Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 12th, 2008 at 1:45 am
I first shared news that a pair of Portlanders were working on a locally made version of the legendary Dutch “bakfiets” cargo bike back in February. Since then, I haven’t heard much from Metrofiets, so I was excited to see their progress at the Oregon Manifest show on Friday.
Phillip Ross and Jamie Nichols (the two men behind Metrofiets) showed up with a stellar looking cargo bike that is unmistakably inspired by the Dutch original. But the Metrofiets is far from a carbon copy. The big difference is that — excluding its Japanese components — the bike is made nearly 100% in the U.S.A.
Ross, who oversees production at Metrofiets (Nichols does the welding) says in addition to making the bike in Portland, they’ve managed to source nearly all (“99.99%”) of the parts (excluding components) from Portland and the Northwest.
“It has been a real team effort, my brother-in-law built the (wooden) box.”
Ross describes the bike as “a cargo bike inspired by the Dutch cargo bikes of yore,” and adds,
“We tried to modernize it as much as we could, while still adhering to the old U.S. look and the style of French frames from the 1920s and ’30s because we really like those.”
A notable difference between the Metrofiets and a bakfiets is the larger front wheel (24-inch vs. 20-inch). Also, the cargo box on the Metrofiets is detachable, which opens up some interesting possibilities.
Metrofiets is open for business and Ross says they’re taking orders. A custom frame, fork, and box is $2,700 and a fully built rig with all the trimmings will run about $3,200 (which puts it in the ballpark of a Dutch bakfiets).
I didn’t spend too much time with the Metrofiets (and didn’t take it for a test ride), but it seems like a very capable, top-quality machine. Nichols is clearly a talented builder and I think we can expect more great things from the Metrofiets shop in the future.