Trek Transport Cargo Bike Review

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I got to try the Trek Transport, Transport + in Vegas and I’ve now owned the Transport for about a week. Here’s some key observations.

$1300 – That is a great value. It comes complete with all the racks and one bag.

Specs – Weight is about 45 lbs. Wheelbase is 49 inches for the medium. Sizing is 17 and 20 inches.

All Aluminum frame – This is key as this bike is relatively light and it seems structurally sound and laterally stiff.

200 lb cargo capacity – 100 lbs on the rear tray and 50 lbs each on the side trays. Maybe another 25 in the front rack.

2×8 speed – gearing is perfect with 28/38 up front. Having a big third chainring in the front like a 44t is not necessary for most.

Disc brake in the front, Vbrake in the rear – Disc/Disc would have been nice but it is upgradeable in the rear and it has not been an issue yet.

Low BB and short cranks – BB is low at 11.4 inches. That’s about 1 to 2 inches lower than most mountain bikes. To avoid hitting the cranks on the ground, they’ve been shortened to 165mm.

Mary-style handlebar and ergo grips – These are cool touches as the cockpit is very comfortable.

BB and rear triangle are extremely stiff. Because of the beefy aluminum construction to support all the rear cargo, the BB area has been reinforced quite a bit. The result is acceleration and responsiveness that is really surprising!! Handling is awesome too.

My research on other Cargo Bikes in the market:
————

This is the golden age of cargo bikes. As health, energy and environment issues arise, people are looking to bike more. The cargo bike is one solution to many of life’s errands and To do list trips. It is a possible car replacement solution.

But all is not well. The cargo bike solutions are very immature and the current setups and pricing are just a hint of what they need to be. Here are some of the things I looked into:

Surly Big Dummy – about $2500 for a bike and $800 for a frame msrp. Xtracycle compatible and it seems that this is not usually a complete bike but a building block for an enthusiast or build kit ready system depending on the store you purchase from. Cargo capability is about 200 lbs assuming a 200lb rider.
Sizes: s, m, l, xl
frame weight: 12.6 lbs
wheelbase: 57.4 inches for medium

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  • Vince Frost says:

    That’s a mind bender of a bike, and a very exciting development in that people are looking to replace or supplement their car with bicycles. I’ve just ordered a Montague Paratrooper folding bike for this reason because it’s a full sized mountain bike that I can (probably) fit under my desk. It’s wonderful that people are looking for alternatives and that companies are building bikes to suit. The Trek Transport reminds me a lot of vintage Japanese bikes I saw being used as pack animals in Taiwan and Hong Kong in the late 80s and early 90s (the bikes probably date back to WWII and before), they were just still in use when I lived there.

    Thank you so much for your post and your review, Francois. Fascinating bike!

  • David says:

    Thanks for the review! My LBS just got the electric model in and I plan to go test-ride it this week. I agree that it is an exciting addition to the cargo bike scene.

  • francois says:

    >>Thanks for the review! My LBS just got the electric model in and I plan to go test-ride it this week. I agree that it is an exciting addition to the cargo bike scene.

    Right on David. Keep us updated!

  • David says:

    I just test-rode the Transport+ with electric assist. Super fun! It surprising how agile such a large bike is… I didn’t even notice the long tail while I was riding. This was my first time using an electric assist. I could see how it could get addictive! I read someone compare it to a giant invisible hand giving you a push, and that’s about accurate. I was trying it out in San Francisco, a very hilly city, and it did really well on streets that are 10-18% sloped. On the worst slope, I did have to work for it, but didn’t have to get up on the pedals, and it was a hill I wouldn’t even have tried to beat on my regular bike.

    Even without the assist, the bike handles really well. It just *feels* right to me. It’s very maneuverable, it corners well, and it’s easy to turn around. I didn’t try it under load though… Francois, how did it handle with some weight in the back? I saw the photos of you with kids on board…

    Also, you might want to add the Yuba Mundo to your list of cargo bikes to review. It’s one of the heavy-hitters, and on the more affordable side of things. I’ve ridden one, and it’s very heavy-duty. Probably a bit too much for my needs though…

  • Jimmy says:

    Nice bike! I purchased the Kona Ute last July and modified the rear with a new pine deck and alloy footrests on either side. I can take each of my girls for a ride in turn. They sit on a specially-made cushion and have a shortened handle bar to hold. The bar is a riser style fitted to a Funn downhill stem that is bolted onto the pine deck. I live in Cairns, Australia and if there was some way of posting some photos I’d love to show this bike.

    • paul says:

      love to see Jimmy’s fotos

    • ctp says:

      jimmy, can you throw your photos on flickr or picasa and point us towards them with the link? i have a ute and my daughter is about to grow out of the kid seat, so i’m looking to see what others have done and yours sounds very promising!

  • Michael says:

    Hey, I own an xtra, and I just want to say that everything you love about the Trek is about twice as good on the xtra. I have no idea why they didn’t just license xtracycle’s design, but ye gads that would have been so much better.

    Anyways, if you like the Trek, you’ll love the pants off the xtra.

  • stuart says:

    Hi i just test rode the trek transport and the kona ute
    I am try ing to find a car replacement with family of 4 two girls 4 & 6 years
    her are my pro / con list
    both bikes are alu this is bad for the aftermrket additions
    kona appears a little more slower handling
    trek seems stiffer when laden
    trek has stronger 26″ wheels
    kona has 700c
    kona front forks wereold school project 2 and were flexy under laden braking
    treks headtube is super beafy and keeps the stearing under control
    over all the kona riding position was more upright
    pro trek has front rack
    con it only holds 25lbs
    the kona has 2 paniers the trek only has one
    i would like to see a hollow crank on both bikes as they are just square drive
    both bike have electric assist options trek has regen braking this is agreat feature i dont know if the kona does or not
    i am definatly tempted by the trek but i need to try the dummy
    i rode the yuba mundo it felt as strong as an ox but i dont want to ride an ox i want a bike that can carry tools kids camping gear
    well that it for me

    • Mark says:

      Stuart, I don’t quite follow your Yuba comparison. Is it too overbuilt? I’m planning on making one of these three my committed transport. I live in a rugged are and will be hauling water home. If I carry 10 gallons, that is about 42 lbs per side. Do the racks seem stronger for the Yuba?

  • Jim says:

    Thanks for the review Francois. My car died in January and I couldn’t bring myself to buy another, so I’ve recently ordered the Transport+ to be my car replacement.

    I’m surprised that the Transport doesn’t come stocked with a rear fender. Since I ride year round in Buffalo, a fender is essential equipment. It’s hard to tell from pictures, but do you see any issues with mounting a rear fender?

    • Tanvi says:

      Kia ora Ian, At the moment we are holdnig a mobile bike workshop on the first and third Sunday of the month, at the Grey Lynn Farmer’s Market, at the Grey Lynn Community Centre.We are also currently scouting for a physical space, looking to get more tools, gear and bikes. If you can help with any of these, or would like to get further involved in any other way, flick us an email at

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