Bikes for the Next Wave

Does it Fit?

Recumbents, crank forwards, cargo bikes, and longtails are all wonderful, specialized machines, optimized to do their thing particularly well. Among other things, they offer increased comfort, hauling capacity, and efficiency. The one place they all fall short is interfacing with public facilities designed for standard-sized bikes.

When gas prices spike again, and particularly if they stay there this time around, more people than ever will take to bicycles (not unlike they did in the summer of 2008). When that happens, we’re going to see increasing numbers of people using bikes for all or part of their existing commutes. While the idea of re-urbanization is wonderful, in large urban areas it’s likely that a majority of the workforce will continue to commute from the suburbs, even after converting to public transit and/or active transportation.

For many of these people who have 15-30 mile commutes or more, a pure bike commute is probably unsustainable. This means we’re going to see more bike commuters taking advantage of public facilities including transit bike racks and City bike parking facilities. Their bikes will need to fall within a standard footprint to seamlessly interface with these facilities. We’re going to need more bikes that provide some of the advantages of the specialized bikes mentioned above, while still falling within what I’d consider a “standard footprint”.

For comfort, these bikes should have high quality, ergonomic saddles, enough clearance for high flotation tires, and handlebar systems that provide plenty of adjustability.

For hauling, they should have front and rear racks with both top platforms and pannier mounts. And the racks should have much more capacity than most racks supplied with bikes today – I’m thinking something around 40 lbs. up front, and say 80 lbs. in the rear. The frames need to be stiff and tough and able to withstand hauling 100 lbs. plus rider on a regular basis.

These bikes need to be efficient enough that people don’t have to work unreasonably hard to get to where they’re going. On upright bikes, aerodynamics and comfort work against each other, but keeping weight reasonably low (say in the 30 lb. range), and drivetrain and rolling efficiency high, should be a priority.

And most importantly, they need to be no longer or taller than a standard touring bike with a wheelbase under 44″ so they can successfully interface with standard bike facilities.

There are bikes on the market that meet the above criteria, but very few are delivered directly from the factory outfitted as described. In the future, we’ll need more bikes like these available at corner bike shops. Let’s hope manufacturers are looking ahead and planning for the inevitable next wave of new bike commuters.

46 Responses to “Bikes for the Next Wave”

  • Matt says:

    Great post Alan. As a happy owner of a longtail, I can state from experience that there are definite benefits to “fitting in”. I think your list of the ideal “All-rounder” bike is similar to my own. My dream bike would be a mix between the LHT (chainstay length), the Bryant (belt compatible, adaptable dropout) and the Troll (lower stand over, disc, 26″ rims and fatty tire clearance). Put a pair of Surly “Nice” racks and an Alfine 11, add a Brooks saddle, dynamo hib with supernova lights, and a double kickstand, on and there you go.

  • Alan says:

    Perfect, Matt. Now what we need are 4 or 5 subtle variations on the bike you’re describing on the sales floor of every LBS in the country, ready to roll out the door.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • bongobike says:

    While “fitting in” and “interfacing” with “standard” bike facilities may be important in some places, I suspect most of the nation has no such facilities. I’m sure communities with bike lockers/closets/etc. and trains and buses that allow bikes on board are the minority, not the rule. If my own personal experience is any indication, most riders are lucky to find some bike racks around town and, if they are really lucky, a bike rack that carries two bikes on the front bumper of the bus. Trains? Whats that? :( Maybe one day…sigh

  • Alan says:

    @bongobike

    I commute into Sacramento. We have a large contingent of State employees who work within the city center, near the State Capitol. Parking is at a premium, and the State subsidizes transit use, so ridership is high. Perhaps, because of this we have more facilities than the typical mid- to large size city, but from what I hear, similar facilities are available in a number of large cities across the country.

