Denver, Colorado's Juggernaut has developed a cargo bike built for "hauling freight and pushing weight" as an "economic & environmental alternative" to driving a car.
When it comes to the practical aspects of replacing car miles with bike miles, having an adequate carrying capacity on the bike is really important. Although there are plenty of solutions for retrofitting and accessorizing standard bikes to increase their potential load-carrying ability, such as panniers, front and rear racks, or the addition of a trailer, when it comes to being able to carry a passenger on a bike, or a very heavy load, or an unwieldy package, there's nothing like a cargo bike, which may be why we're starting to see a lot more of them on the market in the US.
Whereas in certain countries, say Holland or Denmark, many people have already embraced the cargo bike, US cyclists have been not quite as keen to buy one, perhaps in part because of the higher cost (compared with a conventional bike) and the fact that many US cities are years behind in creating effective and safe biking infrastructure. And then, of course, there's the American tendency to treat our cars as extensions of our homes, enclosing and concealing us and our stuff from the outside environment, as contrasted with the experience of being totally exposed to the world on a bike, which I think keeps some people from adopting a bicycle as their transportation.
However, interest in cargo bikes, both the two-wheeled utility bikes and the three-wheeled front- and rear-loading cargo bikes, is up, as more people realize they can handle almost everything that their car does for local trips, and as more models enter the US market. And potential cargo bikers will soon have another choice to explore, as Denver-based Juggernaut is prepared to launch a production version of its prototype Guru model, which it claims will be the first of its kind (three-wheeled front-loading cargo bike) to be designed, engineered, and manufactured entirely in the United States.
The Juggernaut Guru is billed as a "beautifully designed & handcrafted, precision-engineered" cargo bike, featuring a load-carrying capacity of 300 pounds, a removable front cargo bay, a Gates belt drive paired with an 11-speed internal gear hub, double wishbone suspension for the front end, dual disc brakes, and integrated frame lights. The steel-framed Guru can be used in "Truck" mode, with the cargo box off the bike, which then presents a flat cargo deck and double frame members on either side, or in "Multi-task" mode, with the wooden cargo box featuring a bench seat, two children's seat belts, and an open front end with a cargo net.
The bike is narrow enough to fit into a standard bike lane or path, and because it's a three-wheeler, there's no need for a kickstand or bike rack. According to the company, Juggernaut chose to use 24" wheels on the front instead of the more common 20" wheels for added comfort and ride stability, and is working on an integrated lock for the bike, so security is always right at hand ("a theft-proof solution that will confound even the craftiest bike thief"). An electric assist option is also being developed for this cargo bike, but no details have been released about it other than the fact that it will add "a 40% boost in efficiency" to the rider's efforts.
"Cargo bikes are, in essence, a workhorse that you don’t have to feed. They enable the transportation of many more pounds of goods than you could possibly carry on a regular bicycle, with much more economic and environmental efficiency than you get from a car. They’re your family vehicle, your work truck, your moving van, your party bus. They’re everything you would need a car for, but much more affordable, much more sustainable, and much more fun." - Juggernaut
Based just on what I've seen and read about the Juggernaut cargo bike, it looks to be a well-built machine, and probably capable of being a 'car-killer', especially with an electric pedal-assist system on it, so I hope the company is able to get it into production.
However, there are two issues that might hinder their efforts, in my opinion. One of those is that Juggernaut is looking to raise $75,000 toward production costs with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, yet there's no option to actually pre-order a bike from them unless you're a backer at the $10,000 level, and even then you only get a $3800 discount on a future purchase. Why would anyone give them $10,000, only to have to pony up another few grand to actually get the bike?
The other issue is the estimated price of the bike, which is said to be $7,500 (post-Kickstarter), and which seems rather high for something that doesn't have electric assist built into it, or that isn't kitted out into a mobile business already. Of course, value is where you find it, and returns on this sort of investment can be really good for some people (due to avoided gas, insurance, car payments, etc., or using it as the core of a bike-based business), so the MSRP might be exactly right for what it is.
Find out more at Juggernaut Cargo Bikes.