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Bike Show: Ahearne launches new “Cycle Truck”

Posted by on April 10th, 2010 at 9:30 am

Joseph Ahearne’s new Cycle Truck.
(Photo: Ahearne Cycles)

Portland bike builder Joseph Ahearne will launch his new Cycle Truck bike at the Pedal Nation Bicycle Show today. You might remember the first unveiling of this new concept at the Oregon Bicycle Constructor’s Association show back in November.

At that show, Ahearne told me that, “This is the cargo bike Portland needs.” Ahearne has been burning the midnight oil on this thing to make it a production bike that will be more accessible than the custom, one-off bikes he’s known for.

I love this bike’s versatility. It can be a serious commuter, family bike, or just a monster cargo rig. Ahearne just flipped the switch on the Cycle Truck website. Go read more about it and stay tuned for photos and more info gleaned from the show (I’m headed over there right now).

The Cycle Truck will sell for $1,730 for frame/fork/rack or get one completely built starting at $2,710.

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  • jim April 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Lot of money for a bike with no lights or fenders (it does rain in Portland)

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  • Cecil April 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I think I just found my next bike

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  • Wheelburro April 10, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Add another front wheel, add a bigger cargo rack and you have a Wheelburro.

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  • Katie April 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Gorgeous, but that’s a LOT of money for a production bike, especially if you’re looking to move serious cargo or do daily family cycling.

    Not that I wouldn’t love to have one, but I don’t think it’s “the cargo bike Portland needs.” A cargo bike Portland needs, sure… but not a clear choice over a Workcycles FR8, for example, which retails for almost a thousand dollars less, and comes with an internally geared hub, enclosed chain, lights, etc, etc…

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  • cold worker April 10, 2010 at 11:28 am

    and you know what else jim? if as part of the build you say “i’d like fenders and a generator hub…” they’ll keep all the money you’ve deposited and you won’t get the bike. and if you think this warning now means you can sneakily add some later, you’re wrong. joseph and his thugs are gonna be doing check ups to make sure there are no lights or fenders on your bike. sucks.

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  • db April 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    nice, but hardly a “new concept” and converting an existing bike is alot cheaper.

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  • beth h April 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I think it’s a great cargo bike, but not necessarily THE cargo bike, especially for that price. You can get a Big Dummy fully built up with very basic parts for far less than two grand — under fifteen hundred if you build it up yourself and use a combination of new and used parts.

    I’m just sayin’…

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  • robert April 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    This is NOT a new concept !!!! Schwinn made the Original back in the 40’s !! Worksman cycles still makes these and they’re a whole lot cheaper than this one. I’m sure this is a nice bike,probably has a few more modern features the Worksman does’nt have but that could’t justify that outrageous price. I could build one from scrap bikes,with gears and good brakes for $50 or less.

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  • robert April 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Another thought,what is the advantage of this bike over a regular bike with a trailer ??? Also,if you loaded this bike with some heavy cargo there is the possibility of it flipping over in the front. The low center of gravity AND overall versatility of a trailer would seem to be a better choice over the novelty of this design.

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  • James April 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    It’s hard to beat the Kona Ute, curretnly on sale for $200 off during Bike Gallery’s sale this weekend. Ride it home for $699.

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  • pabstslut April 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Keep in mind it’s a production bike, but still a made in Oregon production bike. A Surly big Dummy is $2500 complete, and it’s made in Taiwan.
    Jim, I’m not sure what photos you were looking at, but on the website almost every example pictured had fenders, and a few had dynamo lights as well.
    It seems to me the intent is to fill the niche between a serious cargo bike (bakfiets, etc) and the ubiquitous Portland commuter, ie an old mountain bike with a couple City Bikes buckets. I think it’s cool that the much vaunted Portland custom bike scene is maturing beyond making what are essentially expensive toys.

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  • BURR April 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    he just priced himself out of the market. I’m sure a few well-heeled Portlanders will bite, but it’s not going to be a ‘production model’ at that price.

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  • Adam April 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Wow, rad-looking!

