DIY Cargo Bike

DIY Cargo Bike
If you want to commute more often by bike, you need a way to carry bigger loads that won't fit into a backpack. A cargo bike lets you carry as much as you can pedal. Companies manufacture complete cargo bikes, but you can put your own together. Xtracycle makes a cargo kit called the FreeRadical that extends your current bike to create a cargo bike. This kit lets you put your bike together yourself, while providing the reliable structure you need to safely carry heavy loads.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cable cutters
  • Set of hex wrenches
  • Chain tool
  • New rear brake and shift cables
  • Chain
Step 1
Remove the parts from your bike that will reattach to the FreeRadical. Use a chain tool to remove your chain. Take the cap off your rear derailleur and rear brake cables with cable cutters. Use a hex wrench to loosen the bolt that holds the derailleur and brakes cables in place and remove both cables. Take off you rear derailleur and rear brake with a hex wrench. Unlatch the quick release to remove your rear wheel.
Step 2
Attach the FreeRadical to your bike. Slide the short bolts through the dropout bosses from the inside of the FreeRadical and attach them to the special nuts on the other side of your bike's dropouts. Use the long bolt to attach the tongue of the FreeRadical and the front attachment plate to your kickstand plate or chainstay bridge.
Step 3
Reattach the parts you removed from your bike onto the FreeRadical. Start with your rear wheel and align it in the FreeRadical's dropouts. Attach your rear brakes and rear derailleur using a hex wrench. Use a chain tool to put on your chain. Remember to use a new chain that will fit the extended length between your chain rings and cassette. Install new cables that will extend the length of your longer wheelbase.
Step 4
Take your new cargo bike for a test ride. Ride in an open and quiet area where you can pay close attention to how your bikes rides. Make sure to troubleshoot any mechanical problems before you head into traffic or carry your first load.

Tips & Warnings

Always follow the instructions provided in your owner's manual.
Take your bike to a shop if you have trouble with installation.

Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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