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  1. #1
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    Trek Transport Cargo Bike - revealed.

    I got to try the Trek Transport, Transport + in Vegas and I've now owned the Transport for about a week. Here's some key observations.

    $1300 - That is a great value. It comes complete with all the racks and one bag.

    Specs - Weight is about 45 lbs. Wheelbase is 49 inches for the medium. Sizing is 17 and 20 inches.

    All Aluminum frame - This is key as this bike is relatively light and it seems structurally sound and laterally stiff.

    200 lb cargo capacity - 100 lbs on the rear tray and 50 lbs each on the side trays. Maybe another 25 in the front rack.

    2x8 speed - gearing is perfect with 28/38 up front. 3 rings up front for a cargo bike is silly.

    Disc brake in the front, Vbrake in the rear - Disc/Disc would have been nice but it is upgradeable in the rear and it has not been an issue yet.

    Low BB and short cranks - BB is low at 11.4 inches. That's about 1 to 2 inches lower than most mountain bikes. To avoid hitting the cranks on the ground, they've been shortened to 165mm.

    Mary-style handlebar and ergo grips - These are cool touches as the cockpit is very comfortable.

    BB and rear triangle are extremely stiff. Because of the beefy aluminum construction to support all the rear cargo, the BB area has been reinforced quite a bit. The result is acceleration and responsiveness that is really surprising!! Handling is awesome too.


    My research:
    ------------

    This is the golden age of cargo bikes. As health, energy and environment issues arise, people are looking to bike more. The cargo bike is one solution to many of life's errands and To do list trips. It is a possible car replacement solution.

    But all is not well. The cargo bike solutions are very immature and the current setups and pricing are just a hint of what they need to be. Here are some of the things I looked into:


    Surly Big Dummy - about $2500 for a bike and $800 for a frame msrp. Xtracycle compatible and it seems that this is not usually a complete bike but a building block for an enthusiast or build kit ready system depending on the store you purchase from. Cargo capability is about 200 lbs assuming a 200lb rider.
    Sizes: s, m, l, xl
    frame weight: 12.6 lbs
    wheelbase: 57.4 inches for medium




    Xtracycle Radish - $1200, 45 lb complete chromoly bike. Load ability seems light at <100 lbs. Available in 2011. Pre-order only. Seems built for city and short trips.
    wheelbase: around 54 inches
    sizes: one available


    Xtracycle Freeradical BigStoker - around $630 add on kits are available for normal mountain bikes. This connects to any old mountain bike and has a rear tray and two side bags. Many other configurations are available



    Kona Ute - Built with an aluminum frame and 29er wheels. $1050 with bags. Wheelbase is a little shorter. Big tire options are limited for pavement
    Wheelbase: 50 inches
    sizes: M, L


    Yuba Mundo - $1250 complete bike without bags. This is an extremely heavy bike with 400 lb cargo capacity. This bike is suited for flat city riding as a minivan replacement
    wheelbase: 59.5 inches
    sizes: one available




    So that's the landscape as I understood it. Please comment and give me feedback as I'm starting to write an article on cargo bikes.


    My experience:
    Here's some of my photos. They will show what a blast I'm having with the Trek Transport. My biggest revelation is how fun it is to ride and how easy it is to pedal.

    The bottom bracket is extemely stiff and low at 11.4 inches. So it's easy to get on and power really transfers to the ground. It takes a bit to get it going but it keeps its speed well.

    Handling is truly incredible. Because it's laterally stiff and low to the ground, it feels like a stretch limo sports car. It's very predictable on corners and really easy to maneuver. Surprisingly, despite an aluminium frame and small tires, it is very, very comfortable. The long wheelbase seems to smooth everything out.

    Weaknesses:
    - there's a lot of rattling in the back from the folding side trays and locking pin
    - the stem is way too short because of the mary style bars
    - the bag needs better compartments and the straps can use some improvement.


    Photos:

    UPS cannot deliver a box this big!!
    From 2010-12-03


    hope it's all here:
    From 2010-12-03


    all done
    From 2010-12-03


    Nice bag and kickstand. Notice it's standing even though not balanced
    From 2010-12-03


    massive yoke
    From 2010-12-03


    mighty chainstay
    From 2010-12-03


    roast pig tray
    From 2010-12-03


    art shot
    From 2010-12-03


    loaded with dog and baseball gear
    From 2010-12-03


    We call this the happy bike
    From 2010-12-03


    it's strong and easy to handle
    From 2010-12-03


    150 lb rider plus 180 lbs in passengers
    From 2010-12-03


    1000 foot mtb climb
    From 2010-12-03


    fc
    Last edited by francois; 12-05-2010 at 05:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    thats tight!! Nice man

  3. #3
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    I got my Xtracycle Freeradical back in June 2007 and have no regrets converting my old mountain bike to a long tail. The bike has so many uses from hauling people/kids to groceries.

