Roundup: Reviews of various family transport bikes

onderwater-family-tandem.jpg

I’ve come across a number of thorough and well-written reviews (and some not so good) of various child-transport and family bikes & trikes:

Bakfiets.nl Cargobike
Let’s Go Ride a Bike
BIKE2WORK2LIVE2BIKE
Velo Vision
Bicycle Fixation
Bike Utah Valley
EcoMetro

Bakfietsgigant, Bakfietsweb, Couleurs, DoubleDutchBikes (USA), Redy Kangaroo, Hollandia, PImmies, Trendonline, Tricycleweb (all seem to sell the same bikes)
“Karin” (Dutch language)

Christiania (Trike)
“Marga & Huub” (Dutch language)

Faya4you
Guest post from Haarlem in this blog

Fietsfabriek 995
Caliban’s experience with the FF 995 and notes on other bikes too

Gazelle Cabby
Bakfiets.co.uk

Winther Kangaroo
Musings from a Stonehead

TV consumer program Kassa tests 13 bakfietsen from Dutch and Danish producers Included are: Bakfiets.nl, Christiania, Fietsfabriek, Nihola, Winther, ‘t Mannetje, Bakfietsgigant, Halfords, Johnny Loco, Babboe and WorkCycles
My english language translation of the bakfiets test
The original bakfiets test report in Dutch language
My post with comments about the program and results.

Bakfiets.nl vs. Fietsfabriek 995 vs. Gazelle Cabby
Bakfiets.co.uk (again)

Bakfiets.nl Cargobike vs. Smart Car
Part one: Measurements
Part two: Features

Bakfiets.nl Cargobike & Cargotrike, Bakfietsweb, Christiania, Gazelle Cabby, New Viper, Triobike!… In French language.
Vélo Brouette

Now that I’ve been “collecting” these links for some time the reviews have become more balanced, covering a broader range of bikes than I first found.

Here’s one more review in Dutch though its already three years old and wasn’t very objective to begin with: Fietsersbond bakfiets test. Its in Dutch and no direct link is available.

Here on the “Groot Gezin” (big family) chat site there is a long thread with discussion about many of the child transport bikes and trikes. The focus is generally on the cheap bakfiets options and like any discussion the opinions are to be taken with a grain of salt. Dutch Language.

Does anybody have any suggestions, particularly about other well-known bikes such as Nihola and Christiania? Please keep the discussion to family transport bikes and not transport bikes in general.

91 Responses to “Roundup: Reviews of various family transport bikes”

  1. Nomik Says:

    The Babboe City is a winner.
    You can buy it directly from http://www.babboe.com.
    And, because it’s for export, they should not charge you tax.

  2. Daniel Says:

    Thank you for replying Henry, I am very appreciative. I am going to see what I can do about obtaining one of your bikes out here in British Columbia since the price difference between your bakfiets and the babboe is only 500$ CAD ( based on a Toronto dealer who carries both).

  3. Michael Says:

    I appreciate this colloquy. I’m a wage-earning professional in small-town Montana of all places, early in my career, not rooted. Yes, Henry’s bikes are expensive relative to the Specialized comfort bike I picked up off craigslist last year in my Wisconsin college hometown for a mere $100 with rack, bell and fenders. But after a long, hard winter riding on Nokian studded tires (equally off Madison craigslist), I had ALOT of time to peruse the Internet to figure what bicycle might work for a guy like me, tall and HUGE. By the time I had to purchase a stronger rear wheel out of Billings, 4 hours driving away, with no bike shop within 200 miles of me, and even then open limited hours with one guy running it, I have to say Henry’s bikes look damn worth the money! Last new bike I purchased? 1993, a Giant Iguana–a lot of cash for minimum wage kid at time. Components worn again, not a bad back up for short, flat town riding on the Plains where Buffalo once roamed; yet, not worth upgrading anymore. Still have it, beat down, upgraded, and worn again. Look folks; these other manufacturers, they probably are suitable for use of a type; but I appreciate Henry’s company for building something quality, for hardcore riders like myself who, in the US at least, in 1993, would have thought “pannier” was a word in high school French class the kids not in the Spanish class learned. I’ve had old women randomly, and some young dudes too, including some 12 year old last weekend, ask me about my Specialied with panniers on, wondering about it. There is a place in the global market for quality makers like Workcycles. The question of cost is one of economics, as Henry has more or less explained. So be it. I cycle in sub-zero blizzards, seething North American high desert heat, and everything in between. My read is Henry’s bike will stand up to it. If I pay more for assurance of quality, what of it? I’ve noticed the wet paint on my Specialized made in China flaking now. Big deal? Even if folks get a cheaper bike like those Workcycles make, so long as they ride them, they signal to other Americans you can, in fact, ride pragmatically, and so the market grows for all. We have millionaires overnight in this county in oil country; they just don’t know about this stuff. Some will buy high quality, some will not; but for all, riding is good. But as an employed American in Great Depression II who likes to be outside, I have some cash saved, and I might well buy myself a damn nice bike made in Amsterdam to ride in rural Montana, half-way across the Planet–and the stories about it will be worth it too! Trust me, the lable “Bike Truck” will be fun explaining in Montana…

