Passenger Hauler

Region
Europe
hi, hoping to get some input as i've been going back and forth on what the right move is here.

i'm looking for a bike i can use to get around on the day to day, and occasionally use to give my girlfriend a ride around. they have a disability which makes it difficult for them to cycle regularly, and because we live in the Netherlands this sometimes makes getting around hard (and expensive). i want something we can get to the train station on relatively comfortably on, and perhaps pick up the occasional piece of small furniture off marktplaats. i could easily get a bakfiet but i kind of hate how big they are. it makes me feel like i'm riding a boat and seems ridiculous when i'm just going to grab some beers or going on a joyride across town.

my current options i've been looking at:

- radrunner: Rad's service in NL seems terrible, which i'm not sure is a deal breaker for me. i would probably be looking into throwing a new motor controller into it pretty early and maybe upgrade the motor itself to something more comfortable with hauling another person. tires, brakes, batteries, etc. are all things i am comfortable replacing i'm just not sure if it's worth €1600 for a cool frame design and a "good luck 😀👍" from rad.

- tern: they have several bikes i quite like the look of, they are just damn expensive. i'm sure it would meet my needs but it would be at the cost of 2 used e bikes which seems silly. i need more convincing.

- workcycles: again similar to tern, it would work but why should i spend that much

- diy: i've been workshopping this frame design with a friend, we want to convert a BMX into a mini cargo bike. it started out as a silly project but the more i think on it the more i think it could work. we've both done e bike conversions before so we have experience with that, and i have experience welding. i'm just not sure if it would be worth giving up the marginal support you get from a company like Rad and the potential headache from insurance if i try to file a claim on a very expensive hunk of steel that someone in Amsterdam decided to take. i'll include pictures of the early design, and the bike i saw that inspired me.


any suggestions would be appreciated, i know this isn't a completely new question but after spending a few hours searching on the forum i still can't seem to make up my mind :)
 

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Welcome to the forum, @catgirleugenics!

My girlfriend rides a Tern HSD fitted with the Bosch motor rated at 65Nm. She likes it a lot, but felt she needed a bit more power when taking her 10 and 12-year old grandchildren as passengers (each separately). So, my recommendation would be to get the Tern GSD with the 85Nm Bosch Cargo Line motor for greater power with a passenger. Tern bikes are expensive, as you note, but only you can determine if they are worth it.

My daughter rides a Radwagon in Seattle (home of Rad), and she loves it, taking her toddler to pre-school on it every day. However, Rad service is just average, even in Seattle. Since you are apparently an experienced mechanic this may not matter to you. But if you want a better motor you might as well buy a bike that comes with the motor you want.

I don't know anything about Workcycles, but the cargo bikes they display on their website look good. Since they are based in Amsterdam and you are in the Netherlands, this might be the best option for you. Test ride before you buy.

DIY is an option given that you have experience with ebike conversions, and you seem to be aware of the pitfalls.

I personally ride a Yuba Spicy Curry AT with the Bosch Cargo Line motor. I like it a lot, usually carrying heavy photographic equipment with me. I would not hesitate to carry a passenger on it. However, Yuba is as expensive as Tern.

Good luck in your search!
 
Given your mechanical background, and the job you want (high load capacity in a compact frame) I think there isn't going to be much in the way of a good match in a commercial product that doesn't cost more than you are willing to spend. I wouldn't rely on a Rad as a daily driver even being someone who can fix just about anything on a bike. Its just too much of an ask for that low cost platform.

In your neck of the woods, a new fancy ebike is going to stick out, big time. And is your biking area crowded? If so I'd for sure say smaller and nimbler is better. I have ebiked in Amsterdam and that was a real eye-opener in terms of rolling crowds.

In the Netherlands you have the advantage of all flat ground, so a hub is an option. If so, choose a geared hub for the added torque over a direct drive hub. And I will make the unusual recommendation of a solid front fork and a front hub motor. That gives you the ability to keep the manual drivetrain separate from the electrical assist, which you can use to your benefit powering both wheels. This will also be the easiest form of conversion. BUT you will have to build smart with torque arms, a steel fork and ideally also a headset with steel races.

Thats the easy way to do it. The more versatile way - that is more expensive and more difficult - is to use a mid drive motor. I know of *many* cargo riders in the EU who are in love with their BBS02 motors, and for good reason. With an extra person on as payload, you are going to need everything a single-speed hub motor can give you and more. A mid lets you simply gear the bike down and leave it in a low gear while your passenger is onboard. The motor will be perfectly happy helping you along at a slower speed as it will be spinning merrily away, which is how an electric motor likes it.

