Cargo Bikes

The Bakfiets cargo bike sparked my interest on this type of bikes. Although most of these bikes cost over 2,000 large, Mike from summed up some of the reasons why spending 2 big ones may not be that bad after all:

Expensive? Sure. About what you’ll pay in interest for a new or lightly used car. Or fuel for a years worth of SUV driving. Or 2 years of cell phone service on your new iPhone. Or the average spending on entertainment for a year (maybe two). Over a 5 year period a Bakfiets will cost you about the cost of a cup of coffee a day.

I also did a search to see if anyone else made cargo bikes like the Bakfiets that is able to carry kids and its available in the US, here’s what I came up with:

The Long Haul from Human Powered Machines, $2300

The Bilenky Cargo Bike $2495

The A.N.T Frontaloadonme, starts at $2,950

You can find countless of bike trailers, pedicabs and rear attachments, but what I like about the cargo bikes is having the kids on the front and the not-so-wide profile. I think I want one….


  1. Val August 14, 2007 6:29 pm 

    Another thing to remember is that the Dutch Bakfietsen (plural of bakfiets) come with everything; wheel lock, fenders, center stand, skirt guards, fully enclosed chain case, generator light set, bell. In the US we are used to seeing bikes sold as a bare platform, to be accessorized by the rider, and priced accordingly. If you price all the “extras” on the bakfiets, it adds up quickly (the chaincase and the light set are easily over $100.00 each), and they are all things that you will need on a bike of this type.

  2. mike August 14, 2007 11:05 pm 

    True… and add the 8 speed Nexus hub, which is an upgrade from the continental versions. The bikes are designed as all weather, go anywhere – anytime, minimal maintenance machines. If a Dutch soccer mom had to think about grabbing the helmet (they really don’t wear them), cuff for the pants, special shoes, lock, etc…. they wouldn’t get used as much as they do. Ride it and forget it would be a good motto for the design of the dutch bikes (including their city bikes).

    The Bakfiets isn’t all that wider than a normal bike with panniers. I’ll have to measure mine when I get back from my road trip – but I seem to recall it being under 2′ wide – an adult can fit in the front box comfortably with just a bit of room to spare next to their shoulders. (and a normal bike is really as wide as the rider’s shoulders and any luggage they may be carrying)

    What I really like about the Bakfiets is the low center of gravity and the forward placement of the load. If this is kids it means you can chat with them, talking about the scenery, and if there are 2 or more you can keep chaos from reigning between them – things not easy to do with a trailer. I’ve found a snack pack + kid + bakfiets = a fun day running errands in town.

    The wooden box, while adding a bit of weight to the whole package, adds a significant bit of protection to your precious cargo (human and otherwise) – kids are strapped into 3 point harnesses, and while I’ve never wrecked, I can see them being very well protected from road rash / etc.

    I’d be hesitant to put my a child in the alternate designs you posted (aside from the CAT bike) – the load has a higher center of gravity, and you need to balance the bike while the kids get in and out. With the sturdy kickstand on the Bak the kids can climb in and out under their own power – and being low to the ground tight, slow turns can be had without feeling top heavy.

  3. jay August 15, 2007 1:07 pm 

    But the problem I have–even with the Bakfiets and its lower center of gravity–is that children don’t appear to be restrained or well protected in this general design. I bike with a standard MTB frame and a Burley trailer off the back, which holds my 2 1/2 year old. It has a rollcage, a 3-point harness, wind/sun protection, and it hitches to the bike in such a way that if I tip, he doesn’t. How do riders of the Bakfiets and other cargo bikes feel about safety?

  4. mike August 15, 2007 2:18 pm 

    Very secure. 3 point harness, and that box to protect the kid from a fall, if it were to occur. Unlike a trailer, in which a roll is a high likelyhood, I doubt you could roll a Bakfiets, and if you did I would guess the bike would end up on its side – similar to a motorcycle – and you would skid to a stop. (exceptions, sure, like perhaps coming down a mountain with the kids in it…) The Dutch don’t seem to have a safety problem with them – most of them don’t wear helmets (kids and adults).

    There are options for kid covers too. Rain, wind, etc.

  5. Richard June 24, 2008 9:19 pm 

    2,000 grand, huh? I doubt they’re 2 million. Little typo?

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