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

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

    1. DrMekon Says:

      Excellent stuff, Henry. Great tips on the rear cogs.

      Here’s a few questions I have:

      What regular checks and maintenance should an owner undertake so as not to become a pain to their bike shop come servicing time? Does the box require any treatment to preserve it?

      Where can I get a replacement removeable section for the chainguard? The UK distributor says he’s not been able to get one in the past, and kindly plastic-welded the broken tabs on mine. These have now failed again, and it seems wasteful to junk the whole thing.

      Do where can I get alloy bodied pedals from? I had the old plastic ones, which cracked. They’ve been replaced with some rubber Union pedals, but I’d like some of the nice alloy bodied ones I’ve seen one other bakfietsen.

      Where can I get replacement elastic straps for the carrier?

      I am impressed you’ve tested up to 125Kg. I put my 95Kg friend in the box, and was too scared to ride away.

    2. henry Says:

      Hi,
      I’ve added answers to most of your questions. The others are best answered here:

      The chaincase is only sold as a complete unit but its not very expensive. We stock them at WorkCycles. The new plastic parts can be installed on your steel mounts in a couple minutes.

      The standard pedals are pretty nasty and WorkCycles bikes get better, alloy bodied pedals. Yep, we have those in stock too.

      Mind you, I’m not suggesting that one rides with 125kg but we have done it without ill effects. I just wanted to give an idea of where the limits are.

    3. Kevin Coffin Says:

      When my bakfiets gets going above about 18 mph (29 kph), the front wheel often begins to shimmy back and forth rapidly, slowly building in violence until the whole bike is shaking.

      I have found that when I remove all of my weight from the handle bars the phenomenon stops.

    4. henry Says:

      Kevin,
      Thanks for the reminder about this tricky point. I’ve added some info about fixing Cargobike shimmies near the bottom of the FAQ.

    5. Dan L-J Says:

      Henry,
      Do you know if the factory electric assist option will be similar to what v-fiets is offering? I’m assuming it will be available to retro-fit in older bakfiets?

      thanks

      Dan

    6. henry Says:

      Dan,
      We’ll be offering a more integrated and thoroughly developed system than the V-fiets. The front wheel will have the same IM70 roller brake, heavy-duty spokes and rim. The battery will be nicely integrated into the rear carrier.

      Retrofitting this kit will be possible but expensive and requiring extensive work. The special rear carrier will require removing the horizontal carrier reinforcement on a Cargobike 1 frame.

      Of course this will be a EU legal system, meaning that its a strict “pedalec” and limited to 250W power. You won’t be speeding up mountain passes… which is just as well since even the recently improved brakes aren’t suitable for descending said passes.

    7. Dan L-J Says:

      Henry,
      I don’t need to speed up the hills. I just want to not be a sweaty mess at the top. Ironically, giving all the worry about braking on the descents, I think electric assist will be safer on the uphills. I find my steering gets pretty wobbly when I’m grinding up a hill in 1st gear. This gets a little unnerving when there are parked cars on your right and a constant stream of cars on your left. I try to pick routes where the uphill parts aren’t on busy streets but sometimes it’s unavoidable.
      As I’m sure you know we have a lot more hills and a lot fewer bike paths/lanes here in the States!

      Dan

    8. henry Says:

      Dan,
      I honestly just don’t know whether the system, or any other EU legal 250W system will have the torque necessary to do what you need. That’s simply because I haven’t tried it. I’ve only ridden the electric assist system in flat Hollland.

      You might not realize that lived the first 35 years of my life in the states: New York, Bay Area CA, Colorado, VT… so I’m quite familiar with the concepts of hills and scary auto traffic. Usually one can avoid the serious hills in most cities (unless your destination is on top of one). But I’m still hesitant about recommending a bike of this format for such a place because some people are smart and responsible, and others are just stupid and irresponsible; They’ll point their bakfiets, kids and all, down a steep SF hill and then blame me for the inevitable results.

      Todd at Clever Cycles has written quite a bit about his (considerable) experiences riding the Bakfiets Cargobike in hillier terrain. His conclusion is essentially that putting much more powerful brakes on this type of bike (also other long-wheelbase, front-loader bikes) doesn’t solve the problem. A stronger front brake introduces the danger of skidding the front wheel. A stronger rear brake would be better but brings its own weight transfer limitations. That’s why they chose not to offer the Stoke Monkey for the Bakfiets Cargobike.

