8 Freight-style cargo bike from Bilenky
16.06.08 by Buffalo Bill
As I mentioned before, Horse said that he was bringing up something different for the CMWC. Bilenky’s current design for a freight bike is a front load, linkage affair based on the Viewpoint tandem. I rode one for a day at CMWC 2000. It rides well, and probably handles as well as the Van Der Tuin long-john, but with the added advantage of actually arriving within 12 months of ordering.
Horse (aka Simon Firth to North America) has obviously been looking at the 8 Freight that Mike Burrows makes. This prototype, which was ridden in the CMWC cargo race, has a tig-welded steel frame, with an aluminium carrier rack. It is shockingly light, given the length of it, but it’s a while since I rode an 8 Freight, so I can’t make any kind of comparison. In the current configuration, it has 26 inch wheels, drum rear and v front brakes.
It rides nicely, and handles a load well. The major draw-back of the current model (which has already been sold) is that it is too long. The big wheels, relaxed head angle and fork rake should be adjusted, and I think that Steve Bilenky and Horse will almost certainly be making modifications to the bike before they make another one.
To be honest, even though the 8 Freight and the Bilenky version handle nicely, once you get used to the steep steep head angle, mono fork and 0 trail of the 8 Freight, I don’t like having the load behind. I far prefer to have the load in front, even though having a linkage to the front wheel can lead to extra complications.
The price of oil will go up in the near future, possibly to $250/barrel, as the CEO of Gazprom predicts in this Bloomberg article. This means that cargo bikes will have a massive competitive advantage over motorized freight vehicles. It is only a matter of time, in my view, before we will see these kind of load carrying vehicles swarming around the streets of all major cities. In the Bloomberg article an analyst predicts that you certainly won’t see mom hauling around the kids in a Chevy Suburban. If the choice of driving kids around no longer makes sense, then the choice to pay for the petrol costs of driving goods around will not make sense either. Cargo bikes will soon, if not already do, make economic sense. Pedal powered freight vehicles are the future.