  4. Michael Says:

    Pardon me; typo. Meant to say, cheap bikes others make, not Henry’s. A last thought; Americans have just forgot, for a generation, that bicycles are pragmatic and fun at the same time. There live on a US aircraft carrier more people than live in the town where I reside–and we are considered the “big town” within a radius of 60 miles. The main issue for Henry’s company is, truly, building the best damn bicycle in the World. That sells. It’s not the mass market, but if you see the Wal-Mart 60 miles from me, where the bicycle racks three stacks high are now cleared, it is obvious there is a market for high quality bicycles once the People figure it out. And they will, especially when they have steady jobs and disposable income.

  5. Martijn Says:

    We are using the Babboe City for over 4 months in a family of five in Belgium. I sincerely regret not having paid more for a decent bakfiets. I second all the experiences of Friedrich and then some. The frame is its weakest point; heavy, flexing, divided midway (!) in two parts through a very dubious connection. The first bike received was impossible to assemble due to misaligned fixation points at this central connection. The second frame part received free of charge did fit, but the serious misalignment in the rear frame part remains. I feel the ride as heavy and unstable, only the two-wheeled Johnny Loco rode more indirect. We have had flat tires every month – rims repeatedly cut the inside tires. The geometry of the rear luggage rack is pitiful: a very unstable design. I could go on. With all thinkable accessories we spent around 1000 euro. The missus was, and is, won over by the design, while I remain frustrated by the many hours of maintenance it already took to keep this bike on the road. Attractive design without the right technical underpinnings realized through cheap Chinese manufacturing: a lifestyle bike sums it up nicely. .

  6. henry Says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for the story and kind words. One point that comes up repeatedly here in our discussions with customers and dealers is that good utility bikes are only expensive from our rather warped and unsustainable perspective of products made in enormous quantities under questionable conditions in low-wage countries. Yes, it does initially seem weird that a good city bike should cost €1000 when you can buy a perfectly good working DVD player for €39 or a similar looking bike for €199. That’s just economics. If we could lower our prices to more effectively compete in the market we’d certainly do so.

    But let’s ignore those meaningless comparisons since if one needs a solid, dependable, family-compatible bike to ride daily, that €199 bike isn’t going to help much. Nor will the €39 DVD player. You can either buy a good new bike for what it costs or search out a suitable second hand bike if possible.

    So is bike for €500 or €1000 or €2000 too expensive? Firstly it’s a super competitive market where brand status plays a minimal role, so there’s generally a pretty close relationship between price and quality. That’s where the Babboe story they keep trying to force down our throats above goes wrong; The Babboe City looks like a lot of bike for €900ish but that’s just not enough to actually build a good bakfiets. There are no exceptions to the laws of economics as we so vividly saw when the dot com bubble crashed a decade ago.

    Secondly I argue that, if the bike is important, €1000 or even €2000 is actually quite affordable for the majority of people who’d ride these bikes in the developed world. Yes it seems like a chunk of change but how many people pour that much fuel into their cars every few months, spend as much in two years on mobile phone contracts or remodel their kitchens for five or ten times as much?

