Roundup: Reviews of various family transport bikes


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: Cargobike
Let’s Go Ride a Bike
Velo Vision
Bicycle Fixation
Bike Utah Valley

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)

Guest post from Haarlem in this blog

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

Gazelle Cabby

Winther Kangaroo
Musings from a Stonehead

TV consumer program Kassa tests 13 bakfietsen from Dutch and Danish producers Included are:, 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. vs. Fietsfabriek 995 vs. Gazelle Cabby (again) Cargobike vs. Smart Car
Part one: Measurements
Part two: Features 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.

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

  1. DrMekon Says:

    Hi Henry

    I’ve posted a bit about my De Fietsfabriek 995 here:

    I’ll get around to writing some more, but suffice to say that notwithstanding the relative limitations of the foldable hood compared to the Clarijs (it’s not as rigid, and lacks the rear flap), we’ve been very happy with it. Certainly haven’t had the problems that Caliban had, but then ours is the 2008 model with the fixed bench and the new stand.

    Our next bakfiets is going to be a Workcycles classic cargobike.

  2. mutterbird Says:

    Thanks Henry, it is always good to read reviews of the bikes out there, but no contest, for me, the Bakfiets Cargobike Long is THE BEST! I’ve never been a cyclist, or that into bikes, but when I started researching the best way of getting my kids from A to B, incorporating fun for me too, then I discovered that this fabulous 2 wheeler could not be bettered.
    It is so well thought out, incredibly designed, so easy to care for, and looks fab, my boys love to climb all over it when it’s parked and I find it a true pleasure to ride. I am a very happy cyclist mum!

  3. henry Says:

    Folks, I was trying to demonstrate that I can actually post an unbiased piece 😉

    The compliments are flattering though, and we certainly love the Cargobike too. Its just great to have a bike that meets so many family’s needs and to see how intensively (and happily) they get used.

    But still, doesn’t anybody know of any solid reviews (positive or negative) of other bikes?

    And DrMekon, you’re already thinking of your NEXT bike? Didn’t you just buy your Fietsfabriek a few months ago?

  4. mutterbird Says:

    Researching which family bike to go for was really interesting as I honestly believe there are some great options to choose from (obviously we chose the Cargobike, but out of the bikes out there, I would say the front runners are: Cargobike

    Living in the UK where family biking in this way is not as prominent (yet) these are the bikes that came up in my internet searches most. The Bakfiets Richmond Project created quite a buzz (where a Nursery School received funding to have a pool of them for the Mums to share)

    Regarding reviews originating from here, I think there will be more and more over time where they become more of a regular item for households with children in the UK.

    Velovision magazine did a review of the Cargobike, but I think it’s 2 years old. Was very positive.

  5. DrMekon Says:

    Hi Henry

    Yeah, it’s only been about 3 months (and about 600 miles), but we’re planning the next child, I’ve got to share transport to school responsibilities. Does that justify being a two bakfiets family? Okay, I admit it, I am really sick of riding my Kona, and I steal the Fietsfabriek as much as I can.

    Over here, the standard is nearly 50% more than we paid for the De Fietsfabriek. Whilst I can see where extra money has gone compared to the 995 and the Cabby, the UK price differential makes it a bit of a luxury purchase. However, the 995 has really enriched our lives, and as such, we’re finding it less difficult to justify the extra this time around. We’re planning on treating ourselves to a Classic with a folding tent, underseat box, and maybe swapping… you get the idea. We’ll be in touch with Chris sometime nearer Xmas.

  6. HeleenH Says:

    The direct link to the Fietsersbond vraagbaak on bakfietsen is
    I wish they updated the test with more bakfietsen, including the cheap copies, so people know what the differences are!

  7. henry Says:

    Hi Heleen,
    Thanks for the direct link. I’m not sure I want to see more bakfiets tests from the Fietsersbond unless they improve their testing methods. Their last test was certainly honest but I just don’t believe it effectively represented typical, real-world conditions. Most notably a) the testing was primarily carried out by a man while these bikes are mostly ridden by women, and b) much too little time was spent carrying kids of various ages.

    What they did focus on was handling characteristics, and in this regard they got it right: the Nihola is the nicest handling three-wheeler and the Cargobike the best of the two-wheelers. But why split the bikes into these categories since two or three wheels is a technical question that has nothing to do with the use of the bike. In fact a Cargobike has a bigger box than a Nihola.

    I too would like to see some objective reports on the cheap copy bakfietsen from a respected source. Those bikes are now ubiquitous and many people are getting suckered into buying them without realizing how horrible they are. They’re promoted as a great deal: a less deluxe version of a €1500 bike for €500. But in fact you get a €75 bike for €500, something of such poor design and quality that it will never ride safely and then quickly deteriorate and break. That’s at minimum a waste of your money and time, and at worst a danger for your family.


