FAQ: WorkCycles Kr8 & Bakfiets Cargobike

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WorkCycles Kr8 Grey-Green-1

WorkCycles Kr8 V8 Marnixplein

This page was originally written in 2008 about the WorkCycles/Bakfiets.nl Cargobikes. In 2014 WorkCycles replaced the Cargobike with the Kr8 bakfiets. I’m now updating the page to cover both the new Kr8 and its Cargobike predecessor, of which there are still thousands in service. Some points are also handy to compare the Kr8 with the Cargobike, for those considering purchasing one of these bikes.

Here’s a collection of handy things to know about the WorkCycles Kr8 bakfiets and Cargobike in FAQ form. There’s no particular order and I just add to the list as I think of new questions and answers.

Also you can find much more specific information about the WorkCycles Kr8 on the following pages:
Kr8 Product page in the WorkCycles website
WorkCycles Kr8 Overview page
Introducing the WorkCycles Kr8 blog post

Note that most of the commentary below is geared toward the most common use of the Kr8, Cargobike (and other bikes of this type); family transport. The bike is hugely versatile but carrying multiple little kids, groceries and household stuff is the primary market for these machines. In Holland 90% are used as kid and kid stuff carriers. Of course even family Cargobikes eventually get pressed into service for other purposes: carry building materials, taking the recycling out…

I’m about to set off for my first (test) ride. How do I ride this thing?
Riding a 260cm long bicycle with a box in front and the front wheel steered through a linkage is strange at first… for about 30 seconds, until your mind/body get used to it. After that you forget why it ever seemed difficult.

After setting up thousands of families with these bikes for more than ten years we’ve seen only a small number of people who really couldn’t ride them. Typically it was because they were either inexperienced cyclists and/or just too afraid to relax and ride the bike.

Here’s how to best deal with those first wobbly meters:

  • Set the saddle at a comfortable, a bit too low position.
  • Familiarize yourself with the brakes and gears before pushing off.
  • Begin where you can ride straight and have enough room to wobble safely.
  • If you’re a nervous type its easier to first begin without the kids in the box. Its one less thing to think about.
  • Set the shifter to a medium gear, perhaps 3rd since riding very slowly is actually the most difficult part.
  • When you push off just look forward to the horizon and pedal. Don’t look at the box or headlamp/front wheel since they’ll just confuse you.
  • Quickly pedal to a moderate speed and just ride down the street. After perhaps 30 seconds you’ll adapt to the steering and then you can make U-turns and other maneuvers.
  • WorkCycles Kr8 Maxi-Cosi carrier kit

    How do I carry a baby in the Kr8 (or Cargobike)?
    In Europe the standard baby carrier for the car is the Maxi-Cosi. In fact they seem to have something of a monopoly on these. Unlike most of the other makes I’ve seen (especially the American infant car seats) the Maxi Cosi is quite compact and it fits nicely into the Kr8’s box. If the baby is an only child the Maxi Cosi (or equivalent) can be strapped into the bottom of the box, with the baby facing the rider. Do use some sort of pad/pillow/cushion/blanket between MC and the box to soften the ride. Of course this has to be done properly so somebody with either experience here or with good mechanical skills should fit it.

    WorkCycles makes a handy Maxi-Cosi carrier that fits the Kr8 as well as Cargobikes and also leaves room in the box for other cargo and kids (see below).

    How do I carry both an infant in a Maxi Cosi and toddler(s) on the bench?
    No problem with the WorkCycles Kr8. You just need the WorkCycles Maxi-Cosi bridge. If you mount the Maxi-Cosi directly on the floor of the box there will not be enough room behind for the legs of kids on the bench. As a result the kids will put their feet on baby brother or sister in the Maxi Cosi making for an unhappy ride.

    Many bike shops install a Steco Buggy Mee in the box. This steel-framed system holds the Maxi-Cosi securely but it unfortunately also takes up most of the volume in the box.

    WorkCycles developed its own solution years ago. Its a quite simple “bridge” with straps and a cushion. This Maxi-Cosi holder takes up little space in the box and holds the Maxi-Cosi somewhat higher creating just enough legroom for the kids sitting on the bench behind.

    tweeling-maxi-cosi-workcycles-cargobike-canopy

    I’ve got twins! How can I ride with two babies in the Kr8?
    Don’t panic. WorkCycles has you covered too. It’s not a standard item but we regularly fit a twin Maxi-Cosi carrier setup. The canopy even fits over it too. Custom work is our specialty.

    bobike-minis-on-bench-workcycles

    How can I safely carry children too big for a Maxi-Cosi but not yet ready to sit upright on the bench?
    This is a common problem here in Holland, where (huge) babies often outgrow their infant car carriers by seven or eight months, before they sit well enough to be secure on the wooden bench. We take an old Bobike Mini bike child seat (the one that fits behind the handlebars), saw off its legs and modify it to fit on the Kr8 bench. This provides much more support for a small child, yet still leaves room for an older child on the bench. Two of these seats will fit side-by-side on the bench for twins.

    Terschelling-family-cycling-2013 11

    My kids are too big for the harnesses and/or bench and/or canopy. What can I do?
    Its time for the kids to ride their own bikes. They’ve been free loading for long enough! Well… that might or might not be the solution. Kids in this age range can also ride on a child saddle, such as on the Workcycles Fr8, on a simple rear seat, on a tandem such as the Onderwater.

