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Picking up where we left off…
In the previous post I wrote about the first 4 cargo bikes out of 6 that I have had the joy of riding. With the next 2 bikes, we move from KP Cyclery times into the modern day Hagen bikes.
With our first production bike in the running, we knew we had the basics down. However, there were some features clients would ask on a regular basis. The most prominent of those being the ask for a wide rear tyre, belt drive was also high on the list. And a big one was the eBike system. We started running the Shimano EP8 motors on the production models, but we really wanted to take a step further and introduce connectivity and GPS tracking to get the most out of an eBike. Shimano's motors were good, a bit noisy, but otherwise we were happy. But they are completely closed system, so we could not integrate a connectivity module.
Thus, we looked for other options and ended up testing the Brose unit. We were really impressed how good the software was – the assist kicked in very smoothly, and it felt completely natural. Another feature we liked a lot was the fact that Brose motors don’t use cogwheels inside, but a belt, so it’s completely silent compared to the Shimano which sometimes sounded like Formula-E racecar. So we built a bike with these parameters in mind, and we were especially happy with how the bike looked. The wide tyres and the dropped seat stays gave the bike a unique look, setting us apart from the rest of the field. This bike felt great, it was such a fun ride with striking looks. I thought it would be a bike I would ride for years to come, but the summer of 2022 changed that…
The summer of 2022 turned out to be pivotal in terms of how I was using the cargo bike. There were some things I felt were lacking with our Flagship for my new needs. Firstly, we had a 2nd child in the summer and I wanted to carry both my daughter and the newborn on the bike at a same time. The Flagship did not have space for a child and a Maxi-Cosi at a same time. Also, our daughter started hitting skateparks with me. Looking 1-2 years into the future, I wanted to have a bike that could carry my BMX, the kids’ scooters and 2 small children all at the same time. It became clear that there was not enough cargo space.
But already in the late 2020 we started working on a customer’s bike that featured a 100 × 50 cm cargo bed. Since that bike manoeuvred so well, I knew what we should aim for. We made the cargo bed even wider to fit in 2 child seats side-by-side without any extras like the wide box for the Flagship. This bike was going to be huge anyway, so why not make the frame as wide as possible. And then, just before Eurobike we got the 1st XL model done – however it ended up being too large to fit in the van with the rest of the bikes…
Here are the key things I love about this bike and the accessories I have (none of them are sponsored):
Cargo Size – I can fit everything, we have ridden with my wife, the baby, and the toddler all on the bike at the same time. Also, I can carry all the possible shopping and the kids and even my BMX which is great when we go city exploring with my daughter.
Handling – Even though this bike is big, it still handles really well. I must admit it took even me 1-2 days to get completely used to the steering and the dynamics of this bike, but once you do, it is such a fun bike to ride and still sporty.
The Quad Lock – I first bought this when we did bike shows to have the phone on the handlebars for navigation in new cities, but I keep using it quite regularly even at home. Whether it be to navigate or to simply have the screen there for when I listen to music while riding and skipping songs or for answering calls.
The BMX rack – this simple add-on is so good. I keep a 6 mm allen key in the cargo bed and can take this on and off in just a minute or so. Especially now in the rainy season, I use it weekly to go to the local indoors skatepark.
Vans x Cult tyres – I wanted to have my bike close to what we offer as the stock bike. But I did want it to have a bit more flair. The pattern on the tyres achieves just this.
Floor mat – keeps things from sliding around and most importantly, keeps it quiet on the bumpy roads. This may seem a pointless option for some, but it makes a huge difference as you don’t have to worry about placement of noise-inducing cargo.
Steco Maxi-Cosi adaptor – a very simple and sleek option of having a baby car seat safely attached to the bike. There is a small flat part attached to the cargo bed and then the adaptor itself that is kept in place with a small padlock to keep someone from stealing it.
Axa Foldable 1000 lock - the lock has nice soft padding around to protect the frame and is very strong. I’ve locked my bike with this lock in Denmark, Germany, and Estonia overnight and never had problems anywhere in the last 5 years.
And finally, there are a couple of things I still wish to modify on the bike:
Brake discs – ever since we made a cargo bike for Bikerumor’s Cory Benson, I have wanted the spoked brake discs. They just look sick – will get them when I feel like I deserve a nice treat.
Belt – we assembled this bike when belts were in short supply and I didn’t want to waste one on myself. Again, when I feel like treating myself, I will make the change because I fully love belt drive. It’s so quiet and especially in the winter, there is no maintenance involved, no stretching and no rust.
Steering damper – This really isn’t a huge need, but with such a long bike, I have experienced minor speed wobble at 40+ km/h. I have some ideas how to make our own stabilizer that I want to test out – if they are successful, you will hear more.
Canopy – this is already in the works and will be done early in 2023. Just can’t wait to have the kids sealed from the bad weather.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this, and hopefully you find it inspiring to do more cargo biking or perhaps come up with some hacks on your own to expand the capabilities of your existing bike.