  8. HeleenH Says:

    Hi Henry,

    Your comments on the Fietsersbond test make lots of sense. Maybe I should get a few mothers together and ask the Amsterdam branch of the Utrecht main office of the Fietsersbond if they can update the test with these specialists as test-drivers. I guess we can find a friendly Amsterdam bicycle specialist store to lend out the more expensive bicycles and tricycles for a couple of city tours and then they would have to organise the cheaper brands via the manufacturers/importers.

  9. henry Says:

    Hi Heleen,
    That’s a good idea though my experience in product design and ergonomic testing suggests that finding suitable testers is difficult. They need to be objective, open minded and able to describe their impressions. They should test the bikes for long enough to become sensitive to the subtle differences that emerge, and also to decide what is and isn’t important in the real world.

    Some specific criteria should be defined such as: control riding through a realistic course with both open sections and steep bridges and corners, suitability for carrying kids of various ages, getting the kids in and out of the carrier, stability while standing, quality of materials and finishes, basic strength test, handiness of accessories etc etc. By no means is this a complete list.

    All that said I’d be willing to lend the services of WorkCycles where appropriate.


    The bikes should be sourced in such a way as not to introduce bias especially considering that the quality of assembly has an enormous influence on the resulting bike. Two of the same bike can feel (and test) very different if one is much better assembled and tubed than the other. Probably it’d b best to get the bikes from as neutral as possible sources and then have one workshop prepare them all “equally”. At least then each bike will, for example, brake as well as it can.

  10. HeleenH Says:

    Hi Henry,

    Vara’s Kassa zendt zo een test uit van bakfietsen (NL1), zie
    waar je waarschijnlijk vanaf morgen de uitzending kunt terugzien.

  11. henry Says:

    Thanks for the tip about the Kassa bakfiets test. I watched it and was very happy that our bike was the top choice. I translated their Dutch language report and wrote a post about it as well. Links to both have been added to the post above.

  12. Patrick Says:

    Hi Henry,

    My wife and I are happy Christiania trike owners/users. But now would be a bad time to try and provide a solid review, as
    — we’ve childlessly used the trike for cargo for four years
    — we only just became parents (it took longer than we thought it would…)
    — we’ve just had the trike upgraded with 8spd hub and drumbrake

    so, i’ll submit a thorough review after some more time with child cargo.

    cheers and thanks for the informative site


  13. Aaron Says:

    Hi. I live in Australia and have had a Christiania for a while now. I recently started blogging about why we got it and what I have done to it along the way –

    We have found it pretty good – especially after adjusting the gears to cope with our local hills, the steepness of which is not seen in Denmark or Holland!

    Very informative site by the way. Loved the link to the review where the lady tipped a Christiania (I have not done that as yet!)



  14. Måns Holgersson Says:

    Here is a test published in a danish magazine 2007:

  15. henry Says:

    Thanks Måns. The Kangaroo is a nice bike. It’s high price and unsuitability for the abusive life of a Dutch bike have limited it’s popularity here but it rides very nicely and the child seating area is safe and adaptable. It should be a serious consideration for areas where theft and vandalism are not such big problems.

  16. Måns Says:

    Hi Henry,
    I would love to have a Cargobike long. However, I can not find any retailer for this bike in Sweden or Denmark. I will go to Copenhagen in a week or two to try the new two-wheeler model of Christianiabike.
    Hopefully it will be an acceptable substitute for the Cargobike.
    Lund, Sweden (close to Denmark)

  17. henry Says:

    Hi Måns,
    I haven’t yet seen the Christiania two-wheeler so I can’t offer any meaningful feedback there. I’ll just note that the Cargobike and it’s accessories have been highly developed over the last ten or so years and has made thousands of our customers very happy. WorkCycles doesn’t produce the Cargobike but we do sell it in our two shops and handle the distribution in some other countries. So yes, I’m biased but I still love this bike and even my wife rides one with our son.

    There is supposed to be a Danish distributor for (check on their site) so it would certainly be worth your while to compare it to the new Christiania. Of course WorkCycles can send a Cargobike to Sweden but it’s really very expensive to send a single bike.

    Good luck!

  18. vinslay Says:

    Hi Henry,
    I am in a similar position to one earlier blogger in that I need a good bakfiet (preferably two wheeler) and was nearly suckered into buying a real “bargain”…
    Well it seemed odd that when all other bikes are around 1500 these ones were so cheap, so thanks to you and others for the posts.
    I realise that you work for workcycles, one of those bikes would definitely be my top choice if it were not for my tight budget…but then again good quality shouldn’t be cheap. Anyway I was wondering, since you seem to have fixed many bikes and brands, what you think of the babboe big ( ). It seems that Rabobank is subsidising a large portion of the price for what seems to be a well made three wheeler…
    Sorry for this long rant but I would really appreciate your expert opinion.
    Many thanks,

  19. henry Says:

    Hi Sylvain,
    Happy to have saved you some trouble and money.

    Here’s the scoop on the Babboe Big: The design is certainly better than the horrible cheapo bikes and the quality is somewhat better too. But the Babboe not nearly of the same quality as any of the €1000 plus bikes such as from, Gazelle, Fietsfabriek, Winther, Nihola, ‘t Mannetje, WorkCycles etc. Fact is that, even for larger firms such as Gazelle, these bikes are expensive to make and sell. Nobody can alter the laws of economics.