    Actually bigger kids can ride in the Kr8’s box, but when sitting on the bench their heads will be bumped by the handlebar. The solution is simple: Remove the bench (or just fold it up).

    Can I take adult passengers in the Kr8?
    This wasn’t one of our design objectives but sure, why not? Its a great way to show grandma around town, to ride your bride into the sunset, or to film a running race. Just don’t seat adults on the Kr8’s kiddy bench because they might damage it at the hinges. For occasional use just put some cushions or blankets in the bottom of the box. If you’ll be doing this regularly you can fabricate a suitable low bench for your passengers.

    Kr8 parking stand
    The Kr8’s new parking stand with one-piece bridge construction and automatic spring return.

    Why does the Cargobike’s (not Kr8) Stabilo parking stand swing further forward than is needed?
    The Stabilo stand is self-adjusting so that on most reasonably flat surfaces all four legs will contact the ground. The more weight one puts on the bike the more stably it will stand.

    Though it seems a little strange there’s really no need for anything to prevent the stand from swinging further forward. Just kick the stand down to release it from the magnetic latch, let the stand fall and pull the bike back enough to roll it onto the four stand legs. Locking the rear wheel lock adds extra security like a parking brake and the 12 gauge spokes won’t be damaged from the force. Pulling the bike further back won’t do any harm but the bike won’t stand stably that way… so don’t do it.

    The above is not relevant for Kr8. It has a new stand with an automatic spring return and a stop that prevents it from swinging forward. Just roll the parked Kr8 forward and the stand automatically swings up and out of the way.

    Can I get replacements for the Kr8 or Cargobike’s parking stand feet?
    Yep, you guessed it: WorkCycles has them in stock.

    My Cargobike’s Stabilo Stand sometimes falls from the magnetic latch. How can I fix this?
    The magnet is welded to its mounting bolt at an angle. Probably it has loosened and rotated. Rotate the magnet until it contacts the stand perfectly flat and then tighten it securely. It won’t fall anymore. If you can’t tighten it securely the bolt is probably bottoming out. Just add a washer or two under the bolt head in the box.

    Again, Kr8 has an automatic spring-loaded stand so the only relevant parts above are standing on the left and pushing the bike forward.

    Huh, Magnetic Latch? My Cargobike has an annoying garden gate latch thing to hold the stand up.
    Ah, you have quite an old Cargobike, from about 2007 or earlier. We can update it with the newer, much handier magnetic system. It’s not expensive and your shoes will thank you.

    My Cargobike has begun to wobble on its Stabilo stand. How can I make it stable again?
    This is not an issue with the Kr8 because the stand is a single welded unit. On Cargobikes though, the hinged connection between the vertical and horizontal legs of the Stabilo stand wears and loosens up with use. This causes the bike to sit lower, perhaps not evenly. On a convex parking surface both wheels may touch the ground causing the stand to “hang”.

    We have various ways of tightening up the hinged connection between the legs:

  • Ream out the bolt holes to 8mm and fit M8 bolts instead of M6.
  • Drill small holes and fit small screws to fill the area above the hinge in the horizontal legs.
  • Replace parts as needed, especially the horizontal legs.
  • p1-climbs-into-bakfiets-cargobike-3

    How do I get the kids in and out of the canopy?
    Our favored method for installing the tent/canopy is to first set the rear batten legs in place, then set the front batten leg on the block and secure the front elastics (or snaps if you have a Bakfiets.nl canopy instead of the WorkCycles/Clarijs canopy). The last step is to just pull the rear elastics onto their holders.

    To get the kid(s) in and out just remove one of the rear elastics and open that side like a “gullwing” door”.

    workcycles-cargobikes 2

    Can I seat two kids on the optional second bench?
    The Kr8 second bench can be fitted with either one or two harnesses.

    With two kids on both the front and rear benches and one in a child seat on the rear carrier one can carry five children with the Kr8. Whether we recommend it or not is quite irrelevant; I see moms doing it all the time here in Amsterdam.

    WorkCycles Kr8 V8 XL 2

    WorkCycles Kr8 Delivery- Dakdokter

    What is really the maximum load capacity of the Kr8/Cargobike?
    The advertised limit of 80kg in the box and 25kg on the rear carrier is conservative. The 25kg figure for the rear carrier is actually an EU legal limit for rear carriers while all WorkCycles rear carriers are much, much stronger. Carrying an adult passenger here is no problem if you have adequate tire pressure and a rider confident in handling the load.

    The 80kg front load rating is based more on the handling characteristics of the bike than strength issues. A handful of the very first Cargobike 1.0 frames broke as a result of a poorly placed reinforcement.

    If you load a Kr8/Cargobike very heavily you’ll note that the steering becomes rubbery and sluggish. The bike is unpleasant to ride and your reaction times will be poor. That’s not safe though sometimes we just have to get something heavy from point A to B and we do it anyway. You can minimize the slow steering by pumping the tires (especially the front) up to their maximum pressure, and riding very defensively. Remember: your braking distance is also going to increase considerably if your bike is equipped with Shimano rollerbrakes. The Kr8 can be ordered with very powerful Magura hydraulic rim brakes for those carrying heavy loads or riding in hillier areas.