    9. laurgi Says:

      Hello

      You wrote, it’s not possible to fit a Rohloff speed hub on a Cargobike. Could explain, why ?

      regards

      Laurent (Paris)

    10. henry Says:

      Laurent, To be more specific: Anything is possible but fitting a Rohloff to a Bakfiets Cargobiike would be a project requiring considerable modifications including fabricating and soldering disk or rim brake mounts to the frame and subsequent refinishing. Its likely that there is inadequate space for a disk brake in the rear frame, and a rim brake would require a different rim as well. The chaincase will no longer fit and the crankset must be replaced. I doubt that the rohloff hub will accept 12 or 13 gauge spokes making the rear wheel lock inadvisable since it’ll break thinner spokes. There are few rims, however, that will accept 13 gauge spokes because the ferrules are too small for the nipples.

      So, yes, for the serious fabricator, such a project is possible. But for the normal person who justb wants to ride the bike fiting the Rohloff would cost several thousant Euro and require a very skilled and patient mechanic to perform the research and modifications. The warranty on the bike would, of course, also be voided by all of this.

      Fitting a Schlumpf Mountain Drive and accepting that you mightl occasionally destroy the rear hub innards would be much simpler and cheaper.

      -Henry

    11. Joe Says:

      “Todd at Clever Cycles has written quite a bit about his (considerable) experiences riding the Bakfiets Cargobike in hillier terrain.”

      Henry, could you point me in the direction of this on Clever Cycles website, I can’t find it.

      Thanks.

    12. henry Says:

      Joe, Sorry I don’t have specific links but I know it’s a topic that comes up periodically on their blog and perhaps Flickr pages too. You could contact Clever to discuss it.

    13. todd Says:

      there’s some brake discussion here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/2828893180/ . see also http://portlandsagwagon.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2008/9/7_Zoo_Bomber_Down.html

    14. sethidious Says:

      My apologies if this question has been asked and answered before but looked around the website and can’t seem to find it:

      What do bakfiets riders do when their onboard passengers want to sleep?

      The reason I ask is that I have two small children who I believe would absolutely love a bakfiets. I like the idea too and am particularily keen on taking them out on day trips in a bakfiets. This would invariably mean them falling asleep as some point along the trip and looking at the ‘bak’ part of a bakfiets, it doesn’t seem to be particularly conducive to onboard naps.

      I would prefer my children to be buckled in while they nap leading to my question:

      What do parents with a bakfiets and small children do when the inevitable happens and the latter start falling asleep?

      Let them doze sitting upright leading to the inevitable head roll?
      Use a cushion to try and minimise the offending head roll?
      Simply unbuckle them and let them sleep on the floor of the bak?

      Any advice would be appreciated as I prefer the handling characteristics of a two wheeled family bike although as far as I can ascertain, a three wheeled family trike such as the Winther Kangaroo has a substantial advantage in that the seats recline allowing for a good onboard sleep and hence happier and less irritable children.

    15. henry Says:

      Anthony,
      Good question. Here in the NL lots of people ride with sleeping kids in their bakfietsen. I wouldn’t worry too much about whether the kids are strapped in or not because the belts are not there for energy absorbing purposes such as in a high speed vehicle (a car). The main function of the belts in a bakfiets are to keep unruly kids from doing stupid things. That’s why you see that many families ignore the belts after a while.

      Some pillows and blankets in the box would make the ride more comfortable and prevent bonking heads in case of bumps or unintended actions.

    16. daniël Says:

      sethidious,

      My daughter (3) sleeps quite comfortably in the bottom of the box. Usually, though not always, with blankets underneath. It’s quite safe and as Henry says, the seat belts are more for keeping them under control than actually strapped in.

