Sunday, July 9, 2017
Review: 5 Family Cargo Bikes with Electric Assist by nonprofit VBike in Vermont: Haul-A-Day, Yuba Boda Boda and Mundo V5, Radwagon, and Madsen Cycles Bucket bike: https://youtu.be/ka8MjnDYZv8
Dave Cohen of the Nonprofit bicycle advocacy nonprofit VBike (vbikesolutions.org) gives a quick review of VBike's current fleet of electric assist family cargo bikes.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Friday, June 9, 2017
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
|Testing Madsen Bucket Bike without mid-drive motor. Went great on relatively flat streets even with two kids but we live in a hilly town in Vermont.|
The Mid-Drive Kit
- Bafang BBSHD 1000 watt Mid Drive motor. Bottom Bracket Size: 68-73mm (Standard).
- Battery: Side Shark 48v GA 10ah.
- Chain Ring: Stock 46T Steel.
- Luna Bafang Display DPC-10.
- Bafang BBSxx Universal Thumb Throttle.
- Bafang Handles with Built-in Ebrake cut off.
- Luna Wrench.
- Custom battery bracket by Karl Kemnizter, of VBike in Brattleboro VT.
|The Box! Assembly is very easy, basically putting on the front wheel and a fender.|
Installing the mid-drive
Working on the rest now.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
We've finally decided on a family cargo bike with electric assist
Here's the test ride that convinced my wife this was the bike for her.
Lot's of research and actual test rides of a Radwagon, Yuba Mundo, and Bike Friday Haul-a-Day later, we pick Madsen Cycle's Bucket Bike! Here's our developing spec sheet with help from Dave at vbikesolutions.org
|Testing VT Bike Solutions test Madsen with Befang 1000w mid-drive. We'll get Red I think.|
|The bucket, with my son and his "fancy dress" clothes from the thrift store. Not sure where he came from!|
|The bucket next to a Radwagon Monkey Bar Caboose. The bucket is actually lower, but looks even. See below photo.|
Mid-Drive Electric Assist Specs on this Bike.
- Bafang 1000 watt BBSHD kit.
- 14 amp hour battery
- Battery bracket: Karl Kemnizter custom makes it locally in Brattleboro.
- Gear sensor, a gear sensor extension wire, and a speed sensor extension wire.
- Lekkie Bling ring. It's smaller and stronger, stock chainring worked ok on the test bike.
- Night lights.
- Front rack/basket from Madsen Cycles
Friday, May 5, 2017
Wife test rides Madsen Cycle's Bucket bike and Bike Friday Haul-a-Day Mid-Drive Electric Assist Family Cargo Bikes
Today, Dave, chief evangelist at Vermont Bike Solutions brought over a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day with a 750watt Bafang BBS02, 750W mid drive electric assist and the next day, a Madsen Bucket bike, with a Bafang BBSHD 1000 Mid Drive electric assist motors. I bought out my used Radwagon for size comparison. My wife is doggedly testing bikes out for taking our 2 kids to school. One kid is still too young for monkey bars so would need a strap in seat, which he don't like so far. She's tried the Yuba Mundo (great bike but a bit too heavy and big) and the Radwagon with a Yepp seat (too high seat, too heavy, fell over and fractured our daughters arm!) I love my used Radwagon with monkey bars only though, no strap in baby seat.
And the winner is...Madsen Cycles Bucket Bike.
More photos below.
|Madsen is her pick after testing for months. She wants our 2 kids and no strap in high baby seat.|
|Runner up. Dave from Vermont Bike Solutions with my wife on a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day|
Bike Friday Haul-a-Day Test Ride and Comparison with Radwagon
Great American made bike. Light, small, sturdy. Unlike the Madsen, this can be used more easily as a one person bike when needed.
|Bike Friday Haul-a-Day. Our son loves to dress up.|
|Bike Friday Haul-a-Day is shorter lighter and lower then the Radwagon.|
Madsen Cycles Bucket Bike
To my surprise she felt the Madsen rode the best with the most stability. It's a big bike and the bucket makes it really a hauler. The nice part is that it's like a pickup truck, always ready to simply use to carry things. And it keeps the kids inside something and low to the ground like all bucket type bikes
|With Radwagon in background, even on back|
|It's a big long bike, like the Yuba and XtraCycles. The Radwagon is shot and stocky.|
|Optical illusion here, the Madsen is a bit lower then the Radwagon due to a 20" rear wheel.|
|It's a big bucket|
|"Oh my god, momma picked the Madsen as her favorite!"|
| Our son loves to dress up "fancy" with his clip on tie...not sure where this boy came from!|
Sunday, April 16, 2017
|Intuitive frown? She was happy while riding though. This is the setup during accidental tip over.|
The bike wasn't moving when it fell over.
My wife was testing the bike on a quiet street with our 2-year old in a Yepp Maxi seat and our 5 year old holding a t-bar handle. It started to tip and my wife couldn't stop it. Ourdaugther's arm happened to get between the seat side and pavement.
