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.
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.
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.|
We have just seen on the internet a new Dutch electric bakfiets called the Urban Arrow. The first Urban Arrow electric transport bike is designed for families with young kids looking for green, affordable, time-saving alternatives to cars. Of course, all Bakfietsen are after the same market.
The Urban Arrow web site claims that they have “reinvented the transport bike” with a fresh design that utilizes “light, safe and comfortable materials”. It comes equipped with a German made electric pedal assist.
Of interest, they note that the modular frame makes it possible to change the front frame to make a transport e-bike or 3-wheeled cargo e-bike.
There are not many pictures on the Urban Arrow website or much information, but it looks slick from what we can see (the picture above was best we could download). We look forward to seeing more of the Urban arrow and learning more about its specifications.
A multitude of Bakfieten to choose from.
We have learned about a few more Bakfiets makers in the Netherlands, with even lower pricing than Babboe. What is the difference in quality and components, we want to know.
Tuk Tuk Bakfietsen sells a basic unit starting form 495 Euro . The Tuk Tuk name is taken from a class of motorized tricycles popular in Thailand. The Dutch version is not motorized, but it is a tricycle.
The Tuk Tuk ‘Basic’ is equipped with: SRAM Spectro with 3 speed, coaster brake, a plywood cargo box with a bench and SRAM drum brakes. All Tuk Tuk trikes come with aluminum wheels and a powder coated frame. It seems from the photo to be tiller steering.
The Tuk Tuk Bakfietsen do look rather industrial, but at that price you would not expect it to have the style of a Zigo or Gazelle.
Bakfietsweb.nl is another provider of lower-priced bakfietsen. The Model 030 tricycle is 699 Euro, which includes a light color wooden box, 3-speed Shimano hub, and coaster brakes plus V-brake.
Bakfiets.nl versus Babboe.nl versus de Fietsfabriek versus Other
We are actually looking for some feedback here. We have seen quite a few Bakfiets (Bakfietsen, I suppose) in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, and would like to know which one is actually the market leader. We would also like to hear about the differences among them–both real and perceived. Bakfiets.nl seems to be the 1000 pound gorilla in the Dutch cargo bike market. Bakfiets.nl makes the CarboBike Lang, CargoBike Corte, and CargoBike Premium, which range in price from 1465 Euros to 1829 Euros, and vary by type of hub, brakes an level of trim. Bakfiets.nl also makes a Cargo Trike and a Cargo Trike L (L is for Large).
Babboe on the other hand, offers the Babboe City for just 849 Euros, and the Babboe Big 3-Wheel for 749 Euros. The Babboe city comes with a Shimano Nexus 7 speed gear. They also make a model called the Rabobank – Babboe City and According to Mamma – Babboe City.
de Fietsfabriek is another classic Ducth Bakfiets brand. They make quote a few models, including the Troy for 1995 Euro, the 994 for 1495 Euro, the 995 for 1495 Euro, the 995 for 1595 Euro.the FF16 tricycle for 1995 Euro, and the FF22 tricycle for 3750 Euro.
There are of course other sellers of Bakfietsen, but these brands one see a lot of around the city. Please help us understand the large price difference between Bakfiets.nl, Babboe.nl, and de Fietsfabriek Please send us your comments about the differences between these Bakfietsen, as well as your ideas about what the “perfect Bakfiets” should be.