The Xtracycle Stoker is a longtail electric cargo bike that’s generating some serious buzz. The premium specs and natural handling make this model a convincing choice for riders looking to upgrade their cycling setup and replace gas-guzzling car trips. We were stoked to get our hands on this refreshed version from Xtracycle, a trusted brand that’s been around for over a quarter-century.
Keep reading below to see our thoughts on the Stoker electric bike and an inside look into its cargo capabilities.
Xtracycle got its start way back in 1998 and pioneered the now-common “longtail” cargo bike design. Founder Ross Evans was studying at Stanford University when he traveled to Nicaragua as a part of a project run by the “Bikes Not Bombs” nonprofit. It’s a Boston-based organization that’s still around today and I got to know them during my time in Beantown several years ago. Evans witnessed the huge difference a bike could make in developing areas— especially when able to carry cargo or children— and conceived the idea for the longtail cargo bike upon his return.
Originally, he developed the FreeRadical product which was an extension kit to convert a standard bike into a cargo bike with a longer wheelbase, or tail. The Xtracycle brand went on to build its own complete bikes as well as official partnerships with other brands, including the original Surly Big Dummy cargo bike. Past popular models that are no longer produced included the Radish, EdgeRunner, CargoJoe, Sidecar, and the FreeRadical extender accessory which is also out of production.
Electric Cargo Bike
Based on the brand’s current catalog, Xtracycle has pivoted to specializing in direct-to-consumer electric cargo bikes. A few years ago, there were electric and standard versions of the Stoker but now the three flagship models all feature electric drive units. This change makes sense as ebike tech has advanced significantly and demand has ramped up as urban users search for smart alternatives to cars or public transit. With so many years in the industry, Xtracycle has a leg up on its competitors and knows the ins and outs of what makes a quality cargo-carrying machine.
Off Road Ready
The Stoker is Xtracycle’s most rugged cargo bike that’s ready for on- or off-road trips. While there aren’t fat tires, the large (for a cargo bike) 24” wheels and durable components allow this model to take on bikepacking routes and camping adventures. The multi-surface design also makes it versatile enough for pothole-ridden city streets and your local bumpy bike trails.
The famed longtail setup means there’s an extended rear platform and stable wheelbase for carrying cargo or shuttling kids. Feel confident riding over a range of terrains at any speed so you don’t have to take it easy on your cargo-hauling missions.
This all-terrain workhorse is built around a strong and durable 4130 Chromoly steel frame. It’s designed to carry cargo at the rear via the integrated rack and tons of optional accessories offered by Xtracycle. This “longtail” design can be thought of as the pickup truck of the bike world and made a huge splash when it was first introduced by the brand over 20 years ago. It’s an alternative setup to the front-loading cargo bikes with linkage steering and a huge, low cargo basket at the front end— Bullitt bikes are a good example of this.
Both designs work well so it’ll depend on your cargo needs and the handling that you prefer. Many users enjoy longtails as they are a bit more intuitive and beginner-friendly since they behave a bit more like typical bikes.
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting that the Stoker is a large bike. I appreciate the sleek look of its normal-sized tubing yet the cargo ebike is still quite the beast— and that’s mostly a good thing. This model is built to handle off-road routes unlike its sibling, the Xtracycle Swoop.
The Swoop has a smaller 20” rear wheel and its classic low-step frame shape that facilitates getting on and off the bike, especially for smaller riders. The Stoker, on the other hand, has dual 24” wheels and high-step geometry. This improves stability on tricky terrain but can make mounting the bike a bit more difficult if you need to lean it to one side when it’s loaded with heavy cargo.
The third offering from Xtracycle is the RFA (Ready for Anything) model which is a compact utility ebike with an adjustable wheelbase. This allows it to convert from a stable cargo ebike to a standard city bike that fits on bus or car bike racks. The Stoker is the rowdy one of the bunch and is designed to haul cargo when the route is unknown or bumpier than the typical paved street.
Shimano Mid-Drive Motor
The Xtracycle Stoker is now only available as an ebike and it gets its boost from the latest Shimano STEPS EP8 drive unit. A few years ago, the Stoker came with a Bosch drive unit but the brand has recently swapped to a Shimano setup. The mid-drive motor is neatly integrated near the bottom bracket area and provides assistance up to a top speed of 20 mph.
With that maximum speed and no throttle model, it falls into the Class 1 category so it’s legal to ride on almost any trail or local path. It pushes out up to 85 Nm of torque so you can easily make it over steep climbs, even when loaded down with tons of cargo. There’s a torque sensor instead of a cadence sensor that’s seen on lower-quality motors and we noticed the improvement to ultra-smooth pedal assist during testing.
