the Family Truckster: Kona Ute

Max Mercury Neff (David Neff)

Megabike, Kona Ute, cargo class 1.  I made that up, there are no standards on Cargo bikes but this one has a rather conservative 100KG rating. It was a tough decision between Extracycle, Trek, Surly and Yuba but the winner came from Craigslist as the first available. It works, the center of gravity is a bit high as Kona went with 29er wheels rather than 26″ as most manufacturers do. It makes mounting and dismounting a bit precarious, expecially when overloaded as I often do. Otherwise, it handles like a tank, the bags hold a pile of stuff and it’s sexy as all hell.  Fitting it into the elevator and or the bike room in our Co-Op is a real challenge so as it’s been on the street now the greater part of the year, I have in mind my alternatives for when it gets stolen. Bike Friday has a new cargo bike which weighs in about 10 lbs less and is about a foot shorter due to smaller wheels.  I missed the kickstarter but maybe one will hit Craigslist at the right moment.

Max is sitting in his Yepp Maxi, he is older than 1 year making him legal to carry on a bike in NY and he is wearing the latest most fashionable outfit I won’t describe.

In case you’re shopping for a cargo bike, here’s my take on the competition… in longtails. I didn’t visit bucket bikes.

Extracycle – The original, created the standards for most accessories, makes a frame extender kit or a frame. Not cheap but well designed

Trek Transport – No longer made, hard to find, was pricy but nice! Very well made frame, compatible with Extracycle

Surly Surly is just cool. Bombproof, not cheap though most of their bikes are pretty well priced

Yuba Mundo – Very reasonable and super cargo capacity probably due to the oversized rear axle.

Kona Ute – The only one that uses a 29er wheel, high center of gravity reasonably priced, just went back into production after two years off. They also make the MunUte, a shorter version for your average city dweller.

Bike Friday Haul a Day – Compact, never seen live… sounds like a great bike, missed the kickstarter on it but hope to get one without having my bike stolen.


City Bike

P3292034, originally uploaded by Davepix.

Univega touring bike, outfitted for city riding. This is my beater bike, the one cheap enough to lock on the streets of NYC and not worry so much that it is going to be vandalized or stolen. It’s been with me long enough that if it were stolen I got my money’s worth but I’d miss it. No idea how many flats it has had at this point. I average about five flats a month at times, ride it almost year round and usually have kevlar belted Gatorskins on the rims. I have replaced the front wheel twice, the rear wheel once, the cranks twice, chainrings four times, chain maybe around the fifth. It’s a great bike, never intended for the abuse it gets but what can I say, steel is amazing. Softer ride, tough frame. Light too.