Here at Xtracycle we’re all bike nuts, but we’re also design nuts. We love beautiful, clever parts and well thought out solutions, so it’s no surprise that we’re excited about a really well designed bike: the Kinn Cascade Flyer, designed and made in Portland.
Todd Fahrner (rear, Clever Cycles) and Tony Pereira (front, maker of the Xtra-Pear) take a spin on Kinn’s mid-tail.
Photo: Jonathan Maus, Bike Portland
The brainchild of Alistair Williamson, it is designed to be short enough to carry easily up stairs or put on a bus, and strong enough to carry a child (or adult) passenger. But what really sets it apart is the wonderful attention to detail that has gone into the bike, and the clever little touches throughout. (For a quite thorough article on Kinn, see this Bike Portland article.)
Lots of folks I’ve talked with about this bike really like the twisting deck, and I agree that it’s a very cool, well integrated touch. However the Yepp EasyFit window built into the rack is what really sets this bike apart as a family oriented machine. The window makes putting a Yepp seat on a complete breeze: the seat slots into the window, you twist the knob a few times to lock it into place and that’s it. No tools, no fuss, and you can take the seat on and off as much as you need. The icing in the cake is that it seems located far enough forward that you can still use panniers on the rear of the rack: generally putting a kid seat on a regular bike rack takes up so much space that panniers no longer fit. Now you don’t have to choose between carrying a kid, and carrying all the stuff that goes with a kid!
My favorite feature is one you can’t even see: A hidden spring detent in the head tube holds the bars when they are flipped 180 degrees. This makes it much easier to load the bike into a bus or elevator but the functionality is so subtle and intuitive that most people would likely never notice it. Very slick.
The last feature is dead simple: foot pegs. We know from having kids and passengers that having a place for people to put their feet is almost as important as having a place for them to put their seat. (The number of kids and adults riding just on BMX pegs around Oakland would suggest that the footrest is more important.) The Kinn not only provides a footrest but an adjustable one with a mount that looks great on the bike.
Overall, Williamson has created an elegant bike that performs its role well and with style. Kudos! If you want to check out the bike in more detail, head over to Kinn Bikes.
It is exciting to see the proliferation of midtail cargo bikes in just the last year or so. This continued evolution in the cargo bike ecosystem is a sign that more and more people are beginning to take people (and things) by bike, and that’s good news for everyone.