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preference, front/rear loading cargo bikes

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preference, front/rear loading cargo bikes

Old 04-11-11, 12:20 PM
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LeeG
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preference, front/rear loading cargo bikes

Is there a consensus on the ideal configuration for a utility bike carrying 75lbs+ on pavement? I've been leaning towards extra long chainstay bikes with rear loads but am wondering if low platform between wheels and in front of rider is better.
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Old 04-11-11, 04:49 PM
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I get the impression that the spectrum of opinions here range to the practical: budget, storage, geography, then handling. If you have weather to endure and hills to climb with your load, those are probably the most important considerations to plan for. If you don't have a garage to store your bicycle, that also make any kind of long (or new) bicycle unattractive. Ultimately, the ride...depends on the rider. Keep scrubbing the forums for some discussions on how the tire site can affect the ride of a utility bike, too. The best advice I've come across: try before you buy :-)
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Old 04-11-11, 04:55 PM
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Rear loads are inherently more stable than front loads. Front loads can be made "more stable" by keeping the load low near the axle.
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Old 04-11-11, 07:35 PM
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I don't think there is a consensus, but having tried both, I think it is easier to get a heavy load low and easily managed on a front load bike than on a long tail. From an engineering standpoint, there is very little difference whether the load is in front or behind, unless the load is very far forward or very far back and the load is substantial in comparisson to the rider weight.I bought a bike (CETMA) with the load low and in front of me, and I have carried 300 pounds plus me. I have seen colossal loads carried on long tail bikes as well.
The shape of the load and how low you can keep the center of gravity on your bike have a much more significant effect on handling than where the load sits.
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Old 04-12-11, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by coldbike View Post
I don't think there is a consensus, but having tried both, I think it is easier to get a heavy load low and easily managed on a front load bike than on a long tail. From an engineering standpoint, there is very little difference whether the load is in front or behind, unless the load is very far forward or very far back and the load is substantial in comparisson to the rider weight.I bought a bike (CETMA) with the load low and in front of me, and I have carried 300 pounds plus me. I have seen colossal loads carried on long tail bikes as well.
The shape of the load and how low you can keep the center of gravity on your bike have a much more significant effect on handling than where the load sits.
watching the CETMA bike on a youtube clip is what made me ask the question.
When loading my 26" wheeled LHT to the gills with stuff it's obvious the load needs to be low and central to the bikes center but things just get ungainly loading more and more on the same configuration. Bikes get top heavy and tail heavy. I had a Kona Ute that required front panniers to balance a big stern load but I wasn't that thrilled with the handling.

I saw a long tail with a 26" front wheel and 20" rear wheel which made sense from a cg standpoint so taking that idea further wouldn't it make sense to put the payload as low as it could go right between the wheels?

Longtails are probably easier to push around when off the bike but the CETMA type seems to make a lot more sense for loads that get close the weight of the rider.
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Old 04-12-11, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Rear loads are inherently more stable than front loads. Front loads can be made "more stable" by keeping the load low near the axle.
I'm speaking of bikes where the cargo area is behind the front wheel and in front of the rider, CETMA type.
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Old 04-12-11, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
watching the CETMA bike on a youtube clip is what made me ask the question.
When loading my 26" wheeled LHT to the gills with stuff it's obvious the load needs to be low and central to the bikes center but things just get ungainly loading more and more on the same configuration. Bikes get top heavy and tail heavy. I had a Kona Ute that required front panniers to balance a big stern load but I wasn't that thrilled with the handling.
You are correct, I just pile stuff in to the box (I usually leave the box on) and I don't have to think about where the weight is.
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Old 04-13-11, 08:53 AM
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Depends on the load. If I can break the 75lbs up into two equal loads than using my Big Dummy or the CETMA is pretty much a draw. If the load can't be split - say 1 big box the CETMA wins for sure as I can load it centered on the platform. The CETMA also wins for a loose load as I can simply dump it into the box and ride off with no hassles. The BD requires lashing down of every load and a loose load needs to be bagged or boxed or it won't work.

OTOH I prefer riding my BD unloaded. I never ride the CETMA for a non-cargo run.

BTW - I don't have kids, but if you have a small child or a dog! the CETMA is a superior rig to keep an eye on them and interact with them. My close friends are having a baby and I'll be loaning them the CETMA for a while when they want to start biking with it.

If you wanted an analogy...the CETMA is a 1 ton dually pickup truck and the Big Dummy is a Ford Ranger 1/4 ton.
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Old 04-13-11, 04:11 PM
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thanks Vik, it's interesting you say you like riding the BD unloaded. I didn't know you had a CETMA. Nothing like gardening and considering moving 200lbs worth of soil amendments to see the division between utility vehicles and sport utility vehicles.
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Old 04-13-11, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
thanks Vik, it's interesting you say you like riding the BD unloaded. I didn't know you had a CETMA. Nothing like gardening and considering moving 200lbs worth of soil amendments to see the division between utility vehicles and sport utility vehicles.
Yup - you caught me I have both...my name is Vik and I have a cargo bike problem...



My BD is my utility cruiser. The position is upright and comfy. The bike isn't uber fast, but for cruising or riding with weaker riders [most of my friends and GF] it's ideal....plus I often end up carrying unexpected cargo that I come across.

The BD also makes a great expedition touring rig, dirt road touring rig, etc..



If I had a kid or a needy dog I'd make the CETMA my main utility rig since the riding & cargo position is ideal for lots of interaction. I'm not going to breed and I'm a cat person so the CETMA remains my heavy hauler. Although it's also good for passengers that wouldn't feel confident of straddling the back on the BD - like my GF's mother above.

They are both fine machines - just depends what you'll be doing with it....
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Old 04-14-11, 03:27 AM
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Funny you picked up a long boarder on your ride. I've let a few during critical mass rides hang onto my trailer to have a break on some the longer hills.
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Old 04-14-11, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by katcorot View Post
Funny you picked up a long boarder on your ride. I've let a few during critical mass rides hang onto my trailer to have a break on some the longer hills.
I didn't even know he was back there!... Those long boarders they'll lasso you and hitch a free ride without you noticing.
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Old 04-17-11, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
I didn't even know he was back there!... Those long boarders they'll lasso you and hitch a free ride without you noticing.
Shades of Snow Crash!

From what I have read, and from my experience of my own Big Dummy, I'm thinking that a Longtail, ( Big Dummy, Yuba, Xtracycle mod etc ) makes most sense if it's a regular bike most of the time, and has to deal with varied terrain, but needs to cope with 100-200 pounds on a semi regular basis. If you're going to be hauling 75 pounds plus on a regular basis, and don't have to worry about long distance or steep streets, the front loaders, bakfiets, long john etc, is the way to go.
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