Photo via Ahearn.
The photos don't do these new handmade truck bikes justice. Ahearne Cycle Trucks seem to harken back to a perhaps mythical time when carrying a modest amount of cargo was just what a bike was built to do, without a lot of fuss, muss, or hassle. Joseph Ahearne, a bicycle maker based in Portland, Oregon, says these are medium-duty cargo bikes, but he prefers to call them cycle trucks. What's the difference? Well, cycle trucks have a front rack fixed to the frame for stability, and a slightly smaller front wheel to accomodate the rack's lower center of gravity. The cycle trucks, based on a design from the early 1900's, handles like a traditional bicycle and easily accomodates up to six bags of groceries, 50 pounds of garden soil or a couple of tires.
The Cycle Truck was designed by Ahearne and is being manufactured by Co-Motion Cycles in Eugene, Oregon. Keeping production local was important to Ahearne, which does effect the price a bit. A basic rack, frame and fork will cost $1,730, while a "complete build" runs around $2,700 and take approximately eight to ten weeks to complete. Ahearne said he is hoping his partnership with Co-Motion will cut that manufacturing time a little. In addition, for cyclists planning to regularly carry 100 pounds or more of cargo, Ahearne recommends ordering a cycle truck "upgrade" which includes an oversized head tube and extended wheel base in order to add strength and stability to the bike.
Ahearne also offers plenty of options for customizing the front rack, including a Wald wire frame basket or a finished birch plywood panel.
Two nifty features in the Ahearne bike are the ability to carry your u-lock by dropping it u-side down between the bars of the lower frame tubes, and the ability to attach Ahearne's custom-made Spaceman flask holder for carrying your favorite warm or cold drink in a Surly flask.
Read more about cargo bikes at TreeHugger:
Bicycle Cargo: Chapter 1. Racks and Bags
5 Stylin Ways to Haul Stuff on Your Handlebars
5 Solutions for Carrying Nearly Anything on the Back of a Bike