Bionicon Urban Cargo review

German beast of burden

BikeRadar score3/5

The Bionicon Urban Cargo is the bigger brother of the Urban Road we tested earlier this year, and as the name suggests, this 15.1kg machine is designed for load-carrying duties.

The story goes that Bionicon's German designers wanted a bike that could carry a crate of beer front and rear. The Urban Cargon certainly proved capable of carrying the weight, though we weren’t going to try it with a precious cargo like beer.

The Cargo handles confidently, although it's not especially sprightly, and its disc brakes make stopping safely a doddle even when loaded.

The handlebars are height-adjustable, and the frame’s split down tube makes it surprisingly easy to heft up and down stairs should the need arise. 

Construction quality is just what you’d expect from a German company – the welds are impressively hefty and we reckon that, like a cockroach, this might just survive a nuclear war.

That said, we do have one criticism of the frame, and this was picked up by everybody who rode it: the chainstays have an ‘S’ shape which is at its widest point just where your heels pass when pedalling, and then they get slightly narrower again where they meet the seatstays.

The result is that your heels are forever rubbing against the frame. And it’s not like the stays need to be this shape to clear the rear disc brake – there’s no reason why they couldn’t be straight.

Moreover, although it’s possible to load up the rack using the rubber bungees that come with the bike, we’d have preferred the Cargo to have come with more traditional racks and narrower struts, so you could fit standard panniers.

The £1,200 price tag is a little heavy too, though this is the highest specced model, with a dynamo hub and Brooks saddle as well as those excellent disc brakes.

Two other models, one with nine-speed SRAM and the other a singlespeed, are just as practical but offer much better value at £799 and £699 respectively.

Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
  • Age: 53
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9
  • Weight: 75kg /165lb
  • Waist: 33in
  • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
  • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
  • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Location: Bath, UK
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