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DIY Cargo Bike – Part 2

Continuing where we left off, we will start with the more fun part of welding on the cargo bed area.

      1. Welding the cargo bed.
        Like mentioned before. The bike’s geometry is made from points, what comes between them is only aesthetical. So this part was quite fun as everything that mattered had been aligned and locked into position. Basically the only thing you really need to worry about here is that you have enough space for pedals and the front wheel.
        DIY cargo long john
      2. New steerer, fork modifications.
        After this step, you will notice the progress stopped. The frame was left unfinished for almost a year before having time to continue. As a next step all the excess was cut off, and the head tube [guide to frame tubes] shortened. Also the fork got modified to fit 20″ wheel as originally it was ment for 700c wheel, and disc brake mounts added. It’s important to check that you don’t make the fork too short or too long, so the cargo area will be parallel to the ground. Now I finally also cut away the extra parts of down tube and fitted a new steering tube. I went for A-head stem for this. This bike was an experiment and I didn’t want to spend time and money ordering specialized fancy tubing. So I found some precision tubing that fits the stem and the head set from Onninen. It is quite heavy with 2 mm walls, but as I knew I would make it an e-bike, the weight was not too big of an issue. Improvements for next time: Go for Chromoly steerer and head tube to save some weight. Order early in the process.
        DIY Cargo Bike
      3. Outsourcing lasered parts.
        Now you could do this on your own, but I saved a lot of time and also made things look nice by ordering some of the parts lasercut like fork dropouts, steerer end, bearing holders for steering arm etc. You can find my DXF files here if you find them useful.
      4. The finishing touches.
        At this stage I bolted on a bottom bracket, cranks, an old chain and went for a test ride. Everything felt nice, so the only thing left was to weld on last tubes, disc brake mounts (you can find mine under the above link), cable holders, kickstand and then it was time for the paint shop.
        DIY Bullitt cargo bike
      5. Assembly day!
        After everything arrived from powder coating, it was finally the time to assemble everything. All went smoothly and the bike was in one piece in no time.

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      6. HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! (and cure)
        Early testing revealed some flaws I had described in the last post about handling. After hitting 30 km/h the bike almost always got hit by speed wobble. With this problem, the bike would be rendered useless. Luckily I didn’t get discouraged as even the guys at Larry vs Harry also seem to have a problem with this, and the cure is to add a steering damper like the one used on motorcycles. I ordered one and attached it to the bike, and..    ..it actually solved the problem for a while before it broke down and leaked all the oil out after just 600 km on the bike. Then winter came along and I left the bike unused until this spring. After talking to some other frame builders I heared that this problem was common, many of them had also been fitting their bikes with steering dampers. The problem seems to be that the front end just gets too light as the problem is less evident with cargo on the bike. Anyway – I set to work early spring and made new damper fittings that would increase the working range of the damper. Having now done 500 km at speeds of 35 – 60 km/h without any steering wobble it seems that the bike is finally finished. Improvements for next time: a.) Design your bike with steering damper in mind from the beginning. b.) Keep shallow fork angle, short fork rake and thus a large amount trail. This may improve stability if you want to resist using a steering damper.
        DIY Cargobike KP CYCLERY

To summarize, this project turned out a lot better than I had anticipated. Before setting to work, my mind was set at 50/50 chance that the bike would work as good as it does. The Bafang 750w electric unit works well, the geometry is working with the steering damper, there is plenty of cargo space and it goes as fast as you wish. The mileage speaks for itself – currently I’m averaging 150-200 km per week and only use the car for a short ride once a week to keep the brakes from sticking etc. So if you have some welding skills and you’re thinking about building yourself a cargo bike- GO FOR IT! Also as a side note, we are constructing a jig to weld some more frames, so you will soon be able to order a proper cargo bike frame from us 🙂

And here it is – doing 45 km/h:

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Berliner Fahrradschau 2017 – Our Experience from This Year’s Show

After last year’s Berlin bike show, we already signed up for 2017 in June. 2016 had been deeply positive, we got some good resellers, a lot of interest, a steady stream of sales throughout the year that followed and some genuine fans. Obviously we had some expectations going into 2017’s edition – and Berlin did not disappoint.