    Riding my wife’s Cargobike last week I was thinking about how indispensable it was to us, how much joy it has facilitated both in riding around town and doing our little tours with the kids over the last three years. In short we cannot imagine our life without it. Had we been paying retail prices the bike and accessories would have cost about €2000. It’s had several little services and one bigger one a couple months ago. All totaled we’d have spent about €2300 over three years. That’s €767/year, €64/month or €2/day. That seems pretty darn affordable to me.

  7. Nomik Says:

    Why is it that the anti-Babboe posts are only on this site?
    The Babboe site has an open comments section and the customers are raving over their purchases.
    Also, the criticisms of Babboe on this site are always of an abstract nature – comments about frame balance and other factors that the average person would never notice. How about giving us some real emperical evidence of poor quality!

  8. henry Says:

    Nomik,
    Given that Babboe is busy leaving fake comments on other people’s sites (see above) I can only assume they’re doing the same on their own site. Probably they “moderate” away negative comments, leaving only the abstract criticism you refer to.

  9. BikeBike Says:

    We have sold a handful of the Babboe Big and City and we have not seen any of the alignment issues mentioned by a previous poster or the low quality boxes mentioned by another. I can only guess that Babboe have been updating their design as they go along.

    North America is just now starting to understand what cargo bikes can do and, IMO, are starting to appreciate what good quality cargo bikes cost and why. We have been open for just under 2 years now and are noticing our customers are just now looking for bikes like the Nihola, Christiania, and Workcycles – generally more expensive designs.

    The only other thing I’d say is that getting access to higher end cargo bikes is not easy for a small retailer and as such, makes it very difficult to stock them. We sell about a dozen cargo bikes a year and I think that makes us one of the bigger cargo bike shops in Canada.

    Perhaps European cargo bike manufacturers could get more aggressive at getting their bikes into the North American market?

    Great discussion!

  10. Tom Servo Says:

    FWIW, I’ve had a Babboe big for 3 years here in the UK. Paid £800 for it, and bought as it was half the price of competitive offerings here. For what it does, it is a no frills option, and I like the large box on the front rather than the 2 wheel bikes out there for carrying shopping around with the kids.
    My reservations are that it is a very heavy ride, and you can’t “stamp” on the pedals to get it up a hill, so is slow. My main concern is the really poor nuts/bolts – I’m constantly having to tighten them and they regularly fall out, and the rear wheel is very poor quality – buckled really easily and the spokes are poor. If anyone can help by telling me what size the wheel is so I can get a replacement rather than stump up the £100 babbow want for a replacement I’d be grateful – as well as any tips on replacing it regarding keeping the drum brakes/SRAM gears etc.

    It’s an OK bike for the money, no more no less. You get what you pay for and I didn’t want to pony up an additional £800 for a better bike so I live with its faults.

    And Babboe staff – stop shilling here. It’s doing you no favours.

  11. henry Says:

    Tom,
    Thanks for the real world feedback. Concerning Babboe upgrades: We do this all the time in our workshops. Of course the modifications aren’t cheap but they improve the bike greatly.

    1. The rear wheel with unreliable Sturmey Archer hub, cheap rim and spokes that break: We replace the rear wheel with one from the Fr8 or Cargobike (almost the same) with very HD rim and strong stainless spokes. The hub is preferably a Shimano 8sp with coaster brake – much handier in a trike.

    2. The nonfunctional front brakes and exploding front wheels: We replace both front wheels and entire brake system: Same rims and spokes as above with Shimano roller brakes. The cables are replaced with special, compressionless linear housing and stainless wires. Each brake gets its own cable pulled by a double cable lever, thus no fussy, frictiony cable splitter.

    3. The Babboe’s frequent flat tires are generally caused by the wheels falling apart thus poking the loose spokes into the inner tubes. Above wheel replacements solve puncture problems too.

    But if you really want to keep your existing hub and just replace the rim and spokes that’s also possible. We have good rims and can custom cut stainless 13g spokes to fit. The rim size is 26″ (559mm BSD). Then you’ll have to have somebody lace it up and install it locally. Figure about €45 for the parts plus post. Just contact Workcycles if you want to do that: info@workcycles.com

  12. Schoolrunmum Says:

    Hello Henry,
    Thank you for this very informative read. I’ve just started a gruelling school run and struggling to get there on time on foot. We are considering getting a trike. We were very hopeful of the Babboe until we found your website and also we test drove it today. It seemed quite unstable and a bit odd to steer. It does come with a lot of useful extra’s though. The other one we were considering is the Nihola. I wondered what your thoughts were (or anyone elses for the matter). Its such a lot of money.

