Friday, July 15, 2016

Fossil Free Friday: Cargo Bike Dreaming (Again)

Personal Carbon Reduction = the Big Goal.

For me, finding ways to not burn gasoline is a big big big part of that goal.

So let's talk cargo bikes. Who needs a pickup or a minivan when you have a cargo bike?

Recently I learned that my favorite cargo bike can be had for much less money than I had thought.

Yep, the Yuba Mundo V4 7-speed can be had for $999. Let me try that again. The Mundo has been the cargo bike by which I judge all others. When I look at building my own or buying a conversion kit or finding a used cargo bike, I always look back at the Mundo and sigh.

Yep, the Yuba Mundo V4 7-speed (a very basic model) can be had for $999!!! (That's more like it.)

That means that the Yuba Mundo can be bought (and DIY electrified) for about the same price as a RadWagon. Oh snap! For less than $1800 I could have either one parked in my garage.

The RadWagon came on the scene about a year ago and has held my imagination since. In many ways it's a Mundo clone, but it's a Mundo clone with a whole lot of cool add-ons and a pretty low price. It's $1700 but it seems to be on permanent sale for $1600. See those disc brakes? See that 48 volt, 750 watt electric running gear? It's a whole lot of cargo bike for the money.

The next one in our affordable cargo bike dreaming is a bit of a (very desirable) dark horse in the category. (I think it's the small wheels.)

For a few hundred dollars more than the RadWagon, you could park a Juiced Bikes ODK Utility Bike in your garage.

Ladies and gents, this a cool machine! This bike is known for being easy to handle, easy to load, and built with very high-quality components. It is also known for its incredible electric range. The base model is rated at 40 miles and that can extend up to 82 miles at a price ($3200) that is still considerably less than most electrified cargo bikes.

Ok, I can see that you're starting to squirm a bit - $3200! Yep, that's getting way out of the Mesquite Hugger (Cheapo) price range, so let's get back down to Earth.

Let's look at turning an existing bike into a cargo bike.
Option 1: The Xtracycle Leap
Ross Evans and the crew at Extracyle redesigned their FreeRadical concept and came up with a kit known as the Leap. Take the bike that you already have, buy a $600 basic kit, combine the two, and you have a pretty bulletproof longtail from the people who defined the category. If you want to add some accessories, there are a few more kits to get you going, but the basic kit will definitely get you started.

Option 2: A Very Exciting Newcomer - The Lift (What is it with the four-letter "L" words?)

Something new and green out of Colorado, the Lift is in Kickstarter mode right now, and it's doing well. I am normally a longtail cargo bike fan, but this product has me seriously questioning my bias.

Why do all cargo bikes look better with a dog in the pic?
The Lift is a Bakfiets-style cargo bike kit that is easily installed or removed from your existing bike. It will retail for $900, but you can Kickstart a Lift into your possession for $750. Early reviews are very favorable and they have easily reached their KS funding goal with time to spare. Be sure to watch their video showing the 60-second conversion - just wow!
Condo is not so sure about the Lift...

...but Kylie (and Mattie) are all about it!
So, there you have it. My top contenders in the cargo bike dreaming campaign.
May you find yourself dreaming of ways to get off the (exhaust) pipe while enjoying the ride.