    The basic problem with the Babboe is that their story is dishonest. Neither Rabobank nor any other firm is “subsidizing” the sales of Babboe as implied on the Babboe website. Why would they do that? Babboe has NEVER sold a bike for the supposed €1200 retail price nor is it worth anything close to that much. From their introduction the Babboe has always been available with some “special deal” or another for €600-700… plus assembly costs. This is actually probably a little on the high side given the bottom of the line parts the Babboe is made with.

    In short there’s no such thing as a “free lunch”. I suppose some people are happy with their Babboes though when customers bring them into WorkCycles for repairs they’re generally not so enthusiastic. Apparently they’ve very slow and hard to pedal, and the inexpensive wheels and hub gears seem to have short lifespans.

    Personally I’d much rather ride an ugly, second hand Christiania, etc than a brand new Babboe.

  20. Peter Says:

    Hi Sylvain,

    Henry means probably well, but vinslay is right: Henry works for workcycles. Workcycles/ for sure is good quality, but they are way too expensive; it is a bike, not a second hand car. And the design is dated. Maybe if the design would be better, the price would be reasonable.

    Henry says that Babboe uses bottom of the line parts to make the Babboe. What is wrong with SRAM parts? And did you notice that Babboe has a new two-wheeler? It uses the same quality parts as Shimano Nexus 7 with rollerbrake. Also the design of the new Babboe two-wheeler is much much nicer. Great fat tires, nice color and the wooden box does not look like you made it yourself. It is bent wood. They sell it for €849,- or €975,- fully assembled. Who cares if it is a special offer or not?
    What is the catch? Is there a catch? Maybe we should compare with regular bikes. A good quality Gazelle (well known brand in Holland) with Nexus 7 cost around €750,- Why should a / workcycles bakfiets with the same parts be around €1750,-? That is a very big difference.

    Maybe Henri can explain why Workcycles is so expensive?
    For the record, I am not a Babboe employee.

    Many thanks,

  21. henry Says:

    I don’t think anybody here is unaware that I founded Workcycles; that’s what this blog is about.

    Your implication that Workcycles and bikes are too expensive is bullshit. They simply cost what they have to cost given the quality components and materials used, relatively small scale production and honest wages paid to those who build them. You note a couple parts that the Babboe has in common with some bikes, while the Workcycles bikes actually use better models anyway: Shimano Nexus 8 speed and much more effective IM70 rollerbrakes operated by cables with expensive, compressionless housing. Dozens of such decisions have been made to build bikes that work great and are dead reliable even when used daily in all conditions and parked outdoors for years. Just try that with your Babboe.

    Comparing bakfietsen to standard bikes built with normal parts in enormous quantities simply isn’t a fair comparison. Standard bikes don’t have big wooden boxes, bench seats with harnesses, steering linkages, two headsets, special steering tubes, forks, parking stands, long cables, heavy duty spokes and rims… and they aren’t such a bear to transport.

    Comparing the price of a bike to crappy used car is just a classic red herring. Even if it were a gift that used car is still nearly useless as transportation here in the city and will cost it’s owner many times more than the bike to own, maintain, park and run.

  22. henry Says:

    And here’s some more writing on the topic of why Workcycles bikes cost what they do:

  23. Nomik Says:

    Henry, I think the biggest factor Babboe is cheaper than other bakfiets manufacturers is because it is sold directly to the public. When the shop is out of the picture, that save the buyer a good 40%.
    The Babboe bikes I have seen are excellent quality and design and the value is certainly there.

  24. Nomik Says:

    Henry, I think the biggest factor for Babboe being cheaper than other bakfiets manufacturers is because it is sold directly to the public. When the shop is out of the picture, that save the buyer a good 40%.
    The Babboe bikes I have seen are excellent quality and design and the value is certainly there.

  25. henry Says:

    Firstly no dealer earns anywhere close to 40% on a bakfiets. Try 20-30% at best and then keep in mind that Babboe still has to absorb most of the costs that would otherwise burden the dealer: sales, final preparation, warranty repairs, stocking, administration for individual bikes etc etc. The bike dealer doesn’t earn his cents doing nothing. So maybe there’s a 10% advantage there, and this I write as the director of a firm that sells bikes both to end-users and dealers throughout the world.

    But none of that has any influence on the fact that the Babboe is an awful bike. The finish quality of the frame parts is terrible and they rust quickly and aggressively. Many of the parts such as the wheels and front brakes are hopelessly inadequate for the demands placed on them. The wood is not water resistant betonplex like the high quality bikes. In short there are reasons why the Babboe costs about half as much as a good bakfiets from for example, Fietsfabriek, Gazelle, Christiania or Nihola: It’s half as good and that’s unfortunately just not good enough to reliably and safely do what it’s supposed to. That’s exactly why all of the rest of these bikes cost what they do; Reputable manufacturers understand that they can’t produce a much cheaper bike with a good conscience. Babboe would like the consumer to believe that they’ve simply cut some greedy hands out of the equation but that’s just not an honest story.

