Metrofiets’ latest: A 58 lb cargo bike that truly hauls

Metrofiets' Suppenküche cargo bike-15

The Suppenküche (a.k.a. Überfiets).
– Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland-based cargo bike maker Metrofiets (of Hopworks Beer Bike fame) unveiled their latest creation at the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride last weekend: A super lightweight front-loader that builder Jamie Nichols hopes will change people’s idea of what a cargo bike can be.

Dubbed the Suppenküche (German for soup kitchen) after the cafe in San Francisco it was bought for, the bike includes a full Shimano XTR component group (with blinging Yumeya upgrade kit), hydraulic disc brakes, a Shimano Alfine internal drivetrain, and lots of other custom tidbits.

Metrofiets' Suppenküche cargo bike-1

Metrofiets builder Jamie Nichols.

The Suppenküche was the brainchild of cafe owner Aaron Hulme, who piloted the bike on its 200+ mile maiden voyage (carrying a full stock of beer, bread and sausages of course). Hulme is a former professional mechanic who worked for top domestic road racers. According to the bike’s builder, Jamie Nichols, Hulme was a discerning customer.

Nichols says the Suppenküche project was about more than just building another bike. “This bike will broaden people’s consciousness of what a cargo bike can and can’t do,” he said during a brief chat yesterday. Pushed by Hulme to build the lightest bike possible without sacrificing cargo capacity, durability or ride quality, Nichols used thinner steel tubing than he usually does (0.95mm wall thickness) and this is the first Metrofiets that includes a part (the headset clamp above the front wheel) machined by the CNC process. With CNC (which Metrofiets farms out to a local machinist) Nichols says he can now make better parts, faster — which is a big deal for a shop that’s seen demand for their custom rigs skyrocket.

Metrofiets' Suppenküche cargo bike-6

Metrofiets' Suppenküche cargo bike-17

Launched in October 2008, Metrofiets has created a solid niche for themselves in creating purpose-built cargo bikes for a variety of business-owning customers (wait till you see the two-wheeled coffee cart/cafe they’ve built for Portland-based Trailhead Coffee). Their shop is in Northeast Portland and all their fabrication is done by Nichols and other local artisans and machinists. See more of their bikes at Metrofiets.com.

View a photoset of the Suppenküche’s STP journey from Travis Wittwer on Flickr and see more images in the slideshow below:

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Jonathan "J.R" Reed
12 years ago

Saw this parked at Apex the other day. Super nice! Great job Jamie and Phil. Love that you keep them coming and continue to make them even better. I still think the gloss black one in Splendid’s window is my favorite.
Cheers!

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
12 years ago

WOW! – that is lighter than my shoes!

david....no! the other one
david....no! the other one
12 years ago

With brakes like these it must stop on a dime and collect change. Saftey first, good work! They are all beautiful.

Memo
Memo
12 years ago

My buddy and I helped lead him into Portland for the last few miles and the bike seemed to handle great whether it was going up hill or down and stopping for a light or accelerating afterwards.

Beautiful bike and thanks for the encouragement as well.

Spiffy
Spiffy
12 years ago

pretty cool but doesn’t mean much for most of us without a business to custom order one… we can’t buy this one…

also it seems nearly the same as the one from Joe Bike but without the cool fabric box up front…

peejay
peejay
12 years ago

I love having so many choices of cargo bikes! I will also love seeing the economy of scale work its magic on this class of bike as it gets more and more popular, and start making them more affordable. When a decent frontloader can be had for a grand or so, and a used one for less than that, it’ll be an option for so many more families. But I’m glad that custom craftspeople are using their talents for something other than race bikes that’ll never be raced, or mountain bikes that will never get mud on them.

joel
12 years ago

long john style cargo bikes under 50 lbs are totally possible, and im not gonna be happy until someone builds one.

that being said, metrofiets has again done a stellar job. while i may chuckle at the customers choice of pointless shiny gold bits to adorn the xtr (hey, its their choice, and their money! 🙂 ), and have my differences with jamie and crew on the use of a 24″/26″ wheelset rather than 20″/24″ (theres a couple of lbs right there…), every bike they turn out makes me smile.

Heather
Heather
12 years ago

I saw this bike a bunch of times during STP over the weekend. Seriously impressed with both bike and rider. (Ok, and SERIOUSLY covetous of the bike!)

Paul Tay
Paul Tay
12 years ago

Yet Another Must-Read, Kewl PDX Stolen Bike Saga, Redux…coming soon…available only on BP TV.

padala
12 years ago

It is nice to see different variation of cargo bikes. Nice work

Toby
Toby
12 years ago

So how much weight was saved? Kind of hard to WOW! its weight when I have nothing to compare it to.