Cargo bikes can be great for hauling around large, awkward objects, but by their very nature the vehicles themselves aren't all that portable. These lengthy, cumbersome two-wheelers have mostly been beyond the help of the folding mechanisms that bend their smaller counterparts into car trunks and subway carriages. But we are beginning to see efforts to make the big boys of the bicycle family a little more commuter friendly. Among those is the Cargo Node, designed to tow up to a hefty 350 lb (159 kg) and fold down into something more compact in just 10 seconds.
The Cargo Node is the product of a collaboration between folding bicycle specialists Tern and cargo bike builders Xtracycle. The two have combined their knowledge to produce what they say can offer the strengths of each type of bike.
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Measuring 218 cm (85 in) long and 113 cm (45 in) tall, the rear end is made by Xtracycle, but not exclusively for Tern, as it can also be installed on other bikes. It features a rack along with bike bags on the rear with removable all-weather lids and a luggage socket on the head tube to attach baskets. The company says these equip the Cargo Node with the ability to haul up to an impressive 350 lb (159 kg) – rider included.
The Cargo Node weighs a total of 54 lb (24.5 kg) and folds in half by way of Tern's patented "N-Fold Technology." This reduces the bike's length to 133 cm (52 in), while the folding handlebar post then cuts its height to 85 cm (33 in). Tern says this allows the bike to fit inside an elevator or the back of a Prius.
The rear light and 150-lumen front light are powered by the electricity-generating Joule 3 Dynamo hub in the front wheel, while an included tire pump is housed inside the seat post. The bike offers 16 speeds through a Shimano integrated shift/brake lever set, while the 24-inch wheels bear Schwalbe Big Apple tires. An adjustable handlebar stem and quick-adjust seat post make the Cargo Node able to accommodate riders ranging from 5 ft 2 in to 6 ft 5 in (158 to 195 cm).
The team is showcasing the Cargo Node at Interbike 2015 this week in Las Vegas and is also running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to bring it to market. Early pledges of US$1,500 are available with shipping slated for April 2016 if all goes to plan. The Cargo node is expected to retail for $1,800.
You can hear from the creators in the pitch video below.