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Thread: Sun cargo bike

  1. #201
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    I've just mounted an xtracycle onto a Trek aluminum womens cruiser and it's fantastic for the step-thru capability!

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    Senior Member lemondirgopie's Avatar
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    Hey, just wanted to add my opinion about this bike. I got to give it a short test ride at a bike shop in San Clemente.
    There were two big problems I had with it:
    -The handlebars seemed weird to me. They were at an uncomfortable angle that I could see getting tiring very easily. It's possible that it's better for people with wider shoulders (my boyfriend didn't seem to notice it as much), though it was the first thing that stood out to me.
    -The cheap components were very evident. The shifting was clunky and all-around not good and it had a cheap feel to it.

    Despite those complaints, I think that something like this would be a good cheap option for someone that wants a cargo bike but either can't afford the other options or doesn't have the knowledge or skills to put together an xtracycle kit. It's true that switching out components can get expensive, adding up sometimes to as much as another bike, but I could see that the tiered payment option that switching out components gradually could be good for some.
    I don't think I would buy this bike (we are instead looking at the Yuba Mundo -- we tried one with the electric option and it just ate up the hills there) but I could see why others might.
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  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemondirgopie View Post
    Hey, just wanted to add my opinion about this bike. I got to give it a short test ride at a bike shop in San Clemente.
    There were two big problems I had with it:
    -The handlebars seemed weird to me. They were at an uncomfortable angle that I could see getting tiring very easily. It's possible that it's better for people with wider shoulders (my boyfriend didn't seem to notice it as much), though it was the first thing that stood out to me.
    -The cheap components were very evident. The shifting was clunky and all-around not good and it had a cheap feel to it.

    Despite those complaints, I think that something like this would be a good cheap option for someone that wants a cargo bike but either can't afford the other options or doesn't have the knowledge or skills to put together an xtracycle kit. It's true that switching out components can get expensive, adding up sometimes to as much as another bike, but I could see that the tiered payment option that switching out components gradually could be good for some.
    I don't think I would buy this bike (we are instead looking at the Yuba Mundo -- we tried one with the electric option and it just ate up the hills there) but I could see why others might.
    Hey Lemon

    I tried to private message you but cant since I dont have enough post.Anyway if your really interested in a Yuba please email me for information on a great deal on one.I'm not a Dealer or any type of reseller,an individual.

    Thanks Tim.

    ryan.tim18@yahoo.com

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    I'm intrigued by this bike. I need to get a bike, and this may well be the one. Any updates on how it's performing would be very welcome.

    Any further news on the whole fenders saga? Has anyone tried to fenderize it?

    Since it has got non-standard axle widths and a 7-speed cassette, how will this effect upgrading drivetrain parts? This looks like an awesome frame, and of course it's a killer price - but & speed stuff is quite old? 7 speeds actually sounds to me a lot more sane than ten - but I'd eventually go nuts with a bike I'm using every day that isn't shifting smoothly. I'm also worried about needing to replace the hubs and bottom bracket. Someone comfort me, quickly.

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    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galvinator View Post

    Since it has got non-standard axle widths and a 7-speed cassette, how will this effect upgrading drivetrain parts? This looks like an awesome frame, and of course it's a killer price - but & speed stuff is quite old? 7 speeds actually sounds to me a lot more sane than ten - but I'd eventually go nuts with a bike I'm using every day that isn't shifting smoothly.
    I've got two bikes with Shimano 7-speed Megarange clusters and they are kinda hard to shift, even with a good derailleur. I would never ever ever get another bike with that, my 9-speed hybrid shifts like a dream, even with the crappy grips. I'd stay far away from any bike that would only be suitable after upgrades, and the Sun Cargo bike is not even upgradeable to a better drivechain anyway.

    My three cents.

  6. #206
    David H. HDavidH's Avatar
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    For the newbies or non-do it yourselfer's out there don't believe everything you read. I respectfully think andychrist is taking his internet handle a bit too seriously. If someone is having trouble with their 7-spd "Mega-Range" shimano freewheel please rest assured that this freewheel has been around for quite awhile now and is a great choice for having a low granny gear within the confines of only 7 gears to choose from and shifts just fine if set up correctly. Often times a rear derailer can be more of the issue and that can be upgraded if not adjusted to suit you. Speaking of which; There is NO SUCH THING as a bike that is not upgradeable. We have already read and been given links by the great folks here that you can get 12mm adapters if you choose to trade out the rear wheelset. Just one small example of the many ways you can upgrade. Bikes are so great because they can give you an entry into more self-sustained habits like maintenance and repairs. Your LBS will usually be happy too if you want to pay them to upgrade components after these wear out.
    This is a great thread. I have been drooling on an Atlas down at my local store. I may have to break down and get it now that I am employed again...

  7. #207
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Just wanted to bump this thread, the bike is on sale now for $508 + shipping... http://www.upgradecycle.com/sun-bicy...rgo-51543.html

    Quote Originally Posted by HDavidH View Post
    There is NO SUCH THING as a bike that is not upgradeable. We have already read and been given links by the great folks here that you can get 12mm adapters if you choose to trade out the rear wheelset. Just one small example of the many ways you can upgrade. Bikes are so great because they can give you an entry into more self-sustained habits like maintenance and repairs. Your LBS will usually be happy too if you want to pay them to upgrade components after these wear out.
    This is a great thread. I have been drooling on an Atlas down at my local store. I may have to break down and get it now that I am employed again...
    I agree, this thread is great! And as a technical guy, I don't have problems with upgrading the bike as things break, but there are those who would rather spend the money up front and not have to worry about it (which I can understand as well). This would be a great bike for people who can wrench for themselves.

    I'm still eyeballing this, more than a year later... hmmm.

  8. #208
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    I looked at this bike but my shop wanted $699 for it and only $200 more for a Yuba Mundo they had in stock...which made it an obvious decision for me. I like the look of the sun tho!

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    hi everyone.... this is a great forum and i've spent much time looking at different options as to what could work and it took several weeks to find that design logic da bomb frame set up for a 4 stroke. not being a bike builder and not knowing all the components that could fit it would be very easy for me to end up with several boxes of extra parts. i know it would be easier to use a electric midrive like a stoke monkey or that mid drive from uban commuter and not have to do a hack job gas powered ( i suspect all purist over here) but i don't like the idea of riding around with a grand worth of batteries and hoping i can get a thousand discharge cycles out of it. so i suppose my question would be on this atlas cargo do any of u think it's possible to cut the middle tube out from behind the seat post going down to the bottom tube in front of the rear tire and welding 1/4 in. steel plate for the a motor mount on top of the 2 tubes coming from the pedal crank all the way back to where the kickstand is and 1/4 in. verticle gusset between the motor mount and bottom seat post and another gusset on the top tube behind the seat post. not being an engineer i don't know if it could hold up or weaken the frame as i would like to stuff a 35cc robin suburu or a 50 cc honda in that area behind the seat post. i'm from cali and know it's gonna be a m2 drivers license one time registration and dot sticker helmet as well as keep it under 30 mph

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    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2dialed View Post
    hi everyone.... this is a great forum and i've spent much time looking at different options as to what could work and it took several weeks to find that design logic da bomb frame set up for a 4 stroke. not being a bike builder and not knowing all the components that could fit it would be very easy for me to end up with several boxes of extra parts. i know it would be easier to use a electric midrive like a stoke monkey or that mid drive from uban commuter and not have to do a hack job gas powered ( i suspect all purist over here) but i don't like the idea of riding around with a grand worth of batteries and hoping i can get a thousand discharge cycles out of it. so i suppose my question would be on this atlas cargo do any of u think it's possible to cut the middle tube out from behind the seat post going down to the bottom tube in front of the rear tire and welding 1/4 in. steel plate for the a motor mount on top of the 2 tubes coming from the pedal crank all the way back to where the kickstand is and 1/4 in. verticle gusset between the motor mount and bottom seat post and another gusset on the top tube behind the seat post. not being an engineer i don't know if it could hold up or weaken the frame as i would like to stuff a 35cc robin suburu or a 50 cc honda in that area behind the seat post. i'm from cali and know it's gonna be a m2 drivers license one time registration and dot sticker helmet as well as keep it under 30 mph
    As someone who has biult more than one gas-powered bike, I'd advise against it for a cargo bike, for a few reasons. First, the way they're geared is for speed, i.e. no torque, which doesn't help at all. If you gear it down low enough to pull, then it won't have any top end. An alternative would be to connect it to the crankset and use the bike's drivetrain (sickbikeparts.com sells a jackshaft kit to do this) but it's expensive, and I gaurantee the stock freewheel wouldn't hold up to a gas engine for long.

    Second, they're a PITA to fit, they're messy, loud, and you wouldn't want to ride one for extended periods of time. Fun for a short-distance cruiser, yes, but not practical for a utility bike.

    Electric is more expensive, yes, but not that bad if you use SLA batteries and piece it together yourself.

  11. #211
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDavidH View Post
    There is NO SUCH THING as a bike that is not upgradeable.
    True, but not everybody wants to buy a bike that needs upgrading and constant maintenance out the box. Shimano freewheels are decent, but they're not indestructable. I'd replace the rear wheel with a cassette hub as soon as possible, maybe even a 135mm tandem hub if you can afford it.

    Still, just the frame and fork are worth more than $500, so if you buy it and immediately strip it/upgrade it, it's still cheaper than a Big Dummy. I wouldn't mind doing it, but that's because I do all my own wrenching to save money.

    My take on it: here's what I'd do with one.
    1. Rebuild wheels with real hubs, i.e. dynohub front and cassette rear... use the same rims.
    2. Replace seat with something better
    3. Replace shifters with triggers (I hate gripshift)
    4. Ride the snot out of it

  12. #212
    Senior Member Mauriceloridans's Avatar
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    Hey Funky, the guy that owns Mid City Cycles in Baton Rouge (Government St) rides a Sun Atlas. If you're in the neighborhood, check it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    OK, I've done it... I know I change my mind daily, and I can't decide what I want but I just pulled the trigger. Universal Cycles has black Big Dummy frames in stock for $775 if you use the price match feature. I ordered a 22". No more doubts. It should be here by next weekend, but it will be several weeks before I finish building it up.
    I know that this is a late reply and possibly irrelevant now, but may I ask who did you price match against? I seem to be as fickle as you, and recently added the BD to my short list.

  14. #214
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, the BD didn't work out for me in the end. Although, if I ever move to a place with some larger storage area I might give it a shot again. I just answered your email, BTW.

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    J&B has these on daily special so I said why the hell not and ordered one to check out. It arrived by truck, next day. We had it together within hours (in between our normal customer load of tune-ups and flat fixes.) I gave my wife a ride home after we closed and then we took our three year old for a spin around the block. They sat on the included rear rack and I huffed away. If you cant tell, so far, I like it lots.

    To answer some of the questions/subjects/etc brought up previously:

    Yes, the hubs are disc-ready, both front and rear.

    Components are cheap, sure, but that's a big selling point to me. You can get your foot in the door of the world of cargo bikes with a small initial investment and upgrade over time. I dont like gripshifters but I dont hate these enough to swap them out. I've used and installed cheaper shifters. RD, FD, crank, brakes, etc, all cheap, but they work fine for their stated purpose. Besides, 7 speed is the perfect drivetrain for a UTILITY cycle IMO.

    YES, you can order the frame only, absolutely, though stock looks low, like very low, like 4 left in all of J&B's warehouses. If someone walked into my shop and asked for just the frame, I'd sell it for around $325 depending upon freight costs.

    Personally I think a 14mm rear axle is friggin brilliant. It's a standard BMX size so it's not like they're forging a new path in regards to axle sizes, and it's a great way to avoid bent axles that we all know has been way too common with the freewheel hub design.

    I am always wary of the one-size-fits-all thing being that I am 6ft4 and my wife is 5ft5. Good news! We both are comfortable enough on it for short trips. Obviously we each have different bikes for our longer rides, but to haul the kids to school / pick up groceries / etc, we are both very comfy on this frame. (I tried another of J&B's one-size frames, the Bully, and as much as I liked the concept there was no way I could ride it. I am very happily surprised this is not the case here.)

    The racks are cheap enough to have a couple different ones customized to whatever purpose. We are probably going to order a second rack to have onhand. With the quick release rack mounts we can just swap them out whenever. One will have 2 child carrier seats bolted straight to the integrated deck on the rack, and another we're not sure yet. A blank canvas to scheme with? Bolt on beer coolers? Portable hot dog cart? Mobile bike repair shop? Who knows.

    Any other questions, feel free to ask!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyStickman View Post
    ... Shimano freewheels are decent, but they're not indestructable. I'd replace the rear wheel with a cassette hub as soon as possible, maybe even a 135mm tandem hub if you can afford it....
    I completely disagree. Generally freewheels are built around 7 speed clusters (or perhaps 6 or even 5). This makes for a more symetrical wheel, meaning it's stronger. You can use a larger gear cluster by upgrading to a cassette, but the hub will be more off center and thus the wheel will be weaker (the drive side spokes on a 8/9/10 spd cassette will generally be more vertical and will also be tighter tensioned= an imbalance between drive side and non-drive side = weakness).

    Tandem hubs/wheels are generally stronger than regular hubs/wheels because they have either 40 or 48 spokes. The extra spokes make up for their inherent geometrical weakness of the more off-center wheel.

    Also, a 7 spd freewheel often has the gear range of a 9 spd cassette, with only slightly larger steps between gears. Unless you're racing and cadence is of utmost importance, the steps most likely won't matter.
    Last edited by hopperja; 09-06-12 at 11:31 PM.
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    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    I completely disagree. Generally freewheels are built around 7 speed clusters (or perhaps 6 or even 5). This makes for a more symetrical wheel, meaning it's stronger. You can use a larger gear cluster by upgrading to a cassette, but the hub will be more off center and thus the wheel will be weaker (the drive side spokes on a 8/9/10 spd cassette will generally be more vertical and will also be tighter tensioned= an imbalance between drive side and non-drive side = weakness).
    I'm well versed in wheel building, and I guess with 14mm axles, you could just keep replacing the freewheels as they self-destruct, or spend some money for a quality one. I personally like the strength advantages and weight benefits of cassettes, but my touring/commuter bike has a 7-speed-only cassette body, which makes for a much stronger wheel (less dish) than 9/10 speed ones. I'm even thinking of picking up some NOS 7-speed cassette hubs to keep me going indefinitely. As long as they make parts for them...

    Tandem hubs/wheels are generally stronger than regular hubs/wheels because they have either 40 or 48 spokes. The extra spokes make up for their inherent geometrical weakness of the more off-center wheel.
    The cheaper ones just have more holes, but the better ones will have sturdier axles and bearings as well. This is a budget bike, though... those wheels would cost more than the bike itself.

    Also, a 7 spd freewheel often has the gear range of a 9 spd cassette, with only slightly larger steps between gears. Unless you're racing and cadence is of utmost importance, the steps most likely won't matter.
    Range has nothing to do with how many gears it has, you can get cassettes or freewheels in a huge number of combinations. If anything, a cassette will have wider range because you can go all the way down to an 11t cog, while freewheels are usually limited to 13 or 14t. I've seen large cogs on both up to 34t. I'm not advising cassettes for performance issues, it's strictly for mechanical durability of the mechanism. I've destroyed a LOT of freewheels, have yet to kill a cassette hub. I think a 7-speed cassette is just about perfect, for reasons you specified (less dish) and durability (not bending axles or destroying freewheels).

