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New American Cargo Bike

Old 11-11-08, 11:06 AM
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lancekagar
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New American Cargo Bike

Not sure where else to post this, I'm guessing this Utility section is most appropriate. If anyone objects to the "commercial" nature of this thread, let me know and I'll happily remove it. I believe the subject matter is relevant, though.

Pictured here is a prototype for a new Long-John style cargo bike from Eugene, Oregon. It's been a long time coming, but I'm happy to report it's nearly ridable. The frame shown is cro-mo, TIG welded, will be powder-coated, and future models will probably have disc brakes and an internal hub as an option.



The frame style is unique in that the platform is flat and actually part of the frame itself, which I think adds rigidity and may save weight (won't know for sure until it's finished and stressed properly under use). No container needs to be added on top, but can be. A good-lookin' wooden platform will be added soon.



This bike is also unique in that it can be separated in the middle. This means the front can be pre-built and almost any bike can be retrofitted to accommodate it with minor modifying needed. I like the idea that more than one bike could be modified to fit the same front cargo "end". The bi-parting frame also means the front can be finished ahead of time and be ride-ready with only the back end to build/modify as needed.



I'd very much like to hear your opinions regarding this bike.

If anyone's interested, feel free to speak up and I'll post the link to more info here.
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Old 11-11-08, 11:16 AM
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cman
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looks good. The adaptability definately seems interesting. I assume you just take the fork off and add the front "kit".
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Old 11-11-08, 11:29 AM
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lancekagar
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Thanks. The top-tube and down-tube would be removed and replaced with two tubes extending straight ahead. The ends of these tubes would have flanges to meet with flanges on the front end.

Powder-coat or paint the rear end to match the front end, bolt them together with grade 8 bolts, connect the rear brake and shifter cables and ride.
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Old 11-11-08, 11:39 AM
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Interesting idea. Do you have pictures of how this is retrofitted to an existing frame?
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Old 11-11-08, 11:45 AM
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Thank you. I have this picture which doesn't show close-up detail, but you can get the idea.



The frame should be powder-coated today and I'll get more photos when it's ready.
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Old 11-11-08, 12:08 PM
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I dig it. I'm a fan of Long Johns. I wish I had a a garage, and one of those to put in it.
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Old 11-11-08, 12:34 PM
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tfahrner
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i like how the cargo bed adds structure/strength to the subframe, or isn't really distinct from it, rather than being bolted on as dead weight. should help with strength/weight, as you say. larryvharry is another one to take that approach.

just eyeballing it, it looks like the steering geometry (trail) isn't far off of that of, say, the HPM long haul or a couple other bikes in this general format. while you can get used to it, i've seen many a-b tests with people new to these bikes who find much, much lower trail (like ~25mm) to be much easier, particularly at low speeds (think hills and squirming kids). steepen head angle?

the separability seems to me more compelling as a way to get shipping costs down than as a way to conserve resources by recycling rear triangles. if you're wanting to see these in the world, i think you should offer them complete (and separable), shippable within UPS max dimensions ($) rather than having to go freight ($$$).

Last edited by tfahrner; 11-11-08 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 11-11-08, 02:32 PM
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The steering linkage worries me. The flat hourglass shaped section at the bottom of the steer tube looks like it could be bent pretty easily. The long linkage arm looks like it could easily hit obstructions that would clear the platform, but then you'd go flying as the front wheel abruptly swings right. I wonder if a chain and cable linkage would be more suitable.
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Old 11-11-08, 03:51 PM
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I agree about the steering. Maybe attach it closer to the fork end and straighten the link?
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Old 11-11-08, 05:09 PM
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While i think the idea of being able to retrofit many bikes to the front module is a good idea....what is described is not my idea of a "simple retrofit"
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Old 11-14-08, 09:07 PM
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Nice job, I was wondering what you estimate the retail to be if you have got that far into the plan? I might revise the frame joint too. you might increase strength by making the joint on the actual steering tube? But I'm sure there are a thousand different ways to do this.
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Old 11-15-08, 03:33 AM
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Did you present it in the framebuilders forum? Maybe somebody there would share teyr thoughts.
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Old 11-15-08, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by tfahrner View Post
...while you can get used to it, i've seen many a-b tests with people new to these bikes who find much, much lower trail (like ~25mm) to be much easier, particularly at low speeds (think hills and squirming kids). steepen head angle?

