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Cargo Bikes – A Brief History

Freight bikes started out, unsurprisingly, as a way for tradesmen to easily transport their goods around without the need for a horse, or to pull the carts themselves. Originally, they would simply be ordinary bikes with large carriers attached at either the front or the back. It wasn’t long, though, before bicycle manufacturers began to manufacture specially designed freight bikes that were just the thing that businesses needed.

Cargo cyclists in front of Posten
Cargo cyclists in front of Posten.

Freight bikes were particularly popular in Copenhagen during World War II, when King Christian X would ride through the streets without a guard of soldiers, to provide some much-needed morale to citizens. However, he did have an unofficial guard, in the form of freight bike messengers from the Achilleus company. (Source: Copenhagenize)

King Christian X and Bike Messengers
King Christian X and bike messengers from Achilleus company

As the twentieth century rolled on, and motorised transport became more accessible to the average consumer, freight bikes fell out of fashion in Europe and America. However, elsewhere in the world, and particularly in Asian countries, they remained a popular choice for people who needed to get goods from A to B cheaply. In recent years, though, they have started to make a comeback, as people in the West start to adopt more eco-friendly lifestyles. They are a fantastic way of getting the job done in a more environmentally friendly way, and you’ll now find that plenty of people have adopted this greener method of transport.

Our take on the cargo bike is of course the Sidecar Bike. And we are happy to tell you that the first one-off project has reached our friend Jeremy in the UK:

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Long time, no see – we’re not dead, just busy.

It’s been a while since we last had a moment to properly sit down and write something. And no – we have not been lazy, quite on the contrary – there’s just been so much happening. So we will try to cover the 5 biggest leaps that we’ve taken since May.

  1. The beautiful ladies’ bike – The question ‘Do you have a bike for women?’ has been asked countless time. It took us time, but it’s here. A beautiful women’s bike in what we like calling Rivera Yellow. It boasts a gorgeous lugged mixte-style frame, a nice front rack and mudguards as standard. If you like it, act fast, we currently only have one left!
    Pastel Yellow Bicycle KP Cykler
  2. The Perfect Urban Bike – We curated the best bits of some of the most popular configurations to create The Perfect Urban bike, which we launched through Kickstarter. The project was a large success, we hit our goal fast, after which it slowed down a bit, but we’re very thankful for everyone’s support. Along the way we learned a few new lessons which we will discuss in another blog post to help others with crowdfunding.
    Features of the perfect urban bike by KP Cyclery
  3. Sidecars – We started building sidecars for different bicycles. We are in the process of testing a universal way of mounting the sidecar on almost any bike, and we’ve created a completely one-off for a client in the UK. Unlike other sidecar we’re making, this one does not allow the bike to lean in corners. This was a request by client as it will be installed on a chopper bike, and the goal was to make the ride more stable at low speeds.
    Custom Sidecar for Bicycle
  4. The Bike Hanger 2.0 – Based on feedback and our own ambitions, we’ve continued to develop our most popular product. Tests of our innovations have been very pleasing, and we are nearly ready to start full production of the 2nd generation Bike Hanger. As to do so will require a little boost – we will be preparing an Indiegogo campaign very soon.
    KP Cykler The Bike Hanger in Black
  5. New name and currency – And the biggest news will be last. Our image will get a little overhaul as our client base is growing rapidly outside of Denmark. We will be slowly transforming from KP Cykler to KP Cyclery to have a more sticking name and brand outside of our beautiful Denmark. With those news, we have updated our online store and changed the currency from Danish Kroner to Euros.

Thank you for reading. Hopefully the next post won’t have to wait this long. I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer and it is as warm where you’re reading as it is here.

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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Leaning Sidecars

It’s been a little while since the last post – we’re looking to get back into it now as we’ve successfully moved the shop to Copenhagen (Ingerslevsgade 103, Kbh 1705 if you’re curious to stop by ;) ). Here’s a piece on something that’s been cooking for a while – leaning sidecar history.

