Described as a vehicle that “rides like a bicycle and works like a pick-up truck,” the 2×4 from NTS Works provides an efficient and safe option for urban couriers. The electric cargo bike can carry up to a 100lb load over its front wheel while offering an electric assist and a degree of maneuverability not typically associated with delivery bikes. Plus, claims NTS Works, it can do all of this on just $30 worth of electricity every 10,000 miles—in addition to pedal power, that is.
Founded by Neal Saiki, the man behind Zero Motorcycles, Santa Cruz-based NTS Works explains the design behind the 2×4 as a list of what they didn’t want to do. What NTS “didn’t want to do is to make a cargo bike with 3 wheels (tips over), a long wheelbase (steers slowly) or a tiny front wheel (gets stuck.)
The resulting 67-pound electric assist bike features a lightweight aluminum frame and a 250 watt electric motor on a pedelec system. The bike’s most unique feature, however, is a patent-pending design that puts the cargo over a single front wheel, while still enabling easy maneuverability through traffic. To accomplish this, Forbes explains, “[t]he 2 x 4 is steered from the hub: the handlebars [are] connected to rods that then link to the center of the front hub,” rather than to the fork of the front wheel, where a sudden turn could cause bike, rider and cargo to topple.
The 2×4′s maximum speed of 20mph may not seem too remarkable, but for most urban centers, it ought to provide riders with enough muscle. The Samsung lithium ion battery pack, meanwhile, can be conveniently recharged from a standard household outlet in around four hours and the bike’s mechanisms are in general as “maintenance-free” as possible.
Forbes contributor Michael Kanellos navigated San Francisco’s hills with ease, and “rode the bike without cargo and with a 30 pound bag of Nutro Lamb and Rice Large Animal dog food,” to find that “handling was about the same” in both scenarios.
It sounds pretty impressive, and already some German cities are reportedly looking into purchasing the 2×4 bikes for mail carriers. Nonetheless, with prices starting at $4,800, it may be some time before we’re all smoothly riding home with our groceries on one of these bikes.
For more information on the 2×4 cargo bike, see Michael Kanellos’ post on Forbes
Images via NTS Works