    Sorry to be so harsh but after 30+ years in the bike industry I have a pretty good grasp of the economics and technique involved.

    Perhaps Babboe’s brand new two wheeler will be radically better than their rotten three wheeler, but I rather doubt that.

  26. Nomik Says:

    Well, let’s call Babboe the Ikea of bakfiets; they provide value but perhaps not Mercedes Benz quality. Not everyone can afford 3k for what is essentially a bike with a box.
    However, I believe that if Babboe was such poor quality, there would be many posts on the internet revealing the fact.
    I seriously doubt that Babboe would have a sustainable business if their bikes had a reputation of rusting. Do you have any pics of a rusting Babboe?
    By the way, Babboe gives the consumer choices:the consumer can choose to have it assembled or can buy in unassembled, the consumer can coose to pick up the bike at the factory or can have it shipped. Babboe will increase the price accordingly.

    Lastly, the Babboe City looks a lot like the upcoming Urban Narrow but is about 1/3 the price. Very nice….

  27. henry Says:

    “Well, let’s call Babboe the Ikea of bakfiets…”

    That’s exactly what I’m saying is NOT TRUE: The Babboe does not provide Ikea-like, no-frills value. As the owner of two busy bike repair shops in Amsterdam specializing in bakfietsen we repair many Babboes. I can thus assure you that there are a lot of unhappy Babboe owners and that their bikes rust very quickly and badly. Also that the wheels fall apart, the front brakes don’t work, the wooden boxes rot and that almost everybody complains that they are beastly slow and heavy to ride. Once again I’ll point out that other manufacturers would offer comparably priced bakfietsen if it were really possible to deliver a decent bike for that price. It’s not.

    “I seriously doubt that Babboe would have a sustainable business…”

    I don’t see why Babboe couldn’t sustain as a business selling crappy bikes. Lots of businesses unfortunately make healthy profits selling products that don’t perform as advertised, some that don’t even work from the beginning. To use bikes as examples just look at all the Bicycle Shaped Objects sold by big department stores… who certainly make a profit.

    “Babboe City looks a lot like the upcoming Urban Narrow…”

    I assume you mean the “Urban Arrow”. Well, they both have two wheels and a box between the rider and the front wheel, and that’s about where the similarities end.

    Look, there are lots of great bikes out there and I’m even happy to compliment bikes my own company doesn’t make. In fact I’ve already done so several times in this very thread. The Babboe, however, simply is not one of them and until I see considerable evidence to the contrary I’ll keep explaining that.

  28. Nomik Says:

    I appreciate your passion but methinks you’re view is clouded.
    The internet has revolutionized business in general. You now see many companies selling quality products at wholesale prices because the costs for marketing have been significantly reduced. sells quite good bicycles directly to the customer at a reduced price.
    I think you are threatened by companies such as Babboe because eventually they could hurt your business.
    Please send me some links to Babboe complaints. If they are as bad as you say then there must be plenty of negative posts. So far, you have only provided me with third person accounts.
    I can tell you that there is a Babboe owner in my neighborhood who is very happy. Sure, it’s heavy and slow, but he transports his children around town just fine. Mind you, he rides the three wheeler. The thing has a lot of character and is more attractive than the racier 3k ones.
    And when I examined it, the quality was certainly there.

  29. henry Says:

    Nomik, My view of the Babboe is not clouded nor is my business any more threatened by their bikes than we are by Flying Pigeon city bikes. They’re simply in a different class of functionality and quality.

    Negative “posts”? Who cares? We work on these bikes ourselves daily and talk to our customers. That’s a much more direct learning experience than reading opinions online. You needn’t believe me and it’s clear you won’t no matter what I write. It’s great that you and your “neighbor” are so happy with the Babboe. It’s just strange that you’re the first I’ve heard from. Doubtless Babboe will now send dozens more shills here to write how much they love their bikes.

  30. Nomik Says:

    These are the specs for Babboe City. Looks good to me. It has Shimano gearing, powder coated frame, beechwood box, drum brakes, etc. Looks good to me. And if I’m paying 1/3 of the price than other bikes, then it’s worth it.
    I don’t live in rainy climate so I don’t expect to have any problems with rust. Also, check out the design of this thing.. it’s much more updated and intergrated than the others I have seen. I think it’s a winner!!!

