Torker Cargo T

A few days ago, I posted a teaser shot of a new bike just received to be reviewed. As promised, here it is!

the Torker Cargo T

torker cargo t

Maintenance-free internal Shimano 3-speed hub with twist-shifter, Heavy-duty front and rear cargo rack, heavy duty steel frame and fork โ€” 1 size fits most, Front roller brakes improve stopping power, Sturdy DM 350 alloy rims with rust resistant SS spokes, Front and rear Fenders, Full-wrap chainguard, Cush springer saddle, Dutch โ€œTringโ€? bell.

I mentioned in the teaser that this bike came with something that most commuter bikes don’t. Well, there’s actually a few things.

Front rack

Full wrap chain guard

Steerer lock

It also comes with a heavy duty rear rack. I know some commuter bikes come with them, but these racks are by far the burliest I’ve seen come stock on a bike.

Dual kickstand

Since the Cargo T is made out of sweet steel, the ride was phenomenal. It was like driving a Caddy. What surprised me about this bike was the fact that it responded really well. I rode the bike to work this morning and on my lunch break, I rode it around to see how well it handles. Well, this thing is pretty nimble and quick to respond.
cargo torker t
Another interesting tidbit about this bike, other than it being a super smooth ride, was how comfortable I was while riding it. The geometry is very slack, and puts a rider in a more upright position. My commute was actually fun; I wasn’t trying to beat the clock, but I was out there just enjoying the ride. I couldn’t help it since this bike really is a joy to pedal around.

Stick around for a full review.

Price: $599.99 (verified by Torker)
Weight:45lbs
Load capacity of racks: 20 lbs front, 40 pounds rear.


54 Comments

  1. 2whls3spds March 13, 2009 2:20 pm 

    I was just investigating these the other day…

    Do the racks have weight restrictions posted on them?

    Aaron

  2. RL Policar March 13, 2009 2:22 pm 

    Yes there’s a limit, but I’m not quite certain. I’ll find out for you.

  3. RL Policar March 13, 2009 3:10 pm 

    Aaron,

    I updated the post with the price, weight and load capacity.

  4. Dottie March 13, 2009 5:27 pm 

    Sweet! That looks like some big tubes for steel, more like aluminum. Weighs about the same as my bike and with most of the same features for $1,000 less (although mine has 8 internal gears). I’ve never heard of Torker before. Great to see more bikes like this. I look forward to reading the full review.

  5. Dottie March 13, 2009 5:29 pm 

    Oh, except I just noticed the load capacity. My bike’s is 50 LBS for front, 75 LBS for rear. I wonder why the limits are so much lower for this bike, which seems the same.

  6. dweendaddy March 13, 2009 5:35 pm 

    The “burliest” stock rack I have seen is on my wife’s new Kona Africabike 3.0. The rack is not an add on, but welded. The only downside is that the rack tubes are a little wider than the typical pannier hooks, which is a drag.

  7. Mike Myers March 13, 2009 6:18 pm 

    I like the looks of that bike. Good price, too. Is it really steel?

    How are you planning to carry a front load on it? Basket, bags, cardboard box with bungees?

  8. 2whls3spds March 13, 2009 6:24 pm 

    @Dottie
    Torker is part of Seattle Bike Supply, they also own? Redline and a couple of other brands of equipment. I have 2 Redline bikes and have been very happy with the quality and the price.

    Aaron

  9. 2whls3spds March 13, 2009 6:25 pm 

    I bet those rack weights are limited by liability…

    Aaron

  10. 2whls3spds March 13, 2009 6:27 pm 

    RL does the CargoT have the braze ons for the rear wheel lock? They should be on the underside of the seat stays. My Redline R530 came with them, love having those on bikes for commuting/city use.

    Aaron

  11. RL March 13, 2009 7:00 pm 

    Yes the frame and fork is 4130 Chromoly Steel. I’ll have to check to see if it has the braze ons.

    The rack load capacity is definitely a liability thing…I’m sure they are capable of carrying more, but I’m guessing the lawyers said something about it.

    I’m a good 205lbs, and I can sit on the rack and it holds me just fine! But don’t do that…ok.

  12. BGri March 13, 2009 7:41 pm 

    How is this a “heavy duty” cargo bike with only a 20 lb front rack capacity? Is this designed to just look burly with large-ish tubing? I would like to see a front rack that can be used as a seat for a small/medium passenger. The design looks quite similar to CETMAracks: http://www.cetmaracks.com/

  13. RL March 13, 2009 7:52 pm 

    From my experience in having a large basket on the front of my Xtracycle that is loaded up with over 30lbs of stuff, its harder to handle the bike…but that’s just me.

