Lower seat stay joint.

Pedicabs for Professionals – Part 1 – Weight

We decided a while ago that pedicabbers were professional cyclists.  When looking around at the equipment that was available to pedicabbers to use in their trade we concluded that most of it was not up to task.  We saw flatbar being used as seat stays, carriage sub-frames that were designed to fail in the same way, and the same place, every time.  We saw drive trains that were inexpensive, but not efficient.  While we did see many elegant solutions, over time the general trend has been for pedicabs to get heavier, without gains in operator comfort or efficiency.

We tried to look at the whole of the pedicabber’s working world.  Many of the challenges that pedicabbers face cannot be made to go away, but they can be mitigated.  How hard it is for a pedicabber to do their job will depend on things such as weight of the bike, weight of the passengers, roughness of the street surface, hills that are in place, headwinds, rolling resistance, etc.

One of the factors that we can change is weight.  We have ridden many types of bikes over the years.  One of our favorites were the original Tipke frames that have had the rear axle plates reinforced and axles updated.  These frames may not have modern ergonomics, but they were relatively light weight, and with a good axle and wheels are nice to ride.  We looked closely at these frames and tried to use some of their best aspects in our designs, and improve on their deficiencies.

Yes our passengers weigh hundreds of pounds, but our pedicabs don’t have to.  Passenger weight varies and is intermittent.  Pedicab weight remains constant no matter what you do.  It’s there for every hill.  It’s there every time you leave your shop.  We compared our prototype pedicabs to some of the other pedicabs on the road and found weight savings equivalent to a small passenger.   When building pedicabs using the methods of custom bicycle frame builders the weight savings can be that significant.

Below are some photos of joining of the front and rear halves of the frame.  We call this the seat stay joint, but it includes the upper and lower weld of the seat stay and the front boom to keystone tube weld.  We hope that these photos will illustrate the efforts that we have gone through.  We are working harder so you don’t have to.

  • rear lower boom to keystone tube

About Ken Cameron