    Somewhere around 100kg the Cargobike steering really becomes too stiff to be safe. A regular Kr8 can be loaded somewhat more heavily, and a Kr8 XL (15cm longer and specially built for heavy loads) is fine up to at least 125kg.

    What are those weird tire valves on my Kr8/Cargobike and how do I use them?
    They’re called “Dunlop” or “Blitz” valves and city/utility bikes in most of Europe have them. They’re not better or worse, just normal here. Of course there are special pumps for them, but a pump intended for Presta (French) valves will work sort of OK too.
    The correct pump for Dunlop valves is quite handy though because it has a sprung clip to hold the head on the valve while pumping.

    Using the Dunlop valve is easy: just pump to fill and unscrew the top to let the air out… which you seldom need to do.

    Note: Most WorkCycles we’ve shipped to the USA have been fitted with auto-type “schraeder” valves, and it’s an option on all WorkCycles bikes.

    Why are the brake levers pointed so far downward?
    That’s so that they don’t smack your kids in the head when you turn. Please leave them that way if you carry kids on the bench. You can also adjust them horizontally if that works better for you.

    What’s the best way to lock my Kr8/Cargobike?
    A quality hardened chain with 10mm square links and an integrated lock is enough to keep away all but the most determined thieves. A length of 140-150cm enables you to lock to a fixed object in almost all situations. The rear wheel has its own lock and is so difficult to remove anyway that locking it is quite unnecessary. If possible set the bike next to a pole to lock the main boom tube to a pole. Wrap/wind the chain around as necessary to avoid any slack.

    In really high theft areas the front wheel can occasionally get stolen. What a thief can do with a super heavy duty 20″ rollerbrake wheel is a mystery but if you’re worried about this you can loop a small lock through the front wheel and fender. Even better is to bore two large holes in the front of the wooden box (use a hole saw) so that you can run the lock through. This is serious overkill for most locations.

    How about that optional lock ring in the front of the Cargobike?
    Don’t rely on that thing. It’s useless. Seriously. At least in the Netherlands the thieves know that you can break it right off by hitting it with a hammer.

    P1-P2-bakfiets 2

    People always toss their trash in my bike’s box while its parked. How can I prevent this?
    You could stand next to your bike and yell at every lowlife who does that but this will probably get old pretty quickly. More pleasant is to put the cargo cover on the box when you leave it. The cover has more benefits:

  • It protects the box from weather and keeps the seats dry for the kids.
  • You can leave non-valuable items in the box. Nobody will steal your organic veggies and if they do they probably needed them anyway.
  • The kids can sit (partially) under it to stay warm or dry when it rains.
  • Really, I recommend that every bakfiets be equipped with the cover. We use ours far more than the (admittedly more charming) Canopy.

    I find it difficult to ride without hands on the Kr8/Cargobike. How can I do this?
    You can’t.

    Fr8-escape-hatch
    WorkCycles’ “Escape Hatch” enables replacing the rear tire, tube or brake without removing the wheel.

    How do I fix a flat tire with all that complicated stuff around the wheels?
    Silly foreigner! There’s generally no need to remove the wheel to repair a flat:

  • Set the bike on its handy parking stand.
  • Try to find the source of puncture and set it in an accessible spot.
  • Open the tire from the left (non-drivetrain) side.
  • Pump a little air into the inner tube to locate the puncture(s).
  • Remove (all of) the offending objects and remaining air.
  • Patch the inner tube.
  • Refit left tire bead onto rim, making sure valve sits straight.
  • Pump tire up and continue cycling.
  • The Kr8 takes this yet a step further with the “Escape Hatch”. By removing the left, rear fork end it’s easy to replace the rear tire, inner tube or rollerbrake without even loosening the right axle nut or opening the chain case. Super handy!

    What regular checks and maintenance should an owner undertake so as not to become a pain to their bike shop come servicing time?
    Not much really.

    Tires need air.
    The most important thing that many owners forget is to put air in the tires. Even tires that have never had a puncture have some porosity and slowly lose pressure. Especially on a heavily loaded bike properly inflated tires will ride much better and last much longer. Don’t worry about precision – just keep them pumped up.

    Chains need oil.
    Checking and lubricating your chain is easy and easy to forget since its hidden inside the chain case. Unlike a bike with an exposed chain the Kr8 or Cargobike can be ridden and stored for months in wet weather without touching the chain, but eventually some oil will still be needed. Depending on how much use the bike sees you should occasionally open the little hatch at the back of the chain case. Prop the rear wheel up with a block or hang it from the ceiling with the front supported by the parking stand. Then you can pour oil on the chain while slowly turning the wheel or crank. Any good lubrication oil will work and excess will just drip off into the case. A couple times per year is sufficient.

    Chains need adjustment.
    If you’re handy you can check the chain tension while the case hatch is open. To adjust the tension you need to loosen the axle nuts and brake reaction arm and then adjust with the axle tugs. If you’re not handy or if this sounds intimidating just leave it to a good bike shop. A loose chain is far less of a problem than a too tight chain.