    17. ndru Says:

      Hi Henry
      Thanks for the FAQ it really shed a lot of light on this matter and since it’s a little more expensive then your average bike it’s good to know more. And let me tell you the more I know the more I want to buy one.
      I just wanted to point out that there’s one more way to fit a toddler and an infant in the bak. I found this on Bakfiets.nl website and it looks like you can do it in a short and long version. http://bakfiets.nl/nl/informatie/download/15/Montagehulp%20Maxi-Cosi%20babymee%20op%20het%20bankje.pdf

    18. Daniel Clift Says:

      Can you let me know how bakfiets owners in the Netherlands typically deal with the snowy winter months? Can you get snow tyres for both sizes of tyre, or do people either slog it out on standard tyres or stop riding their bakfiets? I’m just wondering how I will deal with getting the kids to school in the UK if the snow comes as much this year as it did last.Thanks

    19. henry Says:

      Daniel,
      My (then pregnant) wife and I rode our own bakfiets with child last snowy winter and we were surprised to find that it was much better than we’d expected. In fact we vastly preferred riding it to our city bike, especially with a child aboard. This seemed to be a function of the long wheelbase, fattish tires and low center of gravity. My wife did fall once but neither she nor our son in the bak, under sturdy canopy was harmed.

      To qualify this, it snowed very frequently but never more than perhaps ten centimeters. Cycling on any bike with children aboard in more snow than that is probably not very practical. A three wheeler would be safer but it would be quite a slog.

      We discussed and investigated snow tires but didn’t have any takers. For the rear 26″ tire there are certainly a couple options but for the 20″ front wheel there might not be… and the front is more important on this bike.

      One trick that definitely helps the handling of a lightly loaded Cargobike in slippery conditions is adding some weight to the front of the bak. A 10 or 20kg sandbag helps the front wheel track better, and probably makes much more difference than the hassle of swapping tires twice a year.

    20. Daniel Clift Says:

      Henry. Thanks for your response. Schwalbe do make a tyre in 406 which would fit the front on our Bakfiets – see http://www.tinyurl.com/29ovblh – but I haven’t seen anything in 590 that would fit the rear. Based upon your experience though I am guessing that this may not be the biggest issue we would face anyway. It is more likely in the UK that we would be able to get to nursery school only to find on arrival that it has been closed due to a few cm of snow – we British have every kind of weather but don’t seem to be able to cope with any of them. Regards. Daniel

    21. henry Says:

      Daniel,
      Sure the 42mm Marathon Winter is a little smaller than the standard 47mm but would work fine. The Workcycles Cargobike actually has a 47-559 rear tire, which is also offered in the Marathon Winter. The bike sold under the Bakfiets.nl name has a 590mm tire for which very few tires are available.

      But much of the UK has about the same conditions as Holland, so I think you’ll be fine without. Do let some air out of the tires to soften them when it snows, though.

    22. Theresa Says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you guys are discussing winter tires! That’s actually precisely why I came online today. We live in Austria, on top of a hill, no less, and things were going just swimmingly with our Workcycles Cargobike despite crazy autumn rainstorms until it started snowing (and snowing and snowing!) this week.

      I’m rather loathe to ditch the bike for the rest of winter, so have been trying to figure out options. The afternoons aren’t so bad, but when every thing’s iced over in the morning or if a snowstorm hits and the plows haven’t made it up the hill yet, we run into problems with the standard set up (no spills yet, though). We’ve only got one little guy in the box, so there’d be space to carry a small snow shovel if nothing else works, I guess.

      My husband’s proposed embedding spikes in the tires. I suggested chains, but those don’t appear to exist. We did come across the Marathon Winter tires which look promising, especially since it looks like they get the plows out around here within 24 hours after a snowstorm’s hit. Is there anything else (other tires brands, etc) we might look into, for comparison’s sake? Otherwise, I guess we’ll give these Marathon Winters a shot and see how it goes.

    23. Anja Says:

      I have had my Bakfiets for just under a year. I rode it through a Minnesota Winter. Now I can see the chain does look a bit rusty. I fear I may have to do more than just popping open the back of the chain case. Maybe I need to take the whole case off and use a WD-40 type substance to get the rust and grime off? Then use a proper chain lube.
      Any ideas?
      Also, after this Winter the back disk thing on the back tire around the hub is loose. Should I try to tighten this myself? Or take it to the shop?
      All Winter I had to knock off a lot of ice and snow build up. It took a toll on the Bakfiets I think.

