Archive | July, 2010

CETMA Cargo: American Bakfiets Builder

We’ve been meaning to write a post about CETMA Cargo for some time. The place is run by Lane Kagay who makes fantastic custom built bakfiets cargo bicycles and racks. If you’re thinking about buying a bakfiets, rather than shipping one to the States, you should seriously consider getting a skilled local builder like Lane to build one for you. You’ll get a custom bicycle with great components for about the same price as shipping a stock Euro built bicycle to the States.

Lane’s bicycles have some great features like disk brakes, triangulated frame for strength, and customizable modular design. Check out Lane’s website for more photos.

• CETMA Cargo

Posted in bakfiets, Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Work CyclingComments (2)

Onderwater: Kid Pedal Bakfiets

Onderwater is a Dutch bicycle company that makes a bakfiets for families with older children. Instead of the kids riding in a cargo box, the Onderwater has standard bicycle seats in tandem with the adult driver. There are also pedals for the kids, so that they can help mom or dad pedal to school. They come in multiple configurations for families with one to three kids. The bikes come with 8 speed Shimano internally geared hubs, halogen lamps, and roller brakes front and rear. The bikes start in price at around $2200 USD / €1643


Posted in bakfiets, City Cycling, Family CyclingComments (6)

Torker Cargo-T Bicycle

Torker has released the Cargo-T bicycle for $600 MSRP. It’s distributed in the US by Seattle Bicycle Supply, which should make it easy for your local bike shop to get a hold of. It comes with Shimano 3 speed internal hub gearing and comes with front and rear cargo racks.

At 45 lbs, it’s about average weight for most purpose built cargo bicycles. The frame comes in satin grey or blaze green. This Taiwan built bicycle is a lower cost alternative for anyone considering European built city bicycles which could easily cost more than a thousand bucks.

Torker USA
• Seattle Bicycle Supply

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Hopworks Beer Bike

This is just plain cool. Beer, Pizza, and Bikes! Who could ask for more. Another great idea from the brains at Metrofiets.

Hopworks Micro Brewery
• Metrofiets Beer Bike Photos

Posted in bakfiets, special purposeComments (3)

Hudson Urban Bicycles

Hudson Urban Bicycles is an American custom bicycle builder located in the West Village (New York City). They make these really COOL rear load cargo tricycles for carrying kids. The NY Times did a video interview of the owner talking about his design. If you’re in NYC, definitely check them out.

BTW: The mom in the photo driving the cargo tricycle is the actress Kate Winslet from the movie Titanic. Couldn’t ask for a better endorsement.

• Hudson Urban Bicycles
Hudson Urban Bicycle Blog
NY Times Video

Posted in Family Cycling, shops, tricyclesComments (15)

Bilenky: American made Bakfiets

Bilenky is an American custom bicycle maker that has been making high quality custom bikes since 1983. They make a great variety of front load cargo bicycles (bakfiets) that should satisfy the needs of most people. The Bilenky cargo bicycle design places the cargo load over the front wheel, which creates a more compact and nimbler design than traditional Dutch style bakfiets which place the cargo load behind the front wheel.

Their website quotes a complete custom built bicycle with Shimano components for $2695, which puts it in the price range of it’s European counterparts. If you’re on the East Coast and want to support your local builder, definitely check them out.

Bilenky Cargo Bicycles

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Tianjin Flying Pigeon

The Tianjin Flying Pigeon is the most popular bicycle in history. They have literally sold billions of these bicycles since Chairman Mao established the company in 1950. Based on a 1930s European design, they haven’t changed at all over the decades.

The bike has classic looks, weighs a ton, and is built like a tank. Due to the “Classic” design, maintenance is a pain. Also, if you live outside of the developing world where they sell most of their bicycles, finding parts can be equally frustrating. While taking a tour of their plant, the factory rep told me that their biggest customers are in Central Africa.

Out of curiosity, I asked what a shipment of these bicycles would cost. They said that they can fit around 200 of these bicycles (unassembled) into a shipping container and that they would charge $45 USD/each. Pretty good price if you buy in bulk.

Another thing I learned is that the original Tianjin Flying Pigeon company split up over the years and that there are dozens of factories across the country still using the Flying Pigeon name and design to build bicycles.

