Harvest Century September 22nd

‘Truck Trike’ maker seeks new partner for licensing and production

Posted by on September 5th, 2019 at 4:28 pm

This trike was designed and built in Portland. It could also revolutionize last-mile delivery.
(Photo: Mark Gamba)

Remember the Truck Trike?

It was almost 10 years ago when we first introduced you to this Portland-made, Portland-desinged, bike lane legal, electric-assisted bicycle that can haul up to 600 pounds of cargo. Bill Stites (Stites Design) has evolved his product considerably since then. When we last heard from him a year ago his trikes were being tested by UPS in a last-mile delivery pilot project up in Seattle.

The Truck Trike was a pioneer in what is now a very hot market of zero-emission urban delivery services. Since he started the project in 2010, e-bikes have skyrocketed in popularity, battery technology has gotten better and cheaper, and businesses worldwide have begun to adopt smaller, pedal-assist vehicles for urban freight.

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Now Stites is seeking a new business partner to take his trikes to the next level. “We are interested in licensing our proven design to a capable manufacturer and distributor,” he shared in a recent email. With e-commerce becoming the new normal, last-mile delivery has exploded in the last few years. Unfortunately, too much of it is still done with oversized fossil-fuel burning vehicles. Stites sees his Truck Trike — now in its third generation of design — as the perfect solution.

Stites says the key to success is a manufacturer that could reap the benefits of mass-producing the trikes to keep costs down. Beyond a business opportunity, Stites says this is about fighting back against the climate crisis. “We must continue to work on zero-emission solutions and reduce the number of trucks on the streets.” All he needs is someone to make them.

Check out TruckTrike.com for more information.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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15 Comments
  • Avatar
    pruss2ny September 5, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    so quick question…if successful, bike lanes could presumably be taken over by cargo trikes? how does that look?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 5, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      that’s absolutely likely to happen. And that looks interesting. But hopefully bike lanes will look a lot different (as in, bigger and better) by the time it occurs.

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        mh September 5, 2019 at 7:49 pm

        Bike lanes plus bike passing lanes on every street that’s busy enough to need a bike lane. And ignore the howls and gnashing of teeth when that leaves room for only one car lane in each direction.

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          Alex September 6, 2019 at 9:42 am

          Agreed! That’s pretty much what Copenhagen does (some bike lanes are wide enough to allow for 4 riders abreast) and it feels amazing.

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        Bill Stites September 6, 2019 at 11:59 am

        Regarding bike lane size, a large group from PBOT came to the Truck Trike shop to review and understand the trikes and how they will fit in as time goes forward. This was around the time that the new Flanders and Sullivan’s Gulch [7th ave.] car-free bridges were being designed.

        I definitely appreciated their forward thinking, because yes, the bike lanes could get crowded with cargo bikes and trikes. Fortunately, these trikes and similar vehicles, can also take the lane as bonafide vehicular transport on our public streets.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty September 5, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    What became of the UPS test?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      from what I hear, they’re still testing and some of the trikes are actively being used up in Seattle. They are looking at several types of delivery trikes, not just the Truck Trike. And I happened to have just visited the local factory building trikes for them this week. working on the story now and will share friday or monday. stay tuned.

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    Toby Keith September 5, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    He may want to try someone like Silver Eagle Manufacturing. I thought they make truck trailers mainly, but I think they also fabricate other products.

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    Todd Boulanger September 5, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Yes, our AASHTO, MUTCD and NACTO guides (especially the latter) should have an upscaled facility width (and height) recommendation for bHGVs so our cities can be ready for them…it would be a shame to spend billions on a generation of protected bikeways without considering bike freight. Unless the Cities just calm the main arterials to allow them to operate in the “motorized” vehicle lanes.

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    Fred September 6, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Prepare for pissed-off drivers. I once passed a truck-type vehicle that was going 5 mph in the bike lane, up a gentle incline. A driver (in a Prius, of all things) caught up to me and slowed as he passed me and yelled out the pax-side window, “How DARE you go into MY lane?!”

    I had no idea how to respond and was left wondering if there is some rule that says a bike can never leave a bike lane. Doesn’t seem like that’s true, but the driver of the Prius certainly thought it was.

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      Chris I September 6, 2019 at 9:32 am

      There is no law. You would of course need to yield to vehicles present in the vehicle lane, but if you pull out with enough room, they need to then yield to you. This, of course, doesn’t matter to entitled drivers like the one you encountered.

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      Glenn II September 6, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      That’s why when it looks like someone in a car is about to say something, I pre-emptively yell “GET OFF THE ROAD!”

      OK no that’s never actually happened.

      Anyway, you’re allowed the full lane in Oregon.

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        Glenn II September 6, 2019 at 2:56 pm

        Edit: So it’s actually YOUR lane. Given that you’re a citizen, and were there first.

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        Liz September 7, 2019 at 4:34 pm

        The best is getting yelled at to get out of the lane on a Neighborhood Greenway, while riding over a sharrow marking. Oh and as always cars that take wide turns into my lane going the opposite direction and when I make a “scoot over” hand motion they reply with a hearty, “fv¢k you b3t¢#,” (virtually 100% of the time this has happened to me, it’s been a whyt person FYI).

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