She's fine. She has since jumped back on the bike, but we're taking her for a ride until she's three. We live in a bumpy hilly town with few bike paths.
|Our Radwagon setup.|
Bike SetupHere's the setup we were using. The bike is a used Radwagon. I love it - still. The seat is a Yepp. Great seat and setup. Very easy to use. Solid. But, you can sense from this photo that it's top heavy, and back heavy for a small rider like my wife.
|My wife's first test was great.|
With one kid on back, low, near our back. This felt very stable.
|Still a good test here with seat and one kid|
Moments before the fall, which happeneed at a stop sign in our quiet neighborhood.
In the hospital
|Quickly back to fun and mud with a plastic bag over wrapped cast|
|Re-wrap at two weeks.|
|Sticker. Total heal time about three weeks, not the six they said originally. Good expectation management though.|
Mistake and Successes
- Mistakes as we see it: Here's where the parent fail comes in: not following our little whisper inside voices (instincts). The setup was heavy, rear-heavy and top-heavy for my wife's stature and weight. I'll take most of the heat here. My first full-time summer job was as a bike mechanic. I felt uneasy about high strap-in seats on bikes with full-height back wheels. I was attracted to bucket-type family cargo bikes, and cargo bikes with small rear wheels from the start (See some here on EBR.com). My wife was, too, but I also had the lots of bike experience to back up my instincts. We had a sense the weight was a bit high-feeling and in the rear, and it was heavy for my wife. And we had "monkey bars" or a "caboose" coming in the mail (they act as rails around kids midsections and break side falls). But we didn't wait...they might have kept our daughter's arm from fracturing because the seat edge might not have hit the road at all. No wonder bucket bikes are so popular. They are low, slow, and safer. And no wonder more cargo bikes are using smaller wheels that keep kids low to the ground if kids are in actual strap-in seats. Also, we should have waited for monkey bars on the back. The main take away: low center of gravity is needed and heavy bikes need strong riders.
- Success as we see it: We tested on quiet flat streets, starting with one person, a parent and child and only then two children. This means our fail happened while the bike wasn't moving and no cars were around.
- I love the Radwagon for myself. It's short and stocky. Big tires. Good breaks. Great price new and used. It isn't as slick as the twice as expensive Xtracycles or Yubas, but how could it be? It is shorter which I like. I love taking my son on the Radwagon. He thinks it's the funnest thing ever. I feel solid on the Radwagon with him on side streets, side walks, and our new monkey bars.
- My wife and I are loving electric assist bikes family cargo bikes. We'll keep riding them alone and with our kids in certain situations. We have two now. A used Radwagon, and a used Raleigh Detour. My wife and love going on rides together around town because the electric assist "flattens" our hilly bumpy town and makes the rides more relaxing and fun.
- I didn't research downsides when shopping for family cargo bikes. The electric-assist family cargo bike movement is so exciting, cool, sustainable, green, logical, and freeing that I found I didn't also look into the down sides. I didn't want to. The fantasy of the family cargo bike is real I think, but there's an element that I sense is similar to RV campers and boats. Only the zealous few really use them as much as they thought they would, for as many years as they thought they would. The reality of weather, terrain, traffic, growing kids, maintenance and laziness conspire to reduce the use a bit.
- I see the evolution of family electric assist bikes seems to be to bring down the center of gravity and stabilize the bikes more using 20" wheels where the kids site, buckets, tricycle setups, etc. I think we're really heading to more and more bike lanes and basically small electric cars, some of which could be peddle-able.
- In a small way, I think electric bikes (and cars in a big way) are changing the world. More people will become active for longer in their lives. Sone distances are literally smaller. A hilly mile to a school on bike path now feels like 1/4 mile used to. I belive this will increase real estate values for houses close to schools and services that are also along good safe bike routes.
- With two kids, we're going to get a new bike set-up that has them low and in monkey bars or a bucket. We'll make sure to ride on side streets, slowly and on sidewalks when near busy streets. As always, we'll wear reflective gear and have flags, etc.
Our Next Bike?
Brattleboro presents a challenge due to hills and bumpy side walks. So, sadly, the tricycle bucket bikes used in places that have bike lanes and flat terrain might not work so well here.
But maybe a Babboe City Cargo Bike if we can get a loan.
We've just heard that a Madsen bucket cargo bike has arrived in town. We're testing it out and seeing how we can get a mid-drive electric assist on it without breaking the bank. Here's some info in mid-drive electric assist for the Madsen. Forum post on Electric Bike.com. and Forum post on Endless Sphere.com
There's the Virtual Gondolier Plus (EBR review).
What a fun free family event!
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Why!? Why did my son make me find this crazy subgroup on YouTube that makes AMAZING videos of Radio Controlled cars and trucks? https://youtu.be/sHTb2T0AD6A?t=1m