    24. henry Says:

      Anja,
      Removing the chain case on your Cargobike is actually very simple: Use a screwdriver to snap open the rear hatch. Loosen the four screws that secure it and carefully pull the top and bottom halves off the chain.

      Clean the chain with you favorite method and lubricate it very liberally. Don’t worry about using too much since it’ll just drip into the chain case. This is a good opportunity to adjust the chain tension as well (by moving the axle fore and aft with the 10mm axle adjusters at the back). Just make sure that the chain is never pulled taught even in the tightest point in the rotation of crank and wheel.

      Putting the case back on is just the reverse but a little trickier since you have to align the little “fingers” and tabs that hold the two parts together. Once in place secure (not too tightly!) the two rear screws through the little stainless steel bracket, and then the front two screws.

      The disk thing on the rear wheel must be your rollerbrake. These always float somewhat so I doubt anything is wrong there. Happy cycling!

    25. Yvonne Says:

      Hi there,
      about hilly riding, I need to transport two (currently) small children uphill for about 3.5 miles. The first 1.5 miles is a 1 in 10 long drag and the rest is up and downy gradually making it’s way uphill, but mostly no more steep than 1 in 10.
      Do you think the cargobike would be suitable for this or is it just too hilly? Would an electric assist be worth considering? Or is this kind of bike out of the question for the kind of terrain I’ve described?
      Many thanks, y:)

    26. henry Says:

      Yvonne,
      I’m fairly sure that riding an unassisted Cargoibike with two kids there would be too heavy a job for all but occasional sport… an extreme sport to be precise. Even when you do make it up that hill going downhill will bring it’s own problems; Neither the brakes nor the steering geometry is designed for this type of riding

      We have been building Cargobikes equipped with our own motor system and in mostly flat Netherlands they’re working very well. But I cannot honest say whether they’d be appropriate for riding in your terrain. I rather doubt it actually but perhaps one of our dealers in a hillier locale would have a more expert opinion. I’d recommend looking through the site and blog of Clever Cycles.

      Some people prefer long tail type bikes for riding with kids in hillier terrain. You do lose the weather protection, ability to carry babies and having the kids in front of you. The bike’s handling dynamics though are better for hills. The Stoke Monkey motor system that Clever offers will certainly help you ride that long tail up nearly any hill.

    27. Tobias Says:

      I am considering either tricycle (e.g. Nihola, although I personally don’t like the style of the frame), or long version Cargobike. I have read up on why you promote two-wheelers as nicer and easier to ride and I am (almost) convinced.
      However: I am based in Copenhagen and here tricycles completely dominate the market for child-transport bikes (you see a lot of dedicated Bullit owners though.. but this is not my cup of tea). Given how similar Amsterdam and Copenhagen are (in terms of terrain, climate and bike-infrastructure), I wonder about the reason for the total dominance of tricycles, if indeed the 2-wheelers have such striking advantages. Does this have historical/cultural reasons? Are people in Copenhagen somehow mindlessly buying what everybody else buys? Are there any real advantages of a tricycle vs. a 2-wheeler?
      Overall there is a annoying trend in Cph. for impractical but fancy looking lifestyle-assescoir bikes, so I would not necessarily assume rational choices to be at work.

    28. henry Says:

      Hi Tobias,
      I’ve always wondered about this too, and with exactly the same reasoning that you stated above. If anything I would think the small differences between the cities would favor the opposite: Copenhagen is somewhat more open and cyclists ride faster so a two wheeler should be better. Amsterdam is more compact and the cycling pace is more relaxed so one should theoretically see more three-wheelers than in Copenhagen.

      After having sold and serviced thousands of both types for eight years and riding a Cargobike several times a week for a couple years I’m only more convinced that a good two-wheeler is better for most families. Recently we’ve been doing family bike tours most weekends with our two little ones in the Cargobike. We often ride 60-70km per day, to the beach, in the woods, through the hilly dunes, on gravel and dirt paths… It’s wonderful but I can’t even imagine doing anything of the kind on a three-wheeler. See for example: https://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2011/04/11/bakfiets-touring-with-baby-and-toddler/

      Or: https://www.flickr.com/photos/henryinamsterdam/5791725544/in/photostream

      Indeed the only answers I can think of have more to do with history, people making conservative choices and fashion trends.