    Size: 255 cm * 65 cm * 110 cm
    Gearing: Shimano Nexus 7-speed gear
    Brake: Roller Brakes front and rear (by developed drum brakes)
    Frame: Extra strong frame with shock-resistant powder coating, the inner lining of a water treatment to prevent rust.
    Frame size: 50
    Lighting: LED Lighting
    Rim: Double front and rear wheel
    Spokes: Heavy duty spokes
    Tire Size: 26 inch rear and 20 inch front wheel
    Final: ART approved ring lock (Abus or AXA)
    Container load: up to 80 kg
    Boarding for children: Yes, so mice holes in the side of the box
    Material container: European (German) beech, pressed into curved shape for extra strength and rounded corners for safety (no sharp points). The bucket is made from PEFC certified (European label for wood)
    Other specifications: Equipped with a robust standard
    2 three point seatbelts
    Adjustable Steering
    Closed chain
    Standard prepared to place a rain tent
    Includes free regendek

    Options: rack
    Additional benches with two three-point belts
    Rain Tent
    Maxicosi Steco carrier, designed specifically for the City Babboe

  31. henry Says:

    Nomik, Well, that IS a list, though little of it says much about the bike’s quality, design or usability. One could write such a generic list for just about any bike, whether it be a high-end racing bike or a wobbly, Walmart “mountain bike”. Great to see it comes with “mice holes in the sides of the box” though!

    If such a meaningless list assures you the bike’s a winner you’re either very easily convinced or have other reasons to want to believe it.. which makes me wonder why, per chance, are you so dead-set on demonstrating that the Babboe can defy the laws of economics, engineering and physics?

  32. Nomik Says:

    I am not a schill. I’m just a guy from California who ordered a Babboe City and tried to look up some reviews on it.
    The list is very telling: Shimano is Shimano, birch is birch, LED lights are LED lights. I doubt you will find any of these brands on a Flying Pigeon or on a $100.00 Wal-Mart beach cruiser.
    As you are curious about my motivations, I am curious about why you are hellbent on criticizing the Babboe.

    A lot of what you argue does not add up.
    First of all, Babboe has a wharehouse yes, but so does every other bicycle company. They also have administrative costs just like other bike companies. The only difference is that they don’t have the retail mark up on their bikes. Again, if the #1 selling boxbike were such poor quality, I guarantee one would find information about them on the internet. For crying out loud, they sold 12,000 of them!!

    “One could write such a generic list for just about any bike, whether it be a high-end racing bike or a wobbly, Walmart “mountain bike”.
    Please link me the Wal-Mart mountain bike that has Shimano 7 speed, powder coating, heavy duty spokes, etc.
    You won’t, because it doesn’t exist.
    And for you to compare Babboe with Flying Pigeon is way off the mark.
    Those things are absolute crap.

    Show me some hard facts Henry. Sure you talk to customers about Babboes but maybe they’re just buttering you up so that you feel good about what you represent.

  33. henry Says:

    Nomik, I’m afraid we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’m fine with you not wanting to believe my well informed, expert opinion nor is this a court of law where I need to produce evidence to support what I write. If I come across the opportunity to take some pictures of nasty Babboes I will do so.

    For the record I have no particular beef against Babboe. I just know from plenty of experience that their three wheeler is a crappy bike regardless of what they claim. End of story for now to avoid hijacking this post into a bitter rant against a particular bike or company. Thanks.

  34. Nomik Says:

    By the way, please send me some pics of all those broken down and rusted Babboes at [email protected]

  35. DrMekon Says:

    I notice that Babboe are now for sale in the UK. Hopefully, I’ll get to try one. However, I’d point out that it’s not easy to make a trike ride nicely. We tried a Christiania and a Winther, and found both far too tippy. After 2 cargobikes and a Madsen, we’ve now got a cargotrike. The riding experience is (for me) transformed by the much thicker diameter tubing (so that the bike doesn’t flex on cambered surfaces) and the very stiff steering damper.

    It seems to me that anyone could knock together a bog standard trike. Getting the detail right would seem to be the key. My hunch is that the headtube angle and the steering damper are a big part of it. I also think having an unbalanced box setup, where the kids weight is all behind the pivot point (like on the Christiania Light) is a recipe for undesirable positive feedback in bends.

    Of course, I Henry has pointed out that lots of trikes appear to be relatively lightly used, in which case there is no point paying for one that works well. In contrast, I regularly ride ours 25km with the box loaded up.

  36. Maud Says:

    Dear Henry,

    I do think this is a very cheap way of doing marketing. You are acquising Babboe of poor quality just to sell your own product. I think it should be fair to mention that you are selling another cargo bike. I have bought a (the one you are selling) and my sister did bought a babboe. Fotr that reason I can compare the quality and service of both your brands. My sister does have a Babboe and never has any complaints. She ones had an issue with her brakes but within 2 days a mecjanic of Babboe did visit her and repaired the cargo bike without any costs. My did also have an issue with the brakes but I had to go to your shop for reparation and had to pay. So if I have to compare both cargo bikes I feel pitty to have bought your cargo bike. Besides that your cargo bike is much more expensive. To everyove who reads this blog take into account that the comments of henry are not objective. kind regards

  37. henry Says:

    Actually my I’m not doing any “marketing” or “accusation” at all here, nor do I have any vendetta against Babboe. I’m simply defending my expert observations from a couple commenters who claim I’m either dishonest or incompentent (and I can assure that I’m neither of the two). I wrote a post linking to various independent reviews of child carrier bikes. Then the comment thread got “hijacked” by the Babboe topic, while the Babboe wasn’t even listed in the original post.

