“Argo” Cargo box bike conversion kit


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The cost of the Argo kit is 1/3 the price of most complete cargo bikes, it’s a cargo bike that breaks in two for ease of transportation/storage. You will need a compatible donor bicycle or ebike, for example a Class 2 ebike with a rear hub motor like the Prodecotech Stride, or convert a pedal bike with a Class 3 rear hub kit motor like the Copenhagen Wheel or Falco eDrive the Argo is not suitable for mid-drive motors as there is an attachment bracket piece you put on your bike’s bottom bracket and there can’t be anything under it. If you don’t have these already the cost of acquiring them plus the Argo kit would bring the price closer to the cheapest complete bakfiets style cargo bike with electric assist the upcoming Bunch Bike 2-wheeler. But the advantage of the Argo is it could offer a useful choice between your regular front wheel for commuting during the week, then switch to the box for carting kids/groceries at the weekend.
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This actually did make it into production and is now available for $899 from https://argobikes.com/ There is a Facebook page for the company https://www.facebook.com/ArgoCargoBikes/ and an owners group https://www.facebook.com/groups/657167884617949/

The Argo kit won't work with Class 1 e-bikes that use a mid-drive motor, the Argo bottom bracket attachment piece that stays fitted on the bike (see photo at bottom of this post) won't work with a motor, battery, or sensor, assembly that projects out under the bottom bracket shell or that widens the shell beyond the standard 68mm or 73mm width, however it probably would work with Class 1 or 2 e-bikes using a rear wheel hub motor and derailleur gearing, it won't work with an e-bike with Internal Gear Hub gearing that used a mid-drive or front hub motor. Also the donor bike would need to have either a rigid fork or a suspension fork that locks. Regarding a PAS sensor, the Argo attachment piece might work with a simple cadence sensor magnet disk that clips on the spindle, or a bottom bracket torque sensor might work provided the Argo attachment piece, which acts like a spacer, didn't take up too much of the shell screw threading, the photo below shows there is sufficient clearance for a torque sensor wire that typically comes out underneath the bottom bracket shell.

To add a motor to a pedal bicycle and use the Argo with a Class 2 throttle only set up, a candidate rear hub motor might be the Golden Motor Smart Pie V5 available from Golden Motor Canada or Luna Cycle. A relatively inexpensive throttle kit motor with features that should work with the Argo kit and most donor bicycles including:
  1. no pedal assist so no need to add a bottom bracket PAS sensor;
  2. a built in controller so one less box to strap to the bike;
  3. the controller current limit is 20A which if used with a 24V or 36V battery would keep peak power under the Class 2 750w power limit;
  4. programmable controller so the owner can set speed and power limits compliant with Class 2 or local ebike regulations for riding slowly with the box attached and legally on sidewalks or trails where permitted;
  5. fits rear drop-out widths of 130-135mm;
  6. the freewheel axle can accommodate basic screw on 7-speed freewheels, though caution should be taken when installing the motor wheel to use the supplied axle spacers/washers in the correct order to prevent jamming, and to fit a torque arm to prevent the motor spinning out of the drop outs.
To add a motor to a pedal bicycle with an 8/9/10 speed cassette and use the Argo with a Class 1 pedal assist set up, a candidate rear hub motor might be the BionX D-500, however Bionx ceased production in Canada in 2018 and while the Germany based BionX GmbH company has relocated battery production and is seeking to relocate D-series motor production to support the German Mi-Tech and Elby Bike Europe brands, that company will currently only provide spares and support for motors and batteries purchased from Bionx GmbH European retailers (Source), this will have to be addressed soon before Bionx Canada's American/Canadian dealers run out of parts - the Bionx system uses proprietary batteries, controllers, and motor parts, so for example it is not possible to replace the battery with one from another supplier but you would have to repack new cells in the existing battery pack. But as a design the principle advantages of the Bionx D-series motor include:
  1. uses a rear axle flex torque PAS sensor built into the wheel hub;
  2. spokes attach near the hub and not to the motor shell so they are less likely to break;
  3. a direct drive motor design with a wider diameter stator and rotor which provides more torque for the same input watts = better hill climbing capability than most direct drive hub motors combined with the quiet operation characteristic of direct drive motors.
Below is an example of a bike with the Bionx P-series rear hub motor being used with the ARGO (Photo reposted here with permission)

Below is a picture of the attachment piece clamped against either side of the bottom bracket shell (photo reposted here with permission)
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