    29. Tobias Says:

      Right! The most you see in Cph. is the odd ride to the beach with the family (in a tricycle).. 60-70km is out of the question. It might however be much easier to balance your caffee late and iPhone while stylishly cruising your Triobike mono 🙂

      Seriously: I guess it is what social science calls “path dependence” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_dependence

      Otherwise: Congratulations to your blog! I read through MANY blogs and this is by far the most helpful combination of practical advice, honest and constructive opinion and open discussion (especially for families with small kids) I have so far encountered.

    30. henry Says:

      Tobias, Thanks very much for the high compliments.

      Really, the only trikes I actually enjoy riding are the big, classic bakfietsen; 150kg of steel, mahogany, rubber and leather. The big, fat tires and leaf springs smooth the ride out and there’s just something magical about powering such a beast with your own legs> I even sometimes take the kids (and wife) in them: https://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2010/07/28/stretch-limo-bakfiets-ride/

      In any case after years of pondering this two versus three wheel, netherlands versus denmark question I’m fairly sure we’ve reached the correct conclusion: The difference is not rooted in practical considerations. It’s just a matter of taste and following what the neighbors did.

    31. Vasia Says:

      Hey!

      Congratulations about your blog… is very helpful!
      I have some questions too…
      I live in Amsterdam and i took a dog,who is quite big and heavy. Now is 6 months but when he will be an adult he will weight almost 70 kg.
      I have an old Cargo bike but the box is rotten. Where can i find another one and how approximately will cost?I had quite hard time to find one on the net.
      Can I find the pieces to fix it on my own ?

      I think that a Cargo trike(2 wheels in the front) will be more suitable for him. Can I modify a Cargo bike to a Cargo trike ?is that possible?and where?

      Thanks in advance.

    32. Edward Says:

      Hi there, Great website, have just ‘wasted’ half an evening! We have a bakfiets here in Wellington NZ, which we brought with us from Amsterdam. It is a FF bike (I wasn’t aware of your brand when living in NL!) and I’ve blown up the SRAM P5 hub biking up some of the hills around here. It is just the standard P5 hub (not the Cargo). I understand the P5 Cargo may be more durable, but note your comment regarding the plastic shift boxes being a weak point. Do you have a view on a suitable hub that would be more durable than the SRAM P5 which would be worth considering as a replacement? Do you know whether the Shimano Alfine hubs are up for the heavy loads? Many thanks, Edward.

    33. henry Says:

      Hi Edward,
      Thanks! Though we don’t yet have a lot of experience with them our suspicion is that the NuVinci will turn out to be the strongest internally geared hub for bikes like this. I have one in my own bike and really enjoy it. It’s very smooth and the range is quite wide. We could build and ship a wheel if interesting.that’s

      The Shimano Alfine is a good hub but disk brake only so it won’t fit your bikes. Same story for the Rohloff 14sp. We’ve simply given up on Sram hubs; The design and quality has diminished to the point where we won’t install them anymore.

    34. henry Says:

      Vasia,
      I seem to have missed your comment in the traffic here. Repairing a Cargobike box is quite tricky because they’re grooved and glued, and then held together with tiny screws. But a replacement box isn’t expensive. We usually have them in stock for about €200 including VAT.

      Turning a Cargobike into a trike isn’t possible. Only the rear section of the frame and some of the parts are the same. The entire front of the bike is different.

    35. Edward Says:

      Hi Henry,

      I presume you are at ‘[email protected]’? I fired you an email a day or two ago, keen to get a quote for NuVinci 360 hub (36h in silver), and also for a full wheel build on the same hub with ‘Rigida’ rim (or similar) in silver, suitable for a FF 996 bakfiets. It has magura rim brakes on it. To be sent to NZ. Please let me know. thanks Edward

    36. vasia Says:

      Thank you very much for your answer…
      But unluckily someone stole my bakfiets 3 days ago even with a rotten box…
      what can i say?

      Thanks anyway…

    37. Anja Says:

      Chain tension?

      I would like to know the proper chain tension for the bakfiets. It is making a little sound somewhat like it may be hitting the chain garde. Is there a youTUbe video somewhere to show how to adjust the chain?

