Posts Tagged With: working bike

E-cargo Part 2

Cargo bikes are great for transporting much more than conventional bicycles and with that advantage, of course, there is a downside – they are bigger and therefore heavier to pedal. For several years, I have been happy to do the extra work required in exchange for that benefit and have done most of my short distance grocery and other shopping trips with my cargo bike, but have not used the bike as much as I would have liked for longer trips.

In December,  2014, a new bike, the Biktrix Juggernaut, was introduced to Saskatoon, featuring an electric mid-drive. It was the mid-drive system used on that bicycle that caught my interest and the following summer, I contacted Biktrix owner, Roshan Thomas, and arranged to go for a test spin on a bike equipped with the Bafang system.

Wow – what a hoot that was, and it got me thinking about its application on a cargo bike. While short distance shopping trips are not difficult on a cargo bike, longer distances can be quite daunting due to the extra weight of a heavier bike plus its cargo. As one of my friends commented, electric assist changes a cargo bike into a regular bike when considering the effort involved. I decided to give the idea a try on the new bike that I was building.


The Bafang mid-drive system has been on the market a relatively short period of time but has already received a lot of consumer attention and mainly good reviews. It is available in several models – after discussions with Roshan, I chose the mid range BBS02 36 volt 500 watt unit, and coupled it with a Panasonic 36 volt 14.5Ah lithium battery pack for my new cargo bike.

Installing the conversion is not difficult. Bearings, bearing shells and crank are all removed from the bottom bracket and the drive unit slides in. Controls include throttle, on/off/power level selector and brake levers that cut power when  brakes are applied. A large readout panel displays speed, distance travelled, power level selected and battery level. The unit is programmed to engage when the crank is pedalled forward or when the throttle is used. Other programming options are available.

Unlike rear hub electric motors, mid-drive systems retain the advantage of whatever range of gearing that  a bike may have. They can be coupled with rear derailleur systems or with internal geared hubs. Derailleur systems are inexpensive but require more attention in shifting when using electric assist, and can result in jerky and stressed gear changes. Internal hubs eliminate that concern and I chose another newcomer on the market, the Nuvinci N360 continually variable hub – it represents the latest in technology.


This is what the new drive system and rear hub looked like on the new bike.


The battery is mounted on a rear carrier, over top of the drive wheel. The Bafang unit is not obtrusive – rather it looks like it belongs where it is.

This is the view from the cockpit. The Bafang read-out is large and easy to read. The NuVinci twist-grip shifter displays speed settings as a gradient.

So, how does it work? It is a bit early for a full assessment but so far, I am very pleased with the results. The Bafang powers the bike very well and the NuVinci hub makes changing speeds a breeze. After  more than 30 kilometres, the battery is still at 80% charge. I have been out for several short distance shopping trips and have travelled in record time. The bike moves along easily at 25 km/hr, even with a load of groceries on board. I have not tried for a top speed but have been over 30 km/hr, which for a cargo bike. is moving right along!

More photos to follow in the next post, and a follow-up after the bike has logged a few miles and done some work to earn its keep. Cheers.


Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moustachio – the transformation is complete


Once the components were chosen, assembly could take place. Wheels were greased and trued. Duro Sierra tires were selected – puncture resistant, with reflective sidewalls. Derailleurs were installed – the front one original and the rear one new – a Shimano Alivio RD-M410. Cabling was configured for derailleurs and brakes.  Wrap-around fenders and a sturdy rear carrier were included in the mix, adding functionality and style. My Lion Bellworks bell was transferred from the Expediter light duty cargo bike to the new city bike.

Then for a new experience – wrapping the moustache handlebars. Before tackling the job, I went online and discovered that there are as many experts on the topic as there ways to wrap handlebars. By combining the ideas and approaches that seemed to make the most sense to me, the job was completed and the results very satisfying.

Next up – a test ride, followed by a photo shoot. The test ride proved exhilarating – the light frame and narrow tires coupled with the ability to “get down” on the moustache bars produces a fun ride that turns heads when you stop long enough for folks to appreciate it. Great fun.






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Rescued Spring 2013

During the spring season of 2013, sixteen bicycles have been “rescued” and given a new life, much to the delight of their new owners.

IMG_0138 IMG_0141 IMG_7396 IMG_7400 IMG_7436 IMG_7445 IMG_7440IMG_7448IMG_7453IMG_7458IMG_7459IMG_7463IMG_7469 IMG_7503IMG_7471IMG_7502 IMG_7504IMG_7507IMG_7510IMG_7512IMG_7514IMG_7517IMG_7518IMG_7521IMG_7522IMG_7523IMG_7524 IMG_7897IMG_7525 IMG_7898IMG_7894IMG_7895 IMG_7899IMG_7945IMG_7900IMG_7922IMG_7924 IMG_7949

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First Cargobike

First Cargobike

Ready for the street

Ready for the street

Double kickstand made from front forks

Double kickstand made from front forks

Front forks used for cargo bay bracing

Front forks used for cargo bay bracing

Rear stays used for bracing cargo bay

Rear stays used for bracing cargo bay

Steering linkage using an Atomic Zombie "conductor"

Steering linkage using an Atomic Zombie “conductor”

For whom the bell chimes

For whom the bell chimes

My brass Lion Bellworks bicycle bell – the best sounding bell in town!!

Shortened front forks

Shortened front forks

Ever since I first encountered cargo bikes on the internet a few years ago, they have captured my imagination. Finally this past winter, while waiting for some special order components for the recumbent tricycle that was on the go, I decided to try my hand at building one. As the winter dragged on, there was ample time to contemplate so many aspects of the design. I wanted to maximize the use of parts of old bikes and so they found their way into supports for the cargo bay as well as a double legged stand. Many of the ideas came from my limited experience with the designs that I purchased from, most notably the “conductor” used in the steering assemblage. The front forks were shortened to accommodate a 20 inch wheel, following the directions from Atomic Zombie.

The cargo bike seemed like the perfect place to show off the wonderful brass bike bell that I won during the winter in a poetry contest hosted by The bell is the product of Lion – the sustained ring that it produces does wonders for the soul and reminds one to slow down and enjoy all of our senses when riding – the Zen of cargo-bike riding!!

Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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