Cargo Bike Review – Babboe City

Momentum Mag reviews the Babboe City.

Price $2,500 USD/ CAD

Find it at babboecargobike.com

In US stores; Canadian stores see onthefourth.com for complete dealer listings

The two-wheel version of the Dutch “Bakfiets” comes with a sturdy galvanized steel frame, a high-quality German birch wood bucket including bench seats for two children and lots of room for groceries or gear. The low-maintenance internal gears, enclosed chain case and internal-hub brakes are built to last. This carry-all cargo bike, with a maximum load capacity of 100 kilograms (or 220 pounds) steers easily and is a real eye-catcher. Made in Holland. Optional cover and rain tent are available.

Tell Your Friends

The Babboe is easy to steer and ride, even fully loaded with two children and all our gear. Changing gears is so smooth and easy and can even be done while stopped, thanks to the internal gears. You’ll never forget your keys because they’re attached to the bike on the traditional Dutch wheel lock.

Wish List

The only thing that’s tricky about the Babboe City is backing up when you’re parked. As long as you give yourself room to do a three-point turn, or bike forward and then turn, you’re fine.

Ideal Rider

Anyone who carries lots of stuff – kids, gear, kegs, fresh veggies – would love this bike. Moving from owning a car to being car-free would be a much easier transition for someone with the Babboe City because you truly can carry anything in the big, beautiful front basket.

Overall

What a great ride! The Babboe City handles very smoothly and can easily accommodate large and heavy loads without affecting the steering at all. Because it’s sturdy, the Babboe City would be heavy and awkward to carry up stairs, but would be a great addition to a household with a garage or covered outside bike storage.

The internal brakes, gears and covered chain reduce maintenance needs. An elegant ride with a generous leather seat and cushy leather handlebar grips that professional cyclists would feel comfortable riding everywhere – although I wouldn’t recommend leaving such a sweet and valuable ride locked up in theft prone areas.

The full step through makes the bike easier to ride, more comfortable to stop and start and generally more functional for large loads. The shorter distance between the seat and the handlebars allow riders to sit up tall in traffic.

For a bike with such extraordinary load-carrying capability, the Babboe City is very nimble and easy to steer. The balance, shifting, braking and steering are all smooth and natural. A strong and sturdy cargo bike that unites elegance with functionality.

This bike was generously put together by Tall Tree Cycles in Ottawa.


Kathleen Wilker and kids (Anna Sierra, aged 8 and Jasper, aged 5) reviewed the Babboe City in Ottawa’s most walkable, bikeable neighbourhood, Hintonburg. After the first ride by the Ottawa River at sunset, the kids wanted to take the Babboe everywhere, always.

3 Comments

  • Chris

    Agreeing with Ben, the saddle and grips aren’t leather. They’re vinyl. The frame isn’t sturdy. It’s rather very bouncy and flexible. Also the frame halves require shimming if you want the “head tube” to align with the rest of the bike. Otherwise the frame is twisted and therefore rides oddly with a tendency to veer off to one side. Seat post clamp is of the pressed steel variety and was toast in about two days. I had to replace my seat post with a new more modern one where the seat clamp is integrated into the post. Light is also a bit dodgy. Dim and poorly mounted. Cycling at night isn’t advised.

    On the upside, the gearing is adequate even for moderately hilly areas. Kids love to ride in the box. Everyone (in the US at least) will complement you on having such a cool bike. Seating position is comfortable, if you like that upright dutch style. My wife is at least a foot shorter than me, and adjusting the seat post is enough for us to share the bike depending on who needs it. Getting fully adjusted to how it steers took less than 15 minutes; this wasn’t my experience on another long-john style cargo bike. Brakes are adequate, and they don’t lock up on snowy or wet muddy surfaces. I’ve had the bike for a year, and the box shows no weather related wear and tear.

  • Chris Schowalter

    I have one, broke the frame twice and have had it reinforced at a fabricator. The steel is thin, mild and not strong. It’s seems that it’s not built to go over anything but flat, smooth surfaces at slow speeds. The wood bucket is the best part. If you buy one, take it down to a fabricator/engineer to make the bike strong as it will likely snap. Also, the brakes are only a suggestion.

    All that said the beautiful formed bucket carries kids the very well even though the bike is hardly solid and heavy. I can say that it’s been super fun, the kids prefer going around in this than the car.

  • Ben

    I have had a Babboe City for over 18 months now, and I am riding 25 miles a week on it at the moment.

    It is not made in Holland, the frame is made in China, the components from a mixture of Far East countries. The timber box is German (it’s not clear whether this means just the raw materials or the finished curved panels).

    The saddle and handlebar grips are not leather.

    It would be more than awkward carrying it up stairs, it would be nearly impossible. It is incredibly heavy.

    With new tyres (puncture proof, as you don’t want to be repairing a flat on the rear wheel by the side of the road), and upgraded lights, it is a really nice working bike.

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