Leaning sidecars were first invented by Freddie Dixon, an English motorbike racer, way back in the 1920’s. Dixon was the first to figure out that by having the sidecar passenger control the tilt of the car with a lever, instead of the sidecar being rigidly fixed to the bike, it was possible to take turns a lot faster, and he used this idea to great success in his motorbike racing career. Leaning sidecars were further popularized in the same decade in American motorcycle racing, although now the focus was on having the sidecar wheel tilt by itself, giving the bike rider control. The technology used in these tilting sidecars has come a long way, and we have now been able to come up with our very own leaning sidecar for a bicycle, allowing you to easily carry goods around without knocking the bike itself off balance.

Leaning motorcycle sidecar

Leaning sidecars have many advantages which they can bring to your bike-riding, that make them an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be able to carry things on their bike with ease. With a leaning sidecar, riding the bike feels normal, and you aren’t constrained by having to compensate for the added weight of the sidecar. You’re able to take corners as you normally would, leaning in and taking them faster, as the sidecar is able to tilt freely to match the curve of the corner. Furthermore, since the sidecar is able to move independently, you don’t have to worry about holes in the road knocking you off balance- the sidecar can move over these without affecting the stability of the bike itself. On a three wheeled bike, you might notice that the bike rocks around when moving over holes, but this is not a problem with a leaning sidecar.

At KP Cykler, we’ve specifically designed our leaning sidecar bike to match the demand springing up for more efficient, effective bikes. With more and more households choosing not to have a car, it makes sense to enable your bike to carry goods such as groceries home easily. You’re sure to be impressed with how much weight it can cope with- in testing, we even managed to fit an armchair onto it! Stylish and functional, this bike makes a great choice for those who want to cut through urban congestion with ease, and carry goods around safe in the knowledge that they are still doing their bit for the environment. The only constraint on what you can ferry around is your imagination, so you’re sure to find that it adapts to your particular needs perfectly. If you have good balance, and hang on tight, you can even fit a person on it, so it really is suitable for everyone. We look forward to seeing what you can do with yours!

**Rasmus K, if you’re reading this and haven’t checked you inbox, then do so, you just won a set of magnetic lights.

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5 impressive Sidecar hauls

Ever since we finished the 1st Sidecar Bike prototype in mid-November 2015, we’ve been throwing everything at it to test its limits. Here are 5 different loads we’re most impressed about.

Sidevogn Cykel i Odense Havn

5. Groceries – perhaps it’s not as impressive as the rest, but it rightfully deserves a place in the list. You can probably relate to this one if you’re like 44% of Danish households and don’t have a car. The weekly grocery run can be quite annoying if non-motorized, especially if you end up buying something larger you didn’t plan. Carrying it on handlebars can be hassle, but throw it on a Sidecar and you’re not even thinking about it.

4. Ice hockey gear – us, hockey players, are known for having a crap-ton of armor. Without a car, it’s almost impossible to transport. But luckily a sidecar can easily handle one large bag, just make sure to strap it properly.

Sidecar Bike transporting ice hockey gear

3. Two sidecars – or rather the material for 2 more sidecars. I must say I was a bit nervous about loading the 2,7 meter long steel pipes and wooden planks on the Sidecar Bike. But the 4 km ride turned out to be smooth as a baby’s behind.

Sidecar Bike transporting 3 meter long pipes

2. Six frame sets – instead of taking the van, I thought of seeing how well the Sidecar Bike can handle a longer ride – 14,5 km one way to be precise. The climbs were a bit slow, and I admit that I got a bit pissed after chasing a group of roadies for a few kilometers without being able to catch them..

Sidecar Bike taking 6 bicycle frames to Otterup

1. My lovely fiancée – this one was more for fun than anything, but it does work. You can see her filming the ride on the following video:

 

From heavy to super long to super high, our Sidecar Bike has not fallen short with any cargo we’ve thrown at it. It has been far more valuable and versatile than we first imagined. As we produce all Sidecar Bikes in-house, it can be customized for practically any special cargo, but what would you use it for?

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

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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/