    Keep the gears adjusted.
    Perhaps the only critical adjustment on the bike is the cable tension for the gear hub. Properly adjusted a Shimano Nexus 8sp gear hub will run smoothly for a long time. Ridden badly enough out of adjustment that it jumps out of gear it can be quickly destroyed leading to very expensive repairs. The adjustment is quite simple. The Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub WorkCycles fits has a reliable visual indicator next to the rear cog. This can be used to check the cable adjustment. Some Kr8’s (and all the Kr8 V8’s) have an infinitely variable NuVinci hub that needs almost no adjustment at all.

    Have the rear hub serviced every few years.
    Even the lowest maintenance parts still need a little TLC occasionally and an internal gear hub is no exception. Depending on how intensively the bike is used and whether it’s stored in- or outdoors we recommend having the rear hub opened and lubricated every two or three years. Running it indefinitely dry and dirty will guarantee it’s self destruction and a very expensive repair bill. A NuVinci hub requires no internal service though its freewheel unit occasionally requires replacement.

    Does the box require any treatment to preserve it?
    The boxes of both of the Kr8 and Cargobike are made from “betonplex” a highly water resistant impregnated plywood used primarily for molding concrete. Its tough stuff. Nonetheless water can seep in wherever the finish has been compromised such as the edges, joints, where accessories have been installed or where its damaged. Protecting it is simple: Paint such vulnerable points with thick paint in a suitable color. This is done at the factory, but adding more after installing accessories or repairing damage is very helpful.

    Also important is to protect the box with the cargo cover. It might be quality betonplex… but its still wood.

    My rack elastics have died. Where can I get replacements?
    Yeah, the original elastics (“snelbinders”) on the Cargobike aren’t the greatest. We have much stronger, longer lasting ones at WorkCycles.

    Can I ride the Kr8 in a hilly area?
    Moderately rolling terrain and small hills as a part of one’s daily route will work fine for the fit and motivated rider. WorkCycles fits 8 speed Shimano hub gears to most of its bikes and that already provides quite a wide range of gears. The Kr8 can optionally be built with the Nuvinci hub that has a wider range (380% vs. 305%).

    A Kr8 V8, with a powerful mid-drive electric motor, is rather easy to ride in even hilly terrain… or it’ll make it practically effortless to ride far further than you’d ever expect on a bakfiets.

    If you prefer to ride without the motor the overall gear ratio can also be lowered (or raised) by changing the rear cog. The bike is normally equipped with a 17 tooth cog, thus a 20 tooth cog will lower all of the ratios by 18%. That’ll provide some more hill climbing ease without making the bike annoying to ride on flat terrain. You will spin out of the 8th gear with a tailwind or small downhill.

    A 22T rear cog will fit but we found it quite unpleasant to ride, requiring us to ride almost entirely in the 7th and 8th gears. However some owners are happy with their bikes geared this way.

    Can I fit a Rohloff 14 speed hub to a Kr8?
    Yes, we can custom build a WorkCycles Kr8 with a Rohloff hub and Magura hydraulic brakes. The frame has to be modified slightly so we cannot retrofit these.

    Is it possible to add electric assist to my Kr8 (or older Cargobike)?
    Yes, but with a few buts and ifs. The lovely Schachner mid-drive electric system we currently fit in the Kr8 V8 will only fit (older) existing frames with modification. It might or might not end up being economically practical to upgrade an existing Kr8 to a Kr8 V8.

    There are other options though. WorkCycles offers a reliable and powerful conversion that is “pedalec” legal throughout Europe . Our system use a front hub motor geared either for hill climbing torque or flatland (i.e. windy) assist. The 36V LiIon battery pack and electronics are hidden away under the bench. If you’re cycling with kids under the canopy in the winter the batteries will be kept warm to considerably improve their performance.

    We can upgrade the brakes of bikes with electric assist since what goes up must also come down. The low maintenance but not especially powerful Shimano rollerbrakes can be replaced by powerful and progressive Magura hydraulic rim brakes.

    My Cargobike has begun to shimmy/oscillate at certain speeds. How can I fix this?
    Such a shimmy is a harmonic so it occurs at certain speed ranges and with certain amounts of weight in the box. We see it occasionally though thus far never in dangerous levels as can occur on racing bikes. Its nonetheless very annoying and fixing it can be tricky.

  • On older Cargobikes replacing the worn, sloppy linkages and generally tightening and straightening things up usually solves the problem.
  • Make sure everything is straight and tight. If the bike is still fresh I recommend checking the trueness of both wheels and tires. An out of line frame can also cause a shimmy.
  • Changing the tire pressure (usually to higher) will change the harmonic.
  • An imbalance in the front tire could be a culprit so try rotating the tire 90 or 180 degrees around the rim. Some have also had success with adding a little weight at the valve stem to counterblance the rim’s heavy seam.
  • On earilier type 1 Cargobikes (50mm diameter frame tube) the needle bearing headset can be preloaded a little which adds some (helpful in this case) friction.
  • My (nearly new) Kr8 has begun to shimmy/oscillate at certain speeds. Why and how can I fix this?
    Yes, a number of customers signaled this oscillation a couple months after we began delivering Kr8’s. After some research we found that it is caused by a steering rod with too much flexibility. A stiffer rod that prevents the wobbling has been developed. Since a couple weeks ago all Kr8’s are being built with the new steering rod and we’re also making replacement rods for the Kr8’s already delivered. There’s obviously no charge for this update. Just contact the shop where you purchased your Kr8.

