There’s not one way to dress your eBike, because there’s an eBike built for anything and everything. Here at Swift we’re all for it! We want people out there cruising on bikes whether they’re motivated to self-power, or they’re motor-vated with pedal assist.
So what’s different about selecting bags for an eBike? As with any other bicycle you’ll be asking yourself some basic questions to get started.
Know Your Bike – What Kinds of Bags Are Right For You?
-Material and durability: a consideration for any outdoor gear selection! Abrasion resistance, durability and water resistance make for gear that will last a long time and perform well in wet conditions. Our ECOPAK™ collection features all of that, plus it’s manufactured out of 100% Repreve recycled polyester.
-Size and capacity: understanding the right size for your needs. Many people use eBikes as an alternative to cars for getting around town, which means they intend to haul a LOT of stuff.
-Mounting system: how to secure the bag on your eBike. With eBikes you maybe navigating variable sizing on rack tubing and more cabling and controls to avoid interference with on the on the handlebars.
-Accessibility and compartments: Will your eBike be hauling a dog who might benefit from a quick mid-ride treat? Or are you towing a kiddo who’s going to want access to their own snacks?
-Design and aesthetics: Well this is the fun part. Showing up with style and flair will set your ride apart from the growing crowd of eBike riders.
We got some insight from four of our community members riding four very different eBikes. Here they are to tell you in their own words what they’re riding, to what end, and with what bags.
Martina, riding The electrified Bullitt Milkrun with the Shimano Steps motor
(Martina is the founder & CEO at Swift Industries, and the wing nut who bought her dog an EV.)
The moment I realized Meena, our 75 lb Great Pyrenees mix, might have fun riding in a bike I put the word out and this pre-owned Bullitt came up. When I test rode it I fell in love. My vision was to have an e-bike that would cut out most of my micro-trips with the car like grocery shopping, swimming in the lake and going to the dog park. It’s done exactly that! The Bullitt features a steering damper which is amazing. Meena is a big dog and shifts her weight around in the bucket and the bicycle stays impressively stable and easy to steer. We’ve been getting into these hilarious summer outings to the lake packed up with floaties, picnic and dog in tow, all by bicycle!
I rock my Zeitgeist Pack on my e-bike’s handlebars. Since this rig is dog-park-ready I’m always carrying a frisbee, water bottle and bowl, extra leash and poop bags. Dog treats are right on hand in my Sidekick Stem Bag for rewards along the way. Both models mount effortlessly to my e-bike handlebars and in the case of the Bullitt, attachment is no different than to my gravel bike.
Izzy, riding the 2021 Kona Dew-e DL
(Izzy is a longtime friend of Swift and a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington here in Seattle)
I bought the bike when my commute became 15 miles each way, but I still wanted to commute by bike as much as possible. I wanted a flat bar bike that rode like a regular bike, and also had a regular drive train and tire size. I think that the Kona Dew is a really great commuter bike, so the Dew-e just made sense. I love this bike because it feels like I’m riding a regular bike, just a bit faster! It feels great both loaded and unloaded.
For this bike, I wanted bags that I could put everything in. I hate wearing a backpack. The Hold Fast Half Frame Bag holds my charger so I can charge at work if I need. I carry my tools in my Every Day Caddy, and my lunch, change of clothes, and other odds and ends up front. With this bike I can carry slightly more up front and it doesn’t get squirrely. I’ve got the Wald 139 basket up front with the (now retired) Swift Motherloaf Basket Bag. The Swift x Blue Lug Cargo Net is great for a little added basket capacity. Reflective color pop on the saddle is the Swift x Blue Lug Reflector.
Ilana, Riding the 2022 Tern HSD P9
(Ilana has been with Swift for 12ish years, sewing things, designing bags and managing the brand department)
If you asked me 6 years ago I would have said I’d NEVER own an eBike. But then I had a kid and once he hit 30 lbs I was done hauling him and all of his school gear up and down the Seattle hills on my Bianchi Volpe. So I asked around and got some stellar advice from friends at G&O Family Cyclery on selecting a family eBike. I needed something light enough to carry down a flight of stairs into my basement, and small enough that it would fit with the other 5 bikes we have in that space. I knew in addition to general commuting around the city that I’d want to get out for some bike overnights, so a motor with a decent range and the capability to haul a lot of stuff (tents, sleeping bags, food etc) was important to me. We’re several thousand miles in at this point and I LOVE this bike. It’s fun, zippy, comfortable and surprisingly agile.
It’s remarkable how much space I have on this bike for bags! Up front I’ve got the 30L Motherloaf Basket Bag (the for-now-retired, larger counterpart to our Sugarloaf Basket Bag). This is where backpacks, lunches and rain gear get stashed. Off the basket I have two Sidekick Stem Pouches. One Sidekick has an extra thermos in it, and the other stays empty for stashing all of the wrappers and half-eaten snacks I get handed during the ride. Then in the back we’ve got the Bandito Bicycle Bag. My goal with the Bandito was an easy zipper entry bag that our Kiddo could use to stash snacks, mittens, pinecones and other miscellany. He really enjoys the independence of managing his own supplies without me needing to pull over and rifle through the front bag to locate what he’s asking for! For a little extra reflective pop there’s the Caldera Collection Reflector on the back (currently on sale).
On the back rack is the Junior Ranger Pannier. Panniers can be difficult on eBikes because the rack tubing is often a significantly larger diameter. Pay attention to that tubing diameter before ordering any panniers or hooks. I ordered these hooks separately and then replaced the standard sized hooks that come with the Swift Panniers (Jandd is one source). The Panniers are largely reserved for camping trips, where they end up carrying sleeping bags and the cook kit.
Color on the bags was a fun challenge on this bike. The frame is identified as ‘Limon,’ but I think of it as ‘Day Glow Yellow.’ I am stoked with the way the black and teal have worked out here.
Theo, riding the Yuba Supermarché
(Theo is a Swift friend and Seattle cyclist)
I first encountered and started dreaming about bakfiets-style cargo bikes in 2008 while living in Portland. Back then they were hard to come by and typically pedal powered. I had a couple of long-tail cargo bikes over the years, but never really liked how the weight was often high or unbalanced. And cranking up hills with a lot of extra weight is quite a bit of work.
Over the last few years, I’ve been learning to play music and often borrowing my partner’s car to take short trips with my guitar and amp. This spring we traveled to France and Belgium, I saw a lot of bakfiets-style bikes hauling cargo across urban spaces. With the addition of electric assist, these bikes were able to move some really heavy gear while still moving quickly enough to flow with other traffic. Back in Seattle, I started researching options, shopping the used market, and generally daydreaming.
As for how I ended up with the Yuba Supermarché, it was largely a question of price. It’s an older model, so it was discounted a bit. And unlike a lot of the used options I found, the motor and battery were factory-installed and new tech. That felt safer and more reliable to me. It also came with a basket installed, which was one less thing to figure out.
I am primarily using this bike to cart around my guitar and amp. I’ve also used it to haul groceries; an inflatable stand up paddleboard; a cooler, watermelon and camp chair; take-out orders; and nothing. It’s so fun to ride, I sometimes choose it over my other bikes to just get places, even when I don’t have cargo to carry.
Capacity isn’t really an issue with the basket up front, so the bags I’m using are mainly to keep my pockets empty and offer easy access to things that might otherwise get buried (or smashed) under other cargo. So, keys, wallet, phone, and a couple of granola bars go in a Sidekick Stem Pouch. Slightly bigger things go in the Catalyst Pack, such as a lock, spare tubes, and a sweatshirt.
Got any specific questions about bags for your eBike? Lay them on us.