My neighbor Neal Saiki is at Eurobike to show off his 2×4 electric assist cargo bike.
Neal and his wife Lisa founded Zero Motorcycles in 2006 and began designing this cargo bike before he sold Zero in 2011. The EU compliant 250 watt motor might seem a little underpowered by American standards, especially on a heavy-duty cargo bike carrying a load, but I’ve zipped around the hilly roads of Santa Cruz County with this bike, and that motor and the battery pack provide plenty of oomph. If you live in Scotts Valley or Felton, you might have seen Lisa make her weekend runs on this bike with her children. She reports she’s gone up to 40 miles loaded on a battery charge, which is provided through a 36V 14AH lithium ion battery.
Before he designed cargo bikes and motorcycles, Neal was the designer for Santa Cruz Bicycles. Before that, he was the student team leader for the world’s first human powered helicopter to achieve lift off. He knows bike design, he knows electric motors, and he knows rechargeable battery technology. The 6061 aluminum frame is plenty stiff for a nimble, confident ride. The Saiki family lives on one of the bumpier roads in the county, but the wide tires (26 x 2.4 in the rear, 24 x 2.4 under the cargo platform) effectively cushions bumps on the road for a smooth, comfortable ride.
The front cargo platform sits over a 24″ wheel and can carry 100 lbs of cargo. It’s designed to fit a standard industrial crate.
Gates carbon belt drives the 8 speed Alfine internally geared hub. Other nice features include a cup holder and a USB port to charge your mobile electronics.
You can find Neal and his NTS Works 2×4 cargo bike at the Gates Carbon Drive booth at Eurobike, which runs Wednesday through Saturday this week. You can find Gates at booth A2-203. Although Gates participated in the Demo Day earlier today, Neal didn’t arrive and unpack his bike until after the day was done.
In the United States, you can see this bike September 9 – 13, 2013 in the NTS Pacific Northwest Tour (Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and then San Francisco), during which the Saikis will launch their Kickstarter campaign. They’re revamping their web page now, but learn more about the NTS Works 2×4 NTSWorks.com.