    Any guidance, much appreciated.

  13. DrMekon Says:

    If it”s any help, if the Nihola is too small, I found the bakfiets.nl trike to be more stable than the Christiania or the Winther Kangaroo, particularly if you place the kids in the rear facing seats. We’ve been delighted with ours, and on top of the school run, make weekly 25-30km trips in it. The extra space means it’s much more flexible than the cargobike(s) we’ve had before. The downside is that it’s slower for equivalent effort (about 2kph slower on average), but we have no problem on hills, as we’ve just geared it very, very low.

    Review here – http://is.gd/G3IEOu

  14. cvotos Says:

    So now that Babboe has had its Babboe City two wheeler on the market for a couple of years do the same quality issues as the trike apply?

  15. henry Says:

    Charles,
    The Babboe City is still fairly new – they began delivering about a year ago so it’s rather early to see how they’ll hold up. My best attempt at an unbiased report:

    The City is a better built bike than the Big, though that’s not difficult to achieve. It has Shimano rollerbrakes and seven speed hub so these parts are at least reliable even if they’re much cheaper, less effective versions than the parts Workcycles fits.

    The main problem that we’ve seen so far is that the Babboe City’s curved wooden panels delaminate and rot quickly. I can imagine it’s difficult to have these parts made to the same waterproof standards as standard production, flat wooden panels. But the real culprit here might not really be the wood itself; the Babboe’s box cover is a very cheap, nylon affair that is not waterproof and quickly tears, leaving the box unprotected. In contrast the Clarijs made Workcycles Cargobike box cover is super heavy duty Bisonyl truck tarp material. Not only will it remain totally waterproof for a lifetime, it’s also so tough that kids can even sit, stand and jump on the cover while pulled over the box. That might sound like overkill but it’s exactly the sort of thing kids do when you have such a bike.

    Further the Babboe City is simply fitted out with a lot of cheap stuff to get the price down. These, however, are exactly the things that make our bike so great:
    – super cheap battery lights instead of our hub dynamo and powerful LED headlamp and taillamp
    – heavy rolling, inexpensive tires instead of expensive Schwalbe Marathons
    – bottom of the line IM45 rollerbrakes instead of the powerful IM81’s
    – an optional rear carrier that cannot carry an adult instead of our super strong carrier
    – steel fenders instead of stainless steel
    – small diameter, steel seatpost instead of our huge, aluminium post in honed seat tube limits adjustability

    So the result is a bike that’s considerably cheaper than ours because it’s considerably less handy, pleasant to ride and durable. As I’ve pointed out above several times there’s no way to beat the laws of economics.

  16. Babboe B.V. Says:

    Dear Henry,

    Last year we have talked about another blog of yours regarding Babboe. Also in that comment your information was not correct. Unfortunately you continue writing about Babboe with facts that are not true.
    Before going into any detail of your comment I have to say that I think it is not appropriate to use Babboe in a negative way just to upgrade your own cargo bikes. In my opinion this easy way of criticising your competitor is a low end way of promoting your own product.
    Regarding your comments:
    – the first Babboe City cargobikes were sold in October 2010, so it has been in the market for two years already
    – Babboe has spent a lot of time and effort developing a distinctive and greatly appreciated curved wooden box. Together with our German partner, who has an outstanding track record developing high end curved wooden products to be used outside, we succeeded to produce a durable and good looking box which stands out in the crowd. The wooden box is made according to the German standards of ‘Punktlichkeit und Robustheit’.
    – Babboe uses a relatively simple box cover which stands the rain, but obviously not jumping kids. We do not think a box cover should hold kids, simply because it is not save to have your kids on top of a cargobike. So the large price difference is actually caused by a different supposed usage.