    Alan

  • bentguy in vanvouver says:

    If there will be more cyclists then that should mean fewer cars so won’t there be more room for more variations on the standard bike. The thought of a giant cycling mono-culture doesn’t sound too exciting to me. I live in a busy city (Vancouver BC) and I ride my short wheel base recumbent everywhere and do everything that I did with my old diamond frame — it’s my only means of transportation. So far, no problems. And as we get new facilities in leaps and bounds (we’re so proud of our new Mayor) I feel like me and my odd bike fit in even better. Maybe it’s the public facilities that need to adjust. After all, once all that space currently clogged by motordom is opened up there should be plenty of room for creativity. Well, one can dream…

  • Alan says:

    @bentguy

    I was addressing the particular challenges of multi-modal commuting – loading bicycles onto buses and trains, and storing them in crowded parking facilities. In these circumstances, recumbents and longtails didn’t work for me (even an English Roadster didn’t work). I’d love to hear about your facilities if they’re somehow accommodating these larger bicycles.

    Alan

  • Fergie348 says:

    One thing I’ve seen quite a bit more of recently on my commute (southern Marin county to S.F. – about 23 miles as the crow flies) is people on electrically assisted bicycles. I use multi-modal a lot of the time, which means a bike on the ferry or on the bus for part of the trip. The form factor of these e-bikes is fine, but with the hub motor and battery pack the bikes frequently weigh 50-60 lbs. People do get around pretty quickly on them (which I think is the draw), but lifting them up onto racks or hooks is a chore.

    Most ‘bike culture’ people in my area wouldn’t be caught dead on one of these things (the preferences amongst the velorati here tend towards carbon fiber and titanium racing bikes), but the newbies seem to like them just fine. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s striking how many of them I’ve recently started to see out and about on what seem to be commute or around town runabouts.

  • Mark says:

    A timely and important post, Alan; but I’m wondering about the carrying requirements you’ve specified for a form factor uniform commuter–40 lb. front rack capacity, 80 lb. rear rack capacity and 30 lb. bike.

    Even with a computer, rain gear, stopping for groceries on the way home etc., I would think that the vast majority of commuters would never begin to approach that load requirement. The 30 lb. bike weight makes sense, given all the manhandling that a commuter bike may need to undergo.

  • Alan says:

    @Mark

    Thanks, Mark.

    I agree that the max limit is high-ish, but if a person does a week’s worth of grocery shopping, including liquids, it adds up fairly quickly. Plus, you want racks that are stiff and strong beyond how they’re used.

    It’s possible to put together a bike that fits those specs without too much effort. My LHT, for example, has an 85 lb. limit in the back, and it’ll carry 40 lbs. up front without issue. With racks, center stand, lights, fenders, but no bags, it tips the scales at 32 lbs.

    Alan

    PS – The problem as I see it isn’t whether it’s possible to put together a bike like that, but what effort is required to do so. A person is unlikely to see a bike like that sitting on the floor of their LBS ready to roll out the door (there are exceptions, of course).

  • Tali says:

    In terms of a mass shift from car commuting to cycling +
    transit, I’d be more worried about the availability of capacity on transit systems at peak periods and if these systems can really help people get to work. After all, I’m sure a lot of people don’t work in a city centre location.

    And if oil prices spike too high, I’d fear that many of the would be cycle commuters simply won’t have jobs to go to.

  • Matt says:

    I would never argue against greater flexibility in bike infrastructure to encouragecargo bikes, but Alan has a point that infrastructure development has a price tag, and there are economies of scale that depend, to some extent, on standards (size being one of them). As our society transitions to more people powered transport, we’re going to have to be very thoughtful about how we spend our limited dollars. I’m all for Cargo bike amenities (that is my primary ride), but unless they become a standard in and of themselves, it’s going to be hard to convince local municipalities or developers to provide specialized facilities for these bikes.

  • kfg says:

    Welcome to the 70’s.

  • Alistair says:

    I’m 100% with you on this, and have been thinking on these lines, but want to define the one of your constraints more clearly. Is 44″ really the max? I’ll presume the bike has 700cx38 tires and a rear fender that comes down to axle height.

