Looking for a cross between Bike Friday Haul-A-Day, Tern GSD and Yuba Spice Curry All Terrain.

Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
I’m looking for a do-everything probably non-existent bike for everyday riding and vehicle replacement to be stored *inside* my live-in campervan (quite small - Mk8 Transit L2H2)

Essential :
Step-through or low step frame ( joint problems and also long skirts on occasion!)
Mid drive motor - able to lug heavy loads up steep, long hills (similar power to Kalkhoff Impulse 2.0, Bosch CargoLine)
Integrated lights (I hate remembering to charge multiple things)
Fenders/mudguards
Midtail or longtail cargo
Compact (able to fit it standing on end inside campervan) Something like 165-185cm max
Strong enough to cope with some off-road (eg dirt roads, gravel paths)
Able to carry adult male passenger occasionally (say 95kg / 210lbs)
Able to carry heavy, awkward loads such as two heavy toolboxes, a tablesaw etc
Strong front rack for food delivery box & general everyday cycling/bag
Rotating or folding handlebars to make bike narrow for storage (like Tern GSD or fitting Speedlifter Twist type stem)
Dual kickstand

Ideally :
Natural feeling ride with smooth and quiet motor
Similar feel to cargoline motor - good help up steepest hills, right from start in low cadence with heavy loads, without sudden ‘cliff’ drop off after it reaches a speed limit.
Around 25kg (55lbs) (fully loaded with fenders, front rack, rear rack, lights, motor, battery & puncture resistant tires) I can dream?! 30kg max say?
12Ah or more battery (ideally 17Ah)

Nice to have :
Can charge from 12v DC system (so don’t need to use the inverter in my campervan?)
Able to go over the 15mph legal limit of the UK bikes 🤫 😇
Suspension seat post
Suspension forks (like GSD)
Wheel lock
Throttle (rarely used, but living on one of the steepest hills currently can make it tough to get going on a pedelec)
Belt drive for low maintenance
IGH - a 5 speed would be sufficient - I rarely used more than 3-4 gears on my Kalkhoff Sahel
If a custom-build - could use Flexvolt Dewalt batteries since I will be charging those off my van 12v solar system from the DC Dewalt charger. Would probably prefer to charge the battery whilst it is attached to the bike though.
 
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Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
My eBike history :

- Self-converted a Montague Boston full-size folding bike with a Sunstar mid-drive motor in 2012. Found I never folded it anyway, the motor wasn’t quite right for me.

- Bought a Kalkhoff Sahel i8 in 2016 after lots of research and test rides. I loved its torque-y Impulse 2.0 motor (70Nm). I considered the Bosch Performance Line bikes too but found a great deal on the Kalkhoff. I loved this bike with aluminium fenders, rotating handlebars for quick narrow storage, integrated lights (would have preferred handlebar control) and I used it a lot - luckily never encountering the motor problems most people report. I used to try and carry a suitcase and awkward things on the rack though which could make it top heavy - so often felt I needed a bigger/stronger rear frame with ability to load lower down with footrail/'decks'. I also very much missed not having a front basket/rack.

- Bought a Brompton 2-speed and had an ARCC conversion thinking the lightweight, tiny folded size along with motor would be a perfect compromise. I could fly with it, take it into cafe’s (so not worry about security) store it in my campervan with ease and a trailer could be added for larger loads. However, I can barely get up the steep hills where I live even without a load plus I cannot get used to the riding position, nor the harsh feel of the 16” wheels with no suspension over potholes etc. Quite noisy motor, too much assistance on the flat (no exercise) and the motor barely helps on the steep sections of hills in Bristol where I really struggle & injure my knees more. If there was a way to have a Brompton and its tiny fold with a decent mid-drive motor that could pull a heavy trailer up genuinely steep hills with ease, I would no doubt have dealt with the lack of ability to carry a passenger and the other compromises. But that's just a pipe dream (the Pendix motor is underpowered for me)
 
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Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
-I would love the ability to give a friend a lift, hence starting to look at the Tern GSD etc. I have test-ridden :

- HSD S00 (weird with the automatic shifting, 60kg rack limit… not much point me having a bike like this if I can’t carry a full-size adult passenger in my opinion)

- R&M Multicharger (ride position not good fit, only 60kg load capacity, huge dimensions so difficult to store! I liked the 750Wh battery, Kiox display and extra security the Bosch Smart system gives)

- Tern GSD S10LX (liked suspension seat post, good riding position, Cargoline motor felt great, felt stable enough with a 95kg/210lb passenger on the back. Great that it can be folded ‘narrow’ and stood on end for storage & has integrated decks for cargo and passenger. Didn’t like the weight for lifting into my van, the price (R&M multi charger has better spec for similar money)
 

Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
Glute activation due to riding position :

I find the riding position of the Brompton doesn’t suit me. My old Kalkhoff Sahel i8 allowed me to recruit my glutes even when in a more upright position. My hip/knee health (I am prone to extensive injuries due to a collagen disorder) really benefits from activating these muscles and getting exercise this way with the motor allowing me choose the amount of force through my own legs as will give them a challenge without causing injury.