    I already spent too many words on this subject. I can continue saying that the Babboe City has an aluminium seatpost as well and that we left out the standard luggage carrier, since our customers love the design without it and they buy a cargobike which is meant to have cargo in front.

    So next time please do not try to give a unbiased report in order to sell your own product.

    Kind regards,
    Epco Vlugt
    – one of the parents who founded the Babboe cargobikes

  17. henry Says:

    Beste Epco,
    With all due respect to a Dutch colleague I’ll respond to your comments from a couple weeks ago. Please don’t mistake this for an angry rant; I’m just setting the facts straight to avoid further misunderstandings:

    Firstly we have actually never met, spoken, mailed nor even exchanged comments on this or any other blog or forum. I’ve heard your name only because a fellow colleague once mentioned it. My only mention ever of Babboe in a blog post was listing that it was tested by Kassa several years ago with no further editorial on my own part. So perhaps you are confusing me with another blogger?

    But yes I have responded to my readers’ questions about Babboe with my educated opinions, as I have also done about many other bikes. My biases are obvious since I constantly make it clear who I am and where my allegiances lie, but my answers are honest and rooted in a deep understanding of what makes a bike tick. I’ve been riding, building, repairing, selling and modifying bikes for three decades. I’m also a parent just like you, though that’s not a particularly elite status. Even you only take me to task for one minor error, namely that your new bike has been sold for two years instead of one.

    I’ve never even written about Babboe yet this post with no mention of the bakfietsen you market has essentially been hijacked into a Babboe discussion. Now this is partially the fault of the rather fanatical “Nomik” who, in all fairness, seems to have no commercial interest in this discussion. At least if he does it’s far from obvious. But I’ve also had to defend against Babboe’s shills, Maud and Willem very dubiously commenting here and on a friend’s blog as supposed Babboe and Workcycles customers are writing from the same IP address, which happens to differ by only a couple digits from your own IP address and registered through the same host. So I don’t find it reasonable for you to accuse me of “cheap marketing” (the words “Maud” used above) when quite the opposite is the case. If this doesn’t sound familiar just read through the comments on this post.

    Yet even with that history in mind I’ve remained objective and fair in my discussion of the relative merits of our bikes. By no means did I trash talk the Babboe City. I simply pointed out that it’s cheaper for many reasons that influence the daily use and longevity of the bike. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody considering that a Babboe city costs €1018 (assembled with rear carrier) and the Workcycles Cargobike Long LX costs €1879 (including a generous service plan). As I’ve pointed out several times in the gazillion comments above the laws of economics apply even to bakfietsen.

    Your other assertions above simply ring hollow: A rain cover needs to be strong and durable, not specifically to carry naughty children but simply because it has to handle whatever the real world will throw at it for at least a few years. That could be a kid, or a heavy snowstorm, or the neighbor’s bike that falls on it one evening. Instead of using German words (not official standards or certifications as you imply) like “Punktlichkeit und Robustheit” deny a reasonable criticism you might better consider actually improving your box cover.

    You conclude by requesting that I “please do not try to give a unbiased report”. How then shall I answer my reader’s questions?

    Groeten,
    Henry

  18. cvotos Says:

    Hi – I don’t want to start the online Babboe vs. Henry debate again, but suffice it to say that I don’t come to this blog to get an unbiased opinion, I come to get Henry’s opinion. I would also like to get Babboe’s opinion of their bikes if they had a comparable and accessible blog that discussed their choice of materials and components and the pros and cons. But I can’t find any site that provides the same level of discussion about your bikes. As a result I end up searching the blogosphere for comments on Babboe. I am a Canadian, and can’t read Dutch, so the Babboe guestbook is not an option for me. Anyway, if there is such a site, lead the way and I will be happy to read detailed commentary about what makes Babboe good and fun to ride. I will also say that I know two people who have and like Babboe and ride them regularly…but I’m looking for a broader sample and more technical discussion. All the best to all the cargo bike riders, I can’t wait to join you on the road.

    c.

