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I was talking with a friend last night about the various options for hauling with bikes... lots of trailers and increasing numbers of front (or rear) loaded cargo bikes like the Bilenky bikes discussed in this thread

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=136232&highlight=cargo+bike

The question came up as to the benefits of cargo bikes over trailers. I couldn't articulate any with confidence that I knew what I was talking about. Maybe handling, I suppose. I thought maybe capacity, but actually doubted that on more reflection... Trailers are nice because they allow a standard bike to be modified, giving the versatility between cargo & non-cargo modes. But what do cargo bikes do that makes them sufficiently better than a trailer to justify the cost and lack of flexibility? I really want to like cargo bikes (though I don't have any need for one), but feel like I should have some rational reason for it.

Any thoughts?
 

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I think you'd probably gain the ability to handle larger cargo with a long bike or front loader like the bilenky. The xtra website features a video of a play kayak strapped to the side of a long bike, something I'm not sure I could do with my BOB. Any upside isn't worth the tradeoff to me though, as I can carry anything I've to this point wanted to with my BOB and it doesn't require a dedicated bike. The bob/bike has got to handle better too, but I've never ridden a long bike so I'm guessing on that.
 

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We keep our bikes in the basement and only have a narrow stairway to access the bikes. Long bikes are much harder to get in and out (and by extension harder to manuver in lots of tight places compared to a take apart trailer and bike).
 

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Here are a couple of options for serious hauling... I took these yesterday

The first pic are bikes of a homeless couple living in Fort Worth... The bike on the right is extended ala Surly Big Dummy and it's hauling a trailer....The trike is hauling a standard child carrier

The bike in the second pic might not be fast but it sure can hual some serious weight.

I've never hauled any great weight on a bike...Chris H has a Big Dummy and has used a trailer...You might want to PM him
 

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For me I think it would come down to how often I need to haul a lot stuff. If I frequently had to haul a lot, a dedicated cargo bike would be a reasonable solution. We have a local retailer selling the Dutch Bakfiets cargo bikes which can haul an awful lot of stuff.

For more occasional use, i.e. a weekly grocery run, I think I would probably go with a trailer. You get some flexibility and economy going that route. Most cargo bikes are quite expensive and storage can be an issue.
 

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blackhat said:
. The bob/bike has got to handle better too, but I've never ridden a long bike so I'm guessing on that.
I have heard that the xtracycle/surly big dummy combo handles much better than a trailer. Where did I hear it... I don't know. Maybe it was their marketing material :)
But I have been tempted to get one.
 

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Like MB1 said, I think parking/storage/ease of lifting is a concern. Since my MTB parks in the garage (shared condo type), I'm considering an XtraCycle in the future. I'm already running 36 spoke touring wheels (26") so it's ready to carry a load. Then a child seat can be added on (front or rear) until the kid is old enough to sit on the Xtra platform safely.

*If* we owned a house and had a garage where the 2nd spot could be dedicated to bikes, then I might consider a Bakfiets. But we don't have that kind of elbow room to spare...
 
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