If there were a world map of bicycle production, South America would be a largely blank spot on it. After all, a dot would flash up in Colombia. For two years now, a cargo bicycle called Bogbi has been under construction in the local capital Bogotá. Admittedly, some people probably think of Colombia first of drug cartels, guerrilla warfare and maybe even salsa. But in fact, Bogotá is a logical starting point for a project that has to do with bicycles.
Many people call the city the cycling capital of South America. In comparison to other major cities on the continent, there are quite extensive, sensibly laid out and well-maintained cycle paths. Street art and graffiti are omnipresent. Many inhabitants regularly escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolis and start out on a racing bike tour in the mountains around the city. On Sundays the motto is: Ciclovia! Then numerous main roads are closed to regular traffic and in return are open for bicycles, inline skaters etc.
Local elite at work
Perhaps it was one of those days when the Colombian Eduardo Moreno and the Norwegian Sigurd Kihl ran into each other. We do not know for sure. What is certain, however, is that the two Bogbi founders had a common dream. And that was to build a cargo bike. Not somehow, but with the possibilities they had on site.
The two still follow this concept. Bogbi produces traditionally by hand in their own factory in Bogotá. Quite immodestly they announce on their website that the best frame builders and welders in Colombia are involved. The raw materials all come from the country. During construction and assembly, there are sometimes young people at the workbench who have already come into conflict with the law and then want to give their lives a different direction in the course of an internship.
Colombian-Norwegian family mix
The Bogbi itself has a strong family character. Not with regard to the company structure, but to the purpose for which it is used. After all, Moreno and Kihl were two fathers in the same situation: they wanted to take advantage of the good cycling infrastructure and take their children to kindergarten by bike. But they couldn’t find a suitable cargo bike. So, they wanted to set up something of their own.
The result is a bike that combines a variety of different influences. The Norwegian touch is expressed, for example, in the enormous freedom of tyres. Both wheels, 27.5 inches at the rear and 20 inches at the front, can take tyres up to 3 inches wide. This allows for good progress even on wet and snowy roads. A flexible canopy protects against wind, cold and all forms of rainfall.
In contrast, the frame, which is rather compact for a Long John cargo bike, is the Colombian touch. Or better the Bogotá note. On the streets of the metropolis, which now has almost ten million inhabitants, agility is essential to manoeuvre successfully through the daily hustle and bustle.
“Steering bridge” instead of steering column
Bogbi uses 304 stainless steel as frame material, which gives the bike the necessary stiffness. The tubes, which define the top of the loading area, are set relatively high. Passengers and goods are therefore well protected. In addition, the geometry ensures a low centre of gravity, which is particularly beneficial when riding with fully loaded storage space.
The idea that Bogbi has implemented in its steering is striking. The handlebars do not protrude from a single steering column. Instead, the stem and handlebars sit on a transverse tube, the ends of which then lead downwards, limiting the storage space at its two rear corners. The manufacturers call their construction “Bridge”. It can be adjusted to different heights and compensates for the height of the rider. Bogbi states that people with body heights between 1.50 metres and 2.00 metres would get along well with the one-size-fits-all frame. However, the angle of the stem is not adjustable, which would allow for an optimal sitting position on such a One-Size-Fits-All model.
E-drive purchased in China
In the shop you can configure your Bogbi according to your personal wishes. This also includes the option to turn it into an e-cargo bike. In this variant, a bottom bracket motor from Bafang is installed. This motor has an output of 250 Watt. Its maximum torque of 80 Newton metres allows even a fully loaded cargo bike to move quickly. The support of the electric drive is designed for the limit of 25 km/h. The control unit, display and battery are also from Bafang. According to the manufacturer, you can expect a range of between 45 and 80 kilometres.
A frame set is also available in the shop. If you have chosen this as the basis for your own personal cargo bike project, you can sit back and relax when choosing the drive system. The dropouts are prepared for everything. Hub gears, rear hub motor, bottom bracket gears or classic derailleur gears – everything has been thought of.
Just hang out for a while
The complete bike can also be gradually supplemented with various accessories. Even with such basic components as the side panel of the storage space or the floor panel, you are free to choose. The same applies to the child seat. This too is somewhat special with the Bogbi. The makers confirm that they were rather inspired by a hammock. The advantage here is that the children in the seat are not exposed to the vibrations of driving. The stuff at least looks very comfortable and should also meet German safety standards thanks to the belts. There is room for two children next to each other in the seat. When it is not in use, you can release it without much effort so that it only hangs loosely under the handlebars.
While the child seat is included with the bike at the entry price of less than 3,000 euros, the rain canopy costs an extra charge. But even this is well thought out. Through the corresponding ventilation slits, the airstream can penetrate the interior at any time. So, passengers do not lack fresh air. The roof can be folded back like a convertible.
Visibility an extra
In contrast, a lighting system does not seem to be offered as standard. In some pictures a Bogbi is equipped with battery lights. In this case the front lights are always mounted on the fork tubes. A relatively low position, of which we do not know how effectively it supports seeing and being seen. The hydraulic disc brakes with their 180 millimetre brake discs provide the necessary confidence. This should guarantee sufficient braking power.
By the way, the e-cargo bike could be admired for the first time in Germany at VeloBerlin 2018. In the meantime, you can meet it in Norway, Denmark, Colombia and also Germany. All the more, you might want to get one for yourself.
Pictures: Bogbi SAS