This weekend in addition to experimenting with long-distance cargo hauling, I also tried out hauling significant weight using electric assist. It went very smoothly. I was extra cautious navigating the in-town portion of the trip, but as we got to the rural section, I was able to travel at more or less recreational speeds, On the flats, the electric assist could add more speed than I felt comfortable using.
My initial impression was that it made hauling the loads I could haul unassisted to be very comfortable experiences, but so far I’m still tentative about expecting that this electric assist kit will haul a lot heavier loads, or allow me to up much steeper hills. When I really need assistance is starting from a dead stop on a hill with significant weight in tow. The motor is challenged to get going under those conditions. In part, that’s because of the system I have– it is “direct drive”– one gear– and it is in the front hub. I think a rear-hub motor or the Stokemonkey would be a preferred choice for a rig that was primarily used for heavy loads and/or steep hills. Rock the Bike uses a rear hub motor when using the same bike/trailer combo to haul musicans around San Franciso.
Final conclusion: A practical alternative to a truck for some kinds of shorter-distance hauling.
Bike: Yuba Mundo with electric assist
Trailer: Bikes-at-Work trailer with a custom hitch for the Mundo
Distance: About 5 miles
Avg speed: About 12 mph
Total weight of bike+rider+trailer+cargo: 560 lbs.
estimated cargo weight: About 220 lbs.
Alley couches still remaining with a 6 block radius from my house: 4