  19. Kimon Haramis Says:

    Hi C. I recommend Google translator. It works pretty well with Dutch. The problem syntax only is. Regards, Kimon (aka Nomik)

  20. adam Says:

    Re. the costs of Workcycles bikes yes they are expensive. They are especially expensive if you send them to Australia where I am. However, in the long run they are worth it and I’ll tell you why:

    1) Lower maintenance costs. I have had an Azor electric Bakfiets long for 2 years and had to go to the bike shop once for a brake cable. I know people who own chinese copies who need regular visits and get so frustrated by crappy parts that they replace the parts with good ones, so their ongoing costs are much higher.
    2) Cheap bikes are ridden less often and trips that could be done by bike are done in a car, which costs lots more.
    3) Cars cost on average $12,000 a year to run. Our family has gone from owning 2 cars to 1 due to owning 2 electric cargo bikes (the Azor and a retrofitted electric Workcycles Fr8). The cost of these 2 bikes has been saved in the first year by getting rid of a car. You can’t do this with crappy, cheap bikes because they’re too unreliable, not nice to ride and can’t do the thousands of kms a good quality bike can.
    4) Cheap bikes don’t last as long. So you will either need to replace your cheap bike or when you come to sell it you’ll realise it’s worth next to nothing.
    5) From a purely ecological/sustainability point of view cheap bikes are a nightmare in the same way throw away products of many kinds are. If you did a life cycle analysis of a cheap cargo bike and compared it to a good quality one the cheap one would probably have a carbon footprint 5 times the size. This is due to comments above on maintenance, how long they last, kms driven by car instead of by bike, etc.

    So, please stop whinging about the cost of good bikes. Think long term, not short term (for the sake of the planet and your children at the very least)) and avoid the cheap bike con.

    My blog has more info, go to the Cargo bike label:

    http://sustainaburb.blogspot.com.au/

    Cheers, Adam

  21. Nomik Says:

    Henry, You get an A for word usage, diction and organization.
    However, you get a C for content and conisistency:

    You state above, “By no means did I trash talk the Babboe City.”

    But in previous posts you have declared:
    A. “I don’t see why Babboe couldn’t sustain as a business selling crappy bikes.”

    B. “But none of that has any influence on the fact that the Babboe is an awful bike.”

    You come on as very strong and that upsets people, especially Babboe owners. I have now over 2500 miles on my Babboe and my only complaints are that the rear wheel spokes break too easily if I forget to unlock the intergrated lock, and the rubber caps on the kickstand have deteriorated.

    My only other complaint is that Babboe charged me VAT and I had to pay import tax.

    I’ll forgive you for “faulting” me for starting this debate and I will even allow you to call me “fanatical.” But to say you have not trash talked the Babboe is erroneous. I mean you wouldn’t even give the Babboe Ikea status. That’s just downright mean!
    Sincerely,
    Kimon (Nomik)

  22. henry Says:

    Nomik,.
    In my reply to Epco was referring primarily to my most recent comment in which I answered cvotos’ questions about the Babboe City. Yes I have written much worse things about the Big trike in the past and don’t retract one word of it.

  23. Ella Says:

    Hi Henry,

    My husband and I are currently reading about cargo bikes, we might be in the market for one in a few months. We will be living in the south of France, just outside Saint-Tropez, and we saw a Babboe Big that was selling for the same price of a CargoBike long, about 1599€, which is pretty much our budget limit. I would be the one needing a cargo bike, but I am not an expert rider, which is why I am considering a trike. I would like to ask for your updated feedback on the Babboe Big. Also, have you biked around the Saint-Tropez/Provence region with your family? I am wondering if it is even conducive for bicycling, as I have noticed the French are not avid riders in general. I see some people biking in the mountains, but not on a regular, daily basis.

  24. henry Says:

    Ella,
    Just read through the 82 comments above for my and others’ evaluations of the Babboe Big and the company that markets them.

    But aside from my (low) opinion of the Babboe I will point out that €1599 is twice as much as the bike sells for NEW. If you wanted one, and I can assure you that you don’t, you could have it shipped from the Netherlands for far less than that. The same €1599 is a good price for a basic spec Cargobike Long (a real one that is, not one of the many copies).