    I’m off to do some measuring this weekend …. I’ll report back on the max for these. let me know if there are other you think useful

    Fits on light rail hooks (Portland )
    Fits on front of bus (Portland )
    Fits on standard car rack (roof and rear)
    Fits in city Bike locker
    Fits in parking garage elevator

    Cheers, Alistair

  • kanishka new england says:

    on a tangent related to:

    “While the idea of re-urbanization is wonderful, in large urban areas it’s likely that a majority of the workforce will continue to commute from the suburbs, even after converting to public transit and/or active transportation.

    For many of these people who have 15-30 mile commutes or more, a pure bike commute is probably unsustainable. This means we’re going to see more bike commuters taking advantage of public facilities including transit bike racks and City bike parking facilities. ”

    this is very much in line with how i’ve approache. d things the past few years. ultimately, i have shifted to actually living in places strictly within 6 miles, countering your thought about workforce stuck in suburbs. i have more flexibility than most, still a renter, and mostly in school the last few years.

    the trick with picking places to live is one that is with 6 miles of work, and 6 miles of play. bike transportation has become such a big theme in my life that i now rate density of bike commuters in an area as one of my deciding criteria for how much i enjoy living somewhere.

    i love multimodal, use it every day. the major catch is wasted time caused by any transfer/modal switch. eliminating even one transfer/modal switch can save you a lot of time each day.

  • Jeff says:

    I commute by bike/light rail throughout my week. Currently the front and rear cars can accommodate 2 bicycles each. The majority of the time I am out of luck and left standing while holding my bike for most of the 30 minute commute. This is not only unpleasant but most importantly a safety factor for all passengers. Your probably thinking “first come first served” however this was not the case a year or two back. As most would agree, I would be thrilled to see less cars and more bicycles. Currently I feel our transit system is already experiencing just the tip of the iceberg. I can only hope (and vote) that future public transportation ordinances take notice in their need to accommodate the masses, especially during peak hours. This to include a universal system to withstand most makes, models, sizes, etc. I wonder how Oregon and Colorado manage and what type of adjustments they have had to make along the way(?).

  • Joseph E says:

    Yeah, I was wondering about the “44 inch wheelbase” requirement. I think most bike racks on front of buses take bikes a little bigger than that, at least.

    King County (Seattle) says “Bikes with wheel sizes 16-29 inches in diameter, up to a 46-inch wheelbase, and with tire widths up to 3 inches will fit on the racks.” http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bike/bikeride.html

    However, this site says their standard racks were designs for 44″ wheelbase (assuming big wheels as well?), thought ” we have heard that some agencies stray from this recommendation in order accommodate the needs of their passengers” http://www.sportworks.com/bus-racks/support/FAQs.aspx

  • Alan says:

    @Joseph E

    Thanks for the info regarding King County’s specs.

    My experience has been that racks vary greatly, bike lockers even more so. I have two lockers; with its 700c wheels and 42.5″ wheelbase, one accepts my LHT no problem, the other is very nearly too small. A bike with upswept handlebars and a 44″ wheelbase would probably not fit in this second, smaller locker. My Pashley Roadster with its 28″ wheels was too big for either.

    Alan

  • JulieM says:

    I use the Boston MBTA system and had this question as well. I haven’t gotten an answer from the MBTA, but I did a google search and came up with this company’s website: http://www.sportworks.com/bus-racks/products/datasheets.aspx
    The pdf has specs on different type of bus bike racks that they sell. On factor is the width of the vehicle, but in general racks accommodate up to 44 inch or up to 46 inch wheelbases.
    So far I’ve gotten a heavy 26″ wheel 1990’s mountain bike (with VO porteur rack, racks and light system) on it and a 700c singlespeed with front basket and fenders. It’s now something I take in to consideration when looking for a commuting bike.
    Also, for the extra hauling, I am considering getting and trying a Burley Travoy this year. The benefit is that it can haul up to 60lbs and was designed for lighter bikes that might not even have a rear rack. When removed, it works like a piece of wheeled luggage.

