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  1. #1
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Expanding in Cargo cycle manufacturing

    OK,

    One or two of you here on Bike forums are already aware that during the new year I am expanding my current small business into the manufacture of Cargo Cycles; so I would appreciate a little input from you guys.

    Currently I have a one man, on-site mechanical engineering business, travelling to the clients' premises and undertaking; welding and fabrication, the restoration of vintage farm machinery to show condition, along with specialist mechanical and hydraulic repairs, installations, and short batch run repeatable pipe bending, which also includes the occosional contract in the North Sea's Off-Shore energy fields, etc.

    However, even during this dire economic recession I have reached an expand or die situation; too much work for me to undertake and complete alone, but not exactly enough for two us. The plan is to expand by taking on my 22 year old son, to train him up and help me out a little in my trade, for him to also take on and manage the Cargo-Cycles side of things and the day to day administration of my side of things. I have already secured the rights to manufactiure from the official receivers of one failed UK Cargo cycle company, and the exclusive licence to manfacturer and sell an under marketed cargo cycle conversion kit. I also have on the drawing board, and in the prototype fabrication stages a modular set of mix and match fabrications that can be picked off the shelf to assemble; up right Delta and recumberant Tadpole cargo trikes, including a front plus rear loader up right quad, and rear loader recumberant quad. Wherever possible, optimisation will be our key, with standard componants (albeit several bespoke and unique to our products) across the range: frames and fabrications, Wheels, Disc brakes, gear hubs, etc.


    I am also considering manufacturing off the shelf bolt on Long bike front loader conversion kits, and Longtail rear loader, tadpole and delta trike conversion kits to fit donor frames, etc.

    I would like to know what you guys would like to see in the Cargo cycle world; completely assembled? self assembly kits? and what options you would like; panel boxes? in built lighting systems fenders/mudguard? etc.
    Last edited by Gareth; 12-10-09 at 01:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Trailer Nut BossCat's Avatar
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    Hi Gareth,

    Hope all goes well with the new bussiness and training up the lad

    I was just wondering have you got? or have you thought of doing a website with pics and lists etc of all type of cargo/trailer stuff you offer.

    Regards
    Tom

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BossCat View Post
    Hi Gareth,

    Hope all goes well with the new bussiness and training up the lad

    I was just wondering have you got? or have you thought of doing a website with pics and lists etc of all type of cargo/trailer stuff you offer.

    Regards
    Tom
    Greetings Tom (I'll give you a ring tonight; if I can find your number amoungst all the other crap presently on my desk)

    Right, in answer to your questions:

    1) Official product launch date of Cargo-Cycles is on the 1st March 2010.

    2) web-site launch with photos and promo vids will be around the middle of February, with online ordering and paypal payment facilities coming on-line in early March.

    3) All Cargo cycles to be built to order from stocked off the shelf components: Point of order to point of dispatch will be 5 working days or better in standard livery; Midnight Blue, Signal yellow and metallic silver. Custom liveries by arrangement, but our aim is a maximum of 10 working days; all of my painting requirements are currently contracted out at present, and will be for some time to come due to Health & Safety regulations.

    4) Currently, my son and I are going frantically mad trying to put a minimum of 1500 KM X 100 KG pay load + 85 KG rider on each of our in-house preproduction, type approval frames, on the Norfolk, UK roads (mainly at night).

    5) So far we have made modular mix and match frames that have been assembled into the following; recumberant rear loader trike and quad, front loader tadpole trike, rear loader recumberant trike, Bicycle to (up right delta) tricycle conversion kit, front plus rear loader quad, and I have in the jigs almost ready to weld up and then assemble, a front loader long bike converstion kit frame, this will be tested as above on a donor MTB frame, both with and without the rear (delta) trike converstion kit. A rear loader Long tail conversion kit is on the drawing board and in the engineering calculations stage.

    6) Standard livery Demonstrator (ride before you buy) models will be available by appointment on the UK mainland from the 1st of March 2010.




    As you can probably imagine, it is absolutely manic here: I''ve got one more 4 day Off-shore contract, a vintage tractor restoration to complete (some lucky guy's present from his wife) and a winch trailer to repair, all before Christmas, along with everything else that we are doing on these Cargo Cycles.
    Last edited by Gareth; 12-10-09 at 01:28 PM.

  4. #4
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    How about sourcing / designing / teaming up with someone that knows what their doing to come up with a Euro compliant through the gears electric assist system?

    Cargo bikes / trikes designed around the panasonic pedelec system or other eg a lower powered Stoke Monkey type set up would be very practical where users are in hilly areas. There's plenty of hub gear systems which are easy to fit, but for cargo bikes through the gears would give greater flexibility.