      A picture/photo? Anything!?

      Thanks!

    38. henry Says:

      Anja,
      If your chain is hitting the chaincase it’s too loose. Somewhere in these pages I have actually described how to adjust the chain on one of our bikes, but I have absolutely no idea where. A winter project here is putting together many such tutorials and organizing them here: Fixing a flat tire, tensioning a chain, adjusting your saddle…

      In the meantime here’s a quick explanation without attempting to go into details:
      1. Put bike on centerstand and support it so that rear wheel is in the air and cranks can be turned.
      2. Pry open the access hatch of chaincase with a blunt object.
      3. Loosen axle nuts and brake reaction arm just enough for axle to move fore and aft
      4. Adjust the 10mm axle tug bolts to adjust the chain tension. Don’t overtighten; the chain should never be pulled taught even at the tightest point in the chainring and cog’s rotation. Turn the cranks several times while checking chain tension to be sure.
      5. Center wheel using left axle tug.
      6. Tighten everything up again.
      7. Tighten EVERYTHING up again… even the brake reaction arm strap.

    39. Ray Says:

      Tobias and Henry,

      I must protest the idea that trikes (i.e. Nihola) are only appealing because of local trends. I’m actually here researching the possibly of getting a 2-wheeler to go with my Nihola, so both Mom and Dad can carry crap when on tour. (Plus daily chores.)

      For the record, the Nihola is just delightful for following slow kids on their bikes, or for touring forests on horse or mountain bike trails (that can be some work). I’ve driven it through mud and water, over roots and rocks, up and down curbs. Also it’s been on tours of about 60 km in a day, with kids on board (that can be some work, too).

      Anyway, you mentioned the NuVinci hub, are you thinking about offering that sometime? (With the IM70 roller brake?) Also why does the cargo version start at a higher price than the standard bike?

    40. Meli Says:

      Hi Henry,

      Your blog is absolutely wonderful. I was very sorry to read about the robbery, but glad to hear that you nor anyone else was harmed.

      On the bakfiet subject, I’m happy to say that we just bought and received our first bakfiet. We ordered it from Bakfiets.nl and had it shipped to us in Italy. Unfortunately, it was not shipped well. The bike was literally just laying across a pallet and wasn’t strapped to anything. Needless to say, the bike arrived with some minor cosmetic damage and problems with the first three gears. We ordered the Shimano 7 and the first three gears keep giving me problems. While pedaling, it doesn’t catch ( the chain) and the pedals slip forward. It also makes a banging sound. We brought it to a bike shop here and they sent us away. It looks like it’s up to us to repair it. Any suggestions?

    41. henry Says:

      Ray,
      I seem to have overlooked your questions – sorry. It’s been a couple months but here are some responses:

      OK, I could see that a trike would be handy to ride together with a tike on a little bike. I do that a lot on the Cargobike, which also works just fine. We often do this on the sidewalk or small paths though, where the much wider Nihola would be a hindrance.

      We like the NuVinci hub but for the time being we only offer them as a custom (i.e. expensive handbuilt) option. The only way to purchase them for a reasonable price is to order a couple hundred from China and thus far we just don’t see the market to justify that inventory.

      The IM70 rollerbrake has since been replaced by the IM80, same idea with a few improvements. I’ve had these on my own Fr8 for about a year with good results.

      Cargo version of the Cargobike you mean? These have special, hand-made boxes which are very expensive to produce, as well as various upgrades as needed to withstand the abuses of commercial users. Basically Cargo Delivery bikes are made to order for the needs of each customer.

    42. henry Says:

      Meli,
      BTW, singular is “bakfiets” and plural is “bakfietsen”.

      You need to contact the dealer who sold the bike to you to solve your bike’s problems. But that wouldn’t have been bakfiets.nl since they only sell to dealers. Workcycles is very careful about packing and shipping and we rarely have our bikes damaged in transport.

      But concerning your Shimano Nexus 7 hub: It’s unlikely that the shifting problem has anything to do with the transport damage. To begin with the Nexus 7 isn’t a good hub which is why we don’t sell them. It’s known for its inefficiency, vulnerability and clunky shifting. The newer 8sp is a much better hub in every way except for it’s being more expensive. That’s why we use it and have to charge more for our bikes.

