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2-wheel front-loader manufacturers

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2-wheel front-loader manufacturers

Old 10-30-18, 09:54 AM
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clengman
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2-wheel front-loader manufacturers

I've been doing some window shopping lately. I've been pondering the idea of going as car-light as I can and I really like the idea of a long john cargo bike. My primary use would be taking my daughter to school. I already have a tag-along for her and in nice weather I tow her to school then lock up the tag along and either ride the remaining (hilly) 8 miles to work, or put my bike on the light rail and ride a little less than three miles the rest of the way to work. The problem is it isn't really feasible in the rain or the cold. In bad weather, I generally drive to drop off my daughter then drive home to get my bike and take the trolley. I feel like a long john with a rain canopy and electric assist would allow me to make this trip comfortably with my daughter in any kind of weather.

Once I had a vehicle like that I think I could easily use it to eliminate many more car trips than just my commute/child duties.

A riese and muller or urban arrow seem like obvious choices, but they are quite expensive. I've seen a few non-motored long johns that are considerably less expensive and I believe could be fitted with a BBS02 mid drive motor. So I'm looking for a 2-wheel, front-loading, box bike (A trike won't work for me, a good part of my riding is on some high-traffic, high-speed roads. I navigate them well with a conventional bike, but I don't think a trike would be fast or maneuverable enough.). Hoping to find one with IGH drivetrain and an available rain canopy for $2k or less. Add in a BBSO2 kit and it all comes in under half the price of a premium e-assisted bakfiets.

I'm trying to compile a list of makes and models that might fit my needs. So far I've come up with one, Wike - Box Bike (or Big box bike for a little more than my budget). The problem being it comes with a Nexus hub with coaster brake so no-go for the BBS02 unless I swap for a different hub, but that's doable.

I also came across the Bakfiets.nl eCargo Classic which comes equipped with a Shimano Steps drive and NuVinci hub for around $4500, which is closer to what I wanted to spend.

Does anyone have any suggestions for other bikes to look at?
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Old 10-30-18, 11:05 AM
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It looks like at least a few people have mounted a BBS02 to a Workcycles KR8T. A little more than I had hoped to spend, but looks like a great bike for the money.

The Babboe City looks like it could be an option. Can get it unassembled for $2200. They have an electric version for $3850 but it uses a pretty weak rear hub motor and derailleur gears. I think I'd rather get the non-motored version with IGH and put my own mid drive motor on it.
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Old 10-30-18, 01:10 PM
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Cool quick

Larry vs Harry - Bullitt cargo bike heat treated aluminum DK via TW, Mfg.


Last edited by fietsbob; 10-30-18 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 10-30-18, 01:19 PM
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& Note; foulweather can be accomodated

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Old 10-30-18, 01:35 PM
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@fietsbob Thanks! The cargo/passenger area looks a little smaller than some of the others I've been looking at, but it looks like a very well appointed bike and a decent price.

Edit: I had a hard time finding a price at any US dealers. I was looking at the price in euro and with the current exchange rate, it come out to around $4500 before shipping... not bad. Looks like the retail price in the US is $6500, though. Even more than Urban Arrow Family...

Last edited by clengman; 10-30-18 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 10-30-18, 07:58 PM
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If you want to purchase new and know up front that you want an electric system, I would go for an integrated system rather than try to mess with adding a Bafang aftermarket kit. And in such a case there's no getting around the price. The only two that I know of that are under 6k are the Babboe City Mountain and the Bakfiets electric. For more modern options the price jumps to the 6k mark. The options I can think of available in the states include:
  • R+M Pakster
  • R+M Load
  • Larry Harry Bullitt
  • Douze
  • Urban Arrow
  • Yuba Supermarche
Buying a used model is always a good way to get a deal. You might have to purchase a new battery depending how many charge cycles are on the one that comes with the bike. Or you could buy a used non-electric and add the Bafang kit. You could probably put together a Bafang Bullitt for 3-4k depending on the deal you find. Personally, if I'm already considering spending 4.5-5k for a bike, then an extra 1k wouldn't stop me from going for what I really wanted (assuming one of the more expensive options is what you really wanted).