If you’re in the market for a Euro style city bike, the Flying Pigeon might be exactly what you’re looking for. Imagine for the price of one Dutch built bike, you can have a flock of Flying Pigeons roaming the streets.

Check out my post about my tour of the Tianjin Flying Pigeon Factory.

My tour of the Flying Pigeon Factory
• Tianjin Flying Pigeon Bicycle Company (one of many)
• Flying Pigeon Los Angeles Shop
Flying Pigeon Enthusiast’s Blog

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Surly Big Dummy (long bike)

Surly is a maker that helped start the fixed gear craze here in the States. Along with their affordable fixies, they make a long bike that can be bought as a complete or frame only. Surly bikes are sturdy and built with quality. Definitely worth checking out.

Surly Bikes

Posted in Load Carrying, long bikesComments (7)

Maruishi: Mama’s Bicycle (kid carrier)

Maruishi is a family owned bicycle manufacturer that is popular in Japan. They are one of the oldest bicycle companies in Japan and are famous for their line of Mama Cha-ri (Mama’s Bicycle). Their recent designs are extremely refined, have solid build quality, and come with numerous options.

Their newest line called “Frackers” has seating for two kids. There’s a unique front seat that sits between ape hanger style handle bars which allows you to carry a kid without having to be hunched over them. There’s also an optional rear seat for a second child or small pet dog. Also the Fracker’s patented design avoids tipping when loading kids by automatically locking the brakes and the front steering column when the rear kick stand is engaged.

I’ve talked to several people while living in Japan and they only have great things to say about their Maruishi bikes. I’m guessing if you’re comfortable with buying a China built bicycle (Maruishi’s factory is in China) and don’t want to blow two grand on a Dutch built bicycle, then Maruishi is definitely an option. The ones I’ve seen in shops in Japan retail for $300 to $400 USD.

Key Features:
• Tip resistant design – auto locking brakes & steering for parking
• Ergonomic front child seat (hunch free design)
• Optional electric assist
• Pet carrier version available
• Affordable Price: $350 USD or less throughout Japan

Fracker Website
Maruishi Bicycle Company

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Is an American maker of tadpole style tricycles for young families, where the children sit in front of the driver. It has Ackerman steering similar to the Nihola tricycle. However, what makes it unique is that it can quickly be converted into either a single person bicycle or into a jogging stroller. The cargo area is made of fabric and tube construction similar to most bicycle trailers.

We noticed they were selling these through Target’s online store for a while. Which is an amazing approach because it means that there’s a possibility that these could become more mainstream in America. Not just for bicycle geeks like us.

Of course the early adopters would have to pay a premium price ($1399 base model), but as sales increase, quantities of scale would hopefully kick in. If they could get these into stores like Costco or Sam’s Club at around $700 or less (combined cost of a medium quality bicycle and bicycle trailer), MyZigo could become more commonplace. This is the first real attempt at bringing a refined factory built cargo tricycle to the masses in the US. The Zigo team should be applauded for their efforts.

As for the trike itself, here are some quick thoughts.

Factory built
Unique convertible design (Bicycle/Stroller/Tricycle)
Folds flat for transportation
Weatherproof cargo area for kids
Safety harnesses for kids
Ackerman steering (stable ride)

Small cargo area due to Ackerman steering. Families with more than one kid might find it cramped when grocery shopping or running errands.
Fabric style cargo area, difficult to customize.
Complex converting system.
High initial cost.

If not for the price, this could be a great cargo tricycle for a lot of families. It’s safe, looks refined, the kids are comfy, and they are in sight of the driver. Also, the Ackerman steering design means it has better stability vs. pivot style tricycles. However, having the convertible design adds complexity and cost to the design. Some families might even find that they don’t convert the tricycle into a stroller at all.

For a first round, the MyZigo has a the makings of real hit. However, families on a budget will most likely have to go with a China made Christiania style trike. However, for those with large discretionary income, MyZigo is definitely a good option.


Posted in Family Cycling, tricyclesComments (8)

Dutch Bikes Land in NYC

A new Dutch bicycle shop called Rolling Orange Bikes just opened in NYC. (269 Baltic Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn) Their commuter bikes start around $1400. So if you’re in the Big Apple looking for a shop that specializes in Euro style cargo bikes, you might want to check them out.

• From Amsterdam to Cobble Hill by Bike (NY Times Article)


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