Monday, September 19, 2011

More Cargo Bike News

The "Pick Up Artist" prototype
working its mojo

Last week we finally announced the imminent release of the Tradesman cargo frameset, but we hinted there would be more cargo news to come.

The last couple of months we have testing a new design that was developed with Tange Design (the tubing maker, but they also design frames now). It would be classified as a “front loader” design if we followed the terms collected by It’s got a steering linkage reminiscent of the Baakfeits cargo bikes, but shorter. The steering linkage enables the bike to have stable handling characteristics under load. We discovered a person who rides bikes casually can ride the bike carrying a 150lb load safely without struggling to maintain control.

We brought the bike to UC Berkeley during Caltopia last month and it got a lot of attention. Somehow, college girls seem to flock towards the dorky-looking bike instead of the incredibly handsome guy riding it. I have nick-named this project bike the "Pick Up Artist" for now. Engineering students approached us asking what CAD program we used. Fellow riders rode up and complimented how cool the bike is.
Of course testing the bike with college girls (and boys) sitting on the front isn’t really what we consider adequate testing. We also bolted on a Wald 139 on the rear rack and it enabled us to utilize the back of the bike for hauling more stuff. The basket made wonders for grocery shopping. We can now carry a 24-pack of Corona and get essential food stuff like palettes of Top Ramen. We put about 150 lbs on the front, but a good rider could probably manage 200 lbs.

Final notes: The wheelbase of this is 1350 about 225mm longer than the Tradesman, so its turning radius is a little wide, but it also adds to its stability.  It has a 20” front wheel and a 26” rear wheel. To facilitate fitting in a smaller shipping box, the steering column folds down and the platform is modular. Platform was pretty basic and could use user-friendly attachment points. Sample was built with Avid BB-7 brakes and adequate performing Acera parts and included a rear rack. Estimated retail price for that basic build would be somewhere around $1500.

We think Pick Up Artist is a fun bike to have, but we HAVE NOT made up our minds whether to add a second cargo bike to the line-up. To repeat this is NOT in our 2012 line-up. So we’d love to hear your opinions on this design, price, and cargo bikes in general.

UPDATE: The Pick Up Artist will be available in early 2013. 
So what do you think utility bike fans?
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