8 Freight

I have spotted this bike and its rider around Manchester several times over the last few years, usually around the city centre.  I have never been able to get a proper look at it, until now.  It is called an 8 Freight, and it reminds me of a Madsen bucket bike, or a Bakfiets with the box at the back.  Apart from a one-off sighting of a Surly Big Dummy it is the only other cargo bike I have seen in use in the city.

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I can understand the choice to use 20-inch wheels, due to their increased strength.  This is also done on the Madsen bikes.

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This design choice is a little more puzzling, a single blade fork seems an odd choice for a load-carrying bike.  The bike is designed by Mike Burrows, a look at his other bikes might explain why he went for the single blade aesthetically, in addition to the rather steep head and seat-tube angles for a cargo bike. 

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Drum brake on the front.  According the the spec this is a Sachs, which is now SRAM.  Oddly, SRAM state that their drum brakes are unsuitable for 20-inch wheels.  They should give a lot of stopping power on such a small wheel.

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Interesting method to get the chain underneath the box.  Also note the wide kick-stand.

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Again the wheel is attached to the frame at one side only.  Another Sachs drum brake and a 6-speed freewheel/cassette.  the spec shows an 8-speed cassette and the name suggests it was originally an 8-speed.  Considering the length of the gear cable, and the tolerances involved in getting reliable shifting it makes sense to convert it to a 6 speed.

Hopefully the cargo bike will continue to grow in popularity and will become a more common sight on our streets.

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6 thoughts on “8 Freight

  1. Last time I saw the guy he was wearing a hat, but it sounds about right. The bike is still parked where I took the pictures, hasn't moved since I got home from the pub on Friday. I don't think there are that many of these bikes in existence, so it was probably the same one you saw.

  2. Read something about the monoblade front somewhere. Obviously it makes repairing a puncture easier(!), but I'm sure there was something about the strength of the hubs being an advantage too (wheelchair hubs).The back end is the same as the Windcheetah trike he designed, which is now made in Sale, whilst the headtube angle is a nod towards tandem geometry I think, because of the wheelbase.P.S: Can't tell for sure but have a look next time you see it. The W/Cheetah's back wheel is off-centre which gives a straight chainline & stronger wheel (no dish). It apparently doesn't affect the handling of the low-slung trikes – but from the pics, it looks like the 8 Freights back wheel is also offset, which on a two wheeler doesn't make sense?!

  3. @ian… the ease of replacing an inner tube is something I hadn't considered. The hubs will have to be stronger to cope with being loaded on one side, but I'm not sure it is an asset. They looked to be attached with 5 mm allen bolts. The lack of rear dish is a good idea, and I've seen bikes with offset rear wheels, either for ease of folding or to have no dish in the rear wheel, it isn't supposed to alter the handling noticeably

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