  • jnyyz says:

    re bikes on bus racks

    I’m just wondering if a bike with a front platform rack is going to fit on a bus rack. Most of the ones that I’ve seen here in Toronto have a front hook that would probably be blocked by the rack. Also, bus racks are an argument for strong metal fenders. I’ve used a sportswork rack on my commuter with stainless fenders with no issues. Finally, I’ve heard mixed things about Caltrain’s attempts to accommodate bikes on their service. My brother in law still prefers to use a small folder so that getting his bike on the train is not an issue.

  • Marie says:

    Absolutely agree with the need for a new wave of bicycle designs – more utilitarian and more commuter friendly. I also think that bike design should be regional. I mean, why would someone who lives in the NY Metropolitan area have the same bicycle needs as someone who lives in Arizona, Colorado, or Seattle? Different weather, different terrain, and different culture.

    We are framebuilders and are working on such a design for our regional habitat right now. The line will launch this season. If you’re curious, check us out: http://www.folkengineered.com.

  • Bob B says:

    The Brits had this one pretty close decades ago with the 3-speed roadster. It seems like touring or Dutch models are the only models that meet your capacity requirements. Capacity aside, American bike mfrs could argue that the bike you’re after already exists in the hybrid. For the added capacity would a small trailer fit in your locker?

  • Alan says:

    @Bob B

    “The Brits had this one pretty close decades ago with the 3-speed roadster.”

    Agreed.

    “For the added capacity would a small trailer fit in your locker?”

    Unfortunately, no. Trailers don’t interface well with transit either. They’re super for around town though.

    Alan

  • Alistair says:

    ” I also think that bike design should be regional. ”
    Marie, that’s a great point. Adapting to local condition is often seen as the role of accessories, but it applies to designs too. Your San Diego commuter probably doesn’t need to accomodate snow tires or fit on a subway. You’ll be out of the saddle peddling more often in San Fransico than Kansas City.

  • Rick Houston says:

    @kanishka:

    We live our life like you do, where we ‘ve drawn a “five miles from the Capitol” circle, and for the most part, are extremely content to stay there. Besides the nice cycling infrastructure, we work (my wife rides a mile to the train station, takes it to Davis, and then rides another mile to campus), shop (great groceries, good bikeshops, and even an Apple store!), museums, cafes, restaurants, a performing arts center (also another in Davis, which we go to by train), and on and on. We moved to this area with the “multi-modal life” in mind, and we couldn’t be happier with it.

    As to a proper bicycle to live this life, it appears we’re headed down the same Sam Hiborne/Betty Foy as so many have before us!

  • Rick Houston says:

    @Marie:

    Are you going to Austin for NAHBS? I’ll be Alan’s “cub reporter” covering the show, and would love to meet you and your partner. Beautiful bikes!

  • kfg says:

    @Marie – You are asking the wrong question. The correct question is why would they? That is the question that allows you to assess needs and develop rational engineering solutions.

    Every annoying child knows that “why?” demands a specified answer, while “Why not?” can offer any answer, and thus no answer at all.

    @Bob B – I believe it was my first post here that suggested that if you wanted to make a damn good commuter bike, all you had to do was knock off traditional English bikes. This is not a new concept to America. We made such bikes before 1930 and we began making them again circa 1945. I rode such bikes as a child back in the day and own vintage and new examples now.

    While there have certainly been some small changes in refinement over the years and a few new materials to play with , the essential “bicycle” has not changed significantly for circa 100 years. Why? Because it is a simple machine that is easy to optimize.

    There is already a multi-generational common wisdom about designing and using bicycles. While it may seem more like you’re “doing something” to reinvent the wheel, true invention needs to know where it has been in order to go forward; assuming that there is any forward left to go to.