  14. Dominic March 14, 2009 1:52 am 

    I would assume that this is geared quite low? “cargo” seems to call for low gears.

    I do like that the front rack has a mount for a dynamo light (that is what’s sticking out on the left side of the strut, right?)

    Assuming that rack manufacturers recommend a conservative weight limit on their products, the limits on these racks are quite low indeed. Surly Nice Racks are (conservatively limited) to 70 and 80 lbs for the front and rear, respectively.

    For 1/3 the price of a Torker Cargo T, one can seemingly more than double their load weight by putting SNRs on their existing bicycle.

  15. 2whls3spds March 14, 2009 3:42 am 

    @Dominic…I believe that is a headlight tab on the rack. There is also a generator mounting tab on the left fork blade in the pictures on the website, for a bottle generator. Something you seldom see on bikes for sale in the US but very common on the ones sold in the EU.

    Aaron

  16. jamesmallon March 14, 2009 4:29 am 

    Make sure you use steel bolts and not aluminium on your racks, esp. if you plan to seat someone on it!

  17. Ghost Rider March 14, 2009 5:04 am 

    Makes sense…after all, SBS (Torker’s distributor) is also the U.S. distributor for Batavus, which makes a very similar cargo bike. Good to see that some of those unique features are included on this bike!

    @Dottie — Torker was huge back in the early 80s…they made really badass BMX bikes with a distinctive double toptube. They are more recently known for beach cruisers and trikes, though.

  18. Mike Myers March 14, 2009 9:16 am 

    I worry about the braking ability. A rear coaster/front roller combination isn’t exactly powerful on an unloaded bike. This bike is 45 pounds unloaded. Add 60 pounds of cargo and a 200 pound rider and you’re 305 pounds. That seems like a lot to ask of a coaster.

  19. RL March 14, 2009 9:25 am 

    Mike, I’ll definitely put the braking power to test and load up the bike while I’m riding it.

  20. 2whls3spds March 14, 2009 11:50 am 

    @ Mike Myers…the front brake does the bulk of the work. Probably the reason so many vehicles are equipped with front disc brakes and rear drums. In a full panic stop you want your front wheel at full braking power just short of lockup, with the rear wheel getting light. Coaster brake can handle that. On bikes with coasters I use the coaster for gentle stops, slowing, and general speed control. For quick stops or from high speeds you use the front brake in conjunction with the rear brake.

    Aaron

  21. Ghost Rider March 14, 2009 12:34 pm 

    Well, perhaps this is a useful question: Is this the same roller brake that appears on the Redline R530? If so, I’m with Mike on this one, but more in concern of the roller brake, not the coaster.

  22. 2whls3spds March 14, 2009 1:31 pm 

    Good point Ghost Rider…FWIW I swapped the one that was on my R530 out for the larger one with the cooling fin when I added the Dynohub. IIRC the stock brake was a model IM41F (which is no longer on the Shimano USA site) I have the IM70F which is larger and has a cooling fin.

    Torker is a bit light on the information as to what is specified on their bikes.

    Aaron

  23. Ghost Rider March 14, 2009 3:30 pm 

    Aaron, have you noticed a lot of difference with that bigger roller brake? The stock one was pretty anemic, eh?

  24. 2whls3spds March 14, 2009 3:41 pm 

    It is a huge improvement. IIRC the IM41F was intended specifically for the US market, to limit the chances of someone taking a header over the handlebars. It has some sort of “power reducer” on it. The IM70F will lock the front wheel, it is also an EU spec brake not US. With my size and the carrying capacity of the bike IMHO the IM41F brake was a mistake on that bike.

    I have also noticed that Redline has dropped the R530 on their 2009 website, however Torker has “miraculously” come out with the T530…interesting development.

    Aaron

  25. Mike Myers March 14, 2009 6:29 pm 

    Aaron—I think I could have phrased that better. I know that most power comes from the front brake. It’s just I’ve never heard good things about roller brakes, and combining one with a coaster brake seemed like an under-spec for a cargo bike. But if the brake is as powerful as you say that shouldn’t be an issue.

