With the electric bicycle craze taking off globally, the electric Bakfiets may be the next big thing. An electric carrier bike or cargo bike truly makes this category a practical car alternative for the mass market. Without the limiting requirement of sturdy and tireless thigh muscles, a large number of casual cyclists are expected to embrace the carrier bike category. An electric carrier bike or bakfiets opens up the market to those needing to cycle longer distances than their legs will allow and those in hillier regions. Carrier bike market leader Zigo is reported to be developing an electric Zigo for launch next Fall. Several electrified Zigos, modified by dealers or consumers from aftermarket kits, have already been showcased on the Zigo Facebook page.
There are already a number of electric bakfietsen available, or able to be built from aftermarket kits. For example, Sparticle Electric Bikes in the U.K. offers a converted dutch bakfiets, though at a hefty starting price of £3,140 (US$4,116), plus the cost of any accessories. The U.S. sales price of the electric Zigo is expected to be $2,999. Gloworm in Australia offers a converted dutch bakfiets for Australian $4800 (US$4,839). On Bakfietsweb one can find an electric bakfiets listed as low as €849 (US$1,113), featuring a 36V 9ah Li-ion battery. However, this sounds a bit too good to be true. The rest of the specifications of the electrical components and the supplier are not listed.
Regardless of the brand and components, we expect the electric carrier bike/bakfiets/cargo bike market to boom in the next several years.
eZigo Electric Carrier Bike - Cycle Portion
Zigo at Eurobike last week unveiled a prototype of the new eZigo electric carrier bike. Using the TransX battery, the eZigo was reported to be a pleasure to ride. The styling is expected to be updated to a more integrated look before a final eZigo is released, possibly as early as mid-2012. The eZigo, and electric bakfietsen in general, open the carrier bike market to those in hilly regions, those less fit, and those doing long commutes. This product is expected to be a success in Europe. Even in the United States, the eBike trend is taking off. We expect to see many electrified bakfietsen in the future. What a great, economical way to save on gas and transportation costs. At around $3,000, an eZigo would pay for itself in no time. Note that the picture shown is just the Cycle component of the eZigo Carrier Bike. It couples to the ChildPod in the same fashion as the Zigo Leader. So it can be used as a regular electric bike, an electric carrier bike, or a regular stroller, jogger or trailer. Other electrified Zigo Leader units have been reported in Europe (see links below) but the eZigo is the first one produced by Zigo.
Electric Zigo Link 1 | Electric Zigo Link 2
CETMA Cargo Bike
CETMA Cargo bikes are hand-built in Oregon in the good-old United States of America. The CETMA cargo bikes come in two sizes, Largo and Margo, which differ in wheelbase by about 6 inches. The CETMA Largo weighs 75 lbs and claims a cargo hauling rating of 300 lbs, while the smaller Margo comes in at 60-65 lbs with a similar load rating. The CETMA cargo bike is sold as a frameset for $1,850 plus shipping. This means that you then need to have the bike built and purchase and add on all the components. It is not for your average suburban mom! The CETMA cargo bikes come with a basic cargo platform integrated into the frame. On to this, you can add a box for carrying anything from children to the kitchen sink, converting it into a classic bakfiets style. The box that CETMA offers is $300, but you can build your own (or have one built for you).
It is nice to see that we are still building things (let alone bicycles) in the U.S.A.
We recently stumbled across Boxcycles, a small company offering the Danish Christiania bikes in the United States. It is the typical story of American boy meets bike, meets danish girl, moves to Denmark, moves back, and starts selling cool cargo bikes, though we’re not certain of the precise sequence of these events. Boxcycles offers the Christiania box bikes through a handful of specialty bike shops in the United States. The price for a Christiania cargo bike is reported to cost about $2,700 in the United States, and we saw one listed at $2,599 at Flying Pigeon (a Los Angeles based bike shop). We’re not sure quite how many bikes are being sold at this price, but it is reported to be about 100-200 annually–not much for all of the United States. The mainstreaming of cargo bikes in the United States has been much reported, and we hope to see more and more on the streets. With a range of price points, from the $3,500 Nihola (also at Flying Pigeon) to the more economically priced Zigo Leader (starting at $$1,399), and the Christiania model somewhere in between, we hope that there is a Bakfiets out there for everyone.
Taga Bike and Stroller
The Taga stroller-bike was a clever design and slickly made, and certainly it gathered a lot of press and publicity (notably Tori Spelling trying one), but it seems that the product is no longer available. Some time ago, a letter went out to Taga’s dealers in Europe notifying them that it was not certain when supply would again be available. No update has been forthcoming. The Taga website no longer lists any dealers and just says “we are currently out of stock”. A review of the Taga Facebook page reveals many comments indicating that the product can no longer be found, and forlorn inquiries from owners seeking support or accessories. There are also posts from various obscure companies in Taiwan claiming to offer Taga. There seems to be no participation any longer from the Company on the Taga Facebook page. On top of this, there were previous reports (see: http://carrierbike.com/2011/04/13/taga-chinese-knockoff-buyer-beware/) of a Chinese Taga Knock-off. Sadly, it seems that a nicely-made product that might have expanded the appeal of cycling is now gone. It is possible, of course, that production will commence again or that a buyer will appear for Taga, but for now it seems at best in limbo. This pretty much leaves Zigo for the moment in a class by itself in the Convertible Bike Stroller (or Stroller Bike) category.
