It’s common that when someone sees our bakfiets they comment that “you could haul your groceries in that thing”.
The obvious hauling capacity is definitely good marketing for the bakfiets, but it really excels at kid hauling, with the visibility, box walls, bench seat and built-in seat belts.
I had been getting my groceries by bike just fine without a bakfiets for several years, and it remains more efficient to shop with a more traditional bike, although how they haul is less apparent.
The Arkel panniers in the photos have about 25 lbs of groceries in them (We bought 20 pounds of bulk pasta).
The bags themselves weigh only a couple pounds or so, and attach and detach easily to the center rack on this recumbent.
If I used all the carrying capacity on the recumbent, I could easily carry nine grocery bags, without hooking up a trailer to it.
On the bakfiets, I would be carrying an extra 30 pounds or so of bike weight even before the groceries are added.
Like a big truck, the bakfiets is more convenient, but less efficient. It’s easier to dump everything in the bakfiets bucket than it is to sort into smaller bags and attach to a bike rack. Any load I could fit on the recumbents racks would technically require less pedaling effort because there’s less bike weight to haul with it.
Yes, the bakfiets are great for hauling and they can carry bulky objects that would be difficult to haul another way, but traditional bike racks and saddle bags often work sufficiently well and can be surprisingly easy and efficient to use.
If you thought that was interesting, you might also enjoy these related posts: