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  1. #1
    My legs hurt
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    Another "What bike?" question. Cetma as car replacement?

    Hi all,

    I posted a while back about deciding between a Yuba Mundo and a Madsen Cargo bike as a car - substitute for our families upcoming move to Milwaukee.

    I've been mulling things over, and I'm considering making a more substantial investment in a cargo bike.

    I might be able to push the budget to around $3,000 if it would work well under the following conditions: (It needs to be a serious car replacement).

    It needs to be able to haul 2 kids (currently 1.5 and 4 years old) + a weeks worth of groceries.

    Needs to work reasonably well in all kinds of weather (aside from DEEP snow) -- so it needs to be able to fit fenders, weather protection for the kids, and studded tyres.

    It needs to have a useful life as near daily ride after the kids outgrow it, or maintain it's value well enough that I won't cringe when it comes time to sell it.

    Must be comfortably ridable on packed gravel MUPs.

    Milwaukee doesn't have any major climbs, but there are plenty of gradients to contend with so climbing is a little bit of an issue.

    Aside from the usual 2-4 mile trips to the shops, etc. The bike would be used for regular (2-3 times a week) trips 18 - 20 mile round trip into town -- both with kids, and just myself. I need to manage around an hour for each leg of this kind of trip fairly reliably. I also fancy the occasional longer trip out into the countryside for a s24o with one or both of the kids (or just me).

    The family will be one - car. It will be used 90% of the time by my wife. I don't anticipate her using the bike much, if at all. It's how things are now. At the moment, I'm using a trailer, but I'd like the idea of an all - in - one solution.

    I currently have a Brompton, a alu-carbon road bike, and an old Cresswell Fold-it in the stable.

    I won't be commuting as I work from my House, but I might want to use the the bike to run some errands in between meetings.

    I'm pretty handy with a table saw so I don't mind a DIY box if needs must, but the bike needs to be ready to roll when we land from the UK with a minimum amount of futzing. I won't be able to spend weeks in my spare time building it up...

    I'm wondering if a Cetma Largo might fit the bill... Also on the list of consideration is a Rans Hammer truck, and the Big Dummy. The longtails seem more versitle as they can behave more like a 'regular bike', but are less kid friendly. I like the idea of a box where I can just toss stuff in the box and go without worrying about straps, load balancing, etc.

    The biggest problem I have is that test riding isn't possible before I plunk down the cash for Cetma, so I'm wondering if I just bought it and then hated it how much could I sell one for on the used market? How comparable is the Cetma to other box-bikes that I might be able to test ride in the UK ?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    I think the Cetma would be great for the shorter runs although I am not sure about the longer rides but I have not ridden one so take that with a grain of salt.

    Since it sounds your budget would allow it I would lean towards the big dummy, I like how my Xtracycle rides very similar to a normal bike. It also is a great kid hauler, since you are good with a saw you could build your own seat for the 4 year old and just get a commercially available one for the year and a half old. I am biased as I really love my xtracycle although I am sure the Cetma with a box would carry quite a bit more volume than the xtracycle, but you wouldn't have to pile groceries on the kids.
    Follow me as I prepare for the 2010, wait no 2012, maybe 2013 Tour Divide, ahh hell I will do it one day...
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  3. #3
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    I use my Big Dummy as my "everything" bike--I don't want to have too many, so it's my grocery getter, tourer, kid hauler and (most regularly) my commuter. I love it--as far as I'm concerned, it's the best bike in the world and absolutely perfect for my needs. It's a great jack of all trades.

    However, in your situation, I'd definitely consider the CETMA. I've long thought a folder would be a great compliment to a large cargo bike, so you're already halfway there! The build list for a complete bike is pretty decent, especially since it comes with a Brooks saddle. (I'd definitely have them upgrade the tires to something in the 2.0 to 2.25 range if possible though.)

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    Do you need to carry both kids AND the groceries at the same time?! If so, I doubt a long-tail would work for that. The Cetma (with a rear rack and panniers) would probably be your best best. If not, then XC/BD/etc would probably be more versatile in the long run.

    Also, don't discount the trailer. If you insist on "all-in-one" as you say, you'll be spending a lot of time lugging around capacity you don't need. The Cetma is awesome, I'm sure, but it's not the first bike I'd pick for a quick 20 mile ride into town a few times a week. A traler would be a great way to add grocery capacity to a long-tail when the kids are aboard, for example, while still leaving you with a bike you could take out on that solo S24O.

  5. #5
    My legs hurt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish View Post
    Do you need to carry both kids AND the groceries at the same time?! If so, I doubt a long-tail would work for that. The Cetma (with a rear rack and panniers) would probably be your best best. If not, then XC/BD/etc would probably be more versatile in the long run.

    Also, don't discount the trailer. If you insist on "all-in-one" as you say, you'll be spending a lot of time lugging around capacity you don't need. The Cetma is awesome, I'm sure, but it's not the first bike I'd pick for a quick 20 mile ride into town a few times a week. A traler would be a great way to add grocery capacity to a long-tail when the kids are aboard, for example, while still leaving you with a bike you could take out on that solo S24O.
    I tend to take the kids shopping, so kids + groceries is a requirement. I currently use a trailer + pannier for the trip. It's fine, but I'd much prefer to have them closer to me so we can interact a bit. Trailer + raincover means I can't hear what they are saying. Particularly if there is any traffic about.

    I'd only use the big bike when taking kids or running errands in and around town. Otherwise, the brompton work just fine for just me and a laptop. So, i don't have to worry about hauling the extra capacity. That said, all the cool kid stuff along the shores of lake Michigan, so it's a trip I'm going to make fairly often.

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    Ah, sorry, missed the line in your OP about the Brompton and road bike. You have more options than I thought.
    My idea was to put the kids on the BD and use the trailer for the groceries, but having the kids in front of you is way more interactive even than having them on the back of a BD, so I'd vote for Cetma.

  7. #7
    My legs hurt
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    It was a long post, easy to miss

    I like the idea of having a bike that rides 'like a bike', but I can't work out a reasonable way to keep the kids happy in foul weather on a longtail. I can definitely see the advantages of a CETMA now, but wonder how useful it will be when they outgrow the box? (in about 5 - 6 years for the youngest).

    At these prices, this would be my last bike purchase for quite a long while....

    Sniff, so long Fatbike!

  8. #8
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    If you are planning to be car-lite/car-free for any length of time I'd imagine the Cetma will come in very handy even with the kids grown. As for re-sale, I bet you could get just about what you paid for it selling it right here - people will pay a premium to avoid the wait!

    I'm sure there's a cargo bike shop in the UK where you could test ride some sort of bakfiets, even if not a Cetma. Or there's always a nice weekend trip to Amsterdam!

  9. #9
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    as you mentioned 4 becomes 6 or 7 and riding there own bike really fast.... So a bike that is perfect today may be more than you need in couple of years.....either to be replaced or to be less perfect for future.

    the 18 - 20 miles in an hour would seem to be more of a challenge for for a box bike than a long tail.....

    A bigdummy type setup with trailer might be the most flexible and long term option. bad weather kids rid in trailer, good on back of longtail
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  10. #10
    My legs hurt
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post

    the 18 - 20 miles in an hour would seem to be more of a challenge for for a box bike than a long tail.....
    That speed would be a challenge for me on my road bike! I meant one leg of the round trip, so 9 - 10 MPH average speed including stops for lights, etc.

    Sorry, that wasn't very clear on my part.

    I can do this with my trailer & kids at the moment, so I'm hoping that slight weight penalty of the CETMA would be canceled out by the improved rolling resistance of just two tyres on the ground.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ranko Kohime's Avatar
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    If you're willing to build your own box, and if you're not dead-set on having only two wheels, you may want to consider the Worksman Frontloader Tricycle.

    Well within your budget, has a 7-speed hub as an option, and low enough gearing to make hills not suck too much.

    As for doing 20 miles in two hours (even with a rest period in between), my personal experience would be that this is only really doable on flat ground, regardless of load or bike. I can average 15mph or better with MTB tires, but only on flat ground. Throw in some hills, and it drops off fast.

