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.
Nimble Cargo Scooters is a company that manufactures cargo scooters in Irvine, California. The scooters start at $450 and are built with aircraft aluminum and baltic birch. You can order them with custom colors and graphics. They ride amazing well and are extremely stable with their low center of gravity.
At only 25 lbs, they’re very lightweight and compact. Also, they’re much smaller than a regular bicycle. While test riding a Nimble last week, we were able to walk into most stores like Target without the workers batting an eye. Think of it as a running stroller you can ride.
If you’ve always wanted a bakfiets but couldn’t afford it. Then look no further. Try out a Nimble Cargo Scooter, which is easily a fourth of the cost of a good bakfiets or long bike.
OK, I knew it would happen and couldn’t you have guessed, it would be in Portland. The first US custom maker of Dutch style cargo bicycles (bakfiets). From the looks of their weld quality and components, Metrofiets bicycles are on par with any custom built bicycle on the market.
We’re looking forward to giving one a test ride the next time we’re in Portland. You can check out their website at: www.metrofiets.com as well as their beer bike at Hopworks Brewery (Portland’s own eco-brewpub)
This is a great idea. Not sure how well it works, but you’ve got to give Ryan McFarland kudos for coming up with this idea and for recycling. He’s got tons of other interesting projects he’s built on instructables.com and his blog which is worth checking out.
Larry vs. Harry manufacture a very nice modular bakfiets that can be fitted with a range of accessories such as wooden cargo box, aluminum all weather box, billboards, etc. As for fit and finish, their bakfiets frames are made from oversized aluminum tubing and fitted with modern components that even bicycle geeks like us would love.
Here are the specs for their base model the “Bullit Classic”:
• Powder-coated in black
• Hardened aluminium frame
• Stainless steel nuts, bolts and discs
• 7-gear SRAM i-Motion hub
• Hydraulic front brake
• SRAM Truvativ crankshaft
• Double-bound aluminium wheel rims
• Puncture-proof Schwalbe tires
• Impact-strengthened plastic mudguards
• Fast saddle and handlebar adjustment
• Insurance-approved ABUS bicycle lock
So, is this the major game changer that we’ve all been looking for? Or else, is it just another expensive industrial design study that only a few can afford?
Without having ridden one, I can only say that the new Taga Stroller/Tricycle looks amazing. Basically, it is a kid carrying cargo tricycle that converts on the fly into a walking stroller. WOW! Also, it has numerous optional features that allow it to be customized and outfitted in any number of ways.
The MAJOR drawback at this moment is the stunning price and lack of availability. Not yet sold in the US, it has a base price of $2500 without any options. Include shipping, handling, and customs duties, you’re pushing $3000 by the time you’re riding the base model in the States.
Early Verdict: Function and styling that any parent would love, price tag of a good used car.
It was great to see that some of the large manufacturers are heading into the cargo bicycle market. Hopefully it’ll bring cargo bicycles into the mainstream and make a dent in car traffic.
Check out the Kona Ute. They’ve added this great new longbike to their huge lineup. Longbikes are great for anyone who wants an all around bicycle that they can use for commuting, getting groceries, camping, and to transport small adults or older kids.
A friend sent me this photo of Google employees using a tricycle to map places where cars are not allowed. They’ve got it hooked up with the same camera and GPS equipment that their specially equipped cars use to capture street views all over the world. Pretty cool idea…
Montague Bicycle Company has been making folding bicycles for the US military since 1997. These bicycles are foldable and can be parachuted in with soldiers and marines. They are currently being tested for use by US Army Special Forces.
La Petite Reine (little queen) is a French nickname for bicycle. It’s also the name of the small company that operates a fleet of over 60 cargocycles for various client companies such as express delivery service DHL. Everyday these cargo bicycles and tricycles make their way through congested parts of Paris to deliver parcels with an efficiency that Fedex would be proud of.
Besides the suped up messenger services. La Petite Reine also sells and rents these cargo tricycles to the public.
I thought I’d re-post about these really cool dual pull brake levers I installed on my front load cargo tricycle (2 wheels up front 1 wheel in back). I’ve had them on the trike for about 6 months and they work great! Basically, you can run two brake cables from two different brake sets into one lever and the lever balances the pull going to both sets of brakes.
Inside the lever there is a little mechanism that balances the pull between the two brake lines. That way you have equal pressure going to both front brakes on the trike when you pull the lever. What this means for cargo tricycles is that you can have one lever that actuates both front wheels equally without any brake steering effect. Brake steering is when one wheel brakes harder than the other, which pulls the tricycle violently to the left or right when braking.