KP Cyclery at Berlin Bike Show
BFS 2017 was great fun – we just need to get a bigger booth next year.

How was it for KP Cyclery?

As mentioned, 2017 was similarly positive, we had a ton of interest in the Sidecar and nice Bike Hanger sales. I must admit, I thought that since our Sidecar is so different from all other cargo bike variations, there would be some that would say ‘that doesn’t make any sense’. But the notoriously engineering-minded Berliners and Germans seemed really impressed by our ingenuity. The Sidecar turned heads at our booth and even more so when out for a test ride. The tilting function amazed people with a constant crowd of cameras pointed at it. Surely there ought to be a few of them riding around Berlin soon.

KP Cyclery Sidecar Bike At Berliner Fahrradschau Berlin Bike Show
Danny showing off the Sidecar Bike – what a crowd pleaser it turned out to be. Photo credit: René Zieger / BFS

Our friendly neighbours

One might expect that all of the exhibitors at the fair would be competitors and thus not overly friendly towards each other. However in the bike industry, it is the complete opposite. We we’re lucky enough to be neighbours with other remarkable visionaires – Halbrad (half-bike in English) and Brix / Sandwich bikes.

At first sight, we thought Halbrad we’re exhibiting a type of a foldable bike. After close inspection, it turned out to be what I called an unfoldable foldable bike. Designed to be allowed on trains without bike ticket, this nifty little thing is quite fun indeed.

Halbrad Halfbike at Berlin Bike Show
Halbrad (Half-bike in English) looks like a foldable bike, but isn’t.

Across from our booth, were the Dutch geniuses from Brik and Sandwich bikes. Brix bikes stood out with their crankshaft technology and Sandwich is a bike, with a frame made from planar surfaces – you can have the fun of assembling the whole thing.

Shaft Drive Bicycle at Berlin Bike Show 2017
Brik bikes makes classy bicycles with shaft drive instead of a chain.

Our two favourites

Other than our own stuff turning heads, there were some real gems to look at. Our own personal favourites were the PonyJohn bike by Retrovelo’s founder Frank. The bike features hydraulic steering, electric motor, and electric gear. As the man himself said – ‘that’s the maximum you can get out of a bike.’ The hydraulic steering really blew my mind.

PonyJohn Cargo Bike at Berliner Fahrradschau 2017
PonyJohn Cargobike features hydraulic steering, electric motor and electric gears – wow!

The 2nd favourite of the two was KleinLaster. This bike just stood out from the rest by the sheer passion that is seen in the craftman-ship. The whole frame is beautifully brazed and later filed down for an outstanding finish. What we loved is that the frame is kept without paint, only a clear coat goes on top of the raw frame, displaying the welds in their natural beauty. And of course the chain that connects the handlebars to the front fork is just cool to look at.

Kleinlasten beautiful raw cargo bike at Berlin Bicycle Week
KleinLaster is beautifully crafted cargo bike with a chain between the handlebars and the fork. One of our two favourites from 2017.

What’s next?

As said, 2017 edition of BFS was once again a hit. We will certainly be present again in 2018. Aside from that, the life in a small and young company is always a rollercoaster and turbulent. We are hoping to do at least a few more shows this year – let’s see how things play out in the near future. Keep following the blog, Instagram and Facebook and we will surely pass on a message of other shows where you can find us.

Cheerio,
KP, Danny and the team

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3 + 1 News From the Past Month

Kicking things off on a +1 personal note, our founder Kaspar got married in the end of August. The wedding day went really-really well and some other ‘all-familiar-KP-Cyclery-faces’ were represented like our filming mastermind Birk and hustler Gedi.

A photo posted by Kaspar Peek (@kasparpeek) on

At the same time, we’ve been designing our new logo and planned the slight re-branding to go hand-in-hand with our growing popularity outside of Denmark. Madis from Uus Stuudio is the person to blame over the revamped logo. From now on we will be called KP Cyclery. For some time we will run the two names side by side to make the transition smoothly. Soon the main domain will be kpcyclery.com.

KP Cyclery new logo
Our new – KP Cyclery – logo

Over the last 2 weekends you might have noticed us out on 2 design markets. Firstly Designerspace market conveniently located on the same premises as our studio. It went pleasingly well with many new Bike Hanger owners, and even some custom orders. The next weekend we were at Finders Keepers in Valby. A nice venue with a lot of space was equally greeted by strong interest – resulting in Bike Hangers now being out of stock. Which leads to our next and biggest piece of news..