    Dominic—it takes more than putting sturdy racks on a bike to allow it to safely handle a heavy load. I think Gary Fisher demonstrated that with the Simple City. If the geometry is right on the Torker(and since it’s a copy of the Batavus, I’m sure it is) this should be the cheapest real cargo bike on the market. An Xtracycle is probably better at carrying the load, but not everybody has a donor MTB at home. :-)

    RL–Shame you can’t convince Torker to do a demo bike giveaway for the site… :-)

  26. 2whls3spds March 14, 2009 7:36 pm 

    Mike,
    I road a fully loaded Schwinn Heavy Duty for years running paper routes. Early on I upgraded to a drum brake on the front, even prior to that I could stop it using the coaster by itself. Rollers have a couple of advantages over drums and rim brakes. They apparently have a lot less problems with fade and are weather proof. I suspect the first rollers in the US were downgraded due to liability reasons; crappy reason but welcome to the most litigious society on earth. I have rollers on my R530 front and rear with an upgrade on the front, bike stops solid every time.

    I still occasionally ride steel rims with OEM pads in the rain (run with scissors too ๐Ÿ˜€ )

    The EU spec roller brakes work fine and are not affected by the weather. Best I can tell from the pictures on the Torker site and the ones RL provided ๐Ÿ˜‰ it has the IM70F on it which is the larger brake, this is the same brake that Bakfiets puts on their bikes. I got my hub and brake upgrade from Richard at Work Cycles in Amsterdam. It is the one he suggested and I would think he knows what he is doing.

    Aaron

  27. Elisa M March 14, 2009 8:46 pm 

    is it just me or does 45 lbs seem really heavy? Maybe because I have to ride over a mountain on my commute, I wonder if I would even be able to power it to get to work…

  28. Dottie March 14, 2009 10:20 pm 

    I love the roller brakes on my Dutch bike. No problems stopping. Elisa, 45 lbs is really heavy on a bike and I would not buy a bike like this for your type of geography.

  29. RL March 14, 2009 10:33 pm 

    45LBS is pretty husky, but then again, this isn’t a race bike. It’s a cargo bike that was built to carry load.

    I took some pictures earlier in which I’ll post at a later time, but I wanted to see how the bike handled with 2oo extra pounds of load.

    I had my 13 year old who weighs 100lbs, sit on the front rack, then her friend, who also weighs 100lbs sit in the rear rack.

    We rode up and down the street to see how the bike would handle with them on it. So 200lbs with the girls, then another 207lbs from my husky self and we were rolling nice and smooth.

    I have to tell you, I was really surprised on how well the bike handled, no flexing or unstable steering…that’s with a 100lb kid on the front rack!

  30. RL March 14, 2009 10:37 pm 

    GR and other folks concerned about the roller brake. I was actually surprised on how well the front brakes worked.

    During my commute on Friday and our leisure ride to the park on Saturday, I barely used the coaster brake and heavily relied on the roller brake.

  31. 2whls3spds March 15, 2009 7:08 am 

    @DrMekon…poetic license LOL…

    RL when you get the chance see what type of roller brake is on the front. It should say on the side of the brake housing. FWIW when riding a bike like the Cargo T, I use the coaster brake for slowing, slow speed stops, etc. When I need to really haul down from speed or I am heavily loaded the front brake gets used the most. I ride all my bikes this way.

    Aaron

  32. Ghost Rider March 15, 2009 7:29 am 

    Yes, telling us which roller brake model it is will eliminate some of the concerns.

  33. RL March 15, 2009 8:32 am 

    The roller brake: Shimano BR-IM41-F.

  34. 2whls3spds March 15, 2009 8:36 am 

    Holy crap 8-0…that is the sucky one that Redline was using? Does it still have the little yellow warning sticker on it?

    Aaron

  35. Ghost Rider March 15, 2009 9:05 am 

    Hmm…not the one I would have chosen for a cargo hauler. Apparently, we’re not ready for EU-spec brakes!

    I wonder if that’s also behind the conservative cargo ratings? “Don’t overload this…the front brake might not help you stop!”

  36. RL March 15, 2009 9:08 am 

    Here’s the thing guys, I’ve ridden many bikes with roller brakes. I used to work for an LBS and we had many bikes come through with those kinds of brakes. I understand they aren’t the most powerful at stopping, but the one that’s one the Cargo T…yes I’m aware from what I’ve read that its the same model as the R530 brake, but I am able to stop and have yet to be disappointed with the power.

  37. RL March 15, 2009 9:15 am 

    Here’s we are with my husky 207lbs body, 2, 100lb (each kid) cargo….

    DSC_0099

    It can carry and yes I was able to stop.

  38. 2whls3spds March 15, 2009 10:50 am 

    I wonder if they modified it from the one that was on the R530. The one on it had some sort of “safety” device that modulated the braking power to keep from locking it up. I am over 400 miles from home at the moment so I can’t look at it and see what the difference was. I do know that the IM70F stops A LOT better. I weigh in around 215# and quite often have 40#+ of groceries on board. The IM70F is the brake that Bakefiets and Workcycles specify for their cargo bikes. I will have to take a closer look when I get home in a few weeks. I doubt I will ever see a Cargo-T in person unless I special order one.

