Utility bikes that can carry a big load

Can a bike really replace a car?

Two new bikes due out in 2008 will make it that much easier.

The Surly Big Dummy and Kona Ute are built to be a daily workhorse. The methods are different but the goal is the same… make a bicycle that has a much larger carrying capacity than normal.

The Surly Big Dummy is built to work hand-in-hand with the Xtracycle system. The accessories available have a huge range of applications. You can add a child seat, panniers with huge capacity or foot pads for other passengers.

Surly Big DummySurly Big DummySurly Big Dummy

The downside of Surly’s offering resides in your wallet as the frame/fork will cost around