    Learn the past before misshaping the future.

  • Marie says:

    @Rick Houston

    No, unfortunately, we are not able to make it to NAHBS this year. Texas! But, we will be participating in more regional shows like the New Amsterdam Bike Show in NYC and the Philly Bike Expo.

    @kfg

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the “Why not?” I mean, why not make a bright yellow beach-y city commuting bike with integrated mahogany racks, elkskin grips, Brooks saddle, and hammered fenders?
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=194824587200460&set=a.194824570533795.62594.176139989068920&theater

    Or why not make a beast of a touring bike with 18-speed internal geared Rohloff hub, Phil Wood eccentric bottom bracket, and beefy tubeset?
    http://folkengineered.com/currentwork/shielas-world-tourer-finished/

    But that’s what custom is for. For production models, I think the “Why?” is a practical means to please your neighbors.

  • Rick Houston says:

    @Marie:

    Sorry to hear that–my wife and looked at your website and was very impressed with what we saw! Good luck, and hopefully we’ll get a chance you meet you both someday! :-)

  • kfg says:

    @Marie – “Because I wish to,” is a perfectly legitimate answer to, “Why?” In fact it’s the most powerful answer there is.

    Why? Because it states that the decision is none of your neighbor’s business unless they can answer why it should be; an issue of personal choice. “Why not?” is inviting them in as full partners in your personal choice and legitimizes their use of “Why not?” at any point of interference in your personal affairs.

  • randomray says:

    kfg makes a good point about reinventing the bike , basically the design has been around for decades , a century really . I have a bike that’s 46 years young that fits the specs . With new materials and components it’s hardly a problem if people go to shops asking for them . And importantly don’t settle for the race bike the sales people want them to buy . I know my local shop has started carrying them .

  • Alan says:

    We’re talking beginners here. The assumption is that people don’t know what to ask, and unless the bikes are sitting on the sales floor ready to roll, no beginner is going to know how to go about getting what they actually need.

    Here’s a case in point…

    A fellow multi-modal commuter upgraded from a big box bike to a mainstream hybrid a few months ago. When he first showed me the bike, he apologized about the steel fork and said he wish he could have “upgraded” to the carbon fork. This on a bike that’s going to be beat around on trains and buses. He has the idea that a carbon fork would be better on his commuter.

    Anyway, now, he’s wondering how to better carry his stuff. His rack trunk is maxed out and he’s carrying his laptop on his back and complaining about saddle and neck pain. He needs a stronger rack with a convertible pannier in the rear, and he could use a rack with a basket up front, but his LBS doesn’t know much about front racks. I’ve tried to gently nudge him in the right direction, but he’s already established a relationship with his LBS. I’m afraid the purchase of this not-inexpensive bike is turning out to be a disaster; I noticed he’s started driving his car to the train station again on most days. Hopefully he’ll get properly set up before he completely gives up.

    This is the stuff that drives me nuts.

    Alan

  • Terry S says:

    “In the future, we’ll need more bikes like these available at corner bike shops.”
    In the bike boom of 2008 with $4 per gallon gas these corner bike shops were doing good business. Our only bike shop in the county was selling everything he had. He ordered heavy to restock – then gas & the economy dropped. The shop was stuck with a huge inventory going into winter. Ouch. We can design a bike and develop multi-module systems but don’t forget service & maintenance. The big box stores will sell you any bike you want, but they won’t service it.

    -Terry

  • Garth says:

    @Tali
    Actually, if gas prices begin to float back towards their highs, that will be a sign of economic recovery, and probably an easing in the unemployment rates. The recession and resulting decrease in demand is what pushed the gas prices back down from the $4+ spikes that caused the increase in biking we saw in 2008. Perhaps the more salient problem is that the U.S. has based so much of its economy on a single, unneccessary consumable, the car. Even if we were to succeed in overcoming the voracious car culture endlessly promoted by our own capitalist avarice, who would buy all the cars made by the auto workers when they started biking to their plants, or purchase auto insurance policies, or subsidize the miles of roads that became unnecessary when the road workers and users started biking instead of driving?