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'm here in Dallas, Texas. I notice a lot of hubbub on the internet about cargo bicycles, but I see practically none of them around here. I think a lot of the US market is concentrated in a few major cities (Portland, New York, etc). That being the case, getting in touch with local potential customers could be a lot more informative for you than getting opinions from people scattered around the world, as apparently conditions and interest vary widely from place to place.

    A couple of shortcomings I see in the cargo bike industry around here relate to the business, and not to the bikes themselves. For one thing, nobody stocks any kind of cargo bike (beyond a fairly normal bike with baskets or panniers), so there's no way to test-ride one. If you buy one, you pretty much buy it sight-unseen or buy it used. Most people that aren't really into cycling don't realize they exist. The local bike stores don't stock them, so potential buyers will never think to ask for them. Local stores don't have bike racks or other facilities for bikes. With these things in mind, if you want to sell your product locally, try to get it into local bike shops, try to get your bikes into parades or into the public eye in whatever way you can, and consider promoting them to an otherwise non-cycling audience.

    Also consider riding conditions, particularly, hills. If your area is hilly, a lot of the current cargo bikes and trikes are ill-suited for that, and that leaves you a more specialized market.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  6. #6
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    talk to sammyboy he is in the UK and might have some ideas
    '82 Nishiski commuter/utility
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    looking for: De Rosa 58cm ELOS frame and fork internal cable routing

  7. #7
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    i dream of a cart to push home from mall without the need to bag groceries; this cart had to be frontloaded; bike + cart should be as small as needed to fit into a common sized elevator or fold
    say a foldable bernds cargo with detachable basket

    my 2€c

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    The UK Cargo cycle market doesn't seem to know what it wants, and so is mainly drawing on the experience of the European way of doing things.


    The majority of British retail outlets that stock cargo bikes are tending to push the Dutch style long Johns/Bakfiets and the American Long tails; often with extensive point of order to point of delivery times (as much as 3-4 months). There have been several valiant efforts by small UK manufacturers such as the now defunct Brox, and the admirable 8 Freight made by Mike Burrows of recumbent bicycle and the Olympic gold medal winning Boardman/ Lotus racing bike fame (and only 4 or 5 miles up the road from me).


    After 8 months of extensive research into the potential of the UK Cargo bicycle market and drawing on inspiration from the many smaller manufacturers, homebuilders and users both in Europe and around the world, it is my carefully considered opinion that an estimated split of 80% industrial/utility and 20% goods delivery exists, and almost all imported; therefore the potential Lionís share of the UK market is for my taking. That is why I have spent almost 6 months to date in the design, prototype build, and road test stage, and almost 9 months on the whole project. So far I already have an endurance of ; 100 kg laden, plus rider, 1500km on 6 of the 8 prototypes, which has not been an easy feat when taking into account my other commitments, and I would have really preferred 5000 km on each of the running pre-series prototypes before the production stage.


    Electric assist is high on my priorities; not as an ad lib or ad hoc after the fact and after thought conversion, but as a built in and retro fit option: requiring all of what that entails at the design stage and the final in-house production frame approval, and it is proving to be a lot more involved and challenging than it sounds.

  9. #9
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    Gareth, front or rear loader?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    1) Front loader up-right tadpole trike. 2) Up-right Delta rear loader trike. 3) Recumbent rear loader trike. 4) Front loader up-right quad. 5) Read loader up-right quad 6) Front plus rear loader up-right quad (WIP). 7) In the jigs; Recumbent rear loader quad.

    Long John and long tail conversion kits for donor frames currently on the drawing board and in the engineering calculations phases.
    Last edited by Gareth; 12-15-09 at 02:09 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth View Post
    ----Long John---- for donor frames currently on the drawing board and in the engineering calculations phases.
    interesting: LJ conversion kits are unheard of

  12. #12
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdiluca View Post
    interesting: LJ conversion kits are unheard of
    Exactly!

    That is one of the possible routes that I am currently exploring; a viable "bolt on, straight from the box Long John converstion kit, suitable for home assembly on to the front of an existing donor MTB frame.

  13. #13
    Senior Member jawnn's Avatar
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    tire and tubes

    my latest up set is that I found that no one makes a 20" thorn proof tube that is good for 1.25" tire.

    What I think the world needs is a trike that rides like a bike and that the rider can put his weight on the pedals. I know this has been done, but I don't know where they can be puchased.

    these are the nicest machines that I have ever seen http://www.stitesdesign.com/
    Last edited by jawnn; 01-11-10 at 02:09 PM. Reason: more info
    https://www.facebook.com/utilitybikeproject

  14. #14
    Gear Hub fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I'm here in Dallas, Texas. I notice a lot of hubbub on the internet about cargo bicycles, but I see practically none of them around here. I think a lot of the US market is concentrated in a few major cities (Portland, New York, etc). That being the case, getting in touch with local potential customers could be a lot more informative for you than getting opinions from people scattered around the world, as apparently conditions and interest vary widely from place to place.