    If you’re in the market for a cargobike more suitable for your local conditons the new WorkCycles Kr8 bakfietsen are now being built. Check out my latest post for a little more information:
    http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2014/01/09/workcycles-2014-good-stuff-coming/

    I’ve ridden in several areas of France with my family though not specifically Provence. My general take is that the French are quite tolerant and polite with cyclists but the infrastructure just isn’t in place. Around towns it’s just fine but out on the road you’re often getting buzzed by high speed traffic. Nobody means any harm but it’s often not pleasant.

  25. Bruno Says:

    Babboe bike is very good but i would say that Bakfiets.nl, Gazelle, Fietsfabriek, Winther, Nihola, are top quality.

  26. henry Says:

    Bruno, What is it about Babboe and spammy, commercial comments devoid of real content? Anyhow I removed the link to your website selling Babboe in France.

  27. Laura Says:

    Hi Henry,

    I have just heard about box bikes yesterday and cleared my schedule just to do research. I have not owned a car in 5+ years, but as a car-less, job-less, husband-less mom of a toddler living across the Atlantic from all my family… I need something now… and fast!

    Unfortunately, it seems your Kr8 bike as well as the regular bakfiets.nl bikes are too expensive, especially with regards to the fact that while there aren’t many “hills” where I live, it’s definitely not flat, with some steep inclines (7-10%) just around our home. I was thinking of getting a Babboe E-City, but after reading your comments, I have decided against that. The only real contender for me now is the Azor Milano, made to the specs of the bakfiets.nl, though there isn’t an electric version. €2,000 is already over my price range with all the accessories (covers, basically).

    Do you have any more recent advice concerning model that could fit the description? I realize that your original post was from 2008 and is probably very outdated! Many of the bike shops around here carry one, maybe two different models of bakfiets and so are obviously unreliable to offer help.

    Thanks for your help,
    Laura

  28. henry Says:

    Laura,
    With all due respect if we knew how to build a good performing, high quality box bike for a lower price… we’d be doing it and cornering the market in the process. Nobody else can either, regardless of what those marketing the cheaper bikes claim.

    You don’t mention where you live but in some areas second hand bikes are an option. Elsewhere these bikes are too rare for there to be any meaningful second hand market. A good, second hand box bike with electric assist is almost impossible to find even in the Netherlands.

    If you’ve only one toddler aged child you’re not limited to box bikes. Something like a WorkCycles Fr8 would work as well.

  29. Sean Says:

    I’m looking for a (two wheel) bike for the school fun with my five year old and hoping to get at least four years use from it. Some time on the Internet led me to the Bakelite and I duly went to the local dealers listed on their site. One diverted me to an electric UrbanArrow a long way on the wrong side €4,000 and the other proposed an electric Babboe at a little under €2,500 (including the tent over the seating area), the third shop I wanted to see (hollandbikes.com) seems to have gone out business. So not very scientific, but apparently no one wants to sell bakfiets in my corner of France. I was intrigued by both of them pushing electric bikes when I hadn’t asked for it. So it’s silly question time.

    Do people still buy normal (I.e. no electric assistance) bakfiets bikes?

    Sean

  30. henry Says:

    Sean, Yes 90% of the Kr8’s we build are without electric assist. It helps a lot that our bikes are actually designed to be pedaled efficiently, unlike many of the other bakfietsen on the market.

  31. Ian Says:

    Dear Henry,

    I am considering to buy a high-quality cargo bike (perhaps the Kr8) for our family. I agree with you, that in the long term it is probably not so expensive, but still, it is a relatively high initial investment.
    I would like to know how long such bikes are usually used in order to estimate if I can afford the investment. Our three children are respectively 6, 4 and 1 years old. When is, according to your experience, the time reached when you do not use the cargo bike anymore for children transport?

    Many thanks and best regards

    Ian

  32. henry Says:

    Hi Ian,
    Maybe you didn’t notice that this post is from nine years ago? Anyhow families tend to use these bikes for child transport until the kids are 8 or 9 here in the Netherlands, and a couple years longer where cycling conditions aren’t suitable for kids on their own bikes. Beyond that many families get spoiled by having such a handy machine around and just keep their cargo bike instead of selling it. This is frequently the case when the bike looks sufficiently beat up that the resale value would be poor.

    In other words you’ve still got perhaps 8 or 9 years of kid hauling in your future… plenty enough to justify such a purchase.

    -Henry

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