    @Alan
    I love the information on your blog, but to get those beginners you mention on bikes, I think we need to be looking at biking options that render 90% of that information irrelevant. The general populace isn’t going to be bothered with 80 zillion pannier configurations, or waxing their chains, or measuring frame geometry, just like they can’t be bothered to change (or even check) the oil in their cars, or rotate their tires, or even occasionally glance to see if their tires are underinflated. The beauty of the bike is that it can be had in a mechanically simple form, that does not require the expense, wasted resources, and expert mechanical knowledge required to maintain an automobile. Although the average commuter may be able to get more functionality if they put in the effort to tweak the bike and set up to their needs, I think we have to go the other direction towards simplicity if we’re going to shift a significant amount of our transport onto the bicycle.

    I also think the much larger issue is not the bikes or the public transit, but the city planning and bike infrastructure. The necessity of public transit assumes a lack of intelligent city planning that reduces the number of miles that need to be traveled for most trips. There is an element in seeing people use a bus or train to transport their bike that bothers me as much as seeing people use a bike rack on a car to do it. It implies that somebody’s planning broke down somewhere, if you are requiring the person to travel so far on a consistent basis that they need the public transit to do their daily commute, or if you are requiring them to travel a long enough distance from the terminal point of the public transit trip that they can’t walk it, but need a bike.

    Also, even if you can get your bike on public transit, it doesn’t help you if there is no easy, segregated bike infrastructure to connect you to your final destination. Some places in the U.S. have nice bike infrastructure like Oregon, or the places in California described in this blog, but the vast majority do not. Our buses have racks that carry bikes, but it doesn’t really matter what the capacity is, or what bikes they can accommodate, because there is zero bike infrastructure to provide the safe and easy connectivity that the majority of the general public would need before they’d feel comfortable biking in this city in the first place.

    Garth-

  • John Tolhurst says:

    The bikes I design (cruzbike) fit a lot of these requirements. Standard wheel sizes, footprint, yet comfortable enough for world travel or fast enough to set records.

  • Jim says:

    I agree with a lot of what you guys are saying, one main thing is make it affordable.

    Beginners starting out commuting to save gas want an affordable start, otherwise you erode the savings from gas with the purchase price. Dropping $3 grand on a bike to save maybe $40 a month probably won’t pay its way if you see what I mean.

    I believe an affordable stripped back basic bike on the suggested dimensions, expandable in ability as budget, skills and knowledge dictate, and customisable to differing topographies (drivetrain styles) would be my pick.

  • Garth says:

    You can start bike commuting for zero dollars – any bike will do, even the 10 year old cheap box store bike in your garage, or the virtually free garage sale find.

    However, you are seriously underestimating the potential savings. I save 5 times as much in parking and insurance costs as I do in gas, without actually getting rid of my car. If you take someone who can get rid of financing costs (which they shouldn’t have in the first place, but that’s a separate discussion), those costs would similarly dwarf insurance and parking costs. If you consider that most motorists are probably spending 10-30% of their income on their car, and you put them on a bike that is costing close to 0%, that’s a huge difference. Taken from that point of view, splurging on a more expensive bike seems more realistic, but it is still entirely unnecessary, and I agree the focus should be on extremely inexpensive options. Hit the sub-$300 box store bike range, but design, market and use them for commuting instead of recreation, and this country would be set.

    Garth-

  • Lief says:

    I use a Cruzbike Silvio on which I commute 34 miles, round trip, in Seattle weather year round.
    I’d like to say I do it every day but I don’t.
    On some days I ride to the commuter train, fits the Sounder infrastructure naturally.
    On other days I ride it on the light rail – also piece of cake.
    I don’t take it on the bus – personal choice – but I could.

