Author Topic: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike  (Read 1556 times)

saveORspend

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Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« on: August 01, 2017, 04:25:26 PM »
I'm thinking of selling one of our vehicles (we have 2) and getting an electric cargo bike to fill the gap.

Some background, we've only been a 2 vehicle family for a year after getting surprised with twins and not having enough room in our existing car for 3 car seats (also have a 2.5 year old), in that year I've put less than 6000kms (3700mi) on the car, mainly driving to work. I used to bike to work but now I drop the oldest at daycare and park downtown. The demands of infant twins had me running home a lot during the day to assist, so biking wasn't a great option. With my wife going back to work from mat leave and our offices only being a couple blocks from each other I expect one vehicle to sit at home depreciating, using less kms than even the last year.

Where I live we have a good solid 5 months of winter with a decent amount of snow and at least 2 months of regular -20C weather or worse, so I won't be biking year round, but I would like to stretch it as far into the cold as I can. The ride to work is 7km each way, combination of bike paths and road, plus I would plan to use it to go to grocery stores and other regular destinations within easy biking distance. There are some pretty good hills to tackle no matter where I'm going.

Currently when I ride I pull the twins (1 year olds) in a chariot trailer behind my bike and the 2.5 year old in a Thule seat on the back of my bike, which makes for about 110lbs of extra load on some killer hills. Will continue with this setup for at least the rest of the summer since the chariot has good support and straps for the little guys.

Anyone have a cargo bike? I'm looking at electric options to help carry the load. What ones would you recommend? So far I'm drawn to the front box type as they seem easy to load and unload the kids and carry other items, as well as being able to keep an eye on everyone, something like the Urban Arrow or Electric Bakfiets.nl Cargobike Long.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 05:56:13 PM »
I can't comment on the bikes you list, but I have one of the RadWagons from Rad Powered Bikes. QA was a bit of an issue, I had to get some replacement parts and do a *lot* of adjustment and fine tuning which was "done" at the factory, but done poorly. That said, since it has been fixed its been a nice ride. It is heavy (~70 lbs itself) and 110 lbs of kids would not help that. The electric motor would do a good job crushing that since it is a large 500 watt unit.

Hitching the trailer may be hard. The running boards would get in the way of the hitch, so you'll either need to plan to fab your own, or buy an extra long one and still struggle to hitch it below the running board. You might want to skip installing the running board(s) in that case, although that makes it a lot less handy to put a kid on the back, YMMV.

One thing to keep in mind is how long will the kids be the size they are, and not the "I want to bike on my bike with you!" The trailer (we have one) not fitting isn't a big deal anymore, the kid wants to be on his own bike now. I'm still happy with the RadWagon as the extra length means I don't kick the panniers while cycling, which was an issue with my previous non-electric, hybrid bike.

Capt j-rod

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 06:50:29 PM »
I ride a surly big dummy. I love it. My 5 yr old rides on the back and loves to go. I can haul tons of stuff and it honestly doesn't pedal any harder, it's just slower. Check out a Yuba Mundo... they have an electric option. Xtra cycle is another great option. I will warn that I paid no where near new price for my bike. A guy was moving and couldn't take it. I waited until the day before and got a smoking deal on it! The only downside is if you want to transport it on your car. I don't have electric, but as I stated above it just needs to be in a lower gear. I will also recommend hydraulic disc brakes. Heavier loads need the better brakes. Let us know what you pick!!!!

47%MMM

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 05:58:00 AM »

Hitching the trailer may be hard. The running boards would get in the way of the hitch, so you'll either need to plan to fab your own, or buy an extra long one and still struggle to hitch it below the running board. You might want to skip installing the running board(s) in that case, although that makes it a lot less handy to put a kid on the back, YMMV.


I have a Radwagon as well and had this exact issue. It was impossible but then I found this gizmo: http://amzn.to/2w5AQoR I attached that to the curved rail on the back and then used the quick attachment to hook up the trailer.

Now I can have the kids on the back of the bike (they love it up there) and then put all our cargo in the trailer (usually pool bags or groceries). Alternatively, I've had the wife and two kids on the back of the bike and had two more kids in the trailer. That is of course WAY over the recommended weight for the Radwagon but we haven't had any issues so far.


AccidentialMustache

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 04:59:00 PM »
I have a Radwagon as well and had this exact issue. It was impossible but then I found this gizmo: http://amzn.to/2w5AQoR I attached that to the curved rail on the back and then used the quick attachment to hook up the trailer.

Now I can have the kids on the back of the bike (they love it up there) and then put all our cargo in the trailer (usually pool bags or groceries). Alternatively, I've had the wife and two kids on the back of the bike and had two more kids in the trailer. That is of course WAY over the recommended weight for the Radwagon but we haven't had any issues so far.

