Product reviews

Reid KADe e-Cargo Bike

WORDS BY: Anthony Elliott

The future is bright with Reid’s new KADe e-Cargo Bike

According to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), Australian households are spending almost 15% of their income on transport costs. We’re paying $96.93 per week on fuel. That’s more than $5,000 per year before we even think about other expenses like car loan repayments, insurance, and servicing. 

It’s little wonder more Australians are looking at alternative modes of transport to help save money, time, and reduce our impact on the environment. Around 60,000 e-bikes were sold across Australia in 2021, according to research by Bicycle Industries Australia 

Almost 50 per cent of all vehicle trips in Victoria are less than 5 kilometres. It’s a similar story across the country, of the 4.2 million car trips in Perth each day, two-thirds are under 5 kilometres.  

For many of those trips, a bike is a practical substitute. For nearly all of them, an e-cargo bike is the perfect substitute. Perfect for trips to work, the supermarket, or ferrying kids to kinder or school – they’re no longer the domain of delivery riders distributing sourdough bread throughout the CBD, but a genuine alternative to a car. 

It has long been a market dominated by specialist (and expensive) European brands. Until recently, when Australian brand Reid Cycles launched its first e-cargo bike, the KADe Electric Cargo Bike 

The team at Reid gave us a chance to put the KADe through its paces – we’re excited to see how it stacks up. 

The highlights

  • What it is: Reid Cycle’s first foray into the e-cargo bike space – a versatile, long-tail design that can handle school drop-offs and day trips around the city. 
  • Price: $3,999.99 (currently on sale $3,499.99) 
  • Key features: Long-tail design, dual-battery system that offers up to 150km range, capacity to carry up to 100kg, one-size fits most geometry. 
  • Optional extras: Padded rear pannier seat ($99.99) and Urban Iki child seat ($169.99) 
  • Ultra-competitive price 
  • Powerful Ananda drive unit makes climbing a breeze 
  • One-size fits most size that makes it comfortable and versatile 
  • Robust rear rack designed to handle up to 100kg 
  • Minor lag with pedal assistance 
  • Integrated light system is underwhelming 
  • The dimensions make it difficult to manoeuvre and limit access to trains, cars, and lifts (this isn’t specific to the KADe, but all e-cargo bikes) 

How does it ride? 

The KADe is a long-tail design – meaning it has a long tail (duh) that’s designed to carry loads like your kids, small adults, or grocery shopping as opposed to a front-loader design (think big box at the front) making it feel much more like riding a ‘normal’ bike. 

It’s a smooth, comfortable bike to ride. The step-through frame combined with 24” puncture resistant tyres provided sturdy but nimble handling that made it feel like I always had full control on any surface, even with a load on the back.  

The one-size fits most frame and easily adjustable handlebars and seat post made it quick and easy to find the perfect fit for me – and anyone else who wanted a test ride. This came in handy for an impromptu group test ride at my son’s Saturday morning swimming lesson. 

The KADe frame is made from aluminium alloy with a total carrying capacity of up to 200kg (incl. rider and cargo). The rear rack is robust and is designed to handle up to 100kg – it has no issues carrying a variety of items one would regularly carry on an e-cargo bike including bags, groceries, and small humans. The convenient front porteur rack was perfect for carrying bags on your daily commute or trips to the park. 

The Ananda drive unit produces 110 Nm of torque. It’s quick and efficient, and combined with the range of the Shimano 9-speed cassette, it felt like I was dancing gracefully up the hills around my local neighbourhood. Admittedly, we’re not talking about the French Alps but it’s enough to make my heart rate jump when I’m on my standard bike (and that’s without carrying any additional weight). 

From a standing start, there was some lag before the pedal assistance kicked in, occasionally leaving me spinning my wheels at the traffic lights, particularly while carrying a load on the rear rack.  

The quoted range of the dual battery system offers up to 150km+ on a single charge in ideal conditions – i.e., no hills or extra weight. The likelihood of replicating that range while using the KADe for its intended purpose seems unlikely. The longest, single ride I did was about 40km, including hills, a headwind, and more weight than I’d care to admit, and I finished with two out of five bars of battery. 

I charged it every couple of days and never had any issues. I mostly rode it like a utility vehicle for short trips close to home – grocery shopping, getting to the train station, or the beach and parks around our neighbourhood – and always had plenty of charge left in the tank.  

The integrated, light-sensing front and rear lights powered from the battery are a great idea. Unfortunately, they didn’t produce enough light to rely solely on them, so I added my own front and rear lights for low-light conditions. 

One of the most enjoyable aspects of riding a bike comes from not having to stress about getting stuck in traffic or trying to find a park at the supermarket or train station. It was even better with the KADe, knowing that I could load it up and have some extra help to push me up the hills on my way home. 

It’s the perfect way to save money on petrol and parking. Plus, you can avoid all the people doing their best Austin Powers impersonations attempting to reverse oversized 4WDs into car parks with less room than a plane seat in economy. It’s an easy decision to leave the car at home. 

Storage and functionality 

At over 30kg, the weight of the KADe is consistent with other long-tail designs in this category. The hydraulic disc brakes did an excellent job stopping and manoeuvring, helping maintain control and always giving me full confidence.  

The walk assist function is another handy feature, and certainly makes it easier when you’re walking with the bike. We don’t have many options for secure parking which meant I had to wrestle it upstairs each night – the walk assist helped, but the weight and length certainly made it a solid workout. 

That challenge certainly isn’t unique to the KADe – if you’re in the market for an e-cargo bike, you’ll need to consider where you’ll be riding and, more importantly, parking your bike for extended periods of time (i.e., at work or a concert). The dimensions of most e-cargo bikes will mean things like lifts, trains and cars are difficult to access, so you’ll need to make sure you can park your bike securely and invest in a top-of-the-range lock. 

Finally, we need to talk about the colour. For me, it wouldn’t be a factor in deciding whether to buy this type of bike, but for some, it will be, potentially even more so for people who are new to riding. Let’s face it, e-cargo bikes are pretty ugly anyway. An e-cargo bike isn’t going to charm us with its good looks and weightlessness. It needs to be robust and reliable. It needs to be simple and fun. It needs to reduce our impact on the planet. And it needs to make life easier.  

The KADe ticked all those boxes – so don’t let the colour scare you off. 

The last word 

The power and versatility of an e-cargo bike makes it a real alternative to replace your car for your daily commute, trips to school or the shops, or exploring your city. It will save you time, money, and stress – and leave you happier and healthier in the process. 

The KADe comes with all the features you’ll need but at half the price of its more established competitors. Plus, you’ve got the option of a free 30-day test ride. If you are considering an e-cargo bike, the KADe must be on your list.  

Visit your local Reid store or check out their
and book a test ride today.

Please note, since this review was published, Reid have now released the KADe in grey.