Xtracycle has spent the last 14 months developing the next generation of Long-Tail Cargo Bike and, true to our nature, have partnered with several noteworthy industry leaders.
As we thought about the future of the cargo bike, no one could deny the role that electric assist would play. We are captivated by a vision of transportation that is bike-centered, but we acknowledge the role that pedal-assist technologies will play in bringing more riders of all ages, rider strengths, and ambitions to the table.
We’d like to introduce one of our partners as the first in The EdgeRunner Series: The Future of the Cargo Bike. Introducing…
Nearly every cargo company is now offering an electrified version of their cargo bike, but none seem to be taking into account the fundamentals of e-assist technology currently on the market. Most are slapping simple hub motor systems to their bikes and calling them e-cargo. While this is technically true, it’s far from ideal. Cargo makes special demands on the system and asks the most of an electric system to be efficient in high torque, low-speed scenarios (i.e. cargo bike well loaded coming to speed from a stop). As well, cargo bikes offer incredible capacity when it comes to on-board batteries. As anyone who’s seriously invested in electrified cargo-bikes knows, battery capacity is everything.
What we’ve found in prototypes is that when these different factors are optimized, an electric cargo bike begins to feel like a true car alternative – able to traverse vast distances even when loaded, ride comfortably, keep the bulk of the load low and centered, and offer amazing value (think 1/8 – 1/10th the cost of a car, with essentially no fuel costs).
We couldn’t have done this alone. We teamed with long-time Xtracycle rider and cohort in transforming biking in North America, Justin Lemire-Elmore. Just as we carry a long history of cargo-biking experience and knowhow, Justin provides a deep body of knowledge about electric cargo essential to creating a groundbreaking solution. While we will forever look back to Justin as our inception into the e-cargo biking world, I would think that Justin looks to his trans-Canadian adventure by bike as his moment of true inspiration around becoming the foremost expert on electric assist bikes in North America.
This video details his trip. This is not a punchy 1-minute video to post to your friends on Facebook. This is an inspring tale of how Justin accomplished this remarkable feat, and may be best watched in bite-sized chunks. It’s like a great lecture, told by an authentic source.
Suffice it to say, we think of Justin as a true genius in the e-biking world. He’s more than an e-bike geek, he’s an avid e-bike rider (see video above), and developer of e-bike technologies designed based on long-distance, loaded, riding, not merely recreational jaunts to the park. He sells the stuff himself and he knows intimately what works and doesn’t. His manufacturing partners in Asia are some of the most groundbreaking e-bike developers alive.
Given the above, we were pretty flattered to hear Justin’s unsolicited thoughts about the Xtracycle platform:
When I reflect about why I ride an electric Xtracycle to the exclusion of pretty much any other 2 or 3 wheeled bike, it’s because:
a) The flexibility for accommodating different load shapes/sizes is genius. With the wideloader and a few extra straps, I almost never wonder “can I fit this on the bike”, nor do I need to plan in advance if I might or might not need to carry cargo. The capacity is always there with me.
b) It’s narrow and nimble enough that on the road I never think or feel like I am taking up any additional space. I can still zip between rows of idle traffic, or hop up on shared pedestiran/bicycle sidewalks. Doing either of these with trikes or boxbikes is precarious, and makes me feel like I’m driving a semi in a lane full of smart cars.
c) It locks up in conventional crowded bike racks without hogging any additional space.
d) It lets me take on passengers on a whim and provide them with a cozier seat than mine. I find myself doubling up all the time.
e) It looks great. You notice that it’s different, but there is different in a “look at that funny thing” kind of way, versus different in a “wow, that’s pretty awesome where did you get it?”. The look of Xtracycle Longtail is in the latter class of different. Something about it just looks right.”
Thanks Justin. We’re excited to partner with you on this incredible endeavor.
Look forward to the next installment of The EdgeRunner Series: The Fastest Man Alive Builds the Finest Cargo Bike on Earth