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Cargo Bikes

A Fun and Rewarding Way to Get Around

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It wasn't that long ago that if anyone wanted to tote things about on the bike, they were limited to pannier bags and baskets. While practical, cyclists who wanted an effective way to carry more than a bag or two were pointed toward a car. Thankfully, times have changed over the past twenty years. Starting in Amsterdam, these bicycles - called cargo bikes - have proliferated and developed into everyday options for a wide range of cyclists and their needs.

We've selected some of our favorite cargo bike brands from our growing interest in the category: the Larry vs Harry eBullitt, the Urban Arrow Family, and the Orbea Katu-E. Each bicycle has its advantages and disadvantages, but each bicycle represents freedom of mobility that will assuredly change the way you transport yourself, others, and their goods.

Larry vs Harry eBullitt

Fast, Lightweight Transportation

Larry vs Harry is the result of a collaboration between two dissimilar people who sought to achieve the same goal. Why is it called Larry vs Harry? The name is borne of their differing viewpoints on a wide range of topics, like drivetrain (Harry prefers internally-geared hubs, Larry prefers external gears). Either way, their contrasting viewpoints make for a a seriously quick cargo bike that work just as well for kid hauling as they do for quick cargo runs in the heart of Copenhagen. The Larry vs Harry eBullitt is the result of their labors.

Larry vs Harry isn’t just a fun name for family-loving cyclists that want to share the fun; they’re actual people. Harry (or Hans) ran a building contract company in downtown Copenhagen, and he used a typical two-wheeled cargo bike for work as that is the fastest way around the city. Larry designed bikes for Winther, a Danish company who specialized in cargo trikes. They agreed that a cargo bike was much faster than driving a car in the city, and faster still than a trike. Soon thereafter, they decided to build their ideal cargo bike, the Bullitt.

The Bullitt, perhaps more than any other cargo bike, is designed for speed and maneuverability above else. It positioning places you over the cranks for optimal power, and a little bit less upright than other cargo bikes. The Bullitt offers a shorter wheelbase than the competition and is slightly narrower too – about as wide as set of MTB handlebars.  This makes a joy to ride all over the place, especially for those already coming from a cycling background.

The Larry vs Harry eBullitt is designed on the premise of magnifying what makes the existing eBullitt special: reliability, outright speed, and good looks. By using the Shimano STEPS pedal-assist system, both the Larry vs Harry eBullitt E6000 and eBullitt E8000 are built for day-to-day abuse. Further, with the wide array of accessories, the eBullitt is easily customizable for all of your cargo carrying-needs.

The Bullitt is the environmentally-friendly solution to getting around quickly, inexpensively, and in style. Perfect for a weekend picnic or carrying out serious loads, the eBullitt will get you wherever you need to faster than a bullet.

Urban Arrow Family

The Cargo Bike, Reinvented

The traditional Dutch bike is if nothing but durable. Using steel tubing older suspension design, they are built to be abused. Few bikes have adopted modern materials, even in the heavy cargo bike (bakfiets) scene. Urban Arrow is a bit different. The Urban Arrow Family pedal-assist cargo bike is one of the most advanced cargo bikes on the market, thanks to it’s substantial change in materials and technology.

Two things set the Urban Arrow apart from the competition: it’s pedal-assist motor and it’s unique drivetrain. The Bosch Performance Line pedal-assist motor is Bosch’s strongest motor, and offers up to 350W of power up the biggest hills and lots of torque to get the bike accelerating to a safe speed. Further, there is no derailleur but instead an internal gear hub, and not just any internal gear hub but a wide range Nuvinci 380 system offers a wide gear range with infinitely ratios, but much lower maintenance. Unlike most bikes, there are no clicks’ between gears, but a smooth roll that allows riders to be in the perfect gear every time.

The Urban Arrow Family offers a long wheelbase, which isn’t just roomier, but means the bike is impressively stable at speeds. It takes a bit of adjustment coming from a normal bicycle, but the extra stability is certainly welcome. It’s alloy frame is stiffer than the competition’s steel bikes and lighter too, which makes steering much more direct than the competition. Simply put: if you’re carrying toddlers as opposed to infants, as well as heavier gear over longer distances, the Urban Arrow Family cargo bike is one of the best options around.