Knowing I can get up *any* super steep 20% hill my adventures might take me on is essential! The Tern GSD Gen2 also allowed me to recruit those muscles although I had to set the seat quite high (which was a little difficult with the weight of the bike when stopping). I suspect this is better than the Gen1 GSD which had a different seat tube angle. I also test rode the Multicharger and found that the riding position made me much more quad dominant than I wanted (something I am trying to fight by using my ‘posterior chain’ as much as possible)

Interestingly I note the Moustache Lundi 20.3 and 20.5 which is another Bosch longtail 20" cargobike with ability to stand on end, has a dropper seat post which seems like good thinking for a potentially 'tippy' bike stopping at traffic lights.
 
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Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
Things I like about the bikes mentioned :
GSD - Bosch motor, 20” wheels for low centre of gravity, front suspension, strong frame & motor for heavy payload
Yuba Spice Curry AT - off-road capability, no speed limit!
Bike Friday - lightweight for lifting into campervan, still has high rack capacity & can carry passenger. Can stand on end like GSD (missing ability to make handlebars narrower). Unsure about their Mid-drive motor choice. Would I be better getting a Bafang installed and tuned to behave more like the Cargoline by some ebike wizard in the UK? Can you integrate front and rear lights well? Can you install something like the speed lifter twist stem? That thing was a lifesaver for quickly/easily storing in narrow hallways!

Unfortunately I am unable to test ride the Bike Friday in the UK unless I can find someone else who has bought one here & is willing to let me ride it. Main concern would be the riding position, how much flex there is in the frame due to the sliding telescope main tube & also how the aftermarket mid-drive motors feel compared to Bosch (I never cared for the Sunstar motor). The non-proprietary nature of the aftermarket mid-drive installs do appeal, since I was really upset that the Kalkhoff could become a useless ebike due to the inability to get the Impulse 2.0 motor repaired. These are expensive pieces of equipment & I want it to last - particularly when it takes so long to find the right fit! My Brompton with ARCC conversion was a very expensive mistake for my needs and I hope to recoup as much of my costs as possible by selling, so I am very keen to get it right this time!
 
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Bicyclista

Active Member
I ride the Yuba Spicy Curry AT and my girlfriend rides the Tern HSD (a lesser version of the GSD, if you will). My daughter rides a Radwagon, a hub motor bike which I understand you do not want, but it's a cargo bike nonetheless. Based on my experience with these three cargo bikes I would say the ebike you want does not exist. I too searched far and wide before settling on the Spicy Curry AT.

You have incompatible requirements: longtail and compact; 55 lbs. total weight with front rack, rear rack, battery, fenders, and lights. Most cargo bikes will exceed 55 lbs. naked, let alone so configured.

A custom build is probably the only way you could bring your ideal bike into existence. But you would probably have to spend several times the price of a Tern GSD or a Yuba Spicy Curry AT, expensive bikes to start with. And perhaps the only way to meet your weight requirement is to build the frame out of carbon fiber, a dubious choice for a cargo bike. One hairline crack and you would have to dispose of the frame!

Based on your "essential" requirements, I would say the Tern GSD S10 LX is the bike that comes closest to meeting them. It comes with the Bosch Cargo Line motor, can be configured with two batteries, and has a belt drive. However, it weighs 74 lbs, probably without a front rack.

Why did I choose the Spicy Curry AT over the GSD? The larger front wheel gives me a rolling advantage.

By the way, Yamaha ebike motors provide that instant torque you desire, but I don't know of any Yamaha-equipped cargo bike that would fit the bill. (The Momentum Pakyak, for example, is too heavy and does not have front suspension.)

Good luck with your search!
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Rodford Big Billy with a TSDZ2 or a Bafang mid-drive & Enviolo CVT hub, or maybe the Shimano Nexis Inter-5e IGH. Its made in Bristol, you may one day be able to buy one with Bristol Pay (Rodford previously accepted the Bristol Pound).
 
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Bicyclista

Active Member
@Dewey, thank you for the link to the Rodford Big Billy. What an interesting cargo bike! I like the steel frame. Steel is real, as they say, with its combination of strength and ductility. Perhaps Rodford could make a custom bike that meets @Lull's requirements.
 

Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
My daughter rides a Radwagon, a hub motor bike which I understand you do not want, but it's a cargo bike nonetheless.
Yes - this is a good example of a shorter bike yet that has a rack strong enough to carry an adult passenger or heavy cargo. It's a shame there's not more similar bikes on the market (the cruiser style and hub motor isn't for me)


You have incompatible requirements: longtail and compact; 55 lbs. total weight with front rack, rear rack, battery, fenders, and lights. Most cargo bikes will exceed 55 lbs. naked, let alone so configured.
I totally agree - I am awkward like this! What I have found in life is that often someone finds a sweet spot, or a way to leverage certain clever designs to meet multiple needs - for example the Tern GSD using 20" wheels allows for a bike the same length as a normal bike (only 10cm longer than my Kalkhoff Sahel!) yet with super strong, low centre of gravity longtail functionality.

