Many Gave Their Lives For This Cargo Bike To Be Re-Born

DIY Cargo Bike Made From Many Bikes

Cargo bikes are very specialized and you don’t see too many of them out on the streets because of that fact. Being uncommon also means they’re rather expensive if you wanted to buy a new one. Like any hardcore bike DIYer, [Mike] got around this issue by building his own out of a couple old bikes. His goal is to show car-dependent people that you can get away with biking most of the time, even if you need to move some stuff from place to place. The build process for this monster was so involved that it required two pages of documentation; Part 1 and Part 2!

There are a few types of cargo bikes. There is the trike (seen often in regular or reverse trike varieties) with a bin between the 2 adjacent wheels. Two-wheeled options are usually either front loaders (the storage area between the rider and the front wheel) or those with rear racks. Mike’s bike is the latter.

He started with a 26″ wheeled bike that was already a Frankenbike of sorts, even the frame alone was a conglomeration of two separate bikes! To start, the rear wheel and chain was discarded. A kid’s mountain bike with 20″ wheels was disassembled and the head tube was cut off. The top and down tubes of the smaller bike were notched so that they fit nicely with the seat tube of the larger bicycle. The two frames were then welded together along with several pieces of support to make sure the bike stayed together through the rigors of riding. The rear rack is made up of some old bike frame tubes and some metal from the frame of a sofa that was being thrown out. Nothing goes to waste at Mike’s place! The 20″ kids bike rear wheel already had a 5 speed cassette so that was a no brainner to re-install. In the end, Mike has a bike that cost him zero dollars and shows the world it is possible to build a utilitarian bike and reduce your dependence on automobiles.

If cargo bikes are your thing, you may be interested in this up-cycled cargo bike, this one with a huge front bucket or maybe even this nifty bike trailer.


27 thoughts on “Many Gave Their Lives For This Cargo Bike To Be Re-Born

      1. I didn’t look at it too closely. MIG is probably not the best process to use with bicycle construction to begin with. Not everyone wants to invest in a TIG welder though. I know mine set me back quite a bit.

    1. I think a decent paint job would go a long way (not all the way, but a good bit) in fixing that problem. It would still look strange, and maybe even a little “ghetto”, but this is a utilitarian vehicle. You remind me of the guys who buy a full-sized pickup truck, and then won’t put a load in the back “because it might scratch the paint”.

      1. No it’s not ghetto,it’s a naturally born beater. Naturally born it looks are a result of building for function. As apposed to trend in street rodding, purposely build a car to look like a beater. I wished I had a picture of coworkers repair of his personal pickup used to “pump” oil wells. He crafted a late fifties Ford pickup right fender onto a mid 60’s ford pickup reinforcing the wheel opening with cat walk angle iron.

    2. LOL!! At first I thought you and pcf11 were being a little harsh….. till I looked on his website and saw how much of a self rightous ass bag this guy seems to be.

      I’m way more about the utilitarian aspects than the looks, but there is no doubt in my mind that [Mike] didn’t put a fresh coat of paint on it because he wants to prove how much better he is than you by how many different bikes you can count on his bike.

      1. I can kind of relate. I built a pair of kayaks last year and I still haven’t painted them because I enjoy the questions and conversations I have with curious bystanders when they see my obviously DIY boats. Once they get a good paint job they’ll just look like any other kayak.

      2. What’d I say? I wasn’t cracking on them. I was cracking on whoever said it cost them zero dollars. MIG wire costs money. Every time you weld you’re spending money, it is as simple as that. Between consumables, and the electricity you’re burning up, or gas, or what have you, it costs money. Unless you’re forge welding using charcoal you made yourself. That is not what appears to be going on here. It’d be cool if it was though. Then I’d go along with zero dollars.

        Someone who could forge weld a bicycle frame that could be ridden would deserve some mad props for skillz. They could brag about zero dollars and I’d be 100% OK with it. The guys at welding supply houses have lots of my money today though.

  1. id be more worried about those welds failing, especially the switched out tubes in the original mtb frame. aint pretty mind but if it does the job then thats cool.
    id be keeping a close eye on all those welds though, and would recommend throwing a bit of paint on em to stop the metal rusting up so bad (a light colour makes it easier to see cracks if they did develop)

      1. Not really. That FWD was first designed by my late mentor Paul S. around 1991 based on a design of a hand-cranked paracycle by Georgiev of Varna. These all leverage the fact that modern bike chain must flex in order to shift by derailing sideways from one gear to another. That flexibility allows the FWD to be steered while being given power. The range of the steering is such that only interference between the tire and the chain prevents angles greater than 45 degrees, depending on the details like tire size, gear selection and location of the idler wheels. FWIW, most of the fastest streamliners at Battle Mountain utilize this configuration.

      1. Thanks. As I said… these kinds of articles make me wish I was better at documenting my builds. The problem is that stopping to take pictures can really derail the flow of a project. There are just too many loops where one seemingly small change can affect a whole bunch of other parameters. Take the cargo recumbent there. My short stature forces me to raise the cranks so that the pedals don’t interfere with the tires. That forces a recline in the seat back angle that can affect my forward vision over the pedals and the handlebars. That also forces the handlebars higher to accomodate the elliptical-ish motion of my knees, which then forces my seat back forward in a way that makes hip angle too tight. That recline also affects where the center of mass is going to, which then affects a whole bunch of other things…. and so on. I’ve accepted that I’m not wired to break for posterity, but it gets disheartening sometimes to see some of the “hacks” being hyped all over the web.

        BTW, here’s a tilting trike that I made in ’09 based on a design taught to me by my late mentor.

      1. The big long tail bike was built for a local organic vegetable delivery. The typically haul a full load of 12 Rubbermaid containers that are approx 24″x16″x12″ with a weight of 300-400 lbs for a GVW 550 lbs or more. I’m not totally certain, but I think that may be the longest single rider cargo bike in NA (if not the world). There are bigger bicycles and longer bicycles, but I don’t think any purpose built for cargo with an 8 foot wheelbase.

  2. Very funny and informative write-up – I actually LOL’d a few times.
    A few problems with [Rich’s] post:
    1. There is no mention of the name of the bike. For the record, it’s the “Bikeducken”.
    2. It wasn’t “zero dollars”, even if you don’t include the welding wire, electricity, etc. He mentions buying extra long shifter and brake cables.

    1. That is definitely one thing I hate about the MIG process. I’ve had so many rolls go sour on me. I’ve tried to clean them with steel wool, forget about it! My motto is frig it, I’ll MIG it. By that I mean if I’m MIG welding something then I really don’t care about it too much. I put MIG welding about one rung above hot glue. I guess dialed in with good wire it’s OK, but that doesn’t always happen before I’m done welding something. Then I rerun the beads with my TIG, if I kind of care.

    1. I use my cargo bikes to carry heavy loads from A to B. Typically full toolboxes, metal tubing, bike frames, and the occasional lumber. Versus a trailer, it is faster, more maneuverable and most importantly, better handling. When a bike trailer is loaded unevenly the load is usually so much greater than the trailer weight that it easily begins to sway, even if it’s secured well. With my cargo bike, I’ve had as much as about 75 lbs asymmetry and even though the ride is a bit tilted to one side, there is never any skittishness.

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