      But it should still be possible to get your (new) hub shifting properly. The problem is most likely in the cable; either the tension is incorrect or there is a kink in the inner cable causing friction. If adjusting the cable tension doesn’t fix it somebody will have to open up the cable and see what’s going on. If that doesn’t work there’s a problem inside your hub. Sometimes a careless or unskilled mechanic will tighten the cones too much binding up the internals. That’s pretty easy to fix but beyond that… well, good luck finding somebody in Italy to open an internal gear hub, diagnose the problem properly, fix it and put it all back together again.

      Good luck.

    43. Aly Says:

      I really like the Bakfiets but need to have pedal-assist. My community is very hilly. Is there any news about an electric option? If you are researching I would be willing to test one.

    44. henry Says:

      Aly,
      I recently wrote about the special electrically assisted bikes we build. You can read it here:
      https://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2011/10/21/workcycles-e-fr8s-really/

    45. toni Says:

      In reference to your response to the question:
      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!

      It is just a little bit insensitive as the child I was looking for would love to be able to ride their own bike but due to their health our unable to. Think twice before being so flippant……alternately build something bigger so they can join in to.

    46. Kimberly Says:

      Hi Henry,

      I’ve read through your FAQ and the comments about babies in the bakfiets. I’m wondering if you know anything about products like these: https://www.melia.nl/WEBMAP/schaaloverzichtpeuter.html. I carry either two or three kids in my bakfiets. The youngest is 10 mos. and in an American carseat strapped to the floor of the box. He’s outgrown the carseat (and probably tired of his brothers’ feet in his face), but needs extra support on the bench. Are these “peuterschaal” any better/different than a sawed up Bobike mini? They look like they might be better for sleeping??? Thanks. I very much appreciate all the info on your wonderful blog!

    47. henry Says:

      Kimberly,
      We’ve had a few of the Melia “peuterschalen” and the Webers that the Melia’s are copies of through the shops and just aren’t impressed. We found them difficult to secure well and rather lacking in advantages over our simple Bobike adaptation. They’re also quite small for the kids.

      That said you won’t easily find an old Bobike Mini in the US (this country is overflowing with them) but any suitable seat support would serve the same purpose. It could be sewn from fabric and foam, made from wood or plastic… doesn’t really matter as long as it helps a toddler sit up. What’s important is that the harness remains attached to the box where it’s secure.

    48. Kimberly Says:

      Thanks for the advice. Sometimes I guess I over-think things. We used a chopped up cardboard box for support for a few days and that worked okay. I then decided I liked looking at at my little kid, so put a toddler car seat in the box instead of an infant one and that works great.. gives the bigger kids some footspace.

    49. henry Says:

      No problem. People sometimes miss or forget that we strap ourselves and our kids into cars because they fly along at 130km/hr and have a tendency to slam into things, generating crushing g-forces. But a cargobike rolls along at a walking-jogging pace so even if you totally T-boned a stationary object you’d only barely toss the kids out of the box. The support seats, harnesses and so forth are basically for comfort and to keep active kids from doing something fun and stupid.

    50. Fab Says:

      I got a brandnew short bakfiets (actually the rarely mentioned kemper model) – it’s very cool but there is some kinks to iron out. My little daughter’s (15 months) small helmeted (yes, in germany that’s totally standard and a socially expected thing, unfortunately, don’t ask ) head keeps bobbing all over the place and the #*[email protected] helmet goes “tok” against the handlebar/shaft.

      First thing was to put the handlebar higher. i am wondering if a flat moon type would be better. like the one henry has, right now it’s a moon cruiser, which is pretty but maybe to high once the head is cleared.

      more importantly, i will try my luck and order a peuterschaal, NOT the babyschaal (like weberschale), no, the bigger, more upright one. melia has a version with extra foam dubbed “comfort”.

      most technicians over here do not recommend that and recommend to install a car seat / maxi cosi because it’s so super extra seafe, but that’ s really too big for a small bak if you go shopping. and no. 2’s on the way…

      the bobike mini solution looks cool but it doesn’t have a head support for the sleeping kid. that’s why i’ll give the peuterschaal a try (strangely enough, it’s not available from weber, even though the small weberschale is hugely popular over here and easy to get on the used market).

      i will use henry’ bakfiets-belt-through-seat technique on the peuterschaal and i hope that i will still be able to use the bak raincover by enlargening the belts and tossing the peuterschaal in the bak after each tour. let’s see…

      henry: many thanks for a wonderful blog! keep on going. it’s lots of fun and poetry. well, kinda.

