Cargo Bikes Category Archive

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Sycip_complete bike

This mobile barbecue machine is among five SRAM E-matic eBikes that Gates Carbon Drive showed at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show last weekend. Jeremy Sycip of Sycip Designs in Portland was inspired by a friend who lugs a portable grill into the woods for barbecuing after long rides. Sycip, who won an award at NAHBS last year for his belt drive gentleman’s town bike,  again impressed judges with his creativity–winning the trophy for Best Theme Bike. In addition to a grill rack, the eBike has panniers for beer and ice, a cutting board on the rear rack, a frame-mounted knife and bottle opener. Thanks to the E-matic, getting home with a full belly after a pork chop feast is a breeze.

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Sycip_BBQ closeup

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Sycip_cutting board

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Sycip trophy

Chris Connor of Connor Wood Cycles is a Denver-area bike builder who honed his woodworking skills as a guitar maker. His wooden belt drive bikes are not just beautiful; they’re tough. One was raced in last year’s Leadville 100 mountain bike race. For his SRAM E-matic build, Chris chose to create an efficient hardwood commuter that he is calling the el Woody. His bikes truly are functional works of art. Note the wooden rear rack.

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Connor Wood_Chris with bike

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Connor Wood_rear rack

Bamboo specialists Boo Bicycles of Colorado last year launched a commuter line called AluBoo that creatively combines aluminum, bamboo and belt drives.  After winning an award last year for best belt drive fat bike, they decided to pair the E-matic with an AluBoo frame to create a stylish urban eBike that gets you to the office or grocery without arriving sweaty. Booyah!

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Boo_Jacob

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Boo_complete bike

One of the hardest bikes to keep in the Gates booth in Charlotte was the CityView eBike from Co-Motion, which took top honors at NAHBS last year for its electronic shifting city bike. Co-Motion told us to offer test rides, and many NAHBS attendees accepted. The pedal-assist bike could frequently be seen zipping along a rear wall of the convention center with a long straightaway. Everyone was impressed by the E-matic. The rear wheel drive features a torque sensor that automatically shifts into a higher gear. It’s a clean application: no handlebar shifters or extra wires–just pedal and go.

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Co-Motion_rear rack

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Co-Motion_complete

Builder Craig Calfee has won many awards for his high-end carbon bikes, but he is also noted for his efforts to teach bamboo bike building skills in Africa. His goal is to help people in the developing world use locally sourced bamboo to create affordable and clean transportation. For his show bike, Craig paired the E-matic with a Booganda frame. Note the beautiful work on the head tube.

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Calfee_complete bike

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Calfee_headtube closeup

Stay tuned for more great photos of electric and pedal bikes from NAHBS. Thanks to Gates racer/marketing specialist/photographer Tim Lucking for the pictures. Now it’s time to go barbecue.

NAHBS 14_SRAM_Sycip knife

GATES eBike Showcase logo

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English_Cycles_Custom eBike_profile

Gates Carbon Drive plans to, literally, electrify the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show with a first-ever “Custom eBike Showcase” featuring a dozen original electric bicycles.

Gates partnered with leading electric bike system companies Bosch, SRAM and BionX, as well as hub maker NuVinci, and enlisted some of the finest custom builders to create the belt drive eBikes for the show, March 14-16 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The English Cycles electric  cargo bike pictured above features a stylish integration of the Gates belt drive system with the Bosch Gen2 motor and battery paired with a NuVinci N360 continuously variable planetary hub.

“Electric bikes can get more Americans out of cars and onto two wheels, and Gates wants to help drive growth in North America by exposing consumers to the benefits eBikes,” said Todd Sellden, global director of Gates Carbon Drive. “The Custom eBike Showcase allows top custom builders to present an American interpretation of the European eBike movement.”

