19 December 2007

Test of Five Cargo Bikes

The Danish newspaper 24timer tested five of the most popular cargobikes on the bike lanes, together with an expert from the Danish Cyclist's Union.

If your family has grown without the paycheque following suit you don't need to walk your kids to kindergarten. Cargobikes cost almost 100,000 kroner less than a Fiat Panda and there is no problem with parking or polluting motors.

Even though an untrained eye will think they look alike, they are quite different, so making a careful choice is important for the cargobike beginner.

”The Winther Kangaroo is the test winner because the cargo bay is roomy and very safe. In addition, it is almost impossible to tip the bike on corners.

The Sorte Jernhest can turn on a dime because the back wheel turns, but that can be tricky for a beginner”, says Allan Carstensen from the Danish Cyclist's Union.

If your budget can't quite handle the price tag on the test winner, which is the most expensive of the five cargobikes, there are cheaper alternatives.

ROOM FOR TWO KIDS AND THE GROCERIES
”Nihola is well-designed, has good driving qualities and, even though the cargo bay is a bit smaller, there is still room for two children and groceries”, says the expert.

Even though Nihola is the test's smallest three-wheeled cargobike, they may be readers who are loathe to see themselves as a cork on the bike lanes, with a horde of grumpy cyclists behind them.

If that's the case then the Dutch Cargobike will help. It is a two-wheeled bike based on the old bike delivery concept.

”Even though you'd think that the three-wheelers were best at cornering, it was actually the Cargobike. It's long, penis-extension shape appeals mostly to men, but women can easily manouvere it around the streets. The advantage is that it isn't much wider than a normal bike”, says Allan Carstensen.

If your family grows to Volkswagon minivan size, you don't need to park the bike permanently. The classic Christiania bike comes in versions with room for no less than four kids.

Have a good ride.

Winther Kangraroo – The Volvo of the bike lanes
17.500 kroner [€2300.00]
5 Bike Bells out of 5
TEST WINNER


Manouverability: The steering system is solid and reliable and it is almost impossible to tip the bike over. Good for cargobike beginners.
Space and gear: The cargo bay is gorgeous, with two seats and good seatbelts.
Functionality: The two seats can easily be removed and used, for example, on the beach in summer. The kickstand is at the front of the cargo bay so the bike doesn't tip when the kids climb in. It is easy to manouvre when not biking, since it is no problem to lift the bike from the back and do the 'wheelbarrow'.
Safety: The cargo bay has the safest upper frame in the test, which provides protection if you tip over. The brakes are hydraulic, providing a unique and solid braking feeling. They work well and are easy to keep in good shape.
'Urban Street cred': Winther is the Volvo of cargobikes. It sends more of a 'suburban' signal than the other cargobikes.

Nihola
14.000 kroner [€1850.00]
4 bike bells out of 5



Manouverability: Good because the wheels turn independently, underneath the cargo bay. This provides excellent manouverability.
Space and gear: There is a great bench for the kids with good 5-point seatbealts which are easy for everyday use.
Functionality: Excellent design. The cargo bay is a bit smaller than other makes, since the wheels have been given space to turn.
Safety: There is no footbrake, as on all the other makes. There are two cable brakes. They wear out quicker and require more maintenence. The classic bike light holder on the side pulls the marks down a bit, since the lights are getting phased out.
'Urban Street cred': The bike gives a lot of street cred. The wheels turning underneath the cargo bay are very fancy.

Christiania Bike
16.500 kroner [€2200.00]
3 bike bells out of 5



Manouverability: Rated medium, since the cargo bay is heavy and turns with you.
Space and gear: There is plenty of space in the cargo bay, and the bike comes in versions with space for up to four kids.
Functionality: Very good. The bike is also good to manouvere with when not cycling.
Safety: There is little upper framework for safety in case of tipping. The brakes are fine, but the cable system requires maintenence.
'Urban Street cred': Very good, as it is this cargobike that gives people visions of themselves in a romantic light, cycling with children and fresh tulips.

Sorte Jernhest
14.195 kroner [€1890.00]
3 bike bells out of 5


Manouverability: Extremely good, because the back wheel turns instead of the front wheels. Perhaps a little too lively for cargobike beginners.
Space and gear: No seats for the kids. A mattress and a pillow to lean against. Seats are available as extras.
Functionality: There is a double chain system on this cargobike. Maintenence is slightly more demanding.
Safety: The standard seatbelt isn't the best, but a better version can be purchased. The upper frame isn't that solid. Good braking system. The bikelight holder is a bit passé, now that so many new bike lights are on the market.
'Urban Street cred':
The most trendy of all the bikes. The turning back wheel is still fancy.

Bakfiets Cargobike
14.750 kroner [€1950.00]
4 bike bells out of 5


Manouverability: By far the easier to ride. This Long John- type cargobike from Holland is almost like riding a normal bike. It doesn't take up as much space on the bike lanes.
Space and gear: Smaller cargo bay but a good 3-point seatbelt.
Safety: Good seatbelts, but no good upper frame if an accident occurs. Built-in dynamo bike lights.
Functionality: Not really possible to lift the back end, which makes it difficult to manouvere when you're not riding.
'Urban Street cred': Quite smart, although very few are seen on the streets. It's long, penis-extension shape appeals mostly to men, but women can easily manouvere it around the streets.

Journalist: Christian Kornø from 24timer.
Translated by The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog.

3 comments:

Hoosier Mama said...

Did you test the bella bike? How did that compare to the others? I am looking into buying one? Which one, in your opinion would give you the best "bang for your buck?"

Zakkaliciousness said...

hey hoosier mama.
i will be test driving a Bellabike on Friday! and doing a Bikes We Like piece about it. I was in their showroom the other day.

It is a cool bike and it looks like they put a lot more thought into the design than other brands. And it's cheaper.

Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any information on how the Jernhest compares to the Bella bike? It looks like both are rear wheel turning and of similar design.