Nijland Delivery Tricycle
Nijland (of course a Dutch company) makes a number of interesting cargo bikes. None are made specifically to transport children, but with the Dutch being how they are, I am sure kids get thrown in there with the cargo from time-to-time. The Nijland delivery tricycle can haul an impressive 300kg of load! The wheels are 26″ and the tubing steel, as you might expect for this sort of use. It is essentially a hard wood platform that you can load anything on. It has a classic dutch look and seems sturdy as…well a dutch bike.Of course, we would not suggest carrying children in here with no seat belts or cushions, but it is a very beautiful bike with a solid mahogany box. It sells for about 3,500 Euros (including VAT), so it is not for those that do not really have a good business use for one, such as hauling a heavy load, delivery, or promotion–even house moving in the Netherlands. Also, don’t even think about this if you plan to conquer a hill! Surprisingly, the standard configuration seems to be a single-speed fixed gear, but an 8-speed hub is available as an option. It is mainly a European style bike, but a number of dealers are said to carry the Nijland in the United States. It is reportedly in use in Battery Park City in New York–which just goes to show that bike culture really is coming to New York City.
Recently an email was received by Taga dealers stating “We offer a product Kangaro Bike – we are owner of the patent and the manufacturer in China”, and included the photo to the left. This is a shameless knockoff of the Taga bike, along with a claim to ownership of the patents. This company has also of couse appropriated the Kangaroo name, which is used by the well-known Winther Kagaroo. The supposed European representative of this Chinese company is based in Poland.
This email prompted Taga to post the following on Facebook yesterday:
“Warning: a Chinese company is selling a fake of Taga called Kangaroo bike. They claim to have the original design and patent, which is simply a lie. We received several messages from consumers who bought it and had severe accidents. The two parts of the bike are separated during the ride resulting with injuries to both the child and the rider. Please make sure you don’t buy a faked Taga and take unnecessary risks.”
Taga also notes:
“Taga is going through a transition period in operations and therefore we are currently out of stock. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will update when the product is available again.”
No doubt this Chinese company is hoping to take advantage of Taga’s transition period to attempt to launch this imitation.
It is also known that in the past carrier bike company Zigo identified an attempted knockoff in Czech Republic but was able to prevent its production by legal means.
So buyers beware. Do not buy counterfeit product when your child’s safety is at stake. Buy only from the designer and manufacturer who designed, developed and tested for safety these carrier bikes. In this case, you get what you pay for. If the price of a knock-off is too-good-to-be-true, it is for a reason.
Achielle, with two stores listed in the U.S., offers beautiful, albeit quite pricey bakfietsen and Dutch retro style bicycles. These bakfietsen are handmade in Belgium, and starting at $4,625, they carry the distinctive look of retro quality. The Achielle U.S. website says that there are two versions of the bakfiets: one for kids, with a bench and seatbelts, and one for dogs. Really, for dogs! Some people really love their dogs, to the tune of nearly $5,000. The frame of the Achielle bakfiets comes in different colors, and is outfitted with Shimano roller brakes and a Shimano Nexus 8 gear hub. The Achielle bakfiets has a 26″ rear wheel and a 20″ wheel in front, similar to other models, and sports Schwalbe tires. The Achielle bakfiets definitely seems a beautiful well-made bike with high-end components, but it is priced at a point that will exclude most of the market. Although there is certainly a niche market for this in the U.S., it is difficult to see how it will ever have a major impact on bike culture. On the heels of the economically priced Zigo Leader bakfiets, and the expanding U.S. market for carrier bikes in general, there will likely be increased interest in the high end as well. I certainly hope to see one on the streets!
De Fietsfabriek, based in the Netherlands, is one of the oldest and best known names in carrier bikes, cargo bicycles and bakfietsen, offering a number of 2-wheel and 2-wheel models. Sadly, earlier this year, De Fietsfabriek was reported in the news to be bankrupt, having accumulated unmanageable debt. However, their website is up and running and we have heard anecdotally that they have received new investment and a new lease on life.
De Fietsfabriek makes a 3-wheel bakfiets, as well as a number of 2-wheel bakfiets models. They also make bikes, such as the Filibus, which are city-type bikes with large cargo baskets. Among 2-wheel bakfiets, the Model 994 is probably their best known model. They also have the more modern looking Model 995 and Model 996.
The question is of course, how did De Fietsfabriek end up bankrupt? Perhaps they cannot compete well with both cheaper bikes from brands like Babboe and more modern looks, such as those from Gazelle and Zigo.
De Fietsfabriek bf18_01
Filibus from De Fietsfabriek
We are interested to hear anything about the current status of De Fietsfabriek, how they ended up bankrupt, and if and how they have come out of it.
Please post your comments here.
Someone just wrote us the following:
|Hi,I recently bought a bike from De Fietsfabriek in Antalya, Turkey but don’t get excited they closed the shop last week. They have a nice new website www.bisikletfabrikasi.com.trand still have a factory in Ankara I think. The company claim to be opening again in Turkey but I really wouldn’t believe a word that they say, they are full of lies and false promises in my experience.