In practice, you still need to make sure that your brakes are tuned similarly. Meaning that you can’t have one brake cable totally loose with the other one completely tight and still hope that the dual pull brake lever will work it’s magic. However, if you spend the time to at least adjust your brake cables reasonably, these things work great!
If you do a Google search for “dual pull brake lever” there are a lot of companies selling these. I think I got mine for about $12 USD.
Bicycle crank repaired with welded on construction rebar
Here’s a picture I took in Korea of a repaired delivery bike. Rather than throw away the bike or broken part, the owner just welded construction rebar to fix a broken crank. I love seeing old bicycles evolve and take on a life of their own. I guess when you have to use your bicycle everyday for work, it’s a completely different mindset from people using bicycles for sport. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re useful.
Weighing in at more than 50 lbs, the Swiss Army Bicycle is the furthest away you can get from Lance Armstrong’s 16 pound Trek Madone 6.9 However, with its elegant simplicity, utility, and low maintenance design, the Swiss Army Bike had what it took to keep the Swiss Army chugging along for almost a century. Although it was phased out by the Swiss military in 2001, if you’re lucky, you can spot some of these bicycles on eBay going for a pretty penny.
Sycip Bikes is a custom bicycle builder that was established in 1992 by Jay & Jeremy Sycip. If you ride regularly on the US West Coast, you’ll occasionally run into a lucky someone riding a Sycip Bicycle. Every time I see one of their bicycles, I’m always amazed to see the innovative design and quality of construction.
I was especially impressed by two bicycles they’ve built, a long bike and a custom delivery bicycle for Boccalone Salumeria (specialty meat company).
They’re definitely one of the finest bicycle builders on the planet and if you’re in the market for a custom bike, it’s worth giving them a call.
Pashley Cycles has been building bicycles in the UK since 1926. They have a range of bicycles from city bikes to cargo tricycles. My favorite in their product line is the Pashley Freighmate Cargo Tricycle.
It has absolutely everything anyone could look for in a cargo tricycle. It has electric power assist, independent steering for each of the front wheels (Ackerman steering), disk brakes, turn signals, lights, and even a horn. This is definitely a great alternative for any business that needs to make local deliveries in crowded urban areas or as a run about for staff working in a large facility.
Stoke Monkey is a electric power-assist unit that fits on a extra long chain-stay bike, such as a bike equipped with an Xtracycle setup. It works by a variable-speed throttle on the handlebar and a tandem-like drivetrain setup. Once the motor is on, the rider would have to pedal along (like a tandem stoker). They claim a cruising speed of 30 mph on the flats.
OK, this is literally a “Cool” trailer made buy the folks at Bicycle R Evolution. The photo speaks for itself. What a great idea. Fully recyclable body (high density polyethylene – think milk jug material), rain resistant, insulated, and light weight. What more could you ask for when heading to your local store, a BBQ, or beach party.
The New Amsterdam Project is a company that was started in 2006 which offers delivery services by cargo bicycle in the Cambridge, MA area. They also design, build, and sell their own flavor of custom cargo bicycles.
One of the key points in their mission statement is that they would like to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In high density urban areas like Boston, cargo bicycles are a great alternative to monster delivery trucks.
My friend at the product design firm IDEO sent me a link to their winning entry in the "Innovate or Die" competition hosted by Specialized Bikes and Google. The contest challenged designers/innovators to develop a pedal powered device which has a positive impact on the environment. IDEO’s entry was the Aquaduct, a cargo tricycle that transports, filters, and stores water for use by people in the developing world.
Dutch company, SmartTrike, makes a fantastic cargo tricycle that comes in a variety of configurations. In the photo from their website, you can see two versions, the kid carrier and the basic cargo box. The tricycle is also available in a other models such as a solar powered icebox version for vending ice cream and soda. Also, the cargo box is available alone as a push cart for vending and moving cargo.
Similar to other European luxury cargo tricycles, the SmartTrike comes with a hefty starting price of € 2199 Euros ($3000 USD). The tricycle looks great and has many useful options like power assist & onboard lights. However, it comes at a price only a few can afford.
Hopefully enough early adopters will buy these great tricycles and bring the price down to a family budget.
Dutch ID is a company in the Netherlands that makes a bakfiets with a tension fabric and cage design for carrying children. Think of it as a kid trailer mounted on a two wheeled bakfiets bicycle.
The added safety of the tension fabric cage takes care of the safety concerns many parents would have when using a wooden box style bakfiets. Although this bicycle is available only in a few countries in Europe, it would be a very easy sell to parents anywhere.
Maybe if enough parents show interest in this style of bakfiets, dealers will start to carry them in the US.