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Flyer L885 Electric Bike

Radio Flyer, maker of the little red wagons, now does ebikes. And it does them well. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia


The Inertia

Electric Bikes are here to stay. They make life easier. They’re increasing in reliability, and continue to drop in price. Nowadays, you can find an ebike for any use under the sun, especially when you get an electric bike with a fat tire to take you through varied terrain. But as innovative as electric bikes are, they are still limited by their size in what they can carry. Nowadays, there are a good selection of cargo bikes to choose from that add a bit of extra space, enough for groceries, gear, or even to wrangle some youngsters along for the ride.

I had a chance to test out the new L885 cargo ebike from Flyer, a rebrand of Radio Flyer, the same company who makes those little red wagons that have been a part of American childhood for over 100 years. Although seemingly disparate, the wagon and a cargo ebike have more in common than we might consider at first glance: they are useful ways to haul gear and kids around with minimal effort.

The L885 is a well-built, solid electric bike that will make life easier for those with kids or those without a car who need to haul extra gear, groceries, and more. In short, it’s a great bike for those who need it, and probably too much metal for those who don’t. But let’s look further into it, below:

Flyer L885 Electric Cargo Bike

Pros Cons
Solid build Large/heavy
400 lb payload Longer frame than a non-cargo ebike
Room for 2 kids in back Small display
Smooth acceleration

First Impressions

There’s no denying it – this bike is big. The box is a bit much to carry solo, and coming in at 100 lbs, it’s wise to enlist help from a friend to get it through the front door. Once you unpack everything, the assembly is fairly straightforward and you’ll likely be up and riding in under a half hour.

The frame is solid, and you can tell by the materials, components, and welds that this bike was not built in haste. Everything looks like it was properly built and won’t fall apart after you put a few hundred miles on it. Being a long bike, the frame in the back is reinforced between the pedals and the wheel with an extra support column.

Once the bike was ready to go, one of the main things I noticed was how smooth the acceleration is. Many ebikes, especially the lower-priced ones, have a very zippy acceleration that, while fun, can be a bit jarring. The smoothness of this one is especially important if carting little ones around.

Speaking of little ones, I had my one year old join me for this product test, something that I don’t get to do every day. The bike comes with a host of add-on options, one being the “Kid and Cargo carrier” which was pretty straightforward to mount. It extends the rear rack on either side with supports to keep the little ones inside. There is also a fabric to place inside the rails which can drop down for the kids to extend outward. My kid isn’t big enough yet, so it doesn’t work with a car seat, but for those who don’t need a car seat it’s a nice bonus.

The fabric also allows you to place gear inside without needing an extra storage container, and it’s aesthetically pleasing. However, it also fits the classic 100-liter black and yellow storage tote perfectly, so that’s what I used for extra space when in cargo mode.

See the Flyer L885 on Amazon

a father and his baby daughter biking by the ocean in the Flyer L885 electric bike

The massive cargo capacity of the Flyer L885 made for a great daddy-daughter day by the water, with room to spare. Photo: Lindsay Gough/The Inertia

Notable Features

It may sound a bit silly, but one of the features I most enjoyed was the classic old-school bell as opposed to the electric horns other ebikes have. It’s a small difference but it’s just oh-so-satisfying ringing an analog bell. Sure, you can buy an aftermarket one for 10 bucks, but it’s often the little things that set a product apart and this speaks to Flyer’s old-school roots.

I’m also a big fan of the different wheel sizes: 26″ in front, and 20″ in the back. This allows for a better center of gravity when hauling gear or people so that it’s not so top heavy. When taking my kid around it never felt unstable, even at a cruising speed. The longer frame does make the turning radius a bit wider, but when safety and stability are top-concern, this isn’t much of an issue. Remember that this is a utility bike – you’re not trying to win any street races.

Another great feature is the dual kickstand that keeps the bike upright instead of leaning to one side. It helps when loading and unloading, and is sturdy enough to not tip over. In testing, one of the rubber feet did come detached, but this was easily fixed with a spot of glue. It also takes a bit of space (at least 6 inches) forward and backwards to get the kickstand activated, so make sure you have enough space around your bike before setting up shop.

Drawbacks

As mentioned earlier, this is a big bike. It weighs 100 lbs, and is significantly longer than a standard bike, or even most ebikes. This makes storing and transporting the bike on/in a car a bit of a hurdle. So for city people in apartments, or anyone who is planning on transporting the bike often, if you’re not married to the extra cargo space this bike provides, you might want to consider one of the folding ebikes we’ve reviewed.

Another drawback is the tires – while puncture-resistant, they don’t have much burly tread on them. This is probably not an issue for most of the population as it’s a utility bike and not technically an off-roader. I never felt unsafe on it, but it’s worth noting that the tread seems more suited for streets than dirt or mud, despite this being a fat-tire ebike.

And while the bike does have a display, it’s fairly small in comparison to what some other bikes offer. That said, it gives you what you need in an odometer, speedometer, and displays the pedal assist mode. So it’s up to you whether a big screen is necessary or not.

the flyer l885 cargo electric bike in action, fully loaded with gear

I was able to do a Costco mission with a large tote, a box on top, and flowers for the missus up front, with no worries. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Final Thoughts

The Flyer L885 is fantastic for its intended use, which is hauling around extra gear or some little ones. You can even fit an adult on the back if you’d like. And thanks to some of the bonus accessories, you can customize it to further suit your needs. If you want something sporty and for off road, there are better bikes out there. But if a safe, reliable, and fun way to transport your kids and/or gear is the top priority, you can’t go wrong with this bike.

Plus, Flyer offers a 30-day trial period where you can return the bike, no questions asked (with a few stipulations, of course) so as long as you have some space on your credit card, you can check the bike out and return it if it turns out not to be what you’re after. All in all, It’s a solid bike from a company that has been around well before electric bikes, so you can feel confident knowing this is a solid piece of equipment that’s built to last.

Buy Flyer L885 on Amazon

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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