That is excellent! I need to go look at our trailer and see if that'd fit it or not... Thanks a bunch!

saveORspend

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 09:40:58 AM »
I can't comment on the bikes you list, but I have one of the RadWagons from Rad Powered Bikes. QA was a bit of an issue, I had to get some replacement parts and do a *lot* of adjustment and fine tuning which was "done" at the factory, but done poorly. That said, since it has been fixed its been a nice ride. It is heavy (~70 lbs itself) and 110 lbs of kids would not help that. The electric motor would do a good job crushing that since it is a large 500 watt unit.

Hitching the trailer may be hard. The running boards would get in the way of the hitch, so you'll either need to plan to fab your own, or buy an extra long one and still struggle to hitch it below the running board. You might want to skip installing the running board(s) in that case, although that makes it a lot less handy to put a kid on the back, YMMV.

One thing to keep in mind is how long will the kids be the size they are, and not the "I want to bike on my bike with you!" The trailer (we have one) not fitting isn't a big deal anymore, the kid wants to be on his own bike now. I'm still happy with the RadWagon as the extra length means I don't kick the panniers while cycling, which was an issue with my previous non-electric, hybrid bike.

I ride a surly big dummy. I love it. My 5 yr old rides on the back and loves to go. I can haul tons of stuff and it honestly doesn't pedal any harder, it's just slower. Check out a Yuba Mundo... they have an electric option. Xtra cycle is another great option. I will warn that I paid no where near new price for my bike. A guy was moving and couldn't take it. I waited until the day before and got a smoking deal on it! The only downside is if you want to transport it on your car. I don't have electric, but as I stated above it just needs to be in a lower gear. I will also recommend hydraulic disc brakes. Heavier loads need the better brakes. Let us know what you pick!!!!

I hadn't really been considering long tail cargo bikes because I thought they might not be able to accommodate 3 kids with 2 of them being under 2 and likely requiring straps and a seat. Although I'm sure there's probably a way to squeeze them all in. Long term It would be great to have a long tail, probably easier to manoeuvre and wouldn't mind working it into my bike touring in the future. I could always keep the trailer, but was hoping to ditch it. Electric Cargo bike are super expense, hopefully can find a deal on a used one and convert it to electric. Thanks for the recommendations!

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 07:26:09 PM »
For what it is worth, the RadWagon was inexpensive as a cargo bike to start with and it was pre-electrified. YMMV.

Jojje

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 03:54:02 AM »
We have an electric front loader called Bullitt made by a danish firm (Larry vs Harry). I can warmly recommend this bike to you. It is expensive but such a joy to use. We sold our car and the Bullitt is now our replacement all year round. Wintertime (4 months) we use snow tires and the kids are shielded in a canopy.

saveORspend

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 02:26:02 PM »
For what it is worth, the RadWagon was inexpensive as a cargo bike to start with and it was pre-electrified. YMMV.

I was very surprised at the price when I looked at the website, way cheaper than similar options. Good to here that it can take some abuse and isn't a piece of junk.

saveORspend

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 02:28:11 PM »
We have an electric front loader called Bullitt made by a danish firm (Larry vs Harry). I can warmly recommend this bike to you. It is expensive but such a joy to use. We sold our car and the Bullitt is now our replacement all year round. Wintertime (4 months) we use snow tires and the kids are shielded in a canopy.

My local bike shop carries the Bullitt as well, was going to give it a test drive this weekend, I hear that its fun to ride once you get used to the steering. My main concern was that it's box is shorter than most and I wouldn't be able to cram 3 kids in, I suppose I will give it a try and see if they all fit.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2017, 06:49:01 PM »
I was very surprised at the price when I looked at the website, way cheaper than similar options. Good to here that it can take some abuse and isn't a piece of junk.

I was too. I was worried it'd be super cheap junk and while the assembly has some issues (there's places they didn't paint well, one weld on a running board was done badly and is rough on the inside and is going to chew paint on the frame some), it overall feels solid and works well. I'm only 60 miles in, but I'm not expecting any trouble for a lot more than that.

If you aren't handy with bikes, plan on paying a shop to fix the issues it ships with. You shouldn't have to, but just build it into the price in your head and if it is still a go, then there you go.

There is a code for a $50 discount out there, I forget what it was, but I found it by searching the internet. Some youtube'er had it.

kissthesky

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Re: Thinking of Getting a Cargo Bike
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2017, 11:27:49 AM »
Posting to follow. Thinking about getting a RadWagon. Thanks for all the insights here on hitches!