    What some people don’t seem to understand is that when you’re in my position you see dozens of these bikes and talk to dozens of owners. Of course there are certainly some happy Babboe riders but the Babboe owners who bring their bikes to us are generally quite dissatisfied. We see and handle the materials and parts used in these bikes and as I’ve noted several times before they’re just not on par with the quality makes.

    Concerning your brake repair:
    Workcycles bikes are all sold with not only a year’s warranty on parts but also a one year service plan. So if your bakfiets had a manufacturing or assembly related brake problem within a year of purchase it would/should have been repaired for free. This is standard practice and all of our staff know this. So if you were charged inappropriately please bring it to my attention.

    By the way: Did you buy your bike under another name? I can find neither your first or last name in our customer database.

  38. Maud Says:

    Dear Henry,

    Thanks for your reply.I just thought it was not apprpraite for you to write comments about other cargo bikes and selling cargo bikes yourself. You are presenting the issues like they are general but I have a lot of friends with both a and or a babboe. The issues are all the same. I am writing articles for a big magazine and for that reason I am interested in this case. For that reason I have lookad at several blogs of yours and also checked out blogs from de Fietsfabriek, Babboe, Christiania etc. Not one of them is critizing the other brands but only speaks for themselves. In my opinion it is cheap because you do not give your competitors a chance to react. Of course you are free of doing this but I would not be my strategy.
    Concerning the quarantee it was more than one year and for that reason I did not received any compensation.

    Kind regards


  39. henry Says:

    I consider it appropriate to write about other bikes because my identity and company association are made very clear. I write both positive and negative things about various bikes. The readers can decide for themselves whether they choose to believe what I write but there’s clearly no deception involved.

    This is in great contrast to your own activities since you’re the one actually hiding your identity and company association. Here at you comment under the name of “Willem”, accusing another blogger (who sent me your IP address to compare) of “cheap marketing” while placing a link to Babboe. There you claim to be in the UK (but write from a Dutch IP address) and have had a Babboe for two years, while here you claim to have a bike that you purchased from Workcycles.

    So you might be “Maud” or you might be “Willem” but you’re certainly not both. You might have a Babboe or a bike but probably not both. As I noted above neither your first name, last name nor email show up in our customer database either, and your story didn’t make much sense anyway. So it seems fair to assume that you either suffer from multiple personality disorder or, more likely, that you have a business interest in Babboe.

    So who’s way of marketing is “cheap”? Henry, the Workcycles founder, who everybody knows is an expert in the bicycle field but sometimes isn’t so tactful about what he writes… or Maud/Willem/Babboe who scans the Internet to leave false blog comments as various fake customers and bike owners to promote Babboe products?

    PS: I could write my blog only about Workcycles bikes but then it would be really boring both to read and write. The fact is that bakfiets-en-meer is not just about Workcycles; It’s about Henry’s experiences as (amongst things) a dad, a well-regarded bike expert, an American in the Dutch bike industry, a old bike racer and as business owner. It’s real, it’s human, it occasionally annoys somebody and that’s why a few thousand people a day enjoy reading it.

  40. Nomik from Los Angeles Says:

    I will say that the Bakfiets are high quality as are the Fietsfabriek, Velorbis Christiania etc. However, the $3k-4k price tags are real deal breakers for many. These beauties ought not be just for the Dutch (who have the infrasctructure to really consider a Bakfiets a 2nd vehicle) or the wealthy who might use them on an occasional basis. The Babboe attracts an entirely new market of users. I, for example live too far from work to be able to use it as a commuter, however, I can use it around my home after work or on weekends.
    In other words, a 3k-4k prices tag is probably justified if it were used daily for commuting and errands, but if a person of average means were to ride it now and then, a 2k price tag seems much more tenable.

  41. Blertoid from Liverpool, UK Says:

    I’ve been enjoying reading this discussion and think I’d have to agree with Nomik. I’m considering purchasing a cargobike, having just gone car-free for financial reasons.

    From my research it seems that the Dutch expect amazing things from their bikes — for instance being able to keep them outside like one might a car, and to expect for them not to rot! Surely if I were to look after a Babboe (ie. by not storing it uncovered outside, getting it serviced regularly etc) and could put up with the weight then it would be a sensible purchase?

    Of course I’d love to own a Nihola, but the question I have to ask myself is: does paying more than double the price for a high-end cargobike mean my experience of owning and using it will be twice as good? Surely the benefits of having a cargobike at all (even if it’s a lower-end model) must outweigh the cons?

    Henry, I’d appreciate your insight on this.

  42. DrMekon Says:

    Interesting. I posted your picture on my site and also got accused of “a cheap way of marketing”. Not by Maud, but some called Willem who says he’s in the UK, but who posted via an IP address in Holland.

    Perhaps I’ve been reading about bakfietsen for too long, but it feels like I’ve seen this sort of thing before.