If you aren't hung up on regulations, a BBSHD can be substituted for a BBS02. Then you tame it to your preferences and what you end up with is a motor that is significantly more robust than a BBS02, and is also running at a fraction of its capacity. You won't be able to break it, which is the reason you go overbuilt ... not to be a speed demon (although this is always an option :D). The settings in this article will yield PAS maximum at around 450w on '9' and as little as 50w on the lowest setting. For a motor that can easily pump out a sustained 1700w with my 52v battery thats very gentle use.


Lastly, remember that with cargo bikes, with regard to load capacity, the true limiting factor is typically not the frame... its the wheels. Build oversized and strong. If you can't go fat, go wider on the rims so you can properly fit as much tire as you can within your chainstays. For cargo duty I prefer Sapim Strong spokes and brass nipples. DT350 rear hub for the ratchet engagement vs. a mid drive if you go that route.
 
Thats a great idea, but in the first 10- pages of that web site I didn't see anything that can handle a passenger on the back rack. Plus those are all going to be 250w, low-torque bikes I think.

BUT locally @catgirleugenics may know of some used bike marketplaces that can deliver a used mid tail that can be used for a donor bike. Add a motor that can handle cargo stuff, replace the worn out bits and Bob's your uncle.
 
With the help of a friend, I just sold this one. It will be used to take two kids to school and shopping. It will also have a removable infant to four-year-old seat for a little one. The cassette is 11-46 and it has 90Nm.
 

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Thats a great idea, but in the first 10- pages of that web site I didn't see anything that can handle a passenger on the back rack. Plus those are all going to be 250w, low-torque bikes I think.

BUT locally @catgirleugenics may know of some used bike marketplaces that can deliver a used mid tail that can be used for a donor bike. Add a motor that can handle cargo stuff, replace the worn out bits and Bob's your uncle.
A sure bet is to buy a cargo bike that has an old unsupported hub drive and a dud battery as a donor bike. Yesterday a guy got one for free.
 
In your neck of the woods, a new fancy ebike is going to stick out, big time. And is your biking area crowded? If so I'd for sure say smaller and nimbler is better. I have ebiked in Amsterdam and that was a real eye-opener in terms of rolling crowds.
yea i don't live in Amsterdam anymore but i would like to be able to run over there on occasion and you're definitely right about a new ebike sticking out. they are not super uncommon there but if i was to get a tern or something i'd definitely be forking out the money for insurance. people ride big bikes around there all the time so it's definitely doable to have something long i just personally am not fond of it.

that's a good shout on the front hub motor, i hadn't thought of that possibility. my ideal build was to do a mid drive (potentially converted to belt drive instead of chain) with one of the bafang motors you mentioned but maybe i will make the front hub my fallback option instead of the rear.

my recommendation would be to get the Tern GSD with the 85Nm Bosch Cargo Line motor for greater power with a passenger.
i appreciate the recommendation on the Bosch specs for the tern. i've never ridden a bike with their motors so i wasn't sure.

i got my current bike from a shop like this, it's fine to have someone sit sidesaddle on a rear rack for a quick run down the street to the next bar but for daily rides to the station i definitely think i need something more.

i will look out for any mid tails that pop up on local resale sites, maybe i can find a busted ebike or non electric one to tweak.

thanks y'all
 
A sure bet is to buy a cargo bike that has an old unsupported hub drive and a dud battery as a donor bike. Yesterday a guy got one for free.
wish that was me :(

the bike you posted definitely looks like the style i'd be looking for. maybe a bit shorter since it'll only ever be 1 passenger on it. wish it was easier to find frames like that around here but the Dutch seem to much prefer the front load cargos over hard tails.
 
wish that was me :(

the bike you posted definitely looks like the style i'd be looking for. maybe a bit shorter since it'll only ever be 1 passenger on it. wish it was easier to find frames like that around here but the Dutch seem to much prefer the front load cargos over hard tails.
I really like the Yuba Boda Boda's characteristics. Dutch riding position, light aluminum frame, mid-step, mid-sized. I do not know if anything like it is available in Europe. It is also curvey. Here is one with a 90Nm 750W motor. This one has an optional ring for a passenger. The person who commissioned it has a wife that crushes regular wheels. Here in California we use the term 'taco,' as in she tacos wheels. His strategy worked. The bike got her away from the TV, couch and refrigerator for hours each day. The front basket holds 24 bottles of beer in case you start to get thirsty on a long ride.
 

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I really like the Yuba Boda Boda's characteristics.

this is really nice. the Yuba lineup is a bit smaller in Europe and sadly there isn't a version of this available. i did notice that their non electric models are almost in the affordable range, and i think i could convert one for cheaper than a new tern or a spicy curry.
 