    Aaron

  39. Brent Shultz March 15, 2009 8:01 pm 

    Amazing, the proliferation of cargo bikes here in the US of A. For once a trend that I can get behind!

  40. Clancy March 16, 2009 7:48 am 

    I really like this design. Some many cool features. The headset lock is cool. I wonder if those can be bought seperately.

  41. Val March 16, 2009 10:12 am 

    Wow – nice to see so much interest in this bike. Just to clear up a few issues; yes, it is a direct copy of the Batavus Personal Delivery bike, made as a Troker at Batavus’ suggestion, and with their permission. The frame dimensions and geometry are identical to the Personal Delilvery, for the same ride at a much lower cost. It does not have all the fine Dutch accessories, but we are hopng to make some of these available in the future. As far as the weight limits are concerned, they really have nothing to do with the capacity of the racks; they are an estimation of how much our legal departmeant feels we can recommend that ordinary riders will be able to maneuver with. The racks are also direct copies of the Dutch racks, and what the Dutch haul on them has to be seen to be believed (we are also hoping to make the racks available individually in the future). The fork lock should be available as a repair part, but it will not be compatible with most bikes (you would need a 1″ threaded steer tube, and it adds about 3/4″ to the stack height of a normal headset). As far as the brakes are concerned, the proof is in the riding, and I am sure we can rely on RL to not only put the bike to the test, but also to give us an honest assessment. I know that we have been shipping these out to shops at a relatively rapid rate since we got them last week (yep, it’s that new!), so there is a good chance that an LBS near you has one to test ride. It never hurts to ask, anyway. @ Brent: Amen!

  42. 2whls3spds March 16, 2009 5:01 pm 

    @Val…if it is the same brake that was on the Redline R530 it will be insufficient, unless for some reason the ones that Ghostrider and I had were some how defective. I would have thought the larger IM70F would have been a better choice. My dealer is unlikely to have any Torker model in stock. But I can hope.

    Aaron

  43. DrMekon March 17, 2009 12:33 am 

    Thanks for clearing that up. Lovely bikes, the personal bikes. I just wish they did the cargo in 7 or 8 speed.

  44. Chip Haynes March 17, 2009 8:16 am 

    That’s a GREAT looking bike! We need millions of them here in the US. I particularly like the little horizontal “bottom tube” on the frame. Perfect for picking the bike up when the need arises.

  45. Stuart M. March 18, 2009 11:05 pm 

    That is a beautiful heavy duty bike. It is a bit lighter than the Yuba Mundo, but looks every bit as tough. I am surprised Batavus would allow a Chinese knock-off of their bike to be made. I wish I had some heavy cargo to haul, so I could buy one of these Torker T’s. Question: does the front tire have those little ridges on it to grip a dynamo’s wheelie thing?

  46. Val March 19, 2009 9:23 am 

    Stuart: They certainly do.

  47. Ghost Rider March 19, 2009 10:25 am 

    Val, thanks for offering your insight to the Cargo T. This bike is getting LOTS of positive attention around the Web…I hope one shows up in the Tampa area so I can test-ride it!

  48. Dan April 5, 2009 10:39 am 

    I’m curious as to the function of the steerer lock. Is it just for security? Then why all of the adjustment points? Hope you cover this in the full review.

  49. Ghost Rider April 5, 2009 3:20 pm 

    Dan, the steerer lock isn’t for security…it’s to keep the front end from flopping around as cargo is loaded onto the front rack. I guess you could “fine tune” the lock depending on the load, but I haven’t played with the device in real life. It may just be On/Off.

  50. Tom October 12, 2009 7:12 am 

    Val,
    Is the Cargo-T seatpost and frame size the same as the Personal Delivery? I had a Batavus Personal Delivery available for a test ride (oddly enough) and it fit me fine. I wanted to know because I plan to order the Cargo-T sight unseen.

    Thanks!

  51. J July 15, 2011 9:51 pm 

    I see now you can get the front rack individually (which is awesome bc its WAY cheaper than the other current offerings in the states)…

    I see the stock setup has it reclined quite a bit. Is the angle pretty fixed by the mounting gear? Or can you level it out by changing mounting points?

    Looking to put it on a 700c bike… hows the clearance? Think it will fit?

  52. RL July 15, 2011 10:10 pm 

    J,

    You can level it out, I had it set to the 700c mounting point.

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