  12. #12
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    About interacting with children when bicycling: I use a tandem to drop off my daughter at her ballet class twice a week, and if there's traffic I can only hear her when she shouts.

  13. #13
    The wizard of ...
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    I own a CETMA and have a 4 year old and 8 year old. In the warmer months, I make a trek out to grandma's place about once a week, about 25 miles round trip, it takes nearly an hour and a half each way. I could shorten my time a little, but slow and out of shape is not how I would describe myself.I have ridden a big dummy and yuba, but I only own the CETMA.
    To be fair, the Cetma is not as light or as fast as a single bike and it is probably a little slower than a big dummy. The low load does make it super maneuverable and the box will hold both my kids and a week's groceries.
    I never hesitate when it comes to gravel trails and I did a 275km tour last summer carrying 150 pounds of gear (after eating a week's worth of food) and a 30 pound girl. I posted a link to my tour writeup at http://www.spotadventures.com/trip/view/?trip_id=272595
    I ride in all weather and use studded tires in winter and fenders year round.

  14. #14
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    I was hoping that CETMA owner might chime in...

    I read your tour report, sounds like quite the adventure! So, it seems the CETMA doesn't need asphalt to function! (

    Regarding speed: How does the CETMA compare to a bike pulling a trailer? That's probably the best litmus for me, as it's what I've been doing for the past 3 years.

    Do you find yourself using the bike much when the kids aren't in tow?

    Ranko, Thanks for the suggestion of the trike. I've considered something along those lines, but I haven't been happy with the way that box trikes corner at speed. The width puts me off a bit too.

  15. #15
    The wizard of ...
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    Definitely faster than a bike with trailer. I have had a chariot for more than a decade and it is a great product, but it does not compete with the cetma in terms of speed or capacity.
    If i anticipate the potential for carrying a load of any kind, i will bring the cetma. If not, i will bring a different bike. No matter what, the cetma is not a race bike, even though it is a sporty cargo bike. I ride the cetma more than all 6 of my other bikes combined.
    If it is just my 4 year old and I heading to the park or a friend's house, we often ride a burley picollo tag along. My 8 year old rides his own bike now for all distances. I have a follow-me tandem for towing a kids bike as well, and it also gets used quite often. Both the tandem options are a little faster than the cetma. The cetma with studded tires is much better on ice than any of my towing options, even with studded tires, the front bike gets pushed around a lot by the kids bike. While i lose some contact with my kids when they are behind me, they tend to get less bored when they can pedal.
    I have thought about getting a tandem for longer mountain bike rides where the cetma cannot go. I may still do that, but it looks to me like there will be no weight advantage over the cetma. By the time i add racks and panniers and a trailer to carry all our gear, even a light tandem comes in at about 75 pounds.

  16. #16
    My legs hurt
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    Thanks for the insight.

    I've sent off an email to Lane to make sure he can deliver the bike when I'd need it. Provided he can, I think it's a go.

    (Once my better half is convinced this all makes sense!)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
    I'm wondering if a Cetma Largo might fit the bill... Also on the list of consideration is a Rans Hammer truck, and the Big Dummy. The longtails seem more versitle as they can behave more like a 'regular bike', but are less kid friendly. I like the idea of a box where I can just toss stuff in the box and go without worrying about straps, load balancing, etc.
    Having owned a couple cargo trailers, a CETMA and a Big Dummy here are some thoughts:

    Big Dummy:

    - most versatile cargo platform
    - rides like a single bike when unloaded
    - easier to maneuver and store
    - best option for carrying adult passengers
    - best option for long loads
    - works best with boxed cargo [not great with loose loads]
    - uses standard fenders/bike parts
    - standard bike sizes can be bought to fit rider

    CETMA w/ box:

    - heavier duty cargo platform [can carry more and handles better with load]
    - always rides like a cargo bike loaded/unloaded
    - best option for carrying kids or pets as you can interact with them
    - not ideal for long loads
    - best option for loose loads [say recycling]
    - big heavy bike for storage and maneuvering
    - 1 size cockpit
    - needs a DIY front fender [rear fender is standard]
    - frame splits for easy transport/shipping given bike's size

    Both are great cargo options, but they are very different.
    Last edited by vik; 02-15-12 at 09:21 AM.
    safe riding - Vik
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  18. #18
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    Thank Vik. You are probably one of the few people that have owned both bikes so your impressions are particularly valuable.

