In the spirit of sharing knowledge like that which I have benefitted from here, I’d like to share my story of my cargo bike with electric assist. I appreciate the advice people have offered here as well as all the stories, opinions and anecdotes that have helped shape my own purchases for this project .This is long so please excuse me.
I wanted to stop using my truck so much for errands and even some of my work so I looked at cargo bikes and some kind of electric assist. The Larry vs Harry Bullitts are amazing but outside my budget. Same with Douze and Cetma. The Argo cargo bike system was a good option - certainly the cheapest for front loading - but I was not happy with how long the thing gets once you attach it to your bike. The Omnium cargo bike was the lightest and most affordable (for me) option I could find. I could recycle a lot of bike parts I already had, meaning, I could keep the new build cost below $3K. In the end the new bits cost a little less than $2700.
What you can see in the pictures is a medium Omnium Cargo in “Hardcore Pink”. The welds look great. The paint is amazing. The huge main tube is very stiff and also quite heavy. Jimmi at Omnium was very easy to deal with, and helpful with fitting advice.
The front wheel is a mac 10T kit from EM3EV. I found EM3EV great to work with as well. I chose a 48V Preditor battery with a 25A controller and a CA3. For $/wh it’s not the best value for money at EM3EV (their larger batteries work out cheaper as a $/wh ratio, but more expensive to buy in the first place) but the low initial cost was appealing. And it was the lightest one. The wheel build was fine. I didn’t need to tweak anything. I must admit the mac10T could do with someone who had better knowledge of fork anatomy to do a slight redesign. It was a difficult fit. If some of the axle shoulder on the disc side were removed then the non-disc side hub body would then fit inside the fork leg without needing to add spacers and then the rotor would no longer need a spacer to meet the caliper! I also don’t like just how little axle shoulder sits against the fork. I used a non-turn washer on the non-disc side to space that out, but couldn’t do the same on the disc side. It has torque arms on both sides. But I’ve been very happy with the set up now that I have tamed, kind of, the vast amounts of wiring needed. Electric bike kits must help keep zip tie manufacturers alive.
It was initially set up throttle only mainly because neither the speedo cable nor the PAS cable would reach the CA3. My fault since I chose a funny shaped bike. Purchased another speedo cable and some connectors, crimp tools, and a different PAS kit from Grin (couldn’t have done this without all their amazing online tools) and spliced in a new, longer speedo cable and installed the PAS system. Throttle is super helpful for blasting through places I need to hurry through (traffic lights, tricky cross streets etc) but I was way too tempted to WOT all the time. The PAS is set at 500w, with a 3 position switch that gives me about 500w, 300w, and 100w. Enough to help me with different conditions, loads, minimize sweatiness and give me some range on the 11ah battery. Speed is limited to 20mph ‘cos I’m such a rule follower. Also when the bike is really loaded hitting 25mph+ did seem a little like racing a truck, a loaded truck with poor brakes and lousy suspension. The tires are a 700x32 at 80psi at the rear. The front is a 20x1.5 at 100psi. Low pressure tires makes this bike, when loaded, wallow unpleasantly. But it does mean the ride is a bit harsh, especially with the long wheelbase which seems to magnify the bumps. With no load it and me together weigh in at 235lbs, including tools, the enormous and heavy canvas bag, and two heavy bike locks. Hella fun to ride. I’ve loaded it up with at most I believe around 70lbs of cargo. Handled it just fine. Tall and heavy loads feel a little bit wobbly but it is still easy to handle. I don’t like to grind up hills when fully loaded so I add a bit of extra push with the throttle and try to keep revs up before hitting the uphill. So far nothing has fazed it here in Los Angeles. I've used my truck once in 4 weeks. I pretty much live on this bike.