    I love the fact it’s a bike made for carrying important things, not least of all, pizza. As I always say, what’s the point of a bike that can’t easily carry a six pack of local brew, and a good pizza on the ride home?

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  • huey lewis April 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    so many haters…

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  • Howard April 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Love the homage to the early cargo bikes. Brilliant bit of engineering, retro-cool, and would love to have one.

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  • Jacob April 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    While it’s awfully nice looking, I (personally) just can’t imagine spending that much on a “work” bike. Especially when you can get a Worksman (made in the USA as well) for a fraction of the price.

    I apparently am not the target market, but I can only wonder who is?!

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  • jim April 10, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    papstslut #11
    I was looking at the picture at the top of the article.
    No Lights, No fenders. nice looking kickstand though

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  • SkidMark April 10, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    It’s true you could make these out of donor bikes, and that Schwinn made the Cycle Truck first. Something tells me that Joe A. chose that name as homage to the original. The difference between a Diy one and this one is that the headtube and steerer won’t be sleeved and extended, in the same place that you are carrying your payload. Even though it will be overbuilt, unless you are a skilled and experienced welder there will be potential for failure. It will also be a good deal heavier.

    I am all for building DIY cargo bikes but to pretend that they would actually compare to a handmade fillet-brazed frame made from new materials is a little delusional.

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  • Joseph Ahearne April 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Wow, I can see that this may have started a lively debate. It seems the biggest issue so far is how much the Cycle Truck costs. The comparisons to the Surly Big Dummy and to the Worksman are fair, to a point, but they are somewhat different beasts.

    Yes, the design for the Cycle Truck is old, from the early 1900’s, and I make no claims of inventing anything. It’s a great design, and I’ve taken that design and modified it to make it into a modern, highly useable commuter; a bike that I would want to ride. Worksman makes a solid “low gravity” bike, similar in design, for a lot less money, and it’s made in the U.S. Worksman stays more true to the original design. Their bike is a fair bit heavier than than my version, and is offered as a one- or three-speed only, with a coaster brake, and optional drum brake. In reality it is more of a work bike and less of a commuter. I wanted something lighter, with quicker handling, solid brakes, compatible with modern parts, a full range of gear options, as well as having all the standard features needed for commuting: fenders, rear rack mounts, internal gearing, generator hub and light options.

    I really like long tail bikes. Think of all the stuff you can carry! Of all the long tails, I’m most familiar with the Big Dummy, and I think it’s an awesome machine, very thoughtfully made, and incredibly useful. When the point of the bike is a viable alternative to driving, I’m all for it. That’s exactly what inspired me to modernize the Cycle Truck design. I wanted a bike that could carry a lot of stuff, but that still felt like a traditional bike. I wanted to make the most useful commuter I could come up with.

    Getting back to the cost. Yes, you can get a Big Dummy for less than a Cycle Truck, but honestly, it’s not a lot less. Check out the list price on the Surly website. I’m comparing the Cycle Truck to the Big Dummy here because I imagine these two bikes attract similar types of riders. If you order a CT you have quite a few extra options (color, rack options, parts kits), and you have the pride of knowing it’s made in Oregon. The Big Dummy is a really great bike, but it is made far far away, and the repercussions of this are important to some people.

    One more thought in regards to the cost: I had the option of cutting corners when designing the CT, but decided that I’d rather not compromise anything. The main tubes are high quality double-butted, and the parts kits I chose are not the absolute cheapest available because I wanted stuff that would work well, and would hopefully last a long time. I offer the Cycle Truck as a complete built bike, or as a frame, fork and rack only, because I figured that some people would want to buy used parts or recycle parts they already have. There are ways to save costs. As for the frame, it’s an investment. It was my hope that if I kept my standards high, it would show in the quality of the final product. It does. I’m proud of it. I think it’s an awesome ride. And better still, I do believe it will help people stay out of their cars. I believe that’s worth something.

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  • Paul Tay April 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm


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  • e.spanner April 11, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I think this is a great direction for a utility bike. This looks like a useful and balanced design, that certainly has adavantages over all the long bike varieties. A refined and updated version of a old and classic machine, that is not a bolt-on or modified hack of something else.