  43. henry Says:

    It doesn’t seem so amazing that one would leave a bike out like a car, does it? We expect it of cars so why not bikes? How many city dwellers have room inside for a bakfiets anyway? For such a bike to be convenient it needs to be parked right by your home; walk outside, load up the kids and stuff and go. Anybody with little kids knows how far 50 meters is with a sleeping toddler, a baby in a Maxi-Cosi and the groceries.

    Be careful about referring to the quality bakfietsen as “high-end”. Esoteric hi-fi gear, hand-made racing bikes and custom cabinetry are “high-end”. Those are luxury goods. A Nihola, Workcycles, Christiania, Gazelle etc etc is just a workaday product made to the standards necessary for safe, reliable, economical use. Note that all of the quality makes cost approximately the same. That’s because every cost saving below this price level takes it’s toll.

    Twelve gauge stainless spokes and double-walled aluminium rims are expensive to work with. Replace them with 13 or 14 gauge zinc spokes and cheap rims and the wheels will have a lifespan measured in months. Rebuilding wheels is an expensive job.

    Betonplex is an expensive type of wood panel but it’s capable of surviving outdoors in a rainy climate for years without becoming a moldy, splinter death trap for your kids.

    I could go on but the point it that the prices of these bikes aren’t being driven up by silly luxuries; They just cost what they have to to be solid family transport.

  44. Nomik Says:

    In all fairness Henry, one of the earlier posters explained that the plywood on the Babboe has been replaced by a higher quality Finnish product.
    I will be giving an objective review of my new Babboe City within a week or two. I don’t have a high end Bakfiets to compare it to, but I do own a Velorbis bicycle and I can compare the materials and construction.

  45. Nomik Says:

    The Babboe City arrived to my home in three large boxes. Unpacking it and assembling was quite easy and required about 2-3 hours. The bike looks very impressive with its sleak intergrated design. Some of the standout aspects are the carrier box, the front roller brakes and the smooth 7 speed gearing. Some of the turn-offs are the plastic chain guard and the cheap rubber caps that are supposed to protect the bottom of the kickstand. Also, the saddle and grips are vinyl but I expected that. I am not an expert on metals but I think the overall quality of tubing used for the frame is quite good. However, the tubing and bars are not as strong or as heavy as those on my Velorbis bicycle. The welds are clean and the paint job looks very professional.

    The ride is quite smooth and turning is a cinch. Going uphill with my two boys and my dog (about 120lbs) was surprisingly easy especially in gears 1-3. The carrier box is probably the highlight of City. It is made out of a very high quality multi-ply Finnish composite material. I can’t imagine this box getting damaged because it looks to be very well built and finished. The corners are rounded which makes sitting very comfortable. The wheels look pretty strong but aren’t the same quality as those on my Velorbis. The tires are made in China but I suppose they will do the trick because they appear to be good quality. Overall, for the price, the Babboe is a pretty good buy. Where is lacks in its components and materials, it sure makes up in its design and the quality of the box. Lastly, don’t expect the best e-mail customer service; their English is limited so I recommend using the Google Dutch translator.

  46. Frits B Says:

    “Betonplex is an expensive type of wood panel but it’s capable of surviving outdoors in a rainy climate for years without becoming a moldy, splinter death trap for your kids.”
    True, but this photo seems to indicate otherwise:
    If I had a bakfiets I would certainly look for a fitting U-profile to protect the vulnerable top edges.

  47. DrMekon Says:

    That looks like contact damage, at least to the corner. That said, we had some slight contact damage on ours, and water didn’t penetrate. It looks like it might have on that one, but it doesn’t appear to have expanded and split open like the Babboe one did.

    If I’d scuffed ours up like that, I’d have painted on some varnish (which is what my shop told me to do.

  48. henry Says:

    That’s a MacBike rental bakfiets and I can assure you from experience (as the owner of the other bakfiets rental shops in Amsterdam) that the boxes of the rental bikes live rough lives. They don’t rot… they get beat up by customers carrying boxes, bikes, tools…

    Though not completely impervious to water decent quality betonplex can live outdoors without significant damage in Dutch weather for at least eight or ten years, much longer if the top is covered by a waterproof cover. The bak of my wife’s three year old bakfiets looks pretty much new aside from a few dings and scratches.

  49. Frits B Says:

    Pity, a nice bright colored plastic U-profile from a DIY shop would make the bak stand out so much more 🙂

  50. Marie Says:

    Hi Henry,

    How come I can’t find reviews on the Johnny Loco cagro cruiser anywhere? I am considering buying this as I need room for two kids and a maxi cosi and it seems to suit this qualifications, BUT the testride felt so strange since I am used to riding a ‘normal mom bike’ for the last few years. You seem to know quite a bit about all the bakfietsen out there so I could use your help…
    Many thanks,

  51. henry Says:

    Hi Marie,
    I don’t mean to sound demeaning since I’ve never ridden the Johnny Loco bikes myself, nor have I ever seen one in our shops for service. I suspect they haven’t been reviewed because few have been sold, few of those purchased actually get ridden much and few people take them seriously. I’ve seen a few around Amsterdam but they mostly seem to stand unused. I suspect this is rather typical of “designer” or “lifestyle” bikes; They look cool but then turn out to be less cool to actually ride and use everyday… especially when carrying little kids and stuff is added to the equation. See, for example, this now infamous review of the Triobike:

  52. Marie Says:

    Thanks Henry for your kind feedback! Bye, Marie

  53. Friedrich Says:

    since the Babboe bikes have come up on this thread i think its as a good a place as any to post some comments about the Babboe City cargo bike. I was intrigued by these bikes after seeing one in amsterdam looking brand new sitting outside locked up. the bikes look really good, especially the box. but upon assembling it several very serious problems with the bike became clear:

    1. both wheels out of dish over a cm, and rear wheel severely out of round and nipples damaged from the factory, over-tensioned spokes. had to true and dish wheels, replace 5 nipples. nipples are also not a standard size so none of my spoke wrenches fit. rear wheel was rubbing the ring lock out of the box, leading me to believe any type of quality control is non-existant.
    2. chain line is waaaay off. q factor unessecarily wide leading to the dangerous chainline. dangerous because the chains will pop off with even the slightest amount of slack in the chain, as was noted during the first test ride. cornering clearance is insufficient with the pedals so far out there. and makes riding the bike feel like riding a horse.
    3. frame severely out of alignment. this part was very disturbing. the two halves bolt together with 5 pounds of hardware mis-aligned. the front half is rotated considerably on the main boom, resulting in the front wheel being at a noticeable angle in relation top the rest of the bike. I was able to get it acceptable visually using spacers along the bottom gusset to rotate the front half in the direction needed, and purposely threw the properly aligned fork out of alignment, to compensate for the crooked frame and make the bike as a whole better aligned. this problem is quite severe, since the bike rides very heavily and slow as is, if alignment was not improved, the bike would not make people very enthusiastic about riding it, and would be considered unrideable and unnacceptable by most anyone.
    4. rear brake reaction arm mount is welded to the frame too far forward, this really sucks because as soon as the chain gets some slack in it and the chain pops off, people wont be able to tension the chain unless this tab is ground off and a clamp on mount installed.
    5. im 40s on a heavy cargo bike? really?

    other than all that the bike is ok, should sell for about 1500 dollars though, no higher.

  54. Nomik Says:

    It’s less than $1500.00.
    Ergo, it’s fairly priced.
    Why do you say “should sell for about $1500.00 though?”
    I ride my Babboe daily and it’s a winner. You’re overanalyzing. Just have a good time.

  55. Friedrich Says:

    these sell for more than 2000 here in the states.
    cant have a good time with all the problems,
    im not over-analyzing, and i would be surprised to hear of even one technical analysis of these bikes since their introduction.

  56. Nomik Says:

    Wow! They sell them here now? I had one shipped here to So Cal last year.
    Where are they selling them is USA?

  57. Friedrich Says:

    yeah, i had mine shipped but i decided to call around to make sure i didnt get ripped off, no one here seems to have one in stock though, even though they are listed as dealers on the babboe dealer listing. but the prices ranged from 1850 to 2500 depending on who i called. quite a range

  58. Daniel Says:

    Hello Henry, my wife and I have been recently following your blog and we have been reading what you have to say about the Babboe. Maybe I can explain my situation and get some advice from you.

    We live on the west coast of Canada with our 5 month old daughter and are committed to getting rid of our car (and feel that buying a cargo bike is our best option) but our issue is that it appears the only brand we can get here is Babboe. I find myself hesitant to do so with a price tag of 2500$+ CAD when you talk about it falling apart and such.

    Any suggestions or ideas about what we can do to remedy our situation would be greatly appreciated.

  59. henry Says:

    That is a challenge. For the €800 or so that they cost here in Holland it’s understandable that people consider the Babboes. It’s roughly half what the quality makes cost and only a little more than the really, really horrendous chinese trash baks. They’re good looking bikes and marketed effectively but, as described repeatedly above, it’s been our experience that customers often just aren’t happy with them. We hear just too much of “Gee, I should have saved longer and bought a better bike.” ON the other hand it’s almost embarrassing how ecstatically people describe their workcycles and similar Cargobikes. Yes, of course there’s some bias there but the pattern is clear. Look around online for real riders describing their bikes and experiences and I think you’ll find the same.

    So a Babboe for about €800 is an understandable consideration. I suppose that’s about what it’s worth but the cargo bike that can be built for that much in the current economy of scale just doesn’t meet our standards. We wouldn’t be willing to recommend it or offer a warranty on it.

    A babboe for $2500, though… is totally nuts.

    I expect that Babboe’s trolls will now appear any moment to battle my educated opinions with their fake customer testimonies See comments from Maud and Peter (same Dutch IP address) for example. Have fun.

    PS: It was never my intention for this post to become a forum about the Babboe, and there was hardly mention of it in my original post. But now no amount of trolling will change an opinion formed by seeing these bikes regularly for repairs in our shops and talking to their owners about them. The only thing that will change my attitude here is making better bikes. Perhaps the new CIty model will be better; Time will tell.

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