...if you're wanting to see these in the world, i think you should offer them complete (and separable), shippable within UPS max dimensions ($) rather than having to go freight ($$$).
Haven't decided on head-tube angle yet. While it's important for this bike to be stable feeling, we're aiming for work use. Maneuverability and responsiveness is priority. We'll see. Perhaps two different models.

New rear "ends" are in the works. These will be UPSable, happy to say.
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Old 11-15-08, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Sturmcrow View Post
The steering linkage worries me. The flat hourglass shaped section at the bottom of the steer tube looks like it could be bent pretty easily. The long linkage arm looks like it could easily hit obstructions that would clear the platform, but then you'd go flying as the front wheel abruptly swings right. I wonder if a chain and cable linkage would be more suitable.
I think there's an optical illusion going on there. The steering arm is well out of the way of obstructions. As far as the steer "tab" goes, also sort of an illusion. I assure you, that thing will never bend.
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Old 11-15-08, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
I agree about the steering. Maybe attach it closer to the fork end and straighten the link?
The arm needs to be bent like that to prevent it from striking the back side of the tire when turning left.
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Old 11-15-08, 11:07 AM
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We're getting closer. The frame was powder-coated yesterday. A double-sided kickstand has been added as well as the cable bosses, a couple "loops" for bungees, and a unique no-skid platform.




This bike is unbelievably beautiful in person. The contrast between the platform and the neon-green coating of the frame is incredibly striking. It's hard to not look at it. It'll be assembled and ride-ready by Monday. More pictures and "test" results coming soon.

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Old 11-15-08, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lancekagar View Post
Thank you. I have this picture which doesn't show close-up detail, but you can get the idea.



The frame should be powder-coated today and I'll get more photos when it's ready.
I think you will likely find your frame design requires one more structural member running diagonally between the top and bottom tubes joining the front and rear. Otherwise, I think it's a great design.
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Old 11-15-08, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
I think you will likely find your frame design requires one more structural member running diagonally between the top and bottom tubes joining the front and rear. Otherwise, I think it's a great design.
Interesting. It's hard to know for sure. The material and wall thickness of those two tubes though makes me think a third tube won't be necessary.
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Old 11-15-08, 12:15 PM
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it's chocolate mint. if the rear were mixte-like, you wouldn't have that parallelogram to worry about folding at the corners, you'd gain step-through, fit more riders, and pick up torsional rigidity. would also reiterate the pretty structural/visual logic of the triangles in the front.

Last edited by tfahrner; 11-16-08 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 11-15-08, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tfahrner View Post
if the rear were mixte-like, you wouldn't have that parallelogram to worry about folding at the corners, you'd gain step-through, fit more riders, and pick up torsional rigidity. would also reiterate the structural/visual logic of the triangles in the front.
The rear triangle pictured in these photos was reclaimed. New rear "ends" will surely feature lower top tubes, aesthetic consideration, and beefier construction.
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Old 11-15-08, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by lancekagar View Post
Interesting. It's hard to know for sure. The material and wall thickness of those two tubes though makes me think a third tube won't be necessary.
Possibly, or perhaps gussets on the corners would be adequate. I'm not an engineer, but I think you woud get more strength with lighter tubes and less overall weight by cross bracing than by overbuilding with heavy parrallel tubes.
Just my opinion, mind you.
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Old 11-15-08, 03:18 PM
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How do you bend these tubes by the way ? I have a friend who does custom bikes but he says he'd need some machinery to do it, correct ?
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Old 11-16-08, 06:11 AM
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Looking very good.

Concerning the durability of the steering linkage bits, we mostly see these get bent by mechanics; for example, while trying to remove a frozen stem from the steering tube. The flat pieces you've made here look at least as strong and as ours and your bikes will probably see much less abusive lives (indoors at night etc).

-Henry

(WorkCycles)
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Old 11-17-08, 10:34 PM
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Looks good! I like the mint green color! The cargo bay certainly looks versatile!
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Old 11-17-08, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Possibly, or perhaps gussets on the corners would be adequate. I'm not an engineer, but I think you woud get more strength with lighter tubes and less overall weight by cross bracing than by overbuilding with heavy parrallel tubes.
Just my opinion, mind you.
The rear end is temporary. It's a department store bike which served only to push the front. New rear ends are in the works, which I assure you will take these special issues into careful consideration.

Mixte frame, perhaps.
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