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Business Cargo Box

Cargo Business Box Nighthawk

As we’ve been providing side panels and the existing wide box, we’ve also been asked for a closable cargo box for a while now. The main goal of this box would be to allow courier and shipping companies to include the Nighthawk as one solution to the last-mile problem. But, more generally, it would allow private and professional users to have a cargo bike with a ‘trunk’ so that the bike could be left alone for a moment without the risk of getting items stolen.

The design criteria of such a box would include:

  • the ability to be locked on demand
  • a capacity of around 200 litres
  • being sturdy and dependable, while trying to avoid being heavy
  • weatherproofing

The lock

We spent some time on the choice of a lock that would fit our bill. We were initially thinking of having the top of the box slide onto a lock with a slanted bolt so that closing the box would not require any additional action from the user. This did work but got quickly annoying as one had to unlock the box to open it again explicitly. Another quite similar variant of this lock did provide more flexibility, though the lock would either be in the open or closed position, and the drawer would open and close itself easily provided the lock was open.

Physical properties of the Business Cargo Box

We wanted to maximize the space used on the cargo bed (to provide the needed capacity) while staying light. Thus, we used the same DiBond composite featured in our wide box. Once the box is mounted on the cargo bed, the whole system is even sturdier than we initially thought! In the final design, we achieved a capacity of around 230 litres for the box, for an approximate weight of 11kg.

Weatherproofing of the Business Cargo Box

The physical design of the box tries to avoid rain needlessly leaking into it. Some sealing profile has also been added at the end of the drawer to cover sharp edges and close the gap between the drawer and the box when closed.

The result is a pretty nice looking box! Putting it together and seeing it take its final form was quite satisfying. Some details need some refining, but these are primarily small details: the first iteration is already used to carry stuff around today.

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Mikaël’s Nighthawk Custom Cargo Bike

Nihghawk sidedoor

This will be the first post of a series that will be featuring our Nighthawk custom cargo bike builds. Unlike most other manufacturers, we produce our own frames and don’t outsource this work to the Far East. Doing so, allows us to modify each bike to needs and liking of the customer. So too was the story with this bike.

Request from the customer

A pass door to be added for a dog or a child into the left-hand sidepanel. Sidepanels should be black without logos. Custom color – RAL 4009 – pastel violet.

We suggested that the door should open forwards. So just in case, the rider forgets to lock it, it will slam closed when riding rather than get stuck somewhere. Custom color for panels and frame is not a problem.

Rough skech from the customer

Process

We started by 3D modeling the door opening. Once that was done, we knew the sidepanel would need some reinforcement not to bend around the door. We figured the easiest would be to add another layer of sturdy DiBond material around the door and try it. If that fails, we would weld a small metal frame for the door. Next, we acquired several types of hinges and latches from a local hardware store to test.

Result

The pass door worked like a charm right from the start. We managed to find a latch that has a spring stopper inside so there is always some tension for the latch not to open accidentally. The double layer of DiBond around the door worked well and panel is rigid. Client choose Pastel Violet for the frame, which turned out to be a real looker! Another great custom cargo bike on the road!

Nighthawk cargo bike sidepanel pass door

Client response

“It looks sick man. […] I’ve already sent the photo to a few mates and everyone’s commenting on that door. Amazing job, turned out a lot better than I expected. […] I went for a one hour bike tour outside the city under pouring rain – it was a fantastic ride!”

Until next builds!

Much love,
KP