    WorkCycles-Kr8-E-Hydro-assembly-16

    Can I fit disk brakes to a Kr8 or Bakfiets Cargobike?
    No. Do you plan to be going 80km/hr with kids in the box or something?

    More seriously though: The first couple years of WorkCycles Cargobikes (2004-2006?) were equipped with a basic model rollerbrake, the only type available at the time. For our local Dutch conditions the braking power was adequate and this was otherwise the most reliable and low-maintenance brake available. When they became available the better IM70 rollerbrake with a substantial heatsink, cooling fins and a higher leverage ratio was offered as an option. These brakes are more powerful and consistent than the standard rollerbrakes used previously and also more resistant to fade during longer hills.

    Beginning in July 2008, all Bakfiets Cargobikes distributed through WorkCycles were equipped with the “Shimano IM70” rollerbrake.

    Starting in 2011, all of our Bakfiets Cargobikes have been fitted with even bigger replacements for the IM70, called “IM80” or “IM81”. The IM80 or IM81 brake can be fitted to all existing Cargobikes, right back to the very first models.

    From its 2014 introduction the Kr8 has been available with either the IM80 rollerbrakes or the much more powerful yet still low maintenance Magura hydraulic rim brakes. Disk brakes have been considered but ruled out for not being nearly as durable or reliable in the rough outdoor life of these bikes.

    Copyright 2008-2017 WorkCycles

    92 Responses to “FAQ: WorkCycles Kr8 & Bakfiets Cargobike”

    1. Madeline Says:

      Electrical assist updates? I am keenly interested in this. A bakfiets is something I absolutely want, but I am concerned about the hilly bits here in Luxembourg. A guy I talked to yesterday at the Fête du Vélo has a Christiania trike with electrical assist. He uses it to ferry two kids and loads of shopping up and down hills, but he reckons e-assist is definitely the way to go. What if I bought an assisted bakfiets from bakfiets.nl, could I then take it to WorkCycles to get its brakes and gears upgraded?

    2. henry Says:

      CargoBikeGuy, Madeline ,
      I need to update this page. Since writing this we’ve developed our e-bike skills considerably and now do excellent e-conversions with the Cargobike and other bikes as well. We usually begin with a new Workcycles Cargobike but it can also be a bakfiets.nl or a used bike. The setup has a quite powerful 36V motor in the front wheel, a hydraulic front brake, battery and electronics hidden under the bench seat and the same great B&M LED lights powered by the battery. It’s a little more expensive than other options but it really works very well.

    3. Gunnar Says:

      Thanks for this excellent FAQ. I recently aquired a bakfiets and here I found the answer to all my questions (even to those I didn’t knew I had!). You should charge bakfiets, since there site doesn’t offer half the info found here!

    4. AC Says:

      I’ve always wondered how much the cargo bikes weigh?

      You *could* add that information to the specifications. 🙂

    5. Ndru Says:

      It weighs a little under 100lbs. This is what you start with, then you add the kids, groceries, bags of topsoil, you get the idea. It’s a heavy bike if you want to lift it above your head, but you don’t feel this weight while riding it, unless going up a steep hill.

    6. Gavin Says:

      A couple of things:

      1. Whats a good way of getting a loaded BF-long up a curb? I have been getting the kids to hop out and then lifting the front wheel up the curb, which is slow and a pain. Pulling the bike up the curb backwards? ANy other good ideas?

      2. Any good sun shades out there? Similar in design to the urban arrow one, which is the best I have seen yet? The ones I have seen for the BF-long are pretty clumsy.
      Thanks!

    7. henry Says:

      Gavin,
      It sounds crude but I get my Cargobike up curbs all the time. I just look for the lowest, least sharp spot, try to get the bike mostly perpendicular and then just ram the bike over the curb with kids and all in the box. Hold the handlebar securely and a little speed helps a lot. I’ve been doing this for five years and haven’t broken anything yet.

      If the curb is bigger you can roll the bike onto it backwards but I often find this more awkward than the above method.

      No, I’m not aware of any good sun shades. Roughly four people ask about one each year.

    8. Anja Says:

      Curbs are to be avoided. They only way I have been able to get a loaded BF is to go backwards.

      Ah. Sun shades. I would also like more info on better ones. We have the rain one that came with the BF, but it is useless in the Summer. I guess we could all try to be more handy and make our own. 🙂

    9. Sanjoy Says:

      Hi Henry,

      Could you give me the handlebar clamp, stem and seat post size on the bakfiets?

      Thanks,

      Sanjoy

    10. henry Says:

      25.4, 25.4, 31.8 assuming you mean the current bakfiets cargobike two-wheeler.

    11. Tien Says:

      Hi Henry, great post and thank you for sharing. I really want to get the workcycle cargobike long. My challenge is that this bike needs to fit both my height (156cm) and my husbands (179cm).

      What is the minimum height or inner leg length be required to ride this bike comfortably?

