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Apr 28, 2011

Babboe City Cargobike First Impressions

Babboe was created in 2007 in The Netherlands by 3 folks who saw the need for a more affordable, yet durable cargo bike.  Their first offering was the 3-wheeled "Big" with the bakfiets style "City" as their latest offering.

First up is a quick review of the City with a review of the Big coming in a few weeks time.  Lets start at the front of the bike...

- Oversized, glavanized steel frame with oversized and galvanized steel fork offering a tough chassis that should last for many years of hard use
- braking provided by a Shimano roller brake for years of maintenance free, all weather stopping power
- battery powered LED lighting.  Although we prefer dynamo lighting whenever possible, the light on the City is bright enough and keeps the costs down

The cargo box on the City is one of its finest features and one of the nicest we've seen
- German made, marine grade Birch to handle many years outdoors
- multiple panels are replaceable in the event of damage and held togther with stainless steel hardware
- rounded box design is a real treat preventing ouchies from corners and more comfort for your children
- foot holes on the bottom of the box allow for easy entry for the children
- 2 sets of safety harnesses for the kiddies, with an additional seat available for larger families
- rain cover available
- 100kg weight capacity

The bike itself is shipped in 3 separate boxes allowing for much cheaper freight, but more importantly, better packaging and a bike that arrives to you in great condition.  This photo shows how the front half connects to the back with the beautiful kickstand visable too.  Stainless steel hardware holds everything togther.  One of the things I love about this bike is the kickstand.  You can deploy it from either side of the bike (no latch), does not rattle at all, and is spring loaded making it easy to use even with a full load on board.

Moving towards the rear of the bike...
- full coverage fenders front and back keep you clean
- full chaincase keeps your clothes clean
- Rustbuster chain standard
- battery powered taillight with integrated reflector
- drivetrain supplied by Shimano's ubiquitous Nexus 7-speed workhorse
- low gear range makes hills a breeze even on this heavy bike
- braking power is the same as the front, Shimano roller brake
- integrated ABUS wheel lock
- rack mounts (if you decide you want a rear rack)

<- The Babboe City in its natural habitat.

The bike has a remarkably light handling feel, especially considering its length and weight.  As with most bakfiets-style bikes, it actually feels better with weight in the box and is quite easy to ride once you've figured it out.

The seat tube angle on the bike is very relaxed offering a wide range of people the ability to ride this bike - everyone from 5' to 6'+ will find the bike comfortable to ride and easy to handle.  The handlebars are also height adjustable making it easy to find the perfect riding position for most people.

Riding the Babboe City is easy and comfortable even though is is over 6' long.  The steering feels light and responsive even with a couple of kids onboard and the gear range is low enough that most people should be able to handle most terrain found in the city.  One thing I really like about this bike is how low the back of the cargo box is - allowing for out-of-the-saddle pedaling on hills - nice! 

Cargo bikes are a real alternative to the second (or third) car and offer families an amazing way to get out togther and explore your community, grocery shop, picnics - your imagination is the only thing limiting the possibilities of these amazing machines. 

Test rides are available.

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