No matter how short or long a trip, I get stopped when riding the Bakfiets, especially when they look and see there is a battery. Not only does it intrigue people, but the battery somehow opens up a completely different dialogue with strangers.
I have been riding a bakfiets for 8 years. Throughout the years we have had a short, a long, then the long with pedal assist. The bakfiets has been the shared bike in our house, the one bike that seems to work comfortably with a 6ft man and a 5’7 woman. At first, I was really hesitant to add the pedal assist bakfiets to our fleet of personal bicycles. I was worried about changes in steering, and my stop and go rate. Would I use it less or more? Would I be getting the same exercise? Is it worth the extra cost.
I honestly don’t give cars as much thought as I do my bakfiets. For those who have met me, I had tried every last bicycle and cargo bike, I am the guinea pig in our company. I can’t tell you specs, I can just tell you how it functions on a daily basis, and what I like or dislike about it, how many dogs, kids, groceries, bicycle parts… you name it, it has been shuttled in our bakfiets.
The pedal assist bakfiets has 3 different “help modes” the eco mode, which I use when I have nothing in the bakfiets. Regular which is what I use for most of my longer distances, and Turbo when I have a 9 year old and everything but the kitchen sink weighing down the bakfiets and my legs are too tired to pedal all that weight by myself.
The first month I barely turned on the pedal assist. I just wasn’t sure about it, and was so used to riding without a little help that I just didn’t bother. Then one day I was carrying an injured kid, and a pile of groceries, and a child’s bicycle, I turned the bakfiets power on and went to turbo, and I have never looked back, I didn’t even break a sweat pedaling the 5km home with 100lbs of cargo.
Our regular routes for the majority of our errands are within a 5km radius. With the pedal assist, the radius has become 10km, and even those occasional trips done by car have been switched to by bakfiets. All made possible with a little battery help.
The pedal assist bakfiets is the exact same as the non electric option. There is no difference in steering, or smooth shifting, the same feeling of stability and comfort. Bakfiets.nl has done a beautiful job in integrating a system to their already perfect bakfiets. Switching on and off the pedal assist is not a problem, only your legs feel a difference when the power is on, which I am extremely grateful for.
The pedal assist bakfiets has truly become a 2 wheeled SUV.
A few key facts:
The pedal assist is just that, an aide, it takes off a percentage of the weight. You still have to pedal, if you stop pedaling, the battery will disengage and only reengage once you begin pedaling again.
It tops out at 26km per hour with battery assist, the battery will then kick out and it is all up to your legs.
It is not light, it is not a sport bike, and isn’t meant to be picked up on a regular basis. It is meant for heavy loads, 3 kids can fit in the box, one can be on the rear rack, plus adult pedaling. It is meant to slow you down, look around, enjoy your kids, an the journey.
The pedal assist allows you to go further, with more weight. Hills are no longer an issue with a heavy load, and heavy Costco and Ikea runs before Christmas are a breeze.
Was it worth it? Yes, because it has replaced the necessity of needing a 2nd Car.