It seems plausible that tern (or someone else) could do a shorter bike yet that with a welded, frame integrated rear rack that is strong enough to carry an adult male passenger. There also seems to be a bit of a gap between say the Bike Friday with (Tongsheng?) mid-drive motor type frame at 45lbs/20.1kg and the Tern GSD at 33.5kg. Most bikes are aluminium & we always believe that its a lighter material... but it seems some of the steel bikes (Brompton, Bike Friday) work out quite lightweight due to the thinner sections that can be used whilst retaining strength.

A custom build is probably the only way you could bring your ideal bike into existence. But you would probably have to spend several times the price of a Tern GSD or a Yuba Spicy Curry AT, expensive bikes to start with. And perhaps the only way to meet your weight requirement is to build the frame out of carbon fiber, a dubious choice for a cargo bike. One hairline crack and you would have to dispose of the frame!
Yes, I definitely would *not* consider carbon fibre. But a good design could shave some weight off the GSD type build and retain a lot of the strength I reckon. Yes - I have no idea what a custom built bike would cost I have to say!

Based on your "essential" requirements, I would say the Tern GSD S10 LX is the bike that comes closest to meeting them. It comes with the Bosch Cargo Line motor, can be configured with two batteries, and has a belt drive. However, it weighs 74 lbs, probably without a front rack.
So far it is looking like the most promising option. I do like how it rides. I am thinking of designing in a rope hoist hung off and overhanging roof-rack static 'roller' bar (also to be used for doing pull-ups!) to get it in and out of the van vertically (it will be stored vertically behind the rear left back door)

Why did I choose the Spicy Curry AT over the GSD? The larger front wheel gives me a rolling advantage.
Make sense. I'd love to try one! Seems they aren't being sold anywhere anymore. A shame... its quite unique really & most people seem to rave about them.

By the way, Yamaha ebike motors provide that instant torque you desire, but I don't know of any Yamaha-equipped cargo bike that would fit the bill. (The Momentum Pakyak, for example, is too heavy and does not have front suspension.)
Good to know. I think I may have tried a Yamaha motor in 2017 and vaguely recall thinking it was decent.
 

Lull

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
Rodford Big Billy with a TSDZ2 or a Bafang mid-drive & Enviolo CVT hub, or maybe the Shimano Nexis Inter-5e IGH. Its made in Bristol, you may one day be able to buy one with Bristol Pay (Rodford previously accepted the Bristol Pound).
I had recently come across Rodford & was quite tempted to have a chat since I'm also in Bristol! It is a cool unusual bike. It would need some extra strut at the back for more strength for a passenger and tbh I'd need a lower step-over frame design. But still might be worth asking. I love the idea of a steel, locally made bike! No idea what sort of money we are talking. Nor what the weight is (they mention 7kg frame, but no idea how much all the wheels/tyres/gearing/brakes/seatpost/seat/forks/stem/handlebars would add up to... obviously it varies based upon spec, but again, I have no ballpark for low/mid/high end!)

Have you ridden both TSDZ2 and Bafang? I am curious which feels closest to, or can be tweaked/tuned to be similar to the Cargoline motor.
Agreed that the Shimano Nexus Inter-5e would likely be the perfect gear hub for an ebike (assuming it feels ok and doesn't add too much drag compared to the Nexus 8 I used before - that was the max mushiness I could cope with!) ...that is unless Rohloff decide to come out with an IGH with similar torque tolerance and less gears (5-6 is about right for an ebike with a torquey mid-drive in even a very hilly place imo)
 
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sc00ter

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Norfolk, VA
I have a Cero One. Weird and quirky but very nice. To bad you weren't in the US Lull, I'd cut ya a good deal on it as I have it for sale. I just don't really ride it like I thought I would.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Rodford are a custom frame builder, two blokes in a shed basically, currently selling the Big Billy and a box bike so it might be easier to ask them to simply weld an extra support strut for the back of the Billy than to ask them to make a one-off step-through bike, they did make one a few years before the pandemic but it might have been a prototype on their way to their current designs. I have a Bafang BBS01 and it shredded a Nexus-8 so earlier this year I switched to an Enviolo cargo CVT (100Nm) which can take the torque my BBS01 (80Nm) can generate, I won’t be going back to an IGH. TSDZ2 uses a torque PAS sensor so is closer to a high end mid-drive than the cadence PAS sensor of the Bafang. You might be able to program the current settings in the controller of either motor so it doesn’t overwhelm a Nexus Inter-5e which is rated to handle up to 70Nm, but then it won’t climb Bristol hills as well when you’re riding loaded up. The publicity photos show Big Billy carrying a child seat on the back so the fore-and-aft top tube must be strong enough to carry at least 60-70lb, I’d recommend a test ride!
 
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