    51. henry Says:

      Fab,
      The Kemper is a completely different bike so many of your findings about that bike aren’t relevant to the Workcycles Cargobike. Hitting your kids’ heads with the brake levers is always an issue with these bikes but at least on the Workcycles Cargobike it won’t be a problem until the child is bigger. On my wife’s bike the handlebar is very low and has minimal backsweep yet my (big for) almost three year old daughter is still well under the brake lever. Four and a half year old brother’s head would now hit the brake lever if he sat on the left side. Our bike has a coaster brake thus just one brake lever on the right side.

      We haven’t been impressed with the Melia products but they’re not expensive so perhaps it’s worth a try anyway.

      Thanks for the compliments and happy cycling!

    52. Fab Says:

      sorry if i was somewhat unclear in my introduction which was illustrative anyways. yes, i was talking about filibus plus, not about cargobike. and anyhow, no critic about the bike was meant or implied either. just trying to figure out the new world of kids on bakfietsen.

      actually the brake levers are no problem (yet), it was the handlebar itself and it was my fault for going too low – the remaining issue is the handlebar shaft and that’s because my little is girl so small she doesn’t sit well. and i am really thinking about a solution for her sleeping other than the canopy corner, because her head does not stay there…and in summer there might be no canopy.

      now you got me wondering, in what other aspect you weren’t impressed (apart from the aspects mentioned above)? i’ll probably find out, but…

      excuse me using the comments in this blog for this general bakfiets question, if we had a “workcycles” in berlin i would come right to the shop for sure! actually there are some shops in berlin who starded carrying on bakfiets.nl but of course no kemper and there is still stuff to figure out i guess.

      i know that comfy sleeping is high on the list of concerns when talking about kids on bikes. just take a look at this overenginereed mother-of-all-solutions

      https://www.carryo.info/de/aktuelles/996.carryo-sitzbank-als-prototyp.html

      also, in the immediate neighborhood, there are about 3 christiania, 1 nihola, a zillion trailers but only one bakfiets. so i get some tough questions (-8=

    53. Fab Says:

      here’s news on the melia peuterschaal:

      first of all: henry was right. who’d have thunk (-8=

      what’s good about it:

      – came in under EUR 50, ordered over the internet directly from the netherlands.
      – material is EPP (expanded polypropylene), tougher than styrofoam, does not spill its guts. it’s expensive stuff used e.g. for model aeroplanes. gives way to pressure but not too much and doesn’t break.
      – head rest, so kids can sleep comfortably.
      – light weight

      what’s not so good, i.e. doesn’t make it very useful IMO
      – kid sits much higher on that thing, more above than in the box. her head gets much nearer to the handle bar and brake levers.
      – protective “ears” are much shallower than e.g. those of maxicosi, so they don’t really protect.
      – schaal takes up a lot of space in the box when unused (the rain hood fits when you turn the schaal upside down but that eats up much of the volume)

      what would be better:

      – bobike mini solution if you can get someone to fit it right: perhaps with a folding or removable padded plastic board (like those used in sports strollers) as a headrest

      – remove the bench (with removable hinge) and use cushions inside the box? haven’t tried that yet. also, the seatbelt would need an alternative fixing. doesn’t work when you do grocery shopping

      the ideal: a little stroller seat that slides forward on the bench for a sleeping position, with foldable headrest – that ‘d be luxury, but why not? when you look at what people spend on bugaboos, that shouldn’t be unreasonable.

    54. CargoBikeGuy Says:

      I use my long bakfiets every day – for the last two years. It’s really getting tough going up those hills with a 5 and 3-year-old. Any further updates on an effective and practical power-assist adaptation? Reading your comments from a year and more ago, my current conclusion is ‘no’.

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