One hiccup during the trials, however, was that the Shimano connectors came loose. A cable from the controller was able to gradually wriggle its way free as it’s just a rubber connector with a small central pin. That’s not a dealbreaker but something worth keeping in mind, especially if you plan to ride rough trails or bumpy terrain. The small Shimano E5003 display and controller is nothing special and gives you all the simple ride stats you need while riding.
How’s it Compare to Other Cargo Bikes?
That premium drive unit comes with a higher price tag than more affordable brands like Rad Power Bikes or Aventon, but the performance gains are very noticeable compared to overpowered and less refined rear hub motors. The complete bike comes in at $4,999 placing it at the high end of the electric cargo bike spectrum. The big investment can be worth it for riders dedicated to replacing car and public transit trips with this superbike that’ll last for years.
All the ebike’s juice comes from the Shimano 630Wh battery pack that sits directly behind the cranks. Xtracycle has played around with the battery setup before— previously leaving room for two Bosch batteries on the seatstays— but has settled on this current design. I don’t mind the aesthetics and the small battery pack provides a great range of 30 to 60 miles on a single charge. With that kind of range, I don’t see much of a need for an additional battery pack, but maybe they’ll bring back the optional double battery design in the future for a bit more customization. Including the complete drive system, the bike weighs a total of 64.1 lbs.
The Stoker runs as efficiently as possible thanks to its high-quality mechanical components that complement the premium drive unit. The SRAM NX11 11-speed rear derailleur operates with a 11/42t cassette so you’ll always be pedaling in the right gear no matter the gradient. I love the inclusion of a tension clutch on the derailleur that limits chain slap over rough terrain.
The Tektro Orion 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes provide reliable stopping performance when the bike is fully loaded or traveling at high speeds.
The Stoker opts for 24” wheels at the front and rear for better handling on all types of terrain with wide 2.5” tires for confident riding in tricky conditions. There’s no room for larger rubber but I think 2.5” is a solid choice for efficient riding over a variety of surfaces. If you do serious backcountry trekking or off-road hauling, you’re probably better off with a dedicated fat tire cargo bike anyway. The front wheel has a thru-axle for additional strength and stiffness in that area.
The star of the show, however, is the Stoker’s rear end. This cargo-carrying zone is where the magic happens, letting riders easily carry any combination of groceries, bags, children, or adult passengers with this bikes frame design. The bike’s maximum payload is 400 lbs. including rider so you can feel free to really load it up. We received the Stoker fully assembled (no assembly required— really, none!) on a pallet equipped with several cargo accessories.
Hooptie Passenger System
Our setup had the Hooptie Passenger System which is an enclosure for carrying young passengers, complete with handrails and a long padded seat called the Magic Carpet. It’s a very well-designed and comprehensive system for transporting kids safely and easily. Take off the rails and a second adult can sit on the Magic Carpet and footrests to enjoy the ride, too!
The included accessories when you purchase the Stoker are generous and offer ample utility right off the bat without dropping even more cash. There are dual sling bags that hang over each wheel, U-tube footrests, a center kickstand, integrated front and rear lights, and metal fenders. The motorcycle-style kickstand works great since it’s wide enough to create a super stable base while loading cargo or having kids hopping in and out. The Herrmans lights are impressively bright and fit neatly into the bike’s design.
PorterRack and PorterPack
To test the Stoker’s full potential, we added PorterRack front rack and PorterPack to carry cargo on the front end of the bike as well. This extra bit of kit makes the bike feel like the ultimate family grocery-getter and the ideal rig for taking your kids to school, with plenty of room for backpacks or their lunches. Plan your specific package by checking out all the configuration options, child seats, and other accessories available, one note worthy addition is the MagicCarpet Seat Cushion.
The Xtracycle Stoker ($4,999) brings an extra level of cargo performance— and has the high price tag to make sure your wallet feels that premium quality, too. But at a fraction of a price of a car or long-term commuting costs, this electric hauler can still save you money over time while you save the planet. Not every cargo ebike can realistically replace car trips, but the Stoker and its wide range of accessories can effectively get you out of traffic and onto a bike that’s fun to ride for everyone.
If the Xtracycle Stoker is within your budget, it’s a smart investment that your precious cargo, from school-bound children to fresh groceries, will appreciate— well, maybe those organic bananas won’t be able to tell the difference after all.