English_Cycles_Custom eBike_Drivetrain

Award-winning builders participating in the showcase include Co-Motion Cycles, English Cycles, Calfee Design, Kent Eriksen Cycles, Ti Cycles, Dean Cycle Works, SyCip Designs, Boo Bicycles, Santana, Alternative Needs Transportation and Connor Wood Bicycles. Gates and its partners Bosch, SRAM, BionX and NuVinci gave the builders creative freedom to design eBikes to suit their functional and artistic visions. The belt drive eBikes cover a range of styles: fat bikes and cargo bikes, tandems, city and commuter bikes, and electric bikes made of bamboo and wood. The eBikes will feature electric drives from Bosch, SRAM and BionX, as well as NuVinci hubs.

The Custom eBike Showcase will be located in the Gates booth (#300) at the Charlotte Convention Center. Gates Carbon Drive is an official sponsor of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. “Electric bikes are a new thing for NAHBS and custom builders, and I will be curious to see the reaction from builders and the public,” said Don Walker, founder of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

GATES eBike Showcase logo

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NTS Works 2x4 on bench at beach

Neal Saiki describes his mission as making clean technology fun. His impressive resume includes founding Zero Motorcycles, creating the first human-powered helicopter and revolutionizing full-suspension bicycle design with his work for brands including Santa Cruz and Haro. So when Saiki decided to launch a new bicycle project, his goal was to create a machine that is fun to ride but also addresses societal and environmental issues. Thus was born the 2×4 electric cargo bike, a car-replacing pedal-powered machine that hauls heavy loads with ease.

NTS Works 2x4 Pleasure Point Pizza

NTS Works 2x4 Produce Delivery

The 2×4 has received accolades from CNN and many other media outlets since launching this month. The front-loading cargo bike features innovative touches including: a proprietary steering system that allows cargo weight to be centered over the front wheel without affecting bike handling; a lifetime service warranty on the battery pack; and a Gates Carbon Drive for grease-free and low-maintenance durability. The front wheel is powered by a high-torque electric motor, while the rear has an eight-speed transmission. The 2×4 even has a USB charging port for your phone, a motorcycle-style center kickstand for stability when parked, plus two cup holders for staying caffeinated.

Saiki designed the lithium ion battery pack (it uses advanced cylindrical cells similar to those used by Tesla Motors) to be easily serviced, durable, light, affordable and efficient. He says cyclists can go 30 miles on a charge and ride 10,000 miles for $30 worth of electricity–costing virtually nothing compared to the high expense of driving a car. The 2×4 is ideal for replacing that second family car and is a low-cost delivery solution for small businesses seeking an affordable alternative to a van or delivery car.

“We think that this battery technology is the breakthrough product people have been waiting for,” Saiki says. “The foremost advantage is that it is serviceable. Being able to easily replace one of more cells is a huge advantage. Huge EV battery packs are prone to having one or two bad cells. Nobody wants to throw out an entire EV pack just because there is one bad cell. Our technology facilitates thermal tracking of every cell in the pack. Any bad cell can be identified and replaced in minutes.”

Listen to Saiki describe the bike in this video:

NTS Works is based in Santa Cruz, Calif., where Saiki lives with his family. He and his wife Lisa can be seen pedaling their 2×4 around the city on grocery errands or carting the kids about town. Technological and environmental innovation aside, Saiki says his real motivation for building the 2×4 was personal: With young children, neither he nor Lisa have time to go mountain biking. Now they exercise while doing errands. Time stress is why Saiki decided to use Gates Carbon Drive.  “Like many parents I don’t have the time, or desire, to maintain a chain,” he says. “Our bikes will also be sold to businesses, and the Gates belt drive is a low-maintenance solution for them. You don’t have to worry about cleaning and lubricating a chain. Just hop on and go.”

NTS Works 2x4 surfboard sunset


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Coffee-loving bicyclists, meet the Velopresso: an ingenious pedal-powered mobile coffee stand designed to lower the carbon footprint of our collective caffeine habit. Created by two product design students from the Royal College of Art in London, the machine uses no electricity, making it perfect for street corners and off-the-grid locations. Velopresso not only gets around town by pedal power; the coffee grinder is also pedal-powered. Delicious coffee, no electricity, no motors, no noise.