    Like you, I have a blast riding it and the kids as well. I find that the free loader design is very useful as you can see from my pictures on how I use them.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/rgonzalo...eat=directlink

  4. #4
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    Nice! I like the concept of the fold up side trays, but the rattling would drive me bonkers.
    baker

  5. #5
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    Cool, I like the low top tube & front rack.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by superjohnny
    Cool, I like the low top tube & front rack.
    Yes, that front rack is a bonus. Nobody else seems to have that in stock configuration.

    The super low top tube allows for 'female' style bike entry. I'm trying to get used to that. It's convenient to avoid hitting your knee on the rear rack or when there's something big back there.

    fc

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    Nice! I like the concept of the fold up side trays, but the rattling would drive me bonkers.
    It rattles a bit on trails and where's no bags. I think I've figured it out by putting ample spacers on the moving pivots of the side trays. Now it's pretty tight and they stay in the location you leave them even without the locking pin.

    fc

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgonzalo
    I got my Xtracycle Freeradical back in June 2007 and have no regrets converting my old mountain bike to a long tail. The bike has so many uses from hauling people/kids to groceries.

    Like you, I have a blast riding it and the kids as well. I find that the free loader design is very useful as you can see from my pictures on how I use them.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/rgonzalo...eat=directlink

    Awesome! I've always wanted to learn about that system. How is it mounted to the bike and how does it stay laterally stiff? Is it just mounted on the dropouts? Are disc brakes possible?

  9. #9
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    There are 3 mount points 1 in front just behind the bottom bracket and the 2 rear dropouts. The free radical I got has the disc brake option in the rear. They designed the free loaders buckle system so you can use them as straps over the top to tie down things like the dog carrier.

    I like the fold down trays that the Trek has. Xtracycle has them as well as an option called wide loaders I think but they don't fold up like the Trek ones. I put on the footsie pad instead for the back passengers and added a stoker bar for them to hold on to.

    The nice about the conversion, is that its completely reversible.

  10. #10
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    Cool ride, Francois. It's great it comes stock with the front rack and loving the lechon sized rear platform. I wished my Dummy had that sized rear rack. I'm glad there are more cargo bike options out there now.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Yes, that front rack is a bonus. Nobody else seems to have that in stock configuration.

    The super low top tube allows for 'female' style bike entry. I'm trying to get used to that. It's convenient to avoid hitting your knee on the rear rack or when there's something big back there.

    fc
    I’ve accidentally kicked my kid in the ribs twice getting on the Big Dummy with the PeaPod LT installed, swinging my leg over the top of the seat. (see photo) I have since become accustomed to mounting more “chick-style”, such that the wellbeing of my son’s ribs is taken into consideration.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker
    I’ve accidentally kicked my kid in the ribs twice getting on the Big Dummy with the PeaPod LT installed, swinging my leg over the top of the seat. (see photo) I have since become accustomed to mounting more “chick-style”, such that the wellbeing of my son’s ribs is taken into consideration.
    hehehehe totally.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I've done the kid kick too, with the peapod. Takes some getting used to.

    I'd be curious to ride my Dummy and the Transport back to back...this is one instance where I suspect rider comfort on the steel bike would be significantly greater.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawfarm
    Yeah, I've done the kid kick too, with the peapod. Takes some getting used to.

    I'd be curious to ride my Dummy and the Transport back to back...this is one instance where I suspect rider comfort on the steel bike would be significantly greater.
    I've yet to try a Big Dummy but I will soon since my neighbor has one.

    I would say that I ride a lot of bikes working for mtbr. The Trek Transport is one of the most comfortable rides I've ridden mostly because of the long wheelbase. I've taken it on three significant trail rides too. It is a limo in comfort but it is way easier to manuever than my trailer bike setups.

    So it'll probably be smoother with steel, or with 29er wheels but there is really no need. This bike is really smooth and that's just with the stock 1 inch tires at 45 psi.

    I'll report back after I try the big dummy.

    fc

  15. #15
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    The Trek bike looks well thought out. However it has a city look to it. Different people will gravitate to the different choices for their individual needs or prefences.

    I have a Big Dummy and completely enjoy it. It has a triple chain ring, which I do use. When hauling gear into the mountains the granny ring is very necessary. When going to the store, it is a useless apendage.

    While people keep debating about what is better, 26 or 29 inch wheels, a friend of mine built his Big Dummy with a 29 inch front wheel. He loves it. So the Dummy can be convertible that way, something that I'd like to try myself.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    The Trek bike looks well thought out. However it has a city look to it. Different people will gravitate to the different choices for their individual needs or prefences.

    I have a Big Dummy and completely enjoy it. It has a triple chain ring, which I do use. When hauling gear into the mountains the granny ring is very necessary. When going to the store, it is a useless apendage.

    While people keep debating about what is better, 26 or 29 inch wheels, a friend of mine built his Big Dummy with a 29 inch front wheel. He loves it. So the Dummy can be convertible that way, something that I'd like to try myself.

    Good input!!

    On the chainring issue, my claim is the big ring is not necessary for most cases. Most people put a 42 or 44 big ring by default but I think it not needed. Who can turn that gear on level ground? On downhill, you don't really want to pedal.

