Big-boned urban machine with a unique style

We first saw the Urban Cargo back at Eurobike in 2008 and we've wanted to have a go on one ever since. Described by Bionicon as "the classic Dutch roadster dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century", it's certainly got its own unique look and a few interesting bits and bobs to boot.

The frame is a big-boned Aluminium affair; it's somewhere between a standard diamond and a step-through with the double top tube basically straight all the way to the dropouts. The dropouts themselves aren't actually at the rear of the frame but a few inches back towards the bottom bracket and they're moveable along the chainstay to take up the slack in the chain in the singlespeed and hub gear versions. there's a derailleur hanger there too: we've got the nine-speed SRAM i-Motion bike but there's a SRAM 3.0 nine-speed derailleur version too, as well as a singlespeed.

The rack is an interesting bit of kit: it bolts on to the rear but turned round it can also be fitted to the triple clamp forks. The wide tubes won't take a pannier but there's bolt-on appendages if you want to fit standard bags and there's a bungee to strap stuff to the flatbed. You get one rack as standard, they're available separately.

The fork and bar setup is unusual too. the triple clamp fork does away with the need for a stem but there's a telescopic insert in the top that allows you to change the height of the bars by about three inches, much more than you'd get from a standard spacer arrangement. Our test bike has leather grips and Hydraulic discs, although the 2010 spec for the £1150 i-Motion model is for Avid mechanical discs. There's a dynamo front hub and front an rear lights, as well as full mudguards so it's well set up for the daily grind.

We chuckled at Bionicon's use of the phrase "Lightweight Aluminium construction" given that the bike weighs in at a portly 17.1kg (37.7lb) but it's not meant to be a lightweight racer so let's see how it stands up to some miles in the saddle...

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.