low top tube, or step through utility recomendations?
As I was looking at the Kona Minute, a friendly bike shop guy noted that the roundhouse leg mount might not suit my artificial hip...and I have to agree...especially in the future, so I'm back to the drawing board.
The Africa Bike 3 looks pretty great, and I know where there is one, but I'd also like to consider other options...
besides the step-through or Africa Bike mounting style, it must be a utility bike....for light market runs and stability....a couple of rear panniers and a good rack is what I used before. don't care if it's a womens bike.
I would like a versital bike that can accept an electric assist easily, in such a way that it is easily removed for lighter riding....I'll spend what it takes, but not looking for a money burner steal me bike.
The Africa may still be the one, with a front wheel drive option, but if there were a lighter version....for when riding non-electric, I think it would be worth considering.
A bike with a rear wheel electric drive is also interesting, and I would then have two rears....the electric and the original factory wheel, and change them out when I wanted too.
I know I don't want a pure electric, for they are too heavy for my needs.
Bike Friday is a builder of folding bikes with a long and exceptional reputation. They just used Kickstarter to give themselves more flexibility on the business end of things. No need to worry about the quality of product you'd receive, although you're right in that it is a new product without a wide base of user feedback.
Check out the Yuba Boda-Boda. They have a low-step through version with or without electric assist. There's also the Soma Pick-up-artist, which puts the load low and in front of you. Sort of a cross between a cycle truck and a longjohn. Adding electric would be pretty straightforward.
perhaps I overstated my cargo hauling needs....no kids....and the dog I may get will be pulling his own weight if not mine : ) a typical run is a gallon of milk for yogurt, 4 lbs bananas....some vegies....I'm a serious scratch cook and most of my whole grains and ingredients show up in my mail box
I have a large cargo van for any real hauling.....I'd like to be able to comfortably beach camp with the bike and hit garage sales and thrifts.....so sometimes I might be hauling a bread machine or a bowling ball!~
really it's about getting out in the fresh air and the knowledge that serious bike people are among the happiest on earth....the rest follows naturally...
bike choice could be figured out easily with a nearby big bike shop....unfortunately that's 1,200 miles away and the cost of a bike to get there...
The Bike Friday looks very cool, and I can really see its utility and versitility, whish I could see one up close. my thought is I really don't haul enough stuff or have a family to justify one at the expense of the more traditional bike experience...
I don't know if I'll find a 'better' bike than the new old stock Africa 3 I found....I'm sure I could spend more money, but I'm not sure what I might get for it...that I can't add or mod to the Africa
I know it's a great bike.....does anyone have any cautions about the Africa 3?
I'll bet there's a lot of turkey hauling bikes out there today!
Some things to consider about the Africabike... What's your terrain like? It's only a 3-speed hub which is fairly limiting if you have hills, both for easier climbing and for speedier descents. It's a coaster brake, which is a love-it or hate-it sort of thing. I hate them, but others really enjoy them. It wouldn't be my first choice for an electric conversion as both front and rear hub motors run into some hurdles. Pros are that it's nice and simple and has a rack integrated in the back. Having said that, this is a very standard sort of city bike, of which there are many other options out there if you're already going to be shipping it. Different frame materials, drive-trains, etc,
In reference to your comment about "at the expense of the more traditional bike experience", my friend has had a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day since July and has said that it can be the one bike that fulfills all of your biking needs. She has a detailed review on her blog: Tiny Helmets Big Bikes - Blog: We Ride (look at the October 22, 2014) post.
I would echo the concerns of the previous poster that a 3-speed may not fulfill your needs if you have any hills and I hate coaster brakes so I would rule the Africa out for that reason alone . The Breezer Uptown models are well-regarded as utility bikes though I personally found it to be very slow during a test ride. The Civia Halsted is also another low top tube "utility" bike that might ride more like a "regular" bike. You could also look at mixte frame bikes. I have a Bikes Direct Windsor Kensington 8 that I really like. I use it heavily as a utility bike. I've loaded 50 lbs of groceries in the rear with no problems.
Also, a concern about potentially electrifying the Kona Africa is that it is an aluminum frame. Most of the electric conversion sellers strong urge against putting a hub motor on an aluminum fork (some say it's okay if it is low-wattage and you install a torque arm, others have a more unequivocal "no").
I just want to mention that a roundhouse leg mount doesn't work for my 66-year-old body either. I normally either lay the bike down and step over it, then lift it up while I'm straddling it or get on at a curb, which provides enough height difference for me. Of course, as a geezer, I'm long past hoping to impress anyone with my style...
I can relate to step-thru. Africa 3 looks like a typical older woman's bike. I guess it's stronger being purpose built.
I ride old restored mixte's because of the step thru frame, I get them cheap off craigslist and they have retro-style. Hard to leg over when the bike is loaded. When I move to a bike friendlier place, I could see having a high quality lady's step-thru like a Specialized Expedition with all the cargo/utility gear because I have leg issues also. Might even accept a 24" for lower center of gravity and increasing popularity of mini-velos.
I care about strength, ease of use, price, repair-ability and utility. I need gearing for terrain and hills, suspension a maybe. I'm frugal and can do most of my own repairs. JMHO...
Cetma. Low-step through. e-assist available. The best thing about these type of "long-john" cargo bikes is that they keep the cargo weight low. This mean more stability and easier control (and less strain on your hips). My Big Dummy gets a bit tipsy at times when I have cargo plus two kids up top.
Step through wins for me I am working on one now. It just makes things easer. I have a front load cargo bike.
I carry a 60 lb tool bag to my side work. Not a step through only caus I didn't have one to convert.
you can also just order the bike friday haul-a-day now from their main site. you don't need to do it through the kickstarter page. mine finally shipped and i should have it next week. if you look on their facebook page they have a beta electric haul-a-day too.
you might also check out the cycletrucks beavertail. similar to haul-a-day but could handle a lot more weight.