    I’m gettin’ one!

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  • dp April 12, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I’m with spanner, the CT is a really sweet bike. Joseph has made about 5 of these to get the geometry and the spec dialed in, and it shows. First bike I’ve been excited about in years.

    I want one.

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  • joel April 12, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Im excited about it. A front rack is an amazing thing, but the handling of it is odd. I just removed the front rack from my Surly 1X1 and it feels like a dream, although I miss the cargo capacity. So it would be nice to have a front rack that feels better under a load. Ive been waiting for something like this in Portland.

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  • Nick April 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I’ve been fortunate enough to have been on the Surly design team with the Big Dummy and have ridden most other cargo bikes and trailers available today, including the Ahearne Cycle Truck. While there may not be one perfect bike or vehicle for all your needs, please consider these important points:

    What are your limitations to becoming (more) car-free?

    -What kind of bike is fun to ride?

    -What kind of bike allows you to enjoy the riding experience rather than make you think about the bike?

    Simmer on that last one for a second. OK.

    It’s obvious the Cycle Truck has cargo capacity like all the others. But here are some of it’s strong points.

    1- It’s easier to transport or store indoors than a bakfiets or longtail design.

    2- It hauls more than your average touring bike with front and rear racks, especially a bulky load like a big box.

    3- It’s fast and easy to ride, certainly capable of being an everyday bike and getting across town quickly on.

    4- It doesn’t steer your bike like a fork-mounted front basket.

    5- I rode it no-handed for blocks, quickly around corners, sprinted up a hill and blasted down hill at high speeds with a giant box on the front and can attest to it having excellent ride quality. I don’t ride too many bikes that make me want one after the first ride, but this one did.

    6- If you want more cargo capacity on a Cycle Truck you can add a rear rack and/or pull a trailer.

    My conclusion is this an excellent tool for anybody who likes to or chooses to haul stuff. I can also testify that Joseph really did his homework in modernizing the geometry, ride quality and versatility of the front rack with this cargo bike platform. Nice work!

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  • Yaright April 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    So I’m wondering if ANY of the people who made negative comments about this bike are people who were actually looking for a bike like this in the first place ? Or do you just like being a wet blanket for fun ?

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  • Rob September 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Just to weigh in: I think Joe Ahearne’s defense of his creation is pretty much valid. Yes, there are similar alternatives for less, but this bike offers some novel spins that aren’t available from other builders. Further, these differences are of the sort that are going to come with an upcharge.

    Someone askd if the haters are just being wet blankets, or if they’re actually in the market for this style of bike. I stumbled on this page because i’m considering a worksman lgb, and this came up in a google search. The worksman vs ahearne question comes down to affordable/unique/traditional versus (relatively)lightweight/more adaptable to modern components/more refined frame/fork (and the option for more refined componentry.) Now, I can say for sure that there is ZERO chance that i’ll be buying the ahearne, but i think it’s good that it’s available. If i were wealthy, i’d grab one. As it is, I’m more likely to get the worksman at $540, plus $70 for the front drum brake, plus wellllll over $200 to ship it to me. Still, a far cry cheaper than the ahearne, but i’ll need to live with more weight, cruder construction, and frickin’ 110mm rear spacing should i ever want to upgrade. And, an american-size BB shell, although I’m psyched to get a profile 3-peice when the stock ashtabula bites the dust. (perhaps i’m a bit erudite after all!) STill, a bike like this is a luxury item, however you look at it. Whether it’s 3grand for the bike featured above, a grand for a worksman, or $50 for a DIY which will require a fair amount of expensive equipment to build it, no cycle truck is for truly indigent folks…

    As for the bigdummy or yuba mundos, well, those are foreign bikes that take a different approach to a similar problem. Essentially, that’s truly some apples-to-oranges, there. But, as someone who is actually in the market for a high-fallutin cargo bike, I can say that i have no interest in a longtail.

    Long and short of it is, i applaud Ahearne for building this bike, even if it is priced well above what i want to pay for it.

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