Tern and Carla Cargo team on nimble e-bike tractor trailer for cities
Two of the more interesting urban cargo hauling solutions out there are now working together. The Tern GSD electric cargo bike and Carla Cargo bike trailer are becoming a powerful but compact delivery team. Smaller, lighter and more agile than an electric mini-truck or van, the combo can carry 700 lb (318 kg) through whatever crowded city squares, narrow alleys and traffic-jammed streets stand between a package and its destination.
Tern's North American distributor and subsidiary Stile Products will distribute both GSD bikes and Carla Cargo trailers to North American commercial customers as part of Tern's global Bikes For Business program. The GSD and Carla trailer won't just be a cute, feel-good solution, but a muscular workhorse duo that can stack, hang and move all kinds of cargo.
One of the more innovative electric cargo bikes we've seen, the Tern GSD skips the extra-long wheelbases, huge cargo tubs and trike layouts of other cargo e-bikes, carrying an effective load-hauling platform on a more city-friendly two-wheeler. The bike's specially designed reinforced geometry fits inside a traditional bicycle wheelbase, giving it nimble handling and a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 440 lb (200 kg).
The GSD itself weighs around 72 lb (33 kg) with dual batteries, so that leaves 368 lb (167 kg) to split between the rider and the cargo strapped to the rear rack or modular accessories like the front basket. Using a CDC-derived average American adult weight of 185 lb (84 kg), we can estimate the GSD's effective cargo carrying capacity around 183 lb (83 kg), though it could be well more with a smaller cyclist in the saddle.
A 180-lb cargo payload should be plenty for the average bicycle commuter pedaling groceries or young children around the neighborhood, but in launching the Bikes For Business program, Tern identified the need for more customized solutions to fit around specific commercial needs. The heavy-duty Carla trailer becomes one of those solutions, capable of multiplying total cargo capacity and working as both a bike trailer and hand truck.
Carla offers both the eCarla electric-assist trailer we looked at in 2016 and the basic, non-powered Carla trailer. The non-motorized Carla can carry up to 330 lb (150 kg) behind a bike or 440 lb (200 kg) as a hand truck. Tern developed a custom tow bar for hitching up the Carla, and GSD and trailer combine for a 698-lb (317-kg) payload, including rider (513 lb/233-kg cargo capacity for the average-weight adult cited above).
Tern started trials of the commercial GSD/Carla cargo-carry system in the US and Europe last year, delivering groceries in New York City, for example. It announced a full launch this week, saying that Stile has Carla Cargos in stock for North America. Interested parties can find out more about at Bikes For Business.