“Velopresso was conceived against the backdrop of a global renaissance in cycling culture that is being driven by the desire for more sustainable cities and lifestyles,” says co-creator Amos Field Reid, pictured below kneeling behind the machine. “The urban coffee scene is also expanding and diversifying, including a convergence with cycling culture. Velopresso engages directly with these cutting-edge urban cultures.”

The only fuel use consists of a camp stove to heat the water and create steam. The stove now uses camping/mountaineer’s gas, but Reid and co-creator Lasse Oiva are researching methods to create ethanol alcohol from the spent coffee grounds, which would be used to fire the camp stove burner. “Research is underway to derive a zero-carbon fuel for the stove from waste grinds,” Reid says.

We love the Velopresso because it uses not one but two Gates Carbon Drives–one for locomotion and another to power the grinder, which produces a double-shot of espresso with five seconds of easy pedaling. With a click of a gear lever, the belt-drive transmission switches from powering the trike’s wheels to powering the custom-made grinder. The inventors say the clean and grease-free belt drive was the perfect solution: you don’t want toxic chain lube in your soy latte.

“The Gates Carbon Drive forms an integral part of the Velopresso,” Reid says. “The belt eliminated the problem of an oily chain getting mixed up with the coffee prep environment. It also rendered a chain guard unnecessary, allowing us to showcase this rational, progressive, pedal-powered technology and keeping it all naked as we intended. We wanted technology that looks good and performs perfectly. From the very earliest design sketches we located the Gates Carbon Drive that powers the grinder at the center of the machine–a statement of intent.”

Velopresso has already won several design awards including the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprises 2012, and second place in the Pininfarina Design Contest 2012. Reid and Oiva are now trying to commercialize Velopresso to sell them in Europe and North America. “The Velopresso project as a business is conceived around the production of multiple machines for sale or leasing to individual private vendors alongside coffee and bicycle related companies, as both an eye-catching new form of mobile retail operation and a highly visible promotional vehicle,” Reid says. The machine’s weatherproof side panels can be customized for company or corporate branding.

Until then, Velopresso is on our wish list. See more photos and contact Velopresso at:

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The Stop Cycles 29er Proletariat with Gates Carbon Drive designed specifically for commuters.To all you 29er mountain bikers, we present your dream commuter bike: the Proletariat, a 29-inch-wheeled ride with Gates Carbon Drive. This aluminum beauty is “the first of a new breed of 29er commuter (bikes) designed for Portlanders by Portlanders.”

So says Joe Bike , one of Portland’s finest bike shops and the go-to gettin’ place for utility bikes and urban commuters. In addition to the Proletariat, Joe Bike sells the Shuttlebug, a belt-drive cargo bike ideal for hauling groceries or children (or even for doing wheelies, though we don’t recommend it).

The ShuttleBug cargo bike with Gates Carbon Drive technology is ideal for hauling groceries or children.

The ShuttleBug from Joe Bike

Joe Bike sells multiple belt-drive bikes including the Norco Ceres, an 8-speed, flat-bar city bike with Gates Carbon Drive.  We currently have a Ceres on test with, one of our favorite transportation bike blogs, and we’ll bring you news of EcoVelo’s review once the test is complete. The Proletariat is made by Portland’s Stop Cycles, whose mantra is “good beer, strong coffee, cheap bars, sweet bikes and a sustainable lifestyle.” Seems they’ve figured out the meaning of life there in Portlandia.

The Gates Carbon Drive enabled Proletariat bike from Stop Cycles is perfect for commuting.So to all you car commuters who live within bicycling distance of the office, we say check out the Proletariat. Get outside and breathe some fresh air and get fit by pedaling to work. Mix with your fellow proles and join the Portland bike revolution. You’ll save lots of gas money, which means you’ll have plenty of pocket cash for good beer and sweet bikes.The Proletariat 29-inch-wheeled bike with Gates Carbon Drive designed for commuting.

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