John in CR wrote: ↑
Dec 16, 2017 3:35 am
How does it handle with a heavy load in the cargo box?
What kind of cargo bike configuration would you suggest for quite heavy and often long loads? Cheap and easy are always part of my equation.
This bike is stable and steers well on its moderately elongated wheelbase. Because it has a short, BMX bike amount of fork offset combined with a very slack head angle and a loaded front wheel, the steering has a stronger than normal tendency to self-correct at speed, like a motorcycle but without all the front end mass and inertia. So there is some headshake when I let go of the bars. The more weight is in the box, the stronger this tendency becomes. I've had over 100 pounds in the box and it rides fine with good control, but the wiggle starts to be detectable even when my hands are on the bars. Given that most adult passengers are significantly over 100 pounds, I don't want to put a passenger seat on this bike until I make a fork with correct offset for the job.
If I had started out to make a box bike, I would have situated the load platform lower and more level over the front wheel. This one was designed to keep a passenger firmly against the seat back, with feet up out of harm's way.
For big loads, I have a trailer I built with a 6 foot by 2-1/2 foot load bed, and heavy duty 20" wheels. I've carried 400 pounds on that with no problems. I also have a smaller 26" wheeled trailer I built to haul a bin that's larger than the one on my cargo bike, and the bin sits just four inches above the ground. That one would be good to carry lots of weight, but the bin is only rated for 100 pounds. Another practical load limitation of both those trailers is the hitch.
Back in 2003, I built a cargo sidecar trike to compete in the Cycle Messenger World Championships cargo race. Later I made a skid with chairs to haul old folks and people with babies to an outdoor wedding. Before it got the chairs on it, it carried as many as seven adults.
I placed the sidecar wheel forward of the rear wheel for better weight distribution. That was a mistake, because the wheel scrubs annoyingly in turns. Take my word for it that the only place for a sidecar's wheel is in line with the rear axle.
Knowing what I know now, and if I wanted to build a bike to haul things that are longer than the bike and heavier than a passenger, I'd make a custom frame with a hinged sidecar that allows the bike to lean. I know from experience that a trailer works for this kind of load, but it's better to keep the overall length moderate and to be able to monitor your load while underway. Hitching to a regular bike becomes an intractable problem as trailer weight rises, too.