    12. Ausra Says:

      Very nice and informative page you’ve got! I am also becoming a big fan on cargo bikes. I am going to buy one, but I am not willing to spend much for it. Mainly because I am afraid it can be stolen soon.
      I also don’t want to buy a low quality Chinese bike.
      So I came up with three possibilities:
      1. Used cargo bike short “Bakfiets.nl”. The bin is worn out, but the rest looks fine (400 euros, no accessories);
      2. New Babboe City (900 euros without accessories);
      3. New Cangoo 240 from directfiets.nl (640 euros with accessories) looks like it’s not Chinese made, but I have no idea about the quality.
      Please give me advise… Or maybe you can offer something else…
      Thanks.

    13. henry Says:

      Ausra,
      Without any hesitation or doubt the used Bakfiets.nl Cargobike is the only good one of those three options!

      2. You can read lots about the Babboe in the comments section of this post, though I never mentioned the bike in the original post itself.
      3. The Cangoo is the definition of “low quality Chinese bike”. It’s not even worth a small fraction of whatever it costs.

      If you happen to be in Amsterdam you’re welcome to bring the second-hand Cargobike to us at WorkCycles to look at and make sure there’s nothing expensive wrong with it. As far as being afraid of buying a good bike because it’ll get stolen I have a simple answer: Just insure your bike. It costs less than €100 a year to insure a €2000+ bakfiets for its new value. If it gets stolen you get a new bike. We arrange insurance for most of the bikes we sell in Amsterdam.

    14. Chris Says:

      First, thanks for putting this page together! Very useful information on a variety of issues. We have a Bakfiets cargo bike (long version) with a custom canopy. We are soon moving to an area that is much more hilly than the Netherlands, and I am
      thinking about adding a better brake system. I would like to add disc brakes, though this is obviously problematic with regard to adding frame mounts as noted on this page. Therefore, the strategy I am considering is:
      -Replace the IM70 rear roller brake with the newer IM81 (the original roller brake is fading, even after I added the proper Shimano roller brake grease).
      -Replace the front fork with one that has disc mounts. Build a new wheel with a Schmidt dynamo disc hub and stout, straight-gauge spokes. Use a hydraulic or perhaps cable disc brake system on the front.

      Has anyone tried this? Or do you foresee any problems with this approach?

      Thanks,
      Chris

    15. henry Says:

      Chris, Putting disk brakes on the Cargobike is a huge job. You won’t just find a similar fork with disk mounts so you either have to have one made or modify the original fork. You could upgrade to IM80 or IM81 rollerbrakes though it really won’t be a huge improvement.

      A more practical and much cheaper route would be to have a framebuilder add cantilever mounts to your fork and frame to fit the excellent Magura hydraulic rim brakes. We now offer the new Kr8 with these.

    16. Jen Says:

      Hi, your blog is so informative! I am a proud honor of a bakfiets.nl long and live in Amsterdam. We will soon be moving back to the USA (Westchester County north of New York City). I have become so accustomed to my bakfiets lifestyle that I can’t bear to leave it behind. The area we are moving to has some hills, but I suspect that I will encounter mostly flat terrain on short trips to school and the park. I also see that there is a bike shop in Brooklyn called Rolling Orange that sells the bakfiets.nl and it’s accessories, so if I need any parts hopefully they can help. However, as far as I can tell there are no bike shops in Westchester that sell/service bakfiets. Would you advise against having my bike serviced at a regular bike shop or is a good knowledge of bikes in general enough? Any other issues you can foresee with me taking it back to New York? I’d love to start a new trend for NY suburban moms. 🙂 Thanks!

    17. henry Says:

      Jen,
      Many moons ago I lived in Westchester so I still know plenty of people there. We lived in New Rochelle and Larchmont and really a bakfiets would be great there. There are hills in that area but few are steep or long.

      No, there is absolutely nobody in the county selling anything like a bakfiets or Dutch bike at all. There are, however, quite a few good bike shops, probably even a couple who’d be happy to work on your bike (and plenty who wouldn’t too.). It’s been a long time but I can ask around to see who’d be a good shop to maintain your bike. What town are you moving to?

    18. Jen Says:

      And any tips for safely packing the bakfiets for shipment in a sea container?? Should I assume my Dutch movers are experienced with this? Thanks again!

    19. henry Says:

      Jen,
      I certainly wouldn’t assume the Dutch movers are competent nor interested in packing a bakfiets. But I’d recommend just packing it with a couple layers of sturdy cardboard, foam and stretch foil… and making sure that nothing heavy gets stacked on top of it in the container. Success with your move!

    20. Jen Says:

      Hi Henry, actually we are most likely moving to Larchmont! We lived in that area previously so I am pretty familiar with the terrain and figured it would be great for the bakfiets. 🙂 Thanks so much for any suggestions for a bike shop there that can help me if/when the need arises. And thanks for the packing tips, too!

    21. henry Says:

      Jen, If you want to continue riding your bike Larchmont (esp. in the Village or Manor) or Mamaroneck (same school system) would be the best place in the entire region for it. Of course you need to have the financial means to do so since I understand it’s become obscenely expensive.

      The bike shops that were there when I was a kid are probably all long gone. If Gundelachs is still in business in New Rochelle that could be a place to try. They’ve been in business for about 100 years and were usually quite reliable. I worked there as a teenager – always nice folks. My mom’s favorite bike shop was Dave Marinelli’s Metro Cycle Sport in White Plains. Extremely knowledgeable but I don’t know whether he’s still there.