    A couple of shortcomings I see in the cargo bike industry around here relate to the business, and not to the bikes themselves. For one thing, nobody stocks any kind of cargo bike (beyond a fairly normal bike with baskets or panniers), so there's no way to test-ride one. If you buy one, you pretty much buy it sight-unseen or buy it used. Most people that aren't really into cycling don't realize they exist. The local bike stores don't stock them, so potential buyers will never think to ask for them. Local stores don't have bike racks or other facilities for bikes. With these things in mind, if you want to sell your product locally, try to get it into local bike shops, try to get your bikes into parades or into the public eye in whatever way you can, and consider promoting them to an otherwise non-cycling audience.

    Also consider riding conditions, particularly, hills. If your area is hilly, a lot of the current cargo bikes and trikes are ill-suited for that, and that leaves you a more specialized market.
    I agree. I have seen one or two longtail conversions in Reno in the last year IIRC. Based on web discussions etc I just ordered a Surly Big Dummy through my LBS even though I have never even seen one in the metal so to speak. In most parts of the USA cargo bikes are as common as hen's teeth and bike shops do not carry them or know about them.

    If your average rider, or prospective rider, does not know about cargo bikes and their various configurations then they are not going to purchase one.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  15. #15
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    Gareth, if you manage to come up with a Long John conversion, how long before someone fixes one to the front of an Xtracycled bike?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Well, it had to be done, didn't it ...... Roflol.The longjohn fabrication, the longtail fabrication, and the rear delta trike converstion fabrication all got fitted to the donor/gonna frame this weekend. With a wheel base of just over 9 feet, and the turning radius of the average 40 feet semi/artic truck: Suprisingly it was actually nice to ride, and generated a few gawping looks from passers by as I wizzed around the block unladen. However, I have to strip it back to the longjohn only and continue getting the 1500 km on to the frame and fabs that I am using as a baseline.

  17. #17
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    Pictures or it didn't happen.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
    Pictures or it didn't happen.

    I will just have to accept that.

    Sorry, but no spoiler or teaser photos and videos of the development rigs during testing. ... ... if someone else spots me when I am out and about during the night time runs and then posts the pics on the web; then it is just my hard luck.

  19. #19
    Gear Hub fan
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    Gareth;

    Any thing in the works to get a US or Canadian distributor? It sounds like your conversion kits might be of interest in the long ago revolted colonies.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  20. #20
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Over the past few months I have actually been giving that some serious thought and although I have yet to finalise any plans in this direction, commonsense is telling me to negotiate and enter into Manufacturering Licencing agreements with existing Regional Cargo cycle manufacturers or local fabrication workshops. When you take into consideration the individual build costs, shipping, import duties, distribution cost, and then a profit margin for the retailer, the end user is going to be parting with a substancial amount of cash. Which sort of negates the ultimate reason for using a cargo cycle .... .... ..... to ease traffic congestion and reduce a given carbon footprint by reducing emmisions. Think about it: built here in the UK, shipped many thousands of miles in a container, then individual units handled and shipped by a distrubution company to the retailer, etc. and as these Cargo Cycle fabrications will cube out, way before they gross out in an ISO shipping containers it all adds up and defeats the primary objective. Much better to have the product built to a single worldwide standard design and build quality, but sourced locally; say 1000 mile radius, utilising local materials, and local labour. When I was in the Telescopic handler business, I worked on several; joint ventures, livery and badging, and licence to manufactuer projects: Caterpillar, Claas, Aveling-Barford, Sanderson, Shin-Mitsubushi, etc. and so I believe that this the correct path for me and my products to follow.

    This also cuts the other way; as there are several designs of Cargo Cycle from around the world that I would consider manufacturering and marketing locally here in the UK. Why cause problems by ripping off a design and ending up in a protracted and costly legal battle, when a benefical to all agreement can be made, and a much wider product presence and awarness can be achieved.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth View Post
    I will just have to accept that.

    Sorry, but no spoiler or teaser photos and videos of the development rigs during testing. ... ... if someone else spots me when I am out and about during the night time runs and then posts the pics on the web;
    then it is just my hard luck.
    Fair enough.

    I wish you success in your cargo bike manufacturing business. I'd have offered suggestions if I'd had any. I'd have a problem storing such a bike. I could use one, but feel like a regular bike with trailer is sufficient for my needs, less expensive, and fits unhitched under the stairs.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    Your comments please:

    Last edited by Gareth; 01-26-10 at 02:32 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth View Post
    Your comments please:

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Rubik's cube meets OCC?

  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I like it!
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  25. #25
    Gear Hub fan
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    Better than a lot of corporate logos I have seen that companies paid big money for. It at least lets people know what your company is all about immediately.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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