    (edit)
    As an afterthought, they never made 7-sp cassette tandem hubs, or disk hubs, for that matter. You could actually convert a newer hub to use an older freewheel body, and re-space the axle... but that's a lot of work. What would be easier is using one of the newer downhill MTB hubs, that have 12mm through-axles and ISO disk mounts. Could probably get away with 36 spokes with a hub like that, with off-the-shelf parts. Most disk hubs have the left flange a little more inboard, which helps with dish as well.

    Blah. Sorry for geeking out on wheel stuff.
    (/edit)
    Last edited by FunkyStickman; 09-08-12 at 09:59 PM.

  18. #218
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, I checked to see what the stock Big Dummy uses. Well, the stock Surly Big Dummy uses a 9sp cassette on a Shimano Deore 36h hub. Anybody hear of the stock BD wheels breaking? (honest question, I'm not trolling... I'd like to know if so)

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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyStickman View Post
    ... I'm not advising cassettes for performance issues, it's strictly for mechanical durability of the mechanism. I've destroyed a LOT of freewheels, have yet to kill a cassette hub. I think a 7-speed cassette is just about perfect, for reasons you specified (less dish) and durability (not bending axles or destroying freewheels)...
    Interesting... If I'm reading correctly, you're saying a 7spd cassette is more durable than a 7spd freehub set-up. All things being equal, ie, dish, spoke length, tension, etc, I'd think they'd be roughly the same. I wonder why the difference? Any thoughts?
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    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I think you meant cassette vs. freewheel? They solve a few problems, actually. Cassette hubs have the bearing all the way outboard, which makes the axle nearly impossible to bend. (I've bent a few, and I'm not a heavy guy) Second is weight... they're a lot lighter. Third (and this is what I hate) is that freewheels have another set of bearings inside, which you can't rebuild. It doesn't take long for them to get full of grime and fall apart. I had a Shimano one that literally came apart in pieces after about 1000 miles. I bought a Sunrace one to replace it, it seems to have held up much better, but still doesn't solve the bending axle problem. If the hub dimensions are the same, then a cassette hub is better, no question. Thus my affinity for 7-speed cassettes.

    Basically, the axles don't bend, they last longer, and if they do wear out, you can replace the freehub/cassette body.

    Ultimately, I'd ride this bike as-is, but understand it will eventually need parts replaced if you put any mileage on it. When (not if) the freewheel goes, replace it with something stronger like a Sunrace. The Sun Cargo's 14mm axle would solve the bending problem, so you'd just have to replace the freewheels when they wear out. Weight isn't really an issue on this bike.

    I have just discovered a company DNP that makes freewheels with 11t cogs and up to 10-speed! Crazy. Needs a special removal tool.

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/6/prweb8609616.htm

    http://www.dnp.com.tw/

    http://www.ebikestop.com/freewheel_m...ltManufact=849
    Last edited by FunkyStickman; 09-09-12 at 07:40 AM.

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    Towed my raleigh three speed home from the shop today simply by putting the front wheel in the "hoodie" bag and bungeeing the wheel for some structure. Worked...OK, but not great. I do have to say that I've never gotten that much clearance from motorists while being passed!

  22. #222
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyStickman View Post
    As an afterthought, they never made 7-sp cassette tandem hubs, or disk hubs, for that matter.
    Actually Shimano made a 7-speed cassette tandem hub at one time, the FH-HF05. I built my LWB cargo 'bent around one on a 40 spoke jobbie with a Mavic T 520 rim. Whole wheel was only $100 at the time (well without the cassette. Threw on a 11-34T MegaRange for cheap.) It has since been obsolesced, as have all Shimano 7-speed components, so when the free hub on mine went south after only 12,000 miles, I replaced the whole wheel with a new one from Handspun incorporating Shimano's latest 9-speed tandem hub, the FH-HF08. Cost me a couple of clams for the wheel alone, and then I had to upgrade the rest of the drive train to 9-speed as well, d'oh! Incidentally, tandem wheels' hub axles are generally 145 - 165mm across, so that they have virtually no dish. It is that which makes them so strong, not just the increased number of spokes. Of course you can't just drop in a tandem wheel into any bike, you have to have dropouts spaced for it, mine are at 145mm.
    Last edited by andychrist; 09-14-12 at 01:15 AM. Reason: Part numbers

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    It has been a while since anyone has talked about this bike. For those of you who have one, how is it working out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ted m View Post
    It has been a while since anyone has talked about this bike. For those of you who have one, how is it working out?
    I ended up using our trailer more than the Sun Cargo referenced earlier in this thread. I sold the Sun.

    A month ago, I decided I missed the Sun and regretted selling it. So I special ordered another one, exact same bike as the first one.

    Disappointing.

    The welds on the new bike were atrocious in quality and far inferior to the bike I bought when the Cargo was released. Extremely sloppy, borderline structurally inadequate in a couple of places in my opinion. The day I picked up the second bike it was raining and I was in a hurry, and I didn't go over the bike with a fine toothed comb. A couple of days later when I had a chance to go over the bike, found out how bad the welds were. When I say poor welds, I mean overpenetrated in some areas, underpenetrated in others, inconsistent bead thickness. Splatter in a few spots, etc. Looked like a drunk guy who just learned to weld threw the bike together at a quarter to quitting time.

    I contacted Sun and my local dealer. Both were responsive to my concerns about the crummy welds. My dealer ended up working with Sun to have a replacement bike shipped at no charge.

    Two weeks later (last week), the replacement bike came in.

    The welds are significantly better than bike #2, but not to the standard of bike #1. The paint on bike 3 has a fair number of "fish-eye" spots in it. This is likely due to a contaminant on the metal prior to paint and poor surface prep. It isn't the end of the world, but again, in comparison to my original bike, bike #3 shows evidence of less attention to detail. Lesser paint and weld quality. Now, the welding job on bike #3 is better than bike #2, and the welds look structurally sound. So I decided not to continue to make it an issue. My fear was that if I pressed them, and they sent yet another bike, I may get one worse than the one I now have. It was good enough to live with.

    So, although I love the bike in concept, I have to say I have mixed feelings now that I've owned three examples. It's VERY apparent when you look at the bike with a critical eye that you are getting what you pay for. For example, my 12 year old Specialized Hardrock mountain bike, although it cost less than $400 new a dozen years ago, looks like it cost 3 times what the Sun does when compared side by side. The build quality is just way better. Looking closely at the Sun, it is very apparent that you have a bike made to a low price point. In fairness, the bike is far less expensive than a Yuba Mundo or Surly Big Dummy.

    I guess I would say that the bike is still a solid buy for the $600 I paid for my recent one. If you can overlook shoddy build quality, and can overlook some flaws in this area, you get a lot of function for the money. If you're picky, and you think you're going to get a Big Dummy for a third of the money, you aren't. I'd probably give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

    On my new bike, I'm using the factory rack instead of ordering xtracycle parts. Works fine. I have the Yepp child seat and seat base which mount right to the OEM Sun rear rack without a problem. I bought these accessories on Amazon at the best price I could find after some searching around.

    I wish there was more of a middle ground available. I'd gladly pay $100 more for the Atlas Cargo if they'd hire someone who knew how to put out a decent weld job, and if they'd paint the bike a little better. If you could buy a $775 Atlas Cargo with better build quality, it would be a steal. This being said, I still think the bike is a bargain compared to a $1200+ Mundo, even with it's warts, unless you have to carry super heavy payloads on a regular basis.

    Thumbs up to Sun and to Bike Stop in Lee's Summit, Missouri for being easy to work with on the replacement bike. Too bad even the hand selected replacement bike is apparently built to a little lower standard than my original.

    If you have any other questions, let me know. I think ordering one of these is a little bit of a crap shoot. You may or may not get a decent one. Out of three bikes, I got one good one, one awful one, and one pretty decent one.
    Last edited by syncro87; 05-20-13 at 08:11 AM. Reason: more detail

  25. #225
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I'm glad to read this warning against it. I guess the price was too good to be true.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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