Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
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I have been doing a lot of research on the net about the Bullitt Cargo Bike, as I am very keen to purchase one.
Does anyone here own one? I have a few questions I would love to get advice on.
The main thing I am torn on is what type or gearing system should I get? I have never ridden a internal geared hub, but almost every review says that this is the way to go. The thing that is turning me off, is that it limits what type of electric assist I could add in the future ( If I am spending this type of money I want to keep the bike forever. When my kids get older and thus heaver, I could be tempted to get some assistance ) are there any good front wheel assist systems out there?
If I was to go external I would be tempted to get the XT setup - which has me thinking. I have a mountain bike which has a pretty much brand new XT running gear - does anyone know how much stuff would swap over to the bullitt if I just went the frame kit option (2.5k )
Anyone in Canberra riding one?
I would be looking at riding it to work (12kms each way ) as well as taking the kids for rides on the weekend as well as using it as my second car to collect stuff.
ANy advice would be great, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there - especially in forum worlds.
There are a couple of Bullitts around Belconnen. One of them gets parked intermittently in the bike cage at work although I don't know the owner. I did once meet his wife riding it with two children in the box who said that he pinches it from her because he likes it so much. The other I have only seen riding past.
Check out the e-biking discussion section for front wheel motor options, there are a few around and some are good. There are some folk who post there that would be able to advise.
I suspect that hub gears are probably the way to go, it is not a bike that'd be going up onto a work stand for gear adjustments etc, and the reliability of the hubs is a strong point they are less sensitive to dirty chains too.
Generally frame kits (for any bike) are for those for whom the tinkering is part of the fun of ownership. Fitting the bits would be easy enough but you'd need to know clamp sizes etc which is easier if you have the frame first. This would make the build process longer, but some people like that. Complete bikes can normally be expected to perform pretty well from day 1.
Thanks heaps for that!
A counter-argument to that point: cargo bikes can't easily go up on a work stand, so they're a PITA to take the wheel off.
They're even more of a PITA to take the wheel off if the wheel is tethered to the frame with shift cables (and possibly brake cables if you're looking at a drum/roller brake hub).
And more PITA again if your cargo bike is kitted out with mudguards and chain case, which are the sort of things that often go along with the IGH mentality of keeping all mechanical parts hidden away from harm.
If the drivetrain is external, you can do all your adjustments and cleaning with the bike standing upright, with the wheel on. Just like we used to on our normal bikes before we invested in workstands. And then, when you do get a flat, it's not such a PITA to get the damn wheel off to fix it.
On my cargo bike , which has hub gears, rear drum brake, mudguards, chain case etc., I resorted to using Slime tubes after getting a couple of punctures while out and about. You really, really don't want to be dropping a wheel out of one of these things to fix a flat while supervising kids. Beside a road. And bear in mind that you can't just call the SO for a rescue, because a cargo bike does not fit in a car. The Slime tubes are about as thick as a car tyre, and are filled with self-repair goo... the damn things weigh near on a kilo each, and roll like treacle. But they work, and really, weight and rolling resistance are hardly a concern on a cargo bike.
 I started cargocycles.com.au and brought the first couple of commercial shipments of bakfietsen (2-wheel front-loading cargo bikes) into the country ... so I have a little bit of experience with them
 I only wanted one cargo bike, but nobody in Australia had one to sell me, and the supplier I found in China quoted me by the container load...
Lisa and Colin on Sydney Cyclist imported a bullitt direct from Denmark - two bikes would ship for the same cost as one, saving $300 each on shipping see also this thread.
Since then however dutch cargo bike have been appointed as a dealer in Australia & they may now be unwilling to send direct to Aus
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I was only speculating so I bow to your actual experience. I can understand that punctures would be difficult. I thought that there'd be a quick-link type solution to pulling wheels out by now.
I presume you talk from experience about changing a tube on the way home. Did you go straight to the slime tubes after that? More to the point have you had any punctures with them?
Would the balance be swayed if the likelihood of punctures was reduced? Marathon Plus, Tannus etc?
I have to say I've been stuck in the wrong gear after a sudden stop before and like the idea of being able to change gears while stationary as MattyK said.
Do you have any views on motors etc?
I'm pretty confident they'll take your money directly.
I spoke to the Aussies but unfortunately couldn't come to an agreement on the price.
Our Website is: http://www.kotavelo.com.au Find us on Facebook by searching for "Kotavelo"
I got a few flats before going with the slime - I remember pushing the bike (with daughter on board) a couple of km home kerchunk kerchunk kerchunk on the rear rim... I'm pretty sure the replacement tube that went in was slime.
