New Ar­madillo bike ideal for large cargo

Com­pact and fast so­lu­tion to de­liv­er­ing heav­ier loads over shorter dis­tances

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - C.C. WEISS

OF all the elec­tric cargo cy­cles we’ve seen, in­clud­ing the Ur­ban Ar­row and 2X4, the Velove Ar­madillo prom­ises the most pedal-as­sist cargo haul­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

The four-wheeled plat­form sup­ports a big ol’ cargo box or semi-trailer on the rear, mak­ing the typ­i­cal two-wheel gro­cery get­ter look down­right un­der­sized. The ped­alled quad is so cargo hun­gry, Velove be­lieves it can re­place the cargo van when trans­port­ing smaller loads over short dis­tances.

The Ar­madillo project was born in Swe­den, where bike couri­ers de­liver more than just doc­u­ments, muscling things as large as so­fas and wash­ing ma­chines across cities like Stock­holm and Gothen­burg. Velove co-founders Jo­han Er­lands­son and de­sign firm Kanter & Karls­son came up with the ini­tial de­sign, and Er­lands­son’s dad en­gi­neered the first two pro­to­types, with Dutch re­cum­bent man­u­fac­turer Flevo­bike step­ping in on the third pro­to­type. Er­lands­son tells us they also re­ceived help from Erik Svet­sare in designing the cargo hard­ware and have been testing the bikes in Er­lands­son’s bike de­liv­ery ser­vice Pling Trans­port.

The idea of the Ar­madillo is to pro­vide a quad plat­form large and sturdy enough to haul big­ger, heav­ier loads while still re­main­ing com­pact and fast enough to nav­i­gate bike paths with­out clog­ging up cy­cling traf­fic. Pro­to­type 3 is out­fit­ted with an in­te­grated cargo box that swal­lows one cube me­tre de­spite mea­sur­ing no wider than 86 cm, which Velove clas­si­fies as slightly nar­rower than a typ­i­cal fam­ily cargo trike and a lot nar­rower than cargo trikes de­signed for pro­fes­sional use.

Velove es­ti­mates the pay load to be 125 to 150 kg.

“The bike is nar­row enough to fit, fast enough to keep up with or over­take other cy­clists, and low enough not to ob­struct the traf­fic over­view of other cy­clists,” Er­lands­son ex­plains.

A Rohloff in­ter­nal gear hub and 250watt Bosch Clas­sic+ Cruise pedal-as­sist elec­tric mid-drive gives the bike the power and torque it needs to mule large loads up steep, tough hills.

A dou­ble-wish­bone sus­pen­sion al­lows rid­ers to roll over un­even sur­faces at top speed with­out wor­ry­ing about dam­ag­ing the cargo in­side. This is a large im­prove­ment over past pro­to­types, which had to be driven slowly and care­fully when sen­si­tive items like cakes were aboard. The sus­pen­sion also helps in keep­ing the Ar­madillo nim­ble for its size, pro­vid­ing sharp cor­ner­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Velove re­vealed its pre-se­ries pro­duc­tion Ar­madillo at the In­ter­na­tional Cargo Bike Fes­ti­val in the Nether­lands ear­lier this month, show­ing the model with a 250-kg flatbed trailer in back. Er­lands­son con­firms that the Ar­madillo is a mod­u­lar plat­form, so the rider can switch out the trailer for the cargo box as needed. Be­sides of­fer­ing a higher weight ca­pac­ity, the flat, open trailer also al­lows for haul­ing loads that don’t fit neatly in a cargo box, such as large fur­ni­ture.

Velove has also teamed with the DHL Ex­press branch in Almere, where the bike will be tested for about a month. Com­pared to other cargo bikes that DHL Ex­press Nether­lands uses in its fleet, the Cu­bi­cy­cle/Ar­madillo of­fers the space for load­ing larger parcels, the com­pany ex­plains. On av­er­age, DHL loads it up with 125 kg of cargo, and the courier rides it 50 km dur­ing the day.

Velove is mov­ing to­ward pro­duc­tion and hopes to begin tak­ing or­ders for the Ar­madillo later this year or early next year. It has not yet es­tab­lished pric­ing.

— Giz­


The Ar­madillo with semi-trailer at the In­ter­na­tional Cargo Bike Fes­ti­val.

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