    Your post is re-enforcing my leanings to the CETMA.

    1. Whatever I get, it's going to be used as cargo bike first.
    2. Kids
    3. I'm guessing that as awkward as the CETMA is going to be to manuever around, it's still going to be waaay better than bike + trailer
    4. Lots of loose loads
    5. I might occasionally give the Mrs. a ride in it, but mostly little passengers.
    6. 80 % of the bikes I've owned in the past 4 years have been '1 size' and I've gotten along just fine with them

    Mostly though, I figure there is no real way of knowing if either bike is a good fit until I've lived with and used them for at least a coupla months. I've been looking at the Craigslist listings, and it seems that used Big Dummy's are going for $1200-ish. That's quite a hit if I need to sell the bike on. (I know that one that's only a few months old would go for a little bit more, but still.) Whereas, aside from the front wheel, I could easily transfer most of the gubbins from CETMA to another bike and still recoup most of the cost of the framset -- I'm guessing. In that sense, the CETMA is actually a lower risk proposition.

    Oh, and I've got a plan for the fenders (and box) that involve somes sheet copper...

  19. #19
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    You sound like a good fit for a CETMA. Let us know how she works out for you...
    safe riding - Vik
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    As a CETMA owner, I'd reiterate Coldbike's comment:
    If i anticipate the potential for carrying a load of any kind, i will bring the cetma. If not, i will bring a different bike.
    I'm car-lite here in Portland, OR. Most everything I do is by bike. Most everything my wife does is by our one car. I also have a 2 (as of today) and 5 year old. Having them in front is awesome and it's very easy to communicate with them. I'd say as far as carrying kids, any long-john style bike is loads better than any other other bike design. Also a probably oft overlooked benefit to box design vs. xtra is the ability to give the kids blankets to wrap themselves in on the cold days. For my CETMA, I also had Blaq designs fab a rain/snow guard, so that's something to consider as well.

    If your path is mostly flat and you don't have loads of wind, I think going the 18-20 miles won't be a big deal and I think it'd be much easier than a trike or a trailer since you are cutting down the rolling resistance. Also, I'd reiterate what another poster stated that Lane's new "complete build" pricing is pretty stellar.
    Last edited by MossHops; 02-15-12 at 05:08 PM.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Danish Designed Harry vs Larry is a heat treated aluminum frame , those thinks fly,
    as seen in the world messenger championships races.. looks like a great design.

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    Yeah, I like the Larry V. Harry Bullitt, but the box is narrow. No way to get 2 kids in there with the standard design. Looks like there is a modified Larry v. Harry bike for carrying kids called the wallaroo by winther: http://www.splendidcycles.com/products/winther-denmark

    Sorta feel like they went too far towards trying to make it kid hauling friendly and took out a lot of the cargo friendly-ness found in the Bullitt.

  23. #23
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    I looked at the winther (online). I guess it's cargo friendliness would all be down to how easy it would be to remove the kiddie box.

    I like to look of the design, but the ability to separate the frame is a big deal to me...

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    The Cetma is bi-partible if one needs to haul it or store it.There are 2 size choices the Margo (smaller) and the Largo (large) I imagine the Margo maybe a bit faster and nimble due to its lighter weight.As a plus one could take apart the Cetma and use the front part as a wheelbarrow he he

    Remember too a rear platform can be added to the Cetma effectively giving you double the cargo area.

    I was thinking even with Cargo bikes being a bit slower one could always add an electric or gas drive to help out when needed.Nothing wrong with that especially if the bike is replacing an auto.Obviously a decked out Cargo bike is going to save piles of money vs an auto.

    Taken from Cetma Cargo site on reasons to consider the Cetma:

    1. Passengers sit in a protected box, low to the ground, away from the wheels and chain. They ride along comfortably, free to move around--even sleep. Their space is wide and cozy, with ample room for blankets, snacks, toys or whatever.
    2. Passengers are positioned in front of the driver, not behind. The driver can maintain supervision and interact naturally while keeping an eye on the road. No need to twist around for a visual check.

