First look: Bullitt Cargo bike
Classy load-lugger from Copenhagen via London
Ollie from Bullitt Bikes UK came down to show us a couple of their big-capacity load-luggers the other day. The bikes are designed in Denmark by Larry vs Harry (who run the excellent tagline 'you will not be able to stay home, brother' on their website) and the Aluminium frames are built in Taiwan. The bike's a modern re-imagining of the long wheelbase cargo bike: the layout is essentially the same, but the look is updated a bit and Bullitt UK are aiming to widen the appeal of the bikes by offering a bespoke service: whatever it is you need to carry, they'll work out a way to carry it.
The bike pictured is the top-dollar TNT model, which retails (without box) at about £2400. For that you get a full XT groupset and some Carbon bling which pushes the weight down to a sprightly 22kg. The 24kg base model, with a 7-speed SRAM i-Motion hub gear, comes in at around £1650 and the most popular spec is an 8-speed Alfine-equipped bike for about £200 more.
We'll be getting one in to test soon, but for the time being we can report out experiences of piloting it round the park, and it's certainly a fun beast to ride. There's not a huge difference in weight between the Bullitt and a rear-loading cargo bike such as an Xtracycle or the Kona UTE we currently have on test, and it's suprisingly nimble. The linkage steering takes some getting used to: it's a bit like steering a canal barge at first but you soon get used to the way it turns in and once you do you can flick it through fairly narrow gaps: the Bullitt isn't really much wider than a normal bike unless you've got something really big to carry.
Who's it for? Well, clearly it's for couriers and delivery types but Ollie at Bullitt wants to see the bikes used for much more than that. The cargo bike market is certainly expanding at the moment as more people look for a bike that'll take a weeks' worth of shopping as well as get them to work, so that they can leave their cars at home. If you're considering your options for lugging stuff then there are quite a few. You could get a trailer for your existing bike: it's a versatile setup but the main issue is that you might not have the trailer with you when you need it. Cargo bikes are better if you're planning to make cycling your main transport with all the load-lugging that entails. Rear-loading bikes tend to be cheaper, front loading ones tend to be sturdier and capable of shifting more stuff.
Look out for a review in September when we get back from the shiny-thing-fest that is the Eurobike show...