What all three of these bikes have in common is that they're heading to new homes where they'll help transform three family's lifestyles with their car-replacement potential. Besides all being Bullitt cargo bikes, they also share:
- Shimano SLX components, including hydraulic disc brakes
- 48 Volt BionX e-assist
- FSA Metropolis Patterson internal 2-speed cranks
The above 3 features add to the functionality of these bikes and their ability to take over in situations where one might usually turn to a car. Reliable, durable, quality parts (like this Shimano SLX gruppo) mean that components last longer, are easy to replace or repair and most importantly - they work. We've elaborated before on the benefits of hydraulic disc brakes on cargo bikes and especially for cargo bikes that carry kids in hilly and urban areas. I don't think I need to tell any of our readers how important stopping is but some of you may not know how easy stopping is with hydraulic disc brakes. It's not an exaggeration to say it's effortless.
We've also waxed on previously about electric assist and cargo bikes. E-assist is a game-changer for many of our customers. Whether it's installed on a cargo bike or hybrid commuter bike it will extend a rider's range. How far, how fast, how heavy a load, and in what conditions you choose to ride, are increased with e-assist systems. For example, last week I was recovering from a bad chest cold, it was cold outside too. Conventional wisdom tells me that I shouldn't cycle to work in such conditions. But, if I can get there more quickly (less time in the cold air) and not overdo it (use little of my energy getting there) I could ride my bike. Hence, I get on my e-assist cargo bike and I arrive at work feeling just fine.
Then there's the Metropolis Patterson crank; an internally geared 2-speed crank. Besides it's pant leg-friendly cogs, this cool component has many practical advantages. For one, similar to internal rear gearing, it allows the rider to downshift while stopped. Shifting is quiet and instantaneous whether on the move or at a stop. That's a great feature for cargo bikes. It is no fun having to start across an intersection with a loaded cargo bike in too high a gear. With this crank, you just shift into the lower gear roll away, and then up-shift and cruise on. It's great match to the BionX system, providing a low (28T ) gear for hills and starting up, and a higher gear (45T) for cruising.
As a package, these three options mean a more enjoyable ride and fewer excuses (or need) to drive. To make their rides even more enjoyable each of the owners has customized their Bullitt to fit their needs. One of the things we love about the Bullitt is the ease with which we can customize the bikes to fit the user's preferences. Components, accessories, and cargo options can all be modified to meet the needs of the rider, and if those needs change, the set-up of the bike can be changed to address those changing needs. That means that a bike bought originally to take a dog to the park can be refit to carry a child, or two, or three. A bike purchased for taking kids to school can become a work vehicle when the kids are grown and cycling on their own. Or a Bullitt purchased for general use can be easily ready for a bike camping excursion.
This Bluebird has a Brooks Flyer Saddle, Ergon Biokork Grips (one of my favorite accessories),Supernova E3 Pro lights, and a Splendid Deck Plate. He'll also be adding a home-built cargo box to accommodate his kids, complete with a perch for his pet parrot. The middle Milk Plus was customized with Crank Brothers pedals, Supernova lights, and a Topeak rack (with custom rack riv-nut installation). This bike will rock a beautiful home-built box too. The Milk Plus on the left boasts a Alfine dynamo hub, Bullitt side panels, deck plate, and child seat and will certainly turn a few heads on the streets of LA!
Turning heads or not, all of these bikes will turn their owners onto a life of less reliance on automobiles.