There are some that are less than useless because they have a obsolete and super heavy direct drive rear hub motor and a dead battery. No one can pedal it like that, let alone carry other people. Look locally for 'BionX Cargo' and you could find one. Then it is a matter of buying a cargo wheel and doing the mid-motor conversion. 36V, 350W is fine as long as you have a wide range of gears. Yuba was based in my town until they moved 700km last year to Southern California. I purchased a new Sweet Curry from an employee who got the employee discount. Then I made it Spicy. Now it lives on a hill in San Francisco. That bike had never been ridden.
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The DIY design you showcased looks a lot like the Rodford Billy from a small frame builder in Bristol, UK. Like your idea the frame can accommodate a Bafang mid-drive.
 
I ride a yuba cargo bike converted with a front geared hub motor. See the avatar left, or look up yuba bodaboda 2017 small. On low grades front hubs don't cause a traction problem, and that arrangement puts the weight of the motor (& battery in my case) on the end where the cargo is not. I carry 60-80 lb groceries or agriculture supplies on the back weekly to my summer camp. In Netherlands there should not be a problem with overheating the motor with too much climbing. You see I put my controller under the seat with the wire loops pointed down, to make the rain not a problem. I do have to put a plastic bag over the throttle in the rain to keep it functional.
I lost another $50 headlight Saturday night in the rain!!!! The first piece of garbage was a niterider, this one is a catseye. Vendors load up headlights with seven mode features and a microcomputer, that is destined to short out after a few raindrops. I'm going to gut it and see if I can recycle the LED, reflector, case & battery with a 555 timer to turn the brightness down to 1/3 the 400 lumen max (the mode I use) with a simple rain resistant Cherry brand toggle switch. **** you can't buy anything to be used in real world conditions. Except my yubabike frame & wheels, superb quality. ~9000 miles on those since 1/2018. You see mine came with footrests standard, for any passengers on the shelf. 100 kg max on the rack, 25 behind the rear axle.
 
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The DIY design you showcased looks a lot like the Rodford Billy from a small frame builder in Bristol, UK. Like your idea the frame can accommodate a Bafang mid-drive.
i actually saw theirs in another post on here! yea the frame design seems to be a super common sort of diy build, which is why i wanted to take a crack at it as it's seemed to work out well for other people. there's an instructables somewhere from some guy in Haiti who made one out of a kids bike and some scrap metal and then used it to make deliveries.

Look locally for 'BionX Cargo' and you could find one. Then it is a matter of buying a cargo wheel and doing the mid-motor conversion.
i think the issue is Yuba's just aren't very popular here. there are only 2 distributors in NL and i'm not sure they've been doing business here very long, so i don't know how many of their older bikes are floating around. maybe in Germany where the europe headquarters is i would have more luck.

I ride a yuba cargo bike converted with a front geared hub motor.
that's good to know that they can handle a front hub, it would definitely be cheaper than a mid drive, and then i can throw the hub into my current transport bike if i ever decide to upgrade.


does anyone know of any companies that make a frame similar to this Veloe? they boast a very good cargo limit, and there's some distributors near me who sell non electric versions of their bikes for €1.2-1.6k. the size would be good for heavy traffic days and the design isn't so out of the ordinary that it wouldn't blend in on a bike rack.
 
Curious, is there a Dutch or other EU equivalent of the British Elephant Bike cycling charity? They refurbish and sell ex-postal bikes for a low price, they are sturdy and a good choice for convert with a Bafang mid-drive.
 
Consider new or used Yuba Kombi and fit a kit. A 250w middrive with 11-42t cassette should be enough on flat and occasionally moderate hill.
this is what i'm looking at doing at the moment, probably with a 500-750W motor however. my main hang up is i really hate derailleurs, every bike i've had since moving here has been internally geared and i'm in love with it, but i'm sure i could cope.

Curious, is there a Dutch or other EU equivalent of the British Elephant Bike cycling charity?
not that i am aware of no.
 
Two hubs to consider are the Nuvinci infinite and the Shimano Steps 5. I also like IGHs. And ride them daily. But the best I have found so far for operating cost/range is the Box 3 Prime 9, 11-46. Lacing a hub is a lot of work but in some cases worth it. Installing a cassette is so much easier.
 
i came across this style of bike which is readily available here called a tweelingfiets. it's simply a bike for carrying multiple children but seems to be more popular here than mid or even long tail cargo bikes. the only thing i don't like is that they usually have 26" or 28" wheels which would probably be a bit sketchy stability wise. they usually have 3 or 5 speed nexus IGHs which is nice, and drum brakes which i'm not super experienced with but from talking to people here it seems like they perform fine under heavy load. i'm assuming the frame geometry could accommodate 1 small adult on the rack if it was designed to safely carry multiple children? a full mid drive conversion on one of these would be around 1500 (the used bikes go for between 250 and 400), whereas converting a new yuba would put me out 2300 (not including the IGH upgrade).
 

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