They definitely work... I haven't replaced a tube since. I did get a flat once that I remember... after some unavoidable bogan droppings (broken glass) on a bike path. The tyre went flat within a minute or so. I pushed to a servo and re-inflated it, hoping it would hold out enough to ride home. It hasn't been flat since, and that was years ago. Needs topping up every few months, of course, but that fast leak is properly sealed. I have no idea how many other punctures have healed themselves before I even noticed them.
I have to admit, I was a big fan of the internal gear hub concept until I'd had one. Two. Three. Those first series Sturmey-Archer XRD-8 hubs were really not very reliable - I blew one on my commuter and one on my cargo bike. Even when they were working, they're not really nice to ride. They've jaded my perception of IGHs.
That said, I've not had a derailer-geared cargo bike, so I've never had to deal with starting in the wrong gear.
Be very mindful of gear range. I was running those Sturmeys with as low a gear ratio as allowed (32:25. First gear is direct, all others are overdrives). I didn't dare go lower for fear of putting more torque through a proven weak gear train, but lower gears would have been very useful. But I wouldn't have wanted to lose much at the top end, because they really do crank along once you get some momentum up (I did a couple of 50km "community" type rides on mine... the climbs are a chore, but I could easily keep up with slower bunches on road bikes on flat land).
A triple-ring derailer drivetrain could give you a much wider range. I really wouldn't mind having a 22:32 MTB granny gear sometimes.
I thought it would be a good idea, but they were (relatively) very expensive at the time (I was doing Cargo Cycles from '08 to '10). My bikes were unashamedly cheap. Even selling them at $1300, it was more than many people could get their head around spending on a bike - my mission was just to get as many of these things out there as possible, to introduce as many people as possible to the idea of cargo bikes. I sourced a kit from local e-bike conversion business, but putting another ~$1k of motor on the bill made it a very expensive cheap bike. I only sold one (out of the 64 bikes I brought in). I nearly bought one for myself, but... even wholesale price was a bit steep for me
A Bullitt is a machine more worthy of having some money spent on it... and e-Bike motors and batteries have come down in price. I'd definitely consider it.
NB - I've written a lot of this in past tense, because we don't use the cargo bike much any more. My younger daughter is 5, and prefers her trail-a-bike. My eldest daughter - who has profound disabilities, which is why I got involved in cargo bikes in the first place - is getting too big to fit in the cargo box with a suitably supportive seat... and when we ride somewhere, we don't have her wheelchair at the destination, so she's stuck in the bike or sitting on a picnic blanket.
Cheers Tim, it is always good to hear about real experiences.
I have only rented one, a Gazelle Cabby, through the Sydney Bike Library ($20 a weekend, why would I buy)
Removing a wheel with an internal gear hub from my commuter is easy enough - the shimano cassette joint system makes the cables pretty straight forward once you get your head around it. with the cables free & nuts loosened, one hand on the seat, the other on the wheel, lift & separate & its all good.
Getting it out from under a cargo bike is a whole other matter, at 35kg plus a load, it's not something you just toss around
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I got my bullitt Cargo last month from http://dutchcargobike.com.au/ and they were great - it might cost you a little more but at least import duty is taken care of you have you warranty. Highly recommend them.
As for gears - I opted for the 11speed Alfine Hub after much deliberation and its great. The new Alfine means you can change the wheel without any tools needed for disconnecting the gearing. It's quite easy. Jacking up is easy - just put a block in front of the borrom bracket and you can support the rear wheel off the ground - alternatively just lay the bike on it's side and that seems to work.
The Alfine Hub should need zero maintenance so I can't see it's something you will need to do much. If you want the bike to be higher off the ground for maintenance you can use a couple of trestles which is how I built mine.
Punctures - I suggest you get some good tyres. I have just fitted some Big Apples http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires/big_apple and they do them with puncture protection as well so you shouldn't have any issues.
Assume you mean "innertube"?
No the tubes that came with it were presta type - I put new tubes in with schrader (car) type....
Hi all. Thanks for this discussion. I know it's a bit old, but I found it helpful none-the-less.
Diranne: I'm interested in how your first year on the bike has gone. Is there anything you'd change? How is that Alfine hub treating you? I have been looking at cargo bikes for a little while; we are working towards being car free again, but I would like a good cargo bike and the Bullit is at the top of my dream list.
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