    Same footprint, same standard available road bike parts, recumbent comfort.

    Cruzbike Quest – Recumbent Folder in two wheel sizes.
    Cruzbike Sofrider – Recumbent Commuter/Tourer.
    Cruzbike Silvio – Recumbent Road Bike (full suspension)
    Cruzbike Conversion – Take your Y-frame mountain bike and change it into a recumbent – if you don’t like it change it back. ***

    I may sound like I’m on the payroll; I’m not. This is not a sales pitch; I just freakin’ love my Silvio, this platform, and the passion which the Cruzbike team has for HUMAN transport.
    That, and these bikes fit your criteria very closely.

    Lief

    ***
    There is also a LWB Cruzbike Sigma – doesn’t match the “same footprint” requirement above.
    There is also a new Cruzbike Vendetta – a time trial bike, probably not what yer thinkin here either but faster than the Silvio over 100 miles (so far).

  • randomray says:

    Obviously I like biking but there is yet one more component we’re not talking about here …. the toys , can you talk on your cell phone or worse text , drink a cup of coffee , eat a bagel/donut , rock out to music , put on make up , read a paper and intimidate other drivers while remaining warm/cool and dry ? These are all things I’ve seen other drivers do and I imagine you have too . I’m not sure the best bike or the most expensive gas is going to over come this . If you watch any TV you see many commericals for land yachts called SUVs . How advertisements for bicycles did you see , any ? The only bike adds I saw last year was when I was watching The Tour and there were adds for cars too . I wonder how many millions upon millions of dollars are spent on advertising autos , probably scare me if I knew . Just some thoughts about what we’re up against .

  • Pete says:

    @Alan – The experience of your friend is all too common, I fear. I have 3 LBS’s within a few miles and none of them have much to offer a commuter or utility cyclist.
    @Garth – Agreed. My commuter is a 1990 MTB I bought used for $200 15 years ago. There are millions of these bikes, plus early generation hybrids, out there at yard sales and on craigslist.
    As for savings, I save $13 PER DAY in gas, parking and transit every day I ride/walk instead of drive/subway. If I average only 3 days/week all year, that’s around $2000 savings. Health and sanity benefits are free! :)

  • John says:

    I agree with Lief. I don’t have one yet but I am heavily looking at the Cruz Bike Quest. A folder with the same footprint as a MTB. Though a conversion Cruz Bike IS a MTB, and it should carry a yak load of stuff.

  • John says:

    I agree with Lief and Garth. I think your competition could end with the Cruz Bike. I am heavily looking at the Quest but, speaking to Garth’s cogent point about cost, the Cruz Bike conversion kit seems the most cost effective. And using a MTB as the base it could carry a yak load of stuff for less cost. Alan, 100 lbs on the bike? Whoa thats a lot!

  • kfg says:

    @John – “100 lbs on the bike? Whoa thats a lot!”

    You must have a tiny, little girlfriend/wife with an even tinier purse.

  • Alistair says:

    I checked out the Portland bus mounted bike racks and bike lockers for max dimentions

    They are speced for 44 wheelbase + 700c wheels + 3 inch tires.
    The actual rack slot is 62 inchs long and about 6 inches deep (approx 1/4 wheel depth)
    So you need to fit the wheelbase + about 1/2 wheel diameter (for my 700c x 35 that is around 14 inches)

    62-14 = 48 wheel base absolute max

    The bike lockers they are 77″ deep.
    If you has a 48″ wheelbase then 48 + 28 = 76″ That leaves Just enough room for the rear fender! Again 48 is the absolute max.

    Overall this makes me think a 46 wheelbase is safe with 700c and a 48 with 26 inch wheels.

    Cheers, Alistair

  • John says:

    Actually I meant an additional 100 lbs of cargo.

  • kfg says:

    @John – While technically correct, I wouldn’t let her catch you referring to her as “cargo” if I were you. She might take it the wrong way.

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