When I think Surly bikes, the first thing that comes to mind is steel frames built to take a thrashing. No frills, no bells (well maybe on some) and certainly no motors - until now. Surly entered the E-cargo market at Frost Bike in St. Paul, Minnesota, with the release of the Big Easy. The E-cargo world is growing by leaps and bounds, as more and more people are looking to ditch their cars and cargo bikes are a solid alternative to a minivan. But why an e-bike? Because the load capability of some modern cargo bikes are so high that they are more like 18-wheelers than bicycles and pedaling an 18-wheeler is hard.

Surly's new E-cargo Big Easy boasts a weight for the rack itself at a respectable 200lbs of cargo, while the full weight limit for the rider, gear, and all racks is 400lbs total. Impressive. The Big Easy is a full steel Surly design crafted around the Bosch Performance CX drive unit. The Performance CX unit boasts a maximum torque of 75 Nm and has many modes to fit your load: Eco, Tour, EMTB, and Turbo. The Performance CX can support up to speeds of 6 mph, which makes pushing your bike much more relaxed, especially fully loaded or after a long day at work.

Component highlights include relaxed mustache style bars, internal cables, and housing and, four-piston Tektro brakes. Surly adds a damping headset for smooth and stable handling under heavy loads, and a tall headtube for easy steering. The Surly Big Easy is capable of running dual batteries for extended range, and Bosch downtube batteries are interchangeable allowing for easy swapping an aftermarket purchase. Large-volume 26x2.5 ExtraTerrestrial tires and durable wheel builds give the rider peace of mind, knowing they won't get stranded on the roadside with the kids. The Surly Big Easy frame also integrates seamlessly with Surly Bill and Ted trailers for maximum cargo potential.

The ride of the Surly Big Easy is similar to the name, easy and smooth, though mine was equipped with less cargo than most. A characteristic that sticks out is that the bike handled much like a "regular bike." I didn't feel that I was riding a large cargo bike, the ride was steady and smooth. From the upright riding position and the headset dampening the ride is comfortable, the chromoly steel frame soaking up the bumps and hum that accompanies many other loaded alloy cargo bikes. Component spec is spot on for the intended purpose, the brakeset stops the Big Easy capably, and shifting is smooth and predictable.

Riding assisted is still a novelty to me, but I quickly understood the utility when taking the Surly Big Easy up a small snow covered hill at a nearby ski resort. Most of my riding on the Big Easy was in the saddle and I noticed the Bosch delivers predictable and consistent power, never lurching. Different modes are available to the rider and all are super smooth and powerful from what I experienced. The bike never lunged when stomping on the pedals and each acceleration was smooth and stable.

It's clear who the intended customer is for the Big Easy and how it can help with tasks such as moving, shopping and picking up the kids. The $5000 price is pretty heavy, but so is all that gear and spending time in cars. If you are someone who wants to ditch the car entirely and not depend on your buddy with a truck for moving, I suggest you take the Big Easy for a test ride.

For more info cargo over to www.surlybikes.com