July 26, 2013 Leave a comment
I am on the hunt for a new bicycle. Natasha is fine, but Natasha doesn’t take my two boys, aged 1 and nearly 4. I’ve looked at various options, which are as follows (in no particular order).
This is a fantastic bike. I would dearly love to have one, and still think it ranks as one of the best urban bikes you can buy on the world market today. Uber quality with rugged good looks. Fabricated from steel (hey, steel is real bro!). Hand made in the bike capital for the world, Amsterdam, the FR8 is a marvel. I could order it with a special pack which included Magura Hydraulic brakes and a Shimano Alfine 11 speed internal hub. Sexy AND cool. People have waxed lyrical over this bike’s ability to carry very loads with ease, whilst leaping tall buildings in a single bound. I was extremely excited about it and very nearly pulled the trigger on buying one. If you wanted a serious cargo bike or something to with which to haul 2 kids around, this should absolutely be on your short list.
But. I’m an external gears fan. Call me fussy but I like 27+ gears. It’s the racer in me. It’s the Sydneysider in me. We have brutal hills. And I like disc brakes. Also, this bike is NOT light (probably why it is rock-solid when carting heavy objects/people). The guys at Workcycles are fantastic to deal with, and happily answered my never ending barrage of questions, but everything cost extra and I mean everything – credit card payments generated a premium, paypal generated a premium. It all became too much – not to mention I didn’t like the fact that only one child would be in front of me, leaving the kid behind practically ignored. As I said, great guys, great bike, it’s just not for me; and I re-iterate that my decision not to go for this bike centers around my boys and communication, not the cost – although they really should address the whole payment thing.
The Surly Big Dummy. http://surlybikes.com/bikes/big_dummy
This too, ticked all the boxes. Made by a 15 year old, progressive company which many, many people admire, this bike had me all a-twitter. You could take this thing off road if you wanted as it was practically set up as a mountain bike. Surly themselves brutally tested one with an extensive offroad tour before they brought it to market. This is one tough bike. If anything does break – there are steel welders all over the world who can fix it for you. This model is practically a do it all one – it’s for you AND the family. I’ve seen one set up with Boxxer forks which looks freaking AWESOME. Anyway, there was a local dealer right here in Singas, it was made of steel as I said (a nice big plus), and it had external gearing and enough space for seats at the rear for two (plus any other additional freight you’d care to bring. Like nappies for instance. Ooops. Deal breaker right there, the separation thing, not the nappies……. By the way, the Japanese LOVE this brand – and that’s saying something. If you get a chance, check them out, they have an awesome range, and I do plan on buying a bike from them just for me (probably the Pacer or the new ECR, or both), after I sort out the kid carrier. They too, are extremely friendly with regards to questions.
There were a few others around but nothing worth mentioning. Some of you may have heard of the Yuba Mundo, which is great – but is cost MORE than the Big Dummy over here (whereas in the US, it is half the price of the Big Dummy). How does that work? Demand I’m guessing. http://yubabikes.com/bikes/mundo/
And The Undisputed Winner?
This leaves us with the current contender. The Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike. Wow-oh-wow. It looks so slick, so fast so yeah-baby-I-want-one-so-bad! I think there may even be a race series especially for them. In Denmark though. Okay, it’s long. Perhaps a little too long at around 2.4 meters. Will I get it in my lift? Probably not. But surely it can stay chained up downstairs in the carpark? It is patrolled by security after all? Anyway, we’ll see about that. Width – no more than a normal bike. Now this is a huge plus for me, because it means I don’t have to worry about cars riding around me because I’m not taking up half the road like with other cargo bikes. Perfect! External gears? Check. You can spec this baby up with full Deore XT and hydraulic discs and lots of other go-fast goodies and bring the weight down to 22kgs! That is NOTHING for a full blown cargo bike. Stick a tub in the front and both my boys and I can have long conversations with ease – just as if we were sitting on the couch at home. Again, perfect. Did I mention how cool it looks? It ticks all my boxes but one – that being price. I may just have to bite the bullet on that one because it will be priceless being able to have everything I’ve wanted in a bike, and being able to have fun with my boys. One other caveat I’d like to mention is that I’ve never ridden one of these “long johns”. I’ve heard there is a learning curve with riding them [well], but then, I never met a bike I didn’t like.
And finally, surely the movie Bullitt is also one of your top 100 favorites of all time?
By far the most significant fly-in-the-ointment here is that I won’t be able to physically test ride any of these behemoths. Which is a shame because the ride tells all. Meh. As Gozer demands so eloquently: “Choose”!