I know you said no trikes, but the Butchers and Bicycles Mk-1 is awesome. It rides amazingly well and I felt totally comfortable at top speed (20mph) and taking corners at speed. For family use, if you're okay with the width of the bike it is one of the best options (IMO).
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Old 10-31-18, 07:59 AM
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I wish I was in a market where used was an option... That would be a good route to take, but I have yet to see a box bike on the road or in a shop in Pittsburgh.

I had a look at Madsen's website last night. It's not a front loader, but it seems to be functionally equivalent. Huge payload, rides like a bike and comes with a rain canopy, and you can get one loaded with a mid drive motor, shipped, for $4500. That one is on my list now.

Regardless, this is kind of a pipe dream at this point. I have lots of hurdles to clear, both financial and familial, before that will become a reality. One thing I'm thinking about as an intermediate step is to just get a Bafang kit for my old hybrid bike and either an xtracycle kit or a trailer to prove the utility of such a vehicle before I go whole hog on a made-to-order utility bike. My wife likes that I commute by bike, but anytime I bring up the possibility of a bike as car replacement, it is not received well. We'll see what happens.
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Old 10-31-18, 01:54 PM
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H vs L,They ship out of Taipei, not Copenhagen, Portland has a dealership
,another in MN, twin cities , I believe.

Long Haul is a Danish style bike made in Eugene. steel..4130

Cetma builds one in SoCal . they separate to lower shipping costs..





....

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Old 11-01-18, 05:34 AM
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Argo cargo bakfiets kit $900 - note there is an attachment piece that fits on the bottom bracket that attaches the bike to the spar coming from out back of the box so you would need a rear hub motor ebike as you can’t use the Argo with most mid drive or front hub motor Ebikes. It does not currently come with a rain canopy, some owners have jury rigged a cut down trailer canopy but you might consider buying a blaqpaks custom rain canopy for $450. The box arrives with bare plywood so you would need to paint on a couple of coats of urethane.

You could DIY convert a bike using a TDCM IGH motor which is a direct drive rear hub motor built around a 5-speed Sturmey IGH, from Grin Tech for $1,000. Add a cheap PAS cadence sensor or pay $250 more if you want a bottom bracket PAS torque sensor, it can use a 36v or 48v Battery (say $500) as the Grinfineon controllers and the motor can take either voltage - ask for the 20a controller and 36v battery if you want to keep it a Class 1 or 2 ebike under 750w. Donor bike, preferably one with semi horizontal drop outs so you don’t have to add a chain tensioner to convert to an IGH, something already fitted with an IGH would work, example 2017 Breezer Downtown 8 ST from an independent Breezer dealer would be $475, or the sliding rear drop outs on the SOMA Buena Vista Mixte frame should mean you would not need a chain tensioner added to the derailleur hanger.

Alternatively you can motorize the front wheel on the Argo box with a geared hub motor threaded into a disk brake compatible 20" front wheel and mount two 6ah power tool lithium batteries plus the controller on the back of the box, choose any donor bike with an IGH and it would remain a pedal bicycle when you detach it.

If you wanted a trike attachment consider the AddBike available from a dealer in Montreal for $1,400 with a one child box with rain canopy, this would be shorter and considerably easier to store because it doesn't have a support spar so unlike the Argo the AddBike does work with mid-drive ebikes, but it costs $500 more and is rather short with a 77lb load limit vs 150lb for the longer Argo, so your daughter would age out of the AddBike faster.

Cost should be $3,000 to $3,500 for a 2 wheel bakfiets kit or 3 wheel trike kit with IGH, electric assist, rain canopy, plus the ability to remove the front box, tie it up outside your daughter's school, attach your front wheel and ride off to work on your bicycle or ebike.

You could motorize a fully built bakfiets with IGH like the Wike Box Bike ($1,600 +shipping) or Bertus Cargo Bike ($2,000 +shipping) with either a 20" front motor wheel or the TDCM IGH rear hub motor but you might need to add a front or rear brake if you lose a coaster, drum, or roller brake in the process. The Bunch Bikes Swift is $3,300 plus shipping for the electric version with rain cover but you would forgo the IGH.

Probably the cheapest cargo ebike would be the Yuba Mundo Classic longtail from REI plus a bafang mid-drive - you could build this combo for around two grand but you wouldn't have a rain canopy unless you could jury rig something like an ebay canopy onto the optional Yuba Monkey Bars (+$250) like this https://www.xtracycle.com/blog/ride-on-rain-or-shine/.

