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Portland’s TerraCycle unleashes their ‘Cargo Monster’

Posted by on November 10th, 2009 at 10:33 am

TerraCycle owner Pat Franz shows off his Cargo Monster rear end attached to a Catrike recumbent.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Southeast Portland-based recumbent parts and accessories manufacturer TerraCycle wants to bring the Xtracycle revolution to a whole new segment of the bicycle world — recumbent trikes, folders, and other non-standard bikes.

The company has just released their latest product, dubbed the “Cargo Monster”. I stopped by the TerraCycle shop last week to give it a spin.

TerraCycle's Cargo Monster-4

TerraCycle's Cargo Monster-9

According to Pat Franz, who founded TerraCycle in 1996, the Cargo Monster is a “heavy-duty redesign of the Xtracycle Free Radical cargo concept”. Franz and his crew have created an Xtracycle-compatible rear end that will allow the popular product to fit all sorts of new bikes.

“We know the market for weird bikes already, so we’re not afraid of this.”
— Pat Franz, owner of TerraCycle

Franz has built up an expertise in designing, building and selling specialty parts for recumbents, so this product is right up their alley. “We know the market for weird bikes already, so we’re not afraid of this.” Franz said they worked closely with Xtracycle (they’re very open with sharing specs), to almost completely re-create the Free Radical. Everything on the Cargo Monster is made by TerraCycle except for the upper tubes, the deck, and the bags.

TerraCycle's Cargo Monster-7

The Cargo Monster has much stiffer, thicker-walled tubing (to combat torsion flex), custom cut lugs, and it also features TerraCycle’s new Xtracycle-specific idler kits to help combat chain-tensioning issues.

And, for those who want the ultimate hauler, the Cargo Monster has tabs already welded on for the EcoSpeed (another Portland company) electric-assist motor.

Seven-foot fence posts? No problem.
(Photo: Pat Franz)

One major benefit for trikes hauling cargo is stability. With three wheels, you can carry tons of weight without worrying about tipping over. Franz says he’s test the Cargo Monster with all sorts of huge loads, including a recent trip to the hardware store to buy fencing and fence posts. Another advantage of the recumbent trike is carrying long loads. Without his legs and feet in the way, Franz said carrying seven-foot long fence posts was no problem at all.

Franz says dealers are already signing up to order the Cargo Monster and he sees a big demand on the horizon for bringing the Xtracycle to recumbent trikes, a part of the market he says has “really taken off” in the past few years.

The Cargo Monster retails for $1,049 (complete kit) or $770 if you already have an Xtracycle.

See more photos of the TerraCycle Cargo Monster in the gallery.

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Allan
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Allan

when you say “tons of weight” do you mean tons? like multiples of 2000 lbs?

Schrauf
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Schrauf

Oh good, another comedian.

Would you be able to pedal tons of weight around town, even if the vehicle was capable of the load?

naomi
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naomi

That thing looks so comfy! That reclining position.. all it’s missing is a mini fridge built into the side 😀

Allan
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Allan

Downhill, with a low-enough gear, or perhaps with an electric-assist. However I see your point, and surely the brakes aren’t rated for such weight. I’ve heard of folks towing 300lb trailers so it didn’t seem totally out of the question.

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q`Ztal
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q`Ztal

As Richard Guy Briggs has shown quite well with the proper gearing and three wheels the only other ingredient you need is the determination to DIY.
Take that U-Haul.

Favorite pics

Heavy haulage: http://tricolour.net/photos/2007/05/19/11-32-00i1.html
Mobile (recursive?) zoobomb: http://tricolour.net/photos/2007/05/19/18-44-07i1.html

Rico
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Rico

Get a flag on that lowrider.

Jerko
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Jerko

This is awesome, I can’t wait to get stuck behind one of these on the Steel Bridge. I’m sure it will be hauling a huge load, probably a laptop and change of shirt. Oh, and hopefully it will come with an array of blinding LED lights, programmed to blink in a seizure-inducing pattern.

ladybent
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ladybent

Fabulous idea! Trikes are so comfy and the low height makes the balance of a touring load fantastic. Can’t wait to get mine!

Jack Mondragon
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Jack Mondragon

You bicycle folks are really idiots. Sorry but this is really silly. Look at yourselves, this is insane. Do you really want to become a third world country. I am so disgusted with your mental masturbation regarding bicycles. Do you realize that you are such a minority and have cult mentality? Why don’t you folks grow up? This post will have a half life of 2 minutes before your moron webmaster deletes it. I laugh at you guys. When you grow up you will be embarrassed at what you are thinking and doing now.

ladybent
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ladybent

RE: Post #10

What happen Jack you didn’t take your meds this morning. Not sure why you make a connection between cycling and being an impoverished country, take a look at Copenhagen, Amsterdam, etc, they are all rich biking cities with very high standards of living, so you see it does work. The only issue I can see is the one that is happening between your ears, too bad you have to live with that. All angry and dumping on everything beautiful around you, how sad it must be to be you!

PAPAD
Guest

Jack,
Bet you drive a SUV with just yourself inside.Why the tirade with bikes? Did some bozo run a redlight on a bike to set you off? There is plenty of yahoo drivers/bicyclists who are goofy drivers.Bicycles AREN’T GOING AWAY you twit

Bruce A. Wilson
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Bruce A. Wilson

The next step would be a “Lazy Dummy”–that is, a Xtracycle-compatible trike built as such from the ground up.

This isn’t the first recumbent cargo trike, though. Take a look at Organic Engines, CAT’s Human Powered Machines, and Lightfoot Cycles, for three examples.

Allison
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Allison

I got a chance to ride one of the prototypes at the Human Powered Vehicle challenge. The neat thing about cargoing up a trike is that most trikes have some kind of parking break – meaning if you’re tired on your way up the hill, set the break and chill. It’s also easier to get a heavily loaded trike started – a bike might kind of stall like you’re not in a low enough gear and you fall over – no such problem with a trike :).

Everyone should get a trike.

And stop telling me it’s hard to see me. I have a flag. I have lights. You could look. It’d help.

thoughtcriminal
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thoughtcriminal

Neat design that would last maybe 10 minutes on any northern New Jersey road, SPLAT! (crunch crunch). Drivers here don’t notice small CARS, never mind recumbent bikes towing anything. Tall, neon-colored flags and a constantly blasting air horn might help, but budget $30K for surgery at least yearly.

The above assuming you didn’t get a summons from an over-zealous member of the constabulary every time you leave your home. Illegal for them to do that? Not in Bergen County, where all the bike paths go through parks with 20 foot climbs up to surface roads have and large barriers to “protect” those bicyclists who are allowed to use those paths for exercise, not hauling.

Perhaps you could beat the tickets, but how many days do you have to spend in court per month? 70+ separate municipalities, plus county and state cops, plus sheriff’s officers can cite you.

No provision and no acceptance is made here for bike commuters or other “poor people”, it’s a fun place that Jack Mondragon might well enjoy.

Can’t say I do, looking to leave soon as my late dad’s home is sold.

I love Big Brother.

BAW
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BAW

On the basis of what statute would the local constabulary cite you? I’ve looked at the NJ Code and I can’t see anything.

Will Taylor
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Will Taylor

Last I checked, NJ constabulary didn’t require much of an excuse to do much of anything. Here in Portland OR, you’d be more likely to get a thumbs-up.