Orbea Katu

Big Capability in a Small Package

Not everyone wants a bicycle with which to carry gear, but out of those people even less want a big cargo bike that takes up space and requires a bit of commitment. For those looking for the ability to carry groceries, books, and anything else, the Orbea Katu-E is a unique bike that isn’t just practical, but fun too, and with a pedal assist electric motor, is a perfect companion in the city.

The Orbea Katu-E 10 is built for the city. Small 20″ wheels keep the whole bike compact, which is good for maneuvering in town and storing at home. A Bosch Performance motor provides tons of torque, while the 400 Watt-hour battery is durable, efficient, and built to take a beating. Most bikes with smaller wheels have a tough time of maintaining speed compared to bikes with bigger wheels, but the pedal assist motor maintains speeds easily on flats, and crushes hills.

Orbea has coupled this with a Shimano Alfine 8 speed internally geared hub for reliability, low maintenance, and smooth performance. SKS fenders with integrated lights front and rear keep muck and road grime away. Orbea also included a front basket that is fixed to the headtube, which allows for smooth handling as you steer, as well as capability for a child seat. A double-sided kickstand and rear wheel lock completes the package.

The Orbea Katu-E is the perfect choice for anyone looking to carry gear, but lacks the necessary space for a full-sized cargo bike. The small 20” wheels might be off-putting, but the Katu is well-designed and ready for anything the city can throw at it.

Why Ride a Cargo Bike?

The Future of Urban Transportation

Lightweight bikes are fun. The idea of going fast, on pavement or off, isn’t just enjoyable, but seen as the pinnacle of cycling for many. However, in recent years there’s been a shift in direction and diversity for a myriad of cyclists. Now more than ever, varying styles of bicycle have proliferated North America to not only increase the bicycle’s audience, but practicality as well. The pinnacle of practicality in the bicycle world is the cargo bike. They may not resemble anything like a good full-suspension mountain bike, but these bikes are just as fun.

The original cargo bikes were used to deliver mail, milk, and other items. These bikes similar to a normal bicycle in size, but were installed with heavy-duty carriers front and rear to carry the additional weight and stress of delivery. Popularity of these bicycle waned with the proliferation of the internal combustion engine, but recently these bikes have experienced a resurgence in popularity and technology.

This resurgence is for good reason. Not only are cargo bikes much less costly to operate than a scooter or car, but they’re near-silent in operation, they don’t use fuel, and they can navigate both open road and tight quarters alike. Statistically speaking, most city-dwellers live a majority of their lives within four miles of their home – a distance that takes a while to walk, but is inefficient to drive. The cargo bike bridges the gap between walking and using a car, and does so in a way that matches your lifestyle. Not only is the cargo bike useful for carrying heavy loads, but they’re an excellent way to carry young children as a car replacement.

Most modern cargo bikes have some sort of front-loading capability and are based off of the “Long John” (or bakfiets) style. They offer versatility with either a low flatbed for maneuverability, or with a box. Bikes from brands like Larry vs Harry and Urban Arrow resemble this ideal, but bring their designs into the twenty-first century with quality materials, smooth performance, and even electric pedal-assist. Other bikes, like the Orbea Katu, follow the cycle truck formula: 20” wheels, tight wheelbase, and a fixed front rack to offer nimble handling and a stable platform for a myriad of loads.

Why ride a cargo bike? Perhaps because they’re a dream to use for the car-adverse. Maybe It’s due to how efficient the cargo bike is on resources, time, and energy. Above else, it’s because of how engaging one can be for the rider and potential passengers alike. In other words, cargo bikes are a fun way to get about. Skeptical? Come on down and try one for yourself.

Urban Arrow E-Cargo Bike Contender Bicycles Salt Lake City, Utah

All it takes is one ride

Come talk to one of our cargo bike experts today

At Contender Bicycles, our best tools for selling bikes are the people who ride them. Everyone at Contender Bicycles has extensive experience riding bikes across many brands. If you have any questions regarding Larry vs Harry, Urban Arrow, or Orbea, send an email to info@contenderbicycles.com or by phone at Contact Us.

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