Chinese cargo bike

Cargo bike in China.

A Chinese man rides his bike past an Agricultural Bank of China branch in Beijing on June 30, 2010. The Agricultural Bank of China on Wednesday kicked off a share offer worth a world-record 23.2 billion dollars as China strives to develop depressed regions in rural lender's heartland.  UPI/Stephen Shaver Photo via Newscom

I asked this question on Twitter and got some good responses: Does a cargo bike have to be a long bike to be an effective cargo carrier? What do you think?

Here’s what I have in mind: Long bikes are generally not transportable on public transit systems because they exceed length limitations. Some people (like me) also live in upper floor apartments — I’m not sure I’m willing to haul a long bike up and down a narrow staircase every day.

Trailers have the same problem, though of course you can detach the trailer and only use it when necessary.

I’m thinking of bikes like the Specialized Globe Haul (rack capacity 40kg), Torker Cargo T, or the Batavus Delivery Bike.


Batavus delivery bike

I realize a longer bike gives you impressive cargo carrying capacity, but is there interest in bikes with a more traditional wheelbase with cargo carrying capacity of, say, 100 to 200 lbs (45 to 90 kg)? What bikes are available with that kind of load capacity? Can modern, commercially available porteur bikes handle loads of that size?

17 Comments

  • Jym Dyer
    July 2, 2010 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    =v= There's a folding Xtracycle at Warm Planet. Kash made it from a big-wheeled Dahon.

  • July 2, 2010 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    The biggest drawback to the short wheelbase for some people is kid-carrying ability. The rear rack is only about 45cm long and it's hard to squeeze two kids on it. Otherwise I'd argue that my Cargo-T with a large crate/basket on the front is every bit the grocery getter as a longtail.

    The Torker Cargo-T and Batavus Personal Delivery are the exact same bike design, by the way. Batavus licensed Torker to build the Cargo-T.

  • July 2, 2010 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I didn't even think of the kid angle — that's exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for.

    I assumed Torker just copied Batavus' design; I didn't realize there was licensing involved!

  • Alan@EcoVelo
    July 2, 2010 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I'm a fan of standard wheelbase bikes for carrying cargo. Certainly, some loads such as lumber or furniture require a longbike, or perhaps even a bakfiets, but for most everyday loads, a standard length bike with robust front and rear racks will suffice. I currently have a Yuba Mundo on loan, and while it's a great bike for what it's intended to do, I don't find myself wanting to ride it everyday due to its sheer bulk.

    Alan

  • July 2, 2010 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    So how about a pic, @Jym? I wonder if you could xtracycle a Montague Bi-fold Mountain bike? The rear triangle shape might not work.

  • July 2, 2010 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Have you taken a look at the Ahearne Cycle Truck?

    http://www.ahearnecycles.com/cycletruck/

    This bike answers all of the issues stated above. It's got a traditional wheel base, is relatively light (around 40 pounds) so can be carried up stairs, has none of the handling issues that may be noticed with long-tails. Because they aren't especially long, the Cycle Truck can be taken on the train. And they can carry upwards of 200 pounds on the front, and do it safely. My friend Philip had never ridden a Cycle Truck, and his first time on one he carried me on the front (165 pounds) exclaiming all the while, “I can't believe how easy this thing is to ride!”
    And, one more positive thing about the Cycle Truck is that it's made in Oregon, USA.
    Check it out, it addresses all the above-mentioned issues, and then some.

  • July 2, 2010 - 8:51 pm | Permalink

    If Jym doesn't get one, I'll try for a photo myself the next time I'm up in SF. I've visited Warm Planet but haven't seen that particular bike, I don't think.

  • July 2, 2010 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I saw “cycle truck” and thought long bike with a front load — I didn't realize it was an awesome porteur bike! 165 lb load is impressive!

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  • July 3, 2010 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    The rack is fixed to the frame so it's not technically a porteur. That's what makes it able to safely handle with so much weight. With a large load on the front it still rides and feels like a standard bicycle. It doesn't want to “dive” into corners the way fork mounted racks tend to do.

  • July 3, 2010 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    If anyone here is interested, I'm bringing a handful of Cycle Trucks to San Francisco next weekend. I'll be around July 10 through 13, and would be happy to meet up and let you take one for a test ride. I plan to stop in at Warm Planet Bikes as well. You can contact me directly to set up an appointment, or, if twitter is functioning (it's down right now) I'll be posting info there.

    My e-mail is:

    [email protected]

    On twitter, look for Ahearne Cycles.

    Oh, if you'd like to meet for a test ride, please bring something heavy.

  • Adrienne Johnson
    July 3, 2010 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I have a Batavus Socorro and an xtracycle. Unless I have a huge load of stuff, I almost never use the xtra. It can be difficult to park because of its length, I can not put it on a bus rack if I am tired, it does not easily go on BART… my Bat carries a 50 lb kid, a sack of groceries and my back pack on a regular basis and does all of that, too. There are not that many days in a month when I need more than that.

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  • Green_Idea_Factory
    July 10, 2010 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I would suggest the Workcycles FR8, made by a Amsterdam-based company owned by a friend of mine. See http://www.workcycles.com/home-products/profess… and related photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/henryinamsterdam/s….

    The most similar bike mentioned in the comments is the Cycle Truck. They both are made to carry a bunch of weight up front, but they differ in other ways.

    Some perhaps important differences of the heaviest-duty version of the FR8 mentioned at the link include:
    * It is low step-over, so better for some women and simply easier to mount/dismount for anyone.
    * The front rack is also a stand, which makes the bike really stable when loading.
    * Built-in lights and generator.
    * Full chaincase.
    * Componentry is different so it is hard to make a precise comparison, but it seems to be about 1000 bucks cheaper…

    Both the FR-8 and Cycle Truck are available in Portland, OR and other places, so give 'em both a test ride… and may the most appropriate bike win!

  • July 10, 2010 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I know Henry and I can't believe I failed to mention his FR8! Thanks for noting this bike as well.

  • June 26, 2012 - 12:11 am | Permalink

    With new technology new things are emerging would this effect on people life weather they are more depending on machines.

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