If you can, try out as many different kinds of cargo bikes as you can find. I went to a family biking show-and-tell earlier this summer and got to try a Riese & Muller Packster, Urban Arrow, and Xtracycle longtail back to back, all handled differently when loaded.

Last edited by Dewey101; 11-03-18 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 11-05-18, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post

I had a look at Madsen's website last night. It's not a front loader, but it seems to be functionally equivalent. Huge payload, rides like a bike and comes with a rain canopy, and you can get one loaded with a mid drive motor, shipped, for $4500. That one is on my list now.

.
I have a cheap Chinese short box bakfiets and my father in law has a Madsen with the mid drive. They are not functionally equivalent. The bucket on the Madsen is bisected by thtr rear frame and wheel. That makes the rear bucket a lot less useful than it looks. The frame feels whippier, too. He bought his before the mid drive was a factory option but I think the systems are the same. That part seems to work well.

Also, I really like having my kids in front where I can see them and interact with them.

But in summary, Id take a cheap knock-off front loader over a Madsen.
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Old 11-06-18, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bajajoaquin View Post


I have a cheap Chinese short box bakfiets and my father in law has a Madsen with the mid drive. They are not functionally equivalent. The bucket on the Madsen is bisected by thtr rear frame and wheel. That makes the rear bucket a lot less useful than it looks. The frame feels whippier, too. He bought his before the mid drive was a factory option but I think the systems are the same. That part seems to work well.

Also, I really like having my kids in front where I can see them and interact with them.

But in summary, Id take a cheap knock-off front loader over a Madsen.
I was thinking more of load capacity, ability to carry a kid, and good rain protection. I don't think the bucket being divided would matter much for a grocery getter, BUT I appreciate your input. I'm leaning now towards a trailer or a used xtracycle and leaving electric assist for the future. The financials for a decent bakfiets with accessories just aren't going to work out any time in the near future. My daughter will probably be too old to want to ride in it by the time I can justify spending the money on it. Oh well... It was fun to think about.
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Old 11-06-18, 11:07 AM
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Looks like you have a cargo bike dealier in Philadelphia, which isn't exactly local (I think), but not far off. They have a basic bike starting at $2k. If you keep trolling Craig's List, you might be able to find a bakfiets locally eventually. It took me several years, but I was able to find mine by looking regularly at a pretty steep discount. If you're willing to drive, I see a new knock-off Larry vs Harry-style bike for just under $2k, and a Madsen for $650. There's a Fietsfabriek (unclear if it's two or three wheels) for $1000.

It's out there if you keep looking.
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Old 11-06-18, 12:14 PM
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Your craigslist-fu is much stronger than mine. Philly is a pretty long haul from Pittsburgh, about a 6 hr drive. I'm keeping an eye on what comes up locally. There is a shop in town that carries Yuba bikes, and one that is a dealer for Urban Arrow (according to the website. I haven't actually seen one in the shop.) so there's always a chance someone close by might be selling one used at some point.
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Old 11-06-18, 09:37 PM
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Do you think that this purchase might allow you to sell a car? If so, there's a strong financial argument (justification) for the bike. When I worked out the annual cost of vehicle ownership, including things like maintenance, insurance, taxes, fuel, etc, I figured out that 1.5-2 years of not owning a car would easily pay for a $4k electric bike. That's assuming the car is totally paid off and that you're doing standard bike maintenance including a new battery after 2 years.
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Old 11-06-18, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightdiver View Post
Do you think that this purchase might allow you to sell a car? If so, there's a strong financial argument (justification) for the bike. When I worked out the annual cost of vehicle ownership, including things like maintenance, insurance, taxes, fuel, etc, I figured out that 1.5-2 years of not owning a car would easily pay for a $4k electric bike. That's assuming the car is totally paid off and that you're doing standard bike maintenance including a new battery after 2 years.
That's pretty much how i presented it to my wife when i first brought it up. For the rare times when we actually need two cars simultaneously, there's ride sharing, but she wasn't convinced. I think it'd be great, but it's not a hill i want to die on.
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Old 11-06-18, 11:48 PM
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Gotcha, that's understandable. Good luck finding a bike in your price range. I can't overstate how great of an addition they are for daily life.
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Old 11-07-18, 12:44 AM
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Post title had me imagining a Segway version of a front-end loader. That is all
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