Incredibly Cheap Upcycled Cargo Bike


What has two wheels, is made from five different bikes, and can carry all of your stuff for miles and miles on end?

[Paul Blue’s] DIY Lastenrad, that’s what. (Google Translation)

A Lastenrad is a cargo bike where the load sits in front of the rider rather than being towed behind. [Paul] wanted one for hauling things around town, and rather than buy one, he built one of his own. One thing we particularly like about this build is that the bike borrows parts from five other bicycles that were in various states of disrepair. That kind of re-use is something we can really get behind.

[Paul] estimates the total build cost to be under 50 Euros, which is fantastic considering how useful his Lastenrad is. After logging about 100Km on the bike, he says that it handles quite well, and that even when fully loaded it is extremely easy to make his way about town.

Continue reading to see a video of the bike’s first test ride.


27 thoughts on “Incredibly Cheap Upcycled Cargo Bike

  1. Nice one… just make sure to lock it when you are not around! bikes like this, or just bikes in general, have a nasty habit of being stolen. Once, I had my bike stolen, and I was so outraged I could probably have killed the person who took it if I had been there..

  2. @Mime: Bike theft is such a pain and an old problem.

    I wish someone would come up with a cheap gps + cellular/satellite tracking system you could hide inside the frame.

    Even if it was expensive, it would last a long time assuming you could always track it down :)

    You would need to bring along some stout friends and baseball bats each time you collect it back however.

  3. Fail hack, double the weight of a normal bicycle with half the stability loaded.

    The right way to do it, is with a tricycle”, a far cheaper cargo bike, mainly used in India and East Asia countries.
    With 5 bikes one can built 3 tricycles.

    1. eh, im usually super critical of crap posted on this website too. however i like this project. although not perfect by any means, 2 wheels offer lower rolling resistance and less probablity of a flat tire.

    2. It’s actually a pretty great home-built bakfiets. They’re super common in Holland. My wife used one to get a couch to our apartment in Den Haag. They’re super stable as long as you don’t go tearing around corners.
      They are heavy compared to a racing bike, but you really can’t beat them for hauling heavy stuff around a big city, especially someplace like Amsterdam or Den Haag where parking a truck improperly can net you a EUR 250 ticket.
      Check out

    3. Tricycles are too wide to ride on the german bike paths in big cities. German car riders are not happy when you slow traffic with your slow and wide tricycle on the csar line. This bike makes sense.

    4. Nah, you can modify the trail to get the balance of stability/steerability that you need. Cargo bikes like this one usually have very low trail so that you can still steer when you have 100kg in there or whatever, but it means that they are twitchy to ride unladen. I tried one out with my son in (a toddler) and it was very squirrely! The problem with using trikes is that they don’t like going round corners, and you have to develop all sorts of strategies to turn without them threatening to roll. The Long John style of cargo bike as shown here is way more manoeuvrable.

      As for what is used in India and East Asia:

    1. I immediately went looking for the steering mechanism, too, and after translating the minimal blog entries, I found these pictures:

      closeup of the front connection:

      Poor, but best view of entire linkage:

      It looks like he attached a rod from the end of the fork attached to the handlebars, to the front fork at the wheel, as shown in the first picture.

  4. He forgot to beef up the brakes and kickstand. The bed on that thing could easily hold more weight than either of the previous compenents were meant to deal with. Ideally disc brakes should be added.

      1. So the kick stand look allright. But what about those 1970s single pivot calipers? I would at least expect a set of Maguras or some hydraulic disks on such a heavy thing…

      2. @Leithoa
        The kickstand performs very well. I’ll reinforce it with a steel tube to reduce bending of the square tube under heavy load (e.g. 20l gas bottle).

        @ brad
        This is my first brazing ever and I learned a lot about joining steel! The next bike will look much better !

        @ all
        The main intention of the project is to build a fully usable cargo bike from scratch, while self teaching some brazing and having lots of fun.

        I know hydraulic brakes and disk brakes will do a much better job than the old ones, but they perform quiet well. Not need to replace them, at least in almost-flat-town Berlin.

  5. Guilty: I did not visit the site, from the picture in the article it looked like the stock kick stand.

    I noticed the brazing too, but A) it’s probably atleast the level that I would be able to produce b) it’s doing it’s job just fine c) I’m assuming some paint and an encounter with a sander are in the bike’s near future.

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