    22. Gus Says:

      Hi Henry, (you might remember) I purchased a Workcycles /Bakfiets long cargo from you just before we moved from Amsterdam back to Cape Town, late last year. We’re loving it, and getting lots of interest in it too. Now that our youngest is 9 months old we’d like to get her involved in the action. I have ordered a Bobike mini which ought to arrive this week some time, just wondering if you have any more specific guidance on how to attach it to the bench – is it as simple as sawing off the legs and then bolting it to the bench, or do I need to get a special bracket for this (or have one made)? Also, do I need to drill some holes through the Bobike mini, and if so how many do you recommend and how should I position them? Any help would be greatly appreciate before I go hacking up the Bobike Mini and / or drilling holes in the bakfiets bench. Thanks in advance.

    23. Kagen Says:

      Replacement brake with motor assist question –

      We live in Nashua New Hampshire (USA) and having lost one car plan on replacing it with a Workcycle cargobike long. To bring oldest to school with youngster along for ride, library, grocery, and work with kids coming for one of us.

      Problem is just one major major hill on the only way to leave our neighborhood. To make sure we use the bike, I plan on installing beefy electric assist, Falco 750w motor, torque sensor, controler that utilizes assist (but plan to leave locked at the 20mph legal US limit). To keep from changing out the whole shifting scheme will install in front wheel (glad for recumbent trikes and long tail cargo so that the setup has options for 20″ wheels) and 48V battery. Will probably choose one with low amphours to save money/weight as really just need for a couple big hills even if needing lots of help for brief times, not planing on using to go fast on flats as plan to pedal.

      Now my question – as I will be losing the front hub drum brake as motor is the new hub what makes the most sense to replace with break wise (to go with the front motor regenerating breaking, quick clicking down to -5 setting I hear this motor really slows things.)

      Front brakes I should go with (and why, best use, money, or only possible) –

      1 Hydraulic rim brakes, not used here in states really at all since 90s so little support, assume have to get complete Magura brake or other setup sent from europe. Do I have to have workcycle send me a non-painted 20″ rim? Do I have to tack on cantilever mounts for hydraulic brake? – figure fork doesn’t have mounts.

      2 disc brakes, can I swap front fork for a front delt trike fork or other that will work on this bike but also have place to mount calipers? The motor hub is set to fit disc.

      3 cable rim caliper brakes. Are there mounts to add? will these be enough with regenerative braking?

      With the length and weight don’t want to lock up front brake.

      EEEK – see you answered my question already, finding right fork for disc is too hard, go with hydraulic rim brake. Still do I need unpainted rim or rim with bike fine?

      Any concerns with adding a 750W motor?

    24. Kagen Says:

      Also contemplating not using a direct drive hub motor but going with mid drive geared motor, located at crank as none of the wheels, shifters or brakes need to be modified. The BAFANG BBS02 750W just replaces the crank, but needs to fit 68mm (2.68 in.) or 73mm (2.87 in.) wide bottom bracket shell and 35mm inside diameter. Not sure on that.
      The geared will actual give better torque for hills, this one is almost as quite, but all geared things won’t last as long a simple magnets in a direct drive.

      Cool to hear someone else in New Hampshire already has one. Wonder were they get it serviced. Once we get ours will have to meet up and confirm if a long can keep up on the downhill to reach 80 km/h…or maybe better not to try that.

    25. henry Says:

      Gus, Yes I certainly remember you. We only have a handful of WorkCycles bikes in South Africa. Bobike Mini on bench installation:

      1. Cut the legs off and file/sand ends to remove sharp edges.
      2. Cut a little off the side that will go against the box wall. We put them on the right side here but those in countries where they drive on the wrong side might want to do it otherwise.
      3. Remove the bolt securing the harness through the folding bench.
      4. Set the seat in position and mark off the location of the original hole in the bench from below.
      5. Drill a 6.5mm hole through the bottom of the Bobike.
      6. Bolt Bobike to bench using a longer M6 bolt and original nut and washer. The harness goes back in it’s original position.
      7. Secure toddler in seat.
      8. Ride bike.

    26. henry Says:

      Kagen,
      This page is quite old and we’re mostly selling WorkCycles Kr8’s (successor to Cargobike) now. But most off the same information applies.

      Brakes: Kr8 can simply be built with Magura HS11 hydraulic brakes front and rear. For the Cargobike we have a front fork with cantilever mounts. Yes, you’ll need a rim with machined sidewalls. We have them.

      Bafang mid motor: We’ve heard fairly good reports about these from several sources and are going to try them ourselves as well. But we’re only interested in the 250/350W version which is apparently quite a different unit from the 750W.

      Tom in Portsmouth NH: His Cargobike is now at least ten years old and his kids are nearing their teen years so I don’t expect the Cargobike is getting ridden much anymore. I’m sure he just does his own maintenance.

      Success!

    27. Dr John "Fatbloke" Bullas Says:

      Hi

      I have a Kona Ute (2009) and am looking for a child seat for the cargo deck, what can I use considering I want him at the BACK and not the FRONT of the deck….. your inspiration most appreciated, I am handy with a hacksaw and spanners!