    The downside of a big ring is it's just a menace that can injure you or stain your pants. It also makes your chain longer.

    A 26/38 front ring is much better as default. The 26 can be made smaller if there are big hills and the 38 can be enlarged if needed. There is a chainring guard by default which is good.

    fc

  17. #17
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    Here's my video review:



    fc

  18. #18
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    What is the consensus on drop bars for cargo bikes? I do see a lot of mary style bars usually on these types of bikes but not much else. Or maybe a MTN drop like a gary?

    I saw the video and what is that spring on the down tube near the front tire for? I assume it's for the fenders.
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  19. #19
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    good video. Well presented.

    I like the handlebars and the upcoming electric option.

    I have 3 x 8 gearing. I use my 44T big ring all the time in town. Usually ride in 5th and 6th gears. With a downhill or wind blowing behind I can cruise over 15 mph in 7th and 8th gears. Riding with a full load of groceries I have to start off in 3rd. This is all with the big ring on mostly level pavement. I think the big ring is fine.

    I don't get to use the middle ring much. However I wouldn't say it isnt needed though. There may be a time someday when I'll love it.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57
    What is the consensus on drop bars for cargo bikes? I do see a lot of mary style bars usually on these types of bikes but not much else. Or maybe a MTN drop like a gary?

    I saw the video and what is that spring on the down tube near the front tire for? I assume it's for the fenders.

    Good question. The spring attaches to the fork with an L bracket and tensions the fork to help 'auto-center' it. It keeps the handlebar straight when the bike is on the kickstand. What happens is the steering will fall to one side and the front rack will collide with the frame.

    The other purpose is it's supposed to help the steering of the bike when the front rack is loaded.

    This is just theory and I've yet to test it. Anyone have experience with it? I imagine it will adversely affect handling of the bike when the front rack is not loaded.


    For drop bars, it would take away from the upright riding position and will make this bike less ideal for going through the city and short trips. The advantage would be a more aerodynamic position and one will be able to put a little more power down to the pedals. This is probably a good configuration if the bike is used for long commutes and touring.

    fc

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Good question. The spring attaches to the fork with an L bracket and tensions the fork to help 'auto-center' it. It keeps the handlebar straight when the bike is on the kickstand. What happens is the steering will fall to one side and the front rack will collide with the frame.

    The other purpose is it's supposed to help the steering of the bike when the front rack is loaded.

    This is just theory and I've yet to test it. Anyone have experience with it? I imagine it will adversely affect handling of the bike when the front rack is not loaded.
    Sounds like the steering stabilizer that I have on my Mundo. Keeps the front wheel from flopping around, mostly when sitting on the kickstand. Reduces the chance of the bike falling over. Personally, I didn't notice any difference in steering when I added mine.

    Like here: http://clevercycles.com/p/?prod-code...stabilizer-695
    baker

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Good input!!

    On the chainring issue, my claim is the big ring is not necessary for most cases. Most people put a 42 or 44 big ring by default but I think it not needed. Who can turn that gear on level ground? On downhill, you don't really want to pedal.

    The downside of a big ring is it's just a menace that can injure you or stain your pants. It also makes your chain longer.

    A 26/38 front ring is much better as default. The 26 can be made smaller if there are big hills and the 38 can be enlarged if needed. There is a chainring guard by default which is good.
    I use my 48 (on a 26/36/48 triple) all the time. If I were riding in the dirt, maybe I'd give it up, but on paved level ground, I think it is useful. I can't imagine having a 38 on the top in my neighborhood ... I'd be coasting or soft-peddling half the time.

    As far as bars go, I started with a Nitto North Road bar to get a super upright position (I'm using an uncut fork steerer with a cheap but really high-rise stem), but was continually banging my knees in low speed turns. I switched to a set of Mary bars, and while I like the sweep (I'm a long-time user of them on geared MTBs), after awhile they feel too wide. I've considered getting a Titec H-bar to get the hand position on the extension (which I really like) but I'm worried they won't work well with the gripshifts I already have. Devo says gripshifts work on it, though I'm not convinced having never had luck with them on my Jones H-bar.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by baker
    Sounds like the steering stabilizer that I have on my Mundo. Keeps the front wheel from flopping around, mostly when sitting on the kickstand. Reduces the chance of the bike falling over. Personally, I didn't notice any difference in steering when I added mine.

    Like here: http://clevercycles.com/p/?prod-code...stabilizer-695
    I think you'd probably need something like the Hopey steering damper (www.hopey.org) to make a difference in motion.

    That Hebie is a nice idea. Unloaded and on the center-stand, my Big Dummy rests on its front wheel and mostly stays where you leave it ... but as soon as anything goes on the back, especially if there is a helmet weighing down one side of the bars, it comes whipping around (and worse case dropping the helmet).

  24. #24
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    wow Francios: cargo bike... cool!
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  25. #25
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    It looks like a great bike, and a great price. But I would prefer a 22t small chainring, if I were to put 50-200 pounds of cargo on it and pedal up a hill. And if I had a 22t small chainring, I think a 22-32-42 crankset would be a good choice.

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