48 Hours with the Cetma Cargo Largo

Welcome to the first of many cargo bike reviews here at Cargo Bike Lane. The goal of each review is to be a resource to those just discovering cargo bikes and experienced cargo bikers alike. You will be given an accurate view of the practicality and fun each model delivers. Enjoy!




Now that the 2014 Ventura Marathon is over and Natunsfar (the wife) has qualified for Boston, hip hip hooray, I can give you my thoughts on the Cetma Cargo Largo, our SAG vehicle for the weekend.

We had the Largo in Ventura for two full days. The bike was put to the test as our only mode of transportation with three kids. It was well used and loved which you can see in these post-weekend photos. A bike fresh from Cetma Cargo would be much shinier. 

On Friday night it was packed into a five passenger SUV for my sixty five mile trip to the Ventura pier. With the seats folded it was a breeze. On Saturday the kids rode in the box as I biked along side mom during her pre-race jog. Later we cruised a car show and had lunch downtown Ventura all via cargo bike. On the day of the race the Largo carried me and my two oldest children all 26.2 miles to cheer on mom along the way. All of this gave me a good sense of what it is like to live with a Long John.

Cetma Cargo only makes a Long John bike, a very good one I might add. You can have it in two official sizes, a Margo and Largo. By request you can have an extra large Hugo. The Largo, the larger of the two standard sizes is what I piloted. It is a great hauler of people and stuff.

Layout



Behind the twenty inch front wheel and in front of the handle bars is a cargo area. Standard configuration for hauling is a flat bed set up. The unit I tested has a removable wooden box and bench attached to it. This set up accommodates seating for two children and storage. Steering is handled by an arm linkage running from the bottom of the head tube for the handle bar to a control horn on the front fork.


Riding characteristics

You may feel a bit disoriented the first time you ride a Long John. While the steering is crisp you get the sensation of a slight delay between turning the handle bar and actually changing directions. This goes away after one or two trips around the block. As with all Long Johns, it will quickly become apparent that you need to leave more room than with a standard bicycle for making U turns.

In the saddle you feel confident. This is due to the upright riding position. It is easy for you to see and be seen, which is important in urban cycling. Swept back handle bars offer a relaxed command of the bike. 

The bike is very stable when in motion or at a stand still.  Once you push off your load doesn't interfere with steering characteristics. The step through frame design makes it easy to get on and off the bike, particularly when loaded. The steel frame along with the wheel base give a slight but welcomed amount of flex to smooth out any rough roads.

Features

Specs Description


Child Carrying Two w/ box & bench options
Cargo Volume Five grocery bags w/ box & no bench
Load Capacity Approximately 300 lbs
Frame Hand bent & welded Steel
Tires Schwable Marathon
Brakes Front & Rear Avid Disk Brake
Gears Nuvinci Infinite gear hub
Transportability Bipartable





Front and rear Avid disk brakes offer great stopping power. Even with a few hundred pounds of cargo you feel secure.


Cetma Cargo double kickstand

There is a beefy double kickstand that is right at your toes when standing in the riding position. When you are loaded down with kids or stuff the kickstand is right where you want it. You'd have to work hard to knock this bike over.


 


I really enjoyed the animation of the little guy riding on the gear selector. You can't be in the wrong gear. If you're going up hill twist the selector so the rider is going up hill. If the road is flat, twist in the other direction so the rider is on flat land. There are an infinite number of stops in the gear range to suit almost any riders needs.



As a bike designed for urban city riding front and rear mud guards are standard.

Storage containment is achieved with a birch box that is sold as an accessory. There is a great shot of it below. 



Another nice touch comes in handy when you are hauling bulky items in the flat bed configuration. Built-in front and rear tie downs. Ropes and bungee cords have something to latch onto when on the job.

The Wow Thing



Every good product has a feature that makes it special. Cetma Cargo's ace in the whole is a bi-partible frame. Yes, it is a word and yes it means the bike will split in two. A simple allen wrench allows you to remove five bolts and shrink the length of the bike in half. With this feature storage and transport become a breeze.





Trouble Spots

There was only one minor bump in the road worth mentioning. I think it is simply a matter of learning the best order in which to put the bike back together.

Going into bipartible mode is very easy. Getting back together took a bit more patience. I secured the three bolts in one set of mounting plates. It took a little more effort than expected to hold the frame together and get one bolt started on the second pair of mounting plates. 

I imagine there is some pattern to follow to get all of the holes mated up to accept each bolt and nut. This shouldn't be a big deal because you probably won't be taking the bike apart that often. When I picked up the bike from Lane Kagay the builder, it took him less time to break it down than it took me to fold down my rear seats to put it in my SUV. I am sure with practice it will be a snap for anyone. 

Options

A sealed birch wood box can be added for containment of smaller items. By request a bench for two kids and seat belts will complete this daily hauler.

For rainy days a canopy can be added to make this bike virtually all weather.

To haul even more cargo, Lane will weld on a sturdy rear deck. 

Electrify your experience on a Cetma Cargo with a mid-drive motor. Stoke Monkey is Lane's locomotion of choice.

Pricing

For this hand made cargo bike prices start at $4395.00 for a complete bike. Shipping and other options as mentioned above are extra. 

To Sum it up

Lane at Cetma Cargo makes a wonderful bike. This bike can do 95% or more of what a car can do within five miles of home. Kids, groceries, school runs, mid-sized appliances and much more are a relative breeze. You will be able to thumb your nose at parking officers, car insurance companies, the DMV, and gas station attendants. If you have garage space or another secure place to store it, a Cetma Cargo bike should be at the top of your urban family cycling list.