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Personally, I love cargo bikes to bits, and in this post, I want to share with you all the different cargo bikes I have owned. Being halfway through writing this one up, I noticed the number of bikes I have had is quite impressive. Since I would like to dive a bit deeper into my current bike, I decided to break this whole thing up into 2 pieces. So here we go…
Some time in the late 90s, for one summer, a local welder welded 2 very simple DIY sidecars to some old beat up bikes. I was a lucky one to be riding one of the 2. Sidecar motocross racing was popular in our little village, and these bikes were imitating the motocross ones. They were super fun for kids to be riding around and going sideways on loose surfaces. Once, I even managed to throw my friend out of the sidecar on a sharp turn. This ended with him breaking his hand and that was the end of an era. Come next summer and somehow the sidecars disappeared.
This time it was meant for transporting goods. I had just started the bike business in Odense, Denmark and needed a way to take bike frames to our painter. Sidecar sounded like a good idea to carry long things, but I was worried about cornering. I didn’t want to slow down an awful lot in the corners. Thus, I started exploring and found out there were companies making tilting motorcycle sidecars. After a bit of tinkering, I managed to get the first sidecar welded. It was the first construction I had ever welded, and it served me well for 3 years. The most fun thing about it was how many heads it was turning – especially when moving to Copenhagen. People stopped me every day and said they had never seen a sidecar on a bike and that it just looked so cool.
I had been eyeing buying the Bullitt for a while. I always liked the low, open cargo bed design. Nearly even bought one, but decided to try to build one as an experiment myself first. I found an old steel framed bike, chopped it into pieces and started welding the cargo bed on it. It was an on and off type of project and took me 2 years to finish. The results were somewhat mixed. I didn’t pay attention to geometry and the bike ended up having speed wobble at all speeds over 20 km/h. Luckily a motorcycle’s steering damper solved the issue and the bike ended up doing 4500 km and getting so much attention that it laid the foundation for everything we do today.
Ever since we started with the cargo bikes, there were some key features we desired. Steel frame, full 622 size rear wheels and a tall frame to avoid a silly amount of spacers under the stem and a seat post hiked up into the sky. Those cornerstones were there on the 1st prototype and are carried forward here. In addition, I really like how the modern frames from MTBs to road bikes now have the rear brake caliper between the chainstays and seatstays, not on top of the seat stays like on all old bikes.
I had slightly changed the dimensions of the cargo bed to perfectly fit the Bike Hangers that we were selling at a time and that I was dropping off to the postal office every week to fulfil orders. Most of the components came from the previous bike, so it still featured the Bafang BBS02 motor. This one was such an improvement from the previous bike. I was digging through everything I could find about bicycle and motorcycle geometries and gave the new design much more trail. 88 mm compared to roughly 0 on the previous prototype model (you can read more about fork rake, head angle and trail here). This improved the stability and cornering by miles.
It was a good and fun bike, but the Bafang simply wasn’t up to scratch – the bottom bracket bearings broke once and the display got water in it 2-3 times and needed changing. Also, the way the assist kicks in isn’t really that intuitive. So it still left a lot of room from improvement, especially in the eBike department…
And this is where we will leave you this time. There are 2 bikes yet to come in the next post, featuring my current setup where I will also go into all the accessories on the bike and some bits I would still like to change to make it my dream bike. Until next time folks!