KP Cyclery ladies bike and Finders Keepers market
Btw – this is the last ladies’ bike for now. It has a small scratch so it’s discounted. Drop us an email if you’re interested.

..We are ready to start producing The Bike Hanger 2.0! The 2nd generation will be even better looking, easier to mount on the wall, and really stable. We’ve been shooting the video over the past 2 weeks. It’s been a tiring work, but it’s now being edited. As we value your input in this the most, and feel like you deserve the first look, then here is the preview link: https://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/2eb02e98

The Bike Hanger 2.0 - What's new
Impovements over the initial production model.

The campaign is not yet finished, but if there is anything you’d like to see, that we have not covered, or any ‘excess fat’ on it then we would like to hear from you. The campaign will launch around the 10th of October – so arm your sharing guns – you, spreading the word will make all the difference in the World 🙂

xx

Kaspar

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Hangers, Sidecars and Bikes – news from all the fronts

It’s been quite busy over the last month to say the least. There was a huge order of our Bike Hangers by Monoqi from Germany of just under 100 units, production version of The Sidecar Bike finished and a new version of our bikes is rolling out.

Thus far we have been selling the Hangers to resellers like Steel Vintage Bikes from Berlin, Jooks from Tallinn, Westside24 from Düsseldorf, Omniia.dk, Monoqi and others for just a few pennies staying in our pocket after production. As there is more and more interest from resellers, then we will be pushing the price up next week from approx 100€ to about 120€ per Hanger (coupled with the launch of The Bike Hanger 2.0 – more on that soon). That means it is a good idea to order one from our webshop now 😉 Above mentioned shops will still have it for about 100€ until the current stock sells out.

The Bike Hanger on a wall with a bicycle - KP Cykler

At the same time we’ve had great news from here in Denmark. Having just finished the first production-ready Sidecar Bike, we’ve taken it to the Danish Cycling Federation’s shop (Cyklistforbundet) close to Torvehallerne in the middle of Copenhagen. You can go and test it there + they will be stocking our Bike Hangers from June. There was more Sidecar news from Bike Rumor, as to our surprise we were featured on their website – http://www.bikerumor.com/2016/05/19/hang-bike-wall-like-trophy-kp-cykler/

KP Cykler Sidecar at Nyhavn Copenhagen

KP-Cykler-Sidecar-bike-silver-2

Lastly, perhaps the biggest news of the 3. We are just about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for our latest creation – The Perfect Urban Bike. We’ve noticed people getting slightly confused on all the different options we offer for building a bicycle. So we’ve created the ultimate package – puncture protection tape as a standard to save you from annoying flats; steel frame for a lovely ride;  Brooks leather as standard; our Porteur bars for a good speed/comfort balance; Kickshift for no maintenance gears and of course smoking looks. All this comes in at modest 6995 dkk (approx 935€). Here’s a preview link for you (yes it’s not live yet, but we love you, and should get the first look).

KP Cykler Perfect Urban Bike Kickstarter Cover

That will be it for now, stop by our new bike studio at Ingerslevsgade 103 when in Cph 🙂

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Why steel is still the king of frame tubing?

Steel is the material that has been on an irreplaceable position throughout the history of cycling. From the boneshakers of 1860s to modern custom builds, it has been the material of choice for many builders.

KP Cykler Boneshaker Animation

From the early 1900s to 1990s, steel was almost the only material used in producing bikes. In 1990s aluminium began its rise as the top choice in racing, only to be dethroned as the end of the decade saw a new material’s rise – carbon fiber. Composite materials have large advantages over metal such as aerodynamics, as it can be easily formed into any shape, and most importantly for racing – weight. Carbon road racing frames have been built as light as 642 grams with a ‘light’ steel frame being around 1400g. With carbon conquering most of the professional cycling, steel is not very likely to make a comeback to the performance world.

