This week at the shop we've been working on a new prototype bike. We have some pretty cool plans for this bike, which include producing a cargo bike to be used in developing countries.
For our first phase we're going to test it in Africa to see how it gets used, what improvements need to be made, and research what an affordable range cost range is. After our test we'll tweak as needed then we'll either do another test run or, if the initial test goes well, we'll do a small production.
In simple terms we've stripped down our existing bucket bike and simplified the drive train. It's a single speed bike with coaster brakes, and we are planing to keep a front brake (not disc). We're really liking the knobby back tire by the way even though it was only on there cause it was the only thing we could find in the shop.
For carrying cargo, we've made some fancy mockup cardboard baskets, which we plan to have be made from either bamboo or willow. The baskets shown in the photo are roughly 32" long, 15" high, 8" wide at the bottom opening up to about 14" wide at the top. Each basket hangs off of the rack with hooks, the baskets are removable and will have a hand sized hole on the ends of each one for carrying.
One of the challenges that we still need to address is fabricating the rack so that it can fit into a bike size box without taking away from the overall function and capacity. This prototype is a little too wide which means there's more work to do. No complaints, we love tinkering around in the shop. Not sure our neighbors like all the noise we make when messing around (candy shop, glass shop).
We plan to make this bike will be available in the US at some point once we go into production, but our first market will be in developing countries. We're hoping our supporters have the same passion as we do for this project and are willing to help us achieve our goal.
We're working on a few ideas about how we'll price the bike both in the US and out and will be releasing more details as we develop the plan - so stay tuned! Post your comments, we'd love to hear what you think about the bike and the plan!