The Flyer L885 Long Tail Cargo E-Bike, image by Kyle Field / CleanTechnica

CleanTechnica Tested: The Flyer L885 Long Tail Cargo E-Bike

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As kids, many of us grew up with the Radio Flyer brand and its iconic red wagons. Whether it was a signature wagon or another multi-wheel device designed to maximize joy for children, they’ve been around for decades.

Radio Flyer is pushing into the electric mobility space with a line of electric bikes and scooters designed to carry forward its legacy of high quality products for the masses into the next generation. Looking at its line, the L885 electric cargo bike, which does have a strange name, seemed like an innovative design, so we moved in for a closer look.

One Bike For Every Job

For its electric lineup, the company chose to simplify the brand, going simply with Flyer. The L885 electric long tail cargo bike is clearly of a different breed from the rest of the mass produced electric bikes out there. The tail has been pulled out to provide a longer cargo platform for the bike. It has accessories that allow for two children to sit comfortably, or you can attach one or two Yepp Maxi infant seats. Alternately, the integrated rear rack can be loaded up with cargo baskets and bags with a carrying capacity of 150 pounds.

The smaller rear tire has shielding around the upper with significant frame support for the long rear rack. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

To keep all that weight on the rear rack as low as possible, Flyer opted for a 20-inch rear tire. This stands in contrast with the front 26-inch tire, both of which utilize 3-inch fat tires for additional comfort as there is no suspension on the bike. The 20-inch tire in the rear keeps the rear grounded while the larger front tire gives the bike a better approach angle and better handling. It looks awkward at first but feels super comfortable when riding it.

Taking off on the first ride, the L885 feels super comfortable. This was no accident and is the result of a few key design choices. First off, the fat tires make for an extremely comfortable ride and insulate the rider from the typical blips and bumps in the road. For your rear end, the Selle Royal saddle is nice and comfortable and provides a nice base of support.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The geometry of the bike is more upright than most American bikes and works in tandem with the adjustable stem. This allows riders to adjust their seat and handlebar position to optimize the ride for their style. Finally, and somewhat surprisingly, the the oversized handlebar grips are made from a nice comfortable yet dense rubber that gives solid feedback for great control of what is a rather large bike.

Speaking of its size, the 73-pound weight of the L885 does make it a bit cumbersome to assemble. Extracting the partially assembled bike from the box can be challenging. We found that it’s best to cut the sides of the box to reveal the bike instead of attempting to lift it out the top. As for the assembly, in addition to the standard handlebar attachment, pedals, etc., the rear foot pads also need to be attached to the bike. That’s an additional six screws and while that’s not a lot, it does add weight to the bike and a bit of extra time to the assembly.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

If you’re comfortable changing out a flat on a rear tire and using basic hand tools, assembly of the L885 should not pose a challenge. For others, it’s best to find a local bike shop that is willing to assemble it for you and have it shipped directly to them.

Accessorize Your Ride

The hefty weight of the bike is largely due to the fact that it was designed to carry cargo. It boasts a total weight capacity of 400 pounds, which includes the weight of the rider. Up to 150 pounds of that can be carried on the rear rack alone. Flyer has a wide range of accessories that allow you to customize the rear cargo area. A mounting plate on the front head tube makes it easy to mount a front rack for additional cargo hauling capacity.

We were sent a front and rear basket with our bike, which are great default options for increasing the cargo capacity of the bike. Our favorite accessory for the Flyer L885 is the sick two Kid & Cargo Carrier option for the rear rack. It looks like a fairly standard cage that bolts onto the rear rack to give kids some protection and something to hold onto when riding.

Image courtesy: Flyer

A closer inspection shows that it has a trick up its sleeve in that the fabric liner that comes with it can actually zip up, transforming it into a cargo basket. This is a really cool hack that we haven’t seen anywhere else, but which makes a ton of sense whether you have kids or not. Using it in Carrier mode even seems like a better option than Flyer’s large basket as it is deeper, resulting in a larger storage volume.

The wide range of accessories make it possible to customize the bike to exactly your needs and as such, make it a solid option for young families, last mile delivery, as a work bike, and much more. Its aluminum frame and steel fork make it feel like a much lighter bike than it is and with its impressive 30-50 mile range per charge, it is extremely capable. In our testing, we found this rating to be a bit conservative as we were able to squeak out quite a few more miles per charge, even with a heavier rider than average at speeds of 15-20 mph, and that even held true on hilly routes.

It’s almost as much fun as the Radio Flyer trikes from childhood. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

For folks looking to haul a ton of weight, ride more miles, or who just love going fast, Flyer built in the capability to add a second battery to the bike. The 672Wh Extended Range Battery for the L885 bolts right onto the bike and runs in tandem with the primary battery, effectively doubling the range. Most people shouldn’t need this option, but for those who do, it’s great to have the option to not only carry a second battery, but to have it fully integrated into the system.

Overall

The Flyer L885 packs in a handful of new innovations and design choices that set it apart from the masses of electric cargo bikes. The smaller rear tire and standard front tire improve the stability and handling, both of which are increasingly important as the weight being carried increases.

Flyer has built out a range of accessories that not only work well, but they look really sharp on the bike as well. On top of that, the Flyer brand brings back memories from childhood and is frankly just a feel good brand. We love that it comes in a throwback red that connects with the original red wagon, but in a modern matte finish. It comes in black, red, white, and blue and in sizes small, medium, and large to ensure a good fit for all types of riders.

The Flyer L885 long tail electric cargo bike sells for $1,999. To pick up one or to learn more about it, head over to Flyer’s website.

Disclaimer: Flyer provided the L885 to the author for the purposes of this review.

Specs

  • Battery: 48V, 15Ah (687Wh) UL Tested Lithium-Ion pack built with Samsung 50E 21700 Cells
  • Motor: 500 watt brushless rear hub motor
  • Range: 30 to 50 miles of assisted riding per charge
  • Throttle: Half twist throttle
  • Pedal Assist: 5-level pedal assist with cadence sensor
  • Display: LCD display that shows speedometer, battery charge level, pedal assist level, odometer, and light indicator
  • Speed: Up to 20 mph with motor assistance
  • Total Weight Capacity: 400 lb
  • Rear Rack Capacity: 150 lb
  • Passengers: up to 2 additional passengers
  • Kickstand: center kickstand for stability when parked
  • Lights: Front LED headlight, Rear Integrated tail light with brake light function

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1659 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field