But if dreaming of the fastest time on Alpe d’Huez doesn’t give you a boner, then steel is most probably the best option for your urban bicycle. Sure the stiff aluminium gets you up the hill fast, but it also makes for a depressingly bumpy ride on most streets. Get into a crash on a carbon frame, and you better have a plastic bag with you to pick up the pieces – try to google shattered carbon bike frame. Steel frames give you a nice smooth ride on most city street with its lovely little flex. If you get into a crash, it will stay in one unit and hopefully still giving you a chance to guide your bike, or get to your destination once you get back up.

A shattered carbon fiber fork.

These are the exact reasons why at KP Cykler, we love steel  frames – their design is beautifully simple, they age gracefully, and they give you the most comfortable ride for the best possible price, what’s there not to like..?

KP Cykler bicycle 21
One of our steel framed bicycles

The lightest bike in the World: http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/the-worlds-lightest-bike-36902/

History of the bicycle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle

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The Bull’s Head aka How Pablo Picasso designed our Bike Hanger

Okay, we can’t really ‘employ’ Pablo Picasso – though we would love to. But we, a bike company, are surprisingly taking his heritage to more homes..

During the 2nd World War, Picasso’s style took a turn, the vivid colors were replaced with shades of brown and grey. The theme was turning ever morbid. Yet from the bleakest of times, comes a sudden demonstration of whit and unseen creativity – The Bull’s Head from 1942.

Pablo-Picasso-Bull's-Head-Bike-Hanger

It wasn’t a painting or a drawing, but a simple combination of handlebars and the seat of an old bicycle. It has been hailed as Picasso’s most striking and exciting works, and it inspired our Bike Hanger. The beautiful piece is not only practical in its efficiency to rest your precious bike’s wheels, but a striking piece of art. Many bike hangers have the unfortunate fate of looking unsightly when the bike is taken down, but with the lovely architectural taste of Picasso’s inspiring 20th century statue, you’ll be amazed at how it blends right in.

The-Bike-Hanger-KP-Cykler-Limited-Brown-2

The Bike Hanger is available in limited edition (50 pcs) and the regular production model. You have the choice of a fine black finish or a soothing brown theme, both of which give you a wide variety to fit your home’s color scheme. Picasso’s Bull’s Head was meant to inspire and be playful, which is exactly what the art of biking is. Add on to the adventure of a lifetime and allow your bike to relax in style.

The track handlebars are made of a gorgeous silver finish and the premium handlebar grip tape is a great, soft place for your weary bike to rest. As a reminder, only 50 of the limited editions will ever be made, so as the wise Picasso once said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.” Act now!

Pablo Picasso’s Bull’s Head is part of the permanent exhibition in Musée National Picasso-Paris: http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/

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Sidecar Bike – How does it work?

A sidecar bike is a great way of extending the capabilities of your bicycle. By having a sidecar, you can easily transport cargo that is simply too large for panniers and racks. But have you ever wondered how a sidecar bike works? It seems like a miracle that it is able to stay attached without causing the bike to tip over. However, there are two simple methods which are used to keep everything balanced- sidecar lead, and toe-in. In this article, we’ll explain just how a sidecar bike works, so you won’t be left wondering anymore.

KP Cykler sidecar bike

The “sidecar lead” refers to the horizontal distance between the rear wheel of the bike, and the rear wheel of the sidecar. The greater this distance, the less of a risk there is of the bike and sidecar tipping over. However, a bigger sidecar lead will also cause the sidecar’s tires to wear out more quickly, so it’s important to get the sidecar lead just right.

KP Cykler Sidecar Bike Lead

The other way that a sidecar bike stays balanced is known as “toe in”. The weight of the sidecar means that the bike will be constantly pulled towards it- something that could pose a big problem if it isn’t dealt with. To counteract this, the sidecar will typically be tilted slightly towards the bike itself. The bigger the sidecar, the more toe in is required, both due to the increased weight and because of the wind resistance that could knock the bike off balance.

KP Cykler Sidecar Bike Toe In

As you can see, it requires a lot of skill to get the balance just right. We’ve worked hard to ensure that every measurement on our sidecar bikes is just right, so that you can be sure of a safe journey, every time.

 

Motorcycle sidecar setup: http://www.steves-workshop.co.uk/vehicles/bmw/sidecar/sidecaradjustment/sidecaradjustment.html

Our Sidecar Bike: http://kpcyclery.com/product/the-sidecar-bike-by-kp-cykler/