shocked by how smooth it is to maneuver – the brand’s newest updates include an improved turning radius so it’s not awkward to pull a U-turn when you’re ready to head home.
With the walls of the cargo box and a wire frame around the sides, I feel as though my kids are generally safe (they also wear helmets and use the seatbelts at all times). I’m also extremely comfortable riding the bike thanks to the bike’s extended handlebars (designed for comfortable upright posture) and easy-adjust bike seat (made by Selle Royal, the leading brand of bicycle saddles in the world).
That said, I will note that in the back of my mind, I know I can’t control crazy drivers in LA. For this reason, I try to take the less busy neighborhood side streets, and 10-15MPH is about where my bike seems to max out. (With two toddlers, this seemed to be the speed I’d want to safely ride at anyway.) You definitely need to slow down over bumps and give your kids a heads up, as the suspension system seems to be pretty minimal. But, we find the bumps to be pretty thrilling as long as everyone is holding on! In terms of accessories, I would recommend a phone holder, mirrors, and a horn to feel fully safe on the road.
A True Joyride
As my son enters kindergarten next year close to our house, I can’t wait for this to be our primary mode of transportation to drop him off and pick him up. I would definitely recommend this bike for anyone with a family, looking for some serious fun commuting shorter distances.
I wish it had a bit more range so we could take it the 10 miles to the beach and back (though Bunch does offer a second battery pack for longer hauls). With that being said, it's definitely the best option out there for day-to-day neighborhood trips. Not driving everywhere has given us so much freedom, and the kids jump up and down in excitement every time we get ready to use it. I have gotten so many thumbs up from drivers on the road and questions about the bike–beyond bringing a smile to my face, there’s something about the freedom of the bike that makes everyone you pass smile, too.
5 More Things To Love About Bunch Bikes:
1. This e-bike has a number of safety features, including both a headlight and tail light plus three reflectors for nighttime visibility.
2. It’s easy to maneuver thanks to powerful front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, pedal assist, and an impressive turn radius.
3. Each ride really is fun for the whole family — and has room for all of your precious cargo thanks to a generous and versatile cargo box.
4. In addition to The Original, Bunch also sells The K9 (designed for dogs), The Preschool (the biggest of Bunch’s trikes), and The Mini (made for kids!).
5. Looking for accessories? Bunch Bikes also sells tons of gear, including rain covers, infant seats, dog beds, cargo blankets, and phone holders.