    28. Joeri Says:

      Hi

      I want to fit two Bobike Mini bike child seats on the bench of a Carobike long. I know I need to saw of the legs of the seats. What kind of adjusments are needed more and how can I do this? Do you also have a little bit more information about how the seats are attached to the bench?

      thanks

    29. henry Says:

      Joeri,
      You’ll need to cut a couple cm in the width from each Mini on the inside and drill holes through the bottoms to bolt them through the existing holes in the bench seat. A small bolt holding the armrests together in middle will prevent the kids’ arms getting pinched here. Use the harnesses from the Cargobike and not from the Bobikes. Here’s an example:
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/henryinamsterdam/4888402506/in/set-72157641381324423

    30. Dr John C Bullas Says:

      Hi!

      I have a a raleigh Raleigh Avenir / Snug Polisport Boodie on my Kona Yute.

      Cut the metal legs back to approx 4″ from the seat body, thread them at the end and put some locknuts on…. use a ratchet tie down looped around the frame and deck of the bike to hold the seat down TIGHT! it

      NOTE: this is NOT an approved modification or mounting method, you do it at your own risk!

      Here is the manual

      https://www.academia.edu/4530326/Raleigh_Avenir_Snug_Polisport_Boodie_bike_childrens_seat_manual_09-07-2012_NEW.pdf

    31. David Says:

      Hello Henry,

      Many thanks for the informative site and comments. I have a question regarding replacing the “bak” of a Bakfiets 2 wheel long model. I was in a roundabout and was side swiped by an Arabian prince in a Mercedes who didn’t want to wait for my run around the turnout. He clipped the front panel and took out the fasteners holding my rain tent and part of the wood and I would really like to replace the box for safety reasons as it’s the usual transport for my son. Can you recommend anyone that can send the parts to southern Germany?

      Thanks again for all the tips!

    32. henry Says:

      David, Sorry to hear about that experience. At least the Arabian Prince part makes it into a good story. WorkCycles can get you a new box though being wood your existing box can also be repaired with standard carpentry techniques.

    33. Ashling Says:

      Hi Henry,

      I received my Kr8 last month from Astrid @dutchbikeshop.ie. Myself and my two kids love love love it, as I knew we would. It really was worth spending the extra money (I considered a babboe); the quality stands out from kick stand to brakes to child harness.
      Cargo bikes are still a rarity in my part of Ireland. The kids wanted to know why everyone was looking and smiling at them at first! It regularly transports kids, a week’s shopping, sometimes kids +storage boxes and recently, I delivered a regular adult’s bike to my friend’s house.

      I’m using it every day, for up to two hours a day and regularly encounter a couple of short enough but sticky hills on my regular route. If it gets too much in the depths of winter, is it possible to have an e-assist retro fitted?

    34. henry Says:

      Ashling, Congrats on your new Kr8! It is possible to retrofit electric assist to your Kr8 but fitting the Schachner system we use in the Kr8 V8 is unfortunately not straightforward. That requires some mild frame modifications. There are a few options:

      1. Sunstar mid motor. This is a good working and reliable system that can be installed without any major modifications. You will have to be very careful about stopping the motor (by not pedaling for a second) before shifting in order to avoid destroying the Nexus 8 gear hub. Alternatively you can fit a Nuvinci rear hub but that will increase the cost considerably.

      2. A front hub motor system such as from V-Fiets in Amsterdam. These are smooth working and straightforward to install but don’t have a lot of torque to pull you and the kids up steep hills.

      3. We’re considering an exchange program in which we replace the entire rear end of a Kr8 with that of the new Kr8 V8 (electric assist version). It’s just in the idea stage and how we would work that out via a dealer is also a question mark.

    35. Nata Says:

      Hello Henry,

      I see that you now offer your bakfiets with disc brake options via the Australian supplier. We have some steepish hills hear in Sydney along the beaches, and I would like to make sure that I can stop quickly downhill with a fully laden bike, incl. kids. Would this be the best option for me? And do you also offer the factory built e-version to Australia? Thanks in advance for your answer.

    36. henry Says:

      Nata, Actually we do not fit disk brakes to any WorkCycles bikes. We do however offer very powerful and low-maintenance Magura hydraulic rim brakes on the Fr8, Gr8 and Kr8 (bakfiets).

      Yes, we can ship the V8 versions with factory electric assist to any dealer. Shipping them overseas to individuals is not possible.

    37. Maurice Murphy Says:

      Hi Henry, another happy KR8 owner in Dublin, we love it! I need to fit an infant seat and only option available is a new bobike mini seat. Do the newer models of this seat fit once modified and leave room for another little one on the bench? Thanks Maurice

    38. henry Says:

      Hi Maurice, Happy to hear you’re enjoying your Kr8. The modified Bobike seat is for kids from about nine months, after they’ve outgrown the Maxi-Cosi or equivalent baby cot in the box. In our experience the old type Bobike seat is by far the best for this application. Other seats are bulkier or less handy to mount. We’ve got lots (too many actually) of them at WorkCycles and happy to make a nice deal on one. alternatively you can make your own toddler support seat. It’s only function is to give a semi-boneless little one some extra sitting support. You could thus make a similar seat from fabric, foam, wood, plastic, carbon fiber or unobtanium.

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