Last week, a guy at the office rode in on his shiny-new custom-spec'ed CETMA cargo bike. I tried not to drool on it as I checked it out. I like the flat cargo deck, that can have various boxes, etc., added... very utilitarian! Other features that he's included (he may not have Jay Leno dinero, but obviously money isn't a major stumbling block):
- internally-geared hub (10 speed Shimano, I believe)
- disc brakes
- Brooks saddle (classy!)
- a front hub motorized assist. I was talking to him about it; he said when he gets it fully loaded he anticipates it will be pretty nice to have a little power backup. In the third photo, you'll see a little control panel. He said the battery is already onboard; it must be mounted underneath the deck.
Then today, before it started to rain, I actually went on a new bike test ride!
For a couple years, I've had my eye on the REI Novara Gotham "urban" bicycle. What particularly attracts me is the NuVinci constantly-variable hub. That and the belt drive. In my imagination, the combination would be uniquely quiet and maintenance-free, besides providing a super-wide final drive ratio.
To test ride it (OK since it wasn't raining at the moment) I signed a disclaimer, left behind my driver's license and REI credit card, and promised not to leave the parking lot. I'd kinda dreamed of riding it uphill, and along a straight stretch for awhile, but I made do. I did have the opportunity to test its maneuverability, since they're right next door to the Golden Corral... I deftly maneuvered around bovine GC breakfast customers who lumbered about in the parking lot. And the hub is just as amazing as I imagined - a gentle twist changes the ratio in a very real way, but almost imperceptibly... no click between gears. Very, very cool.
- frame was steel in '13, now it's aluminum (but the weight is down about 5 pounds - and it is NOT a lightweight bike, at 30+ pounds)
- mechanical discs in '13, hydraulic in '14. (I'd probably prefer mechanical as a maintenance and durability issue, but it may not be a big deal.)
- in '13 it had a front hub dynamo to charge the headlight battery. Now I assume you have to plug it in now and then.
- oh, and last year it was $1300; now it's $1400. Spendy... but a good value, seems to me. (Just the hub costs around $300 or so.)
I'd dearly love to get it, but it'll probably have to wait for another year
. Hopefully they'll still build it in '15.