Author: OneEyeGoat Posted: 2012-07-21
After using the HuckleBerry Cycle Truck for the last month, I have to say I’m impressed. I’ve been using it for heavy and light load transportation, and for easy leisurely rides across town. I’ve used it as my sole mode of transportation, no car. It makes for an easy ride to the store or across town, with or without a load even up slight inclines with only two gears. I have to admit that Eugene is pretty flat, but there are the occasional inclines that need to be dealt with. The load carrying aspect of the bike worked out just as Jake Rosenfeld of HuckleBerry Cycles had said it would. Having a frame built for loads and for tracking across town, the bike performed as stated.
What makes a cycle truck or utility bike different than a normal bike with a front basket is that the load is distributed through the frame and it doesn’t affect the steering. The tray is an extension of the frame which protrudes out in front of the bike, similar to a basket on the handlebars, but the steering is in no way affected by the weight. I tested it out with some pretty heavy loads and it worked like a champ. This makes it much easier to steer while carrying a heavy load. The smaller diameter front wheel also allows for easy steering. The geometry of the bike also makes for peddling upright while going uphill very easy and convenient. It was designed primarily with transporting goods in mind.
I was nervous about the load carrying, as any mistake on a bike while in the bike lanes can be high stakes. The bike never wavered under load and the handling was just as nimble as when not carrying one. Riding with the tray up front took a little getting used to. It is a hair bit wide and you need to plan any tight fits while approaching to ensure you don’t clip anything. My wife and I quickly learned that while under load getting the bike up a curb took rolling the bike up the curb backwards. Another trick involved tight corners while maneuvering into the back porch simple took lifting the rear and swiveling it to the side to get the right angle.
The Sturmy-Archer rear hub also took a little getting used to. I quickly learned to up-shift as I approached a stop. This allowed me to start in the easy gear from a stand still, as applying the coaster brake will shift to the unused gear automatically. Being confined to two gears in a flat city is no problem, even with short inclines. The maintenance free aspect is sweet, no derailleur and it is trouble free.
All the other components worked well. Many of the parts are not high end, and may need upgrading after they wear out a bit. If you don’t mind ruining the aesthetics of the bike, I’d replace the rear tire with a thinner commuter tire. The grips could be upgraded as well as the handle bars. I’d replace the bars with a more U-shaped one allowing for better steering when carrying a tall load, one that is taller than the bars themselves. The chain could also be a little more high-performance as the zinc coated one is very utilitarian. The pedals can be swapped out for a set with better grip especially when wet since we live in Oregon where it’s wet most of the year. The front disc brake can be replaced with something other than a mechanical one. Finally, I’d swap out the seat with a lighter more high performance one allowing for a better cadence.
With a heavy load capacity, easy maintenance, and easy riding the HuckleBerry Cycle Truck is a perfect utility bike. Not only is it functional, but it looks good in its retro style. There is no doubt that our summer without bikes would have been a pain without the HuckleBerry Cycle Truck. Check out the HuckleBerry web site for more information and to check out any new creations.
[Link to Reference
HuckleBerry Cycle Truck
Peddling uphill is very easy due to bike geometry.
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