    3. For the driver, the low center of gravity is easy to control and never feels top-heavy or tippy.

    4. The kickstand is positioned at the driver's feet (where it should be) and can be deployed without moving from the driver's position. Once deployed, the kickstand holds the bike steady while passengers climb in or out. It's almost impossible to tip the bike over when the kickstand is in place.

    In my opinion, the best way to carry kids is up front, within eyesight, as low as possible, in a comfortable carrier, not smashed into the driver's backside, out of sight, hanging on and vulnerable while straddling over the spinning rear wheel and chain.

    Last edited by Timothias; 02-26-12 at 05:49 PM.

  25. #25
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    After much deliberation, I've just put down a deposit for a Winther Wallaroo.

    For those unfamiliar: http://www.jclindbikes.com/bikes/wallaroo

    I'm going to take the bike for a test ride at JC Lind in Chicago when I'm over for a visit. Provided the bike and I get along OK, I'll pull the trigger.

    I'll start a new thread with my impressions of the Winther, but thought I would briefly outline how I came to this decision here, in case any future readers are curious. There's not a lot of info on the Wallaroo out there, so I'd imagine this post is going to show up on some google searches.

    This hasn't been the easiest of decisions. My heart wants the CETMA, but reason is taking over...

    I really like the design of the CETMA and I'd very much like to see it continue to be a raging success for Lane.

    Frame material have not entered into my deliberation all that much. I've got complete confidence in the quality of both frames and their ability to do what I ask of them. I also think they both offer good value for money.

    In the end, there were two main reasons I'm leaning to the Wallaroo (I hate the name, BTW).

    1. The kiddie compartment.

    This is a big one for me. I need something that I know will work in most weathers, keeping the kids warm / cool / comfy / secure with a minimum of hassle. The Winter has this out of the box, with no modifications needed by me at all. It's essentiality a bike trailer bolted to the cargo deck of the bike, and for a while I considered attempting the same thing with a CETMA, but even if I could get it to work it would take a fair amount of time and effort that I won't have in the middle of a transatlantic move. I know Lane is working on a rain cover, but at this point it's an unknown entity. Also, because the passenger pod on the Winther is basically a trailer, I'll be able to convert it to trailer if I want to later on down the road.

    Basically the two bikes are coming at the problem from two different directions. The Winther is a kid hauler first, cargo bike second (Meaning I'll have to tweak things to get it up to the cargo hauling capability I want). The CETMA is cargo hauler first, so more tweaks are needed to make it as kiddie capable as I need. Seeing as I need a kid hauler first, and cargo hauler a bit later...

    2. The bike is available now.

    Its a question of timing. With all the uncertainty of the 'big move', actually having a bike ready and waiting for me when I get to the US -- whenever I get there -- is a very big deal to me.

    The truth is, I'd much rather have the Eccentric bottom bracket, wide tyre clearance, the ability to split the frame, and the knowledge that my dollars would be supporting a 'local' craftsman whose work I admire. I'm afraid it would just take a bit too much effort for me to get there right now.

    That said, the Winther has a few potential shortcomings, most I can either live with or hopefully fix:

    The supposedly 'unstable' steering at slow speed. I guessing about this because the frame is supposedly similar to the Bullitt. The only way to figure this one out is to ride the bike -- Stay tuned.

    The Winther has 1/2 the rated capacity for cargo weight as the Bullitt (and presumably the CETMA). My best guess is that this is down to the lack of a top-tube on the Winther. I've hatched a cunning plan that will add some bracing if I'm going to be doing some serious haulin'.

    The Winther as a 7 speed coaster brake rear hub. I don't like coaster brakes for anything aside from leisure riding. Mostly, because it's hard to reposition the pedals when stopped. Fortunately, it has disk tabs I can get a disk-equipped wheel mounted with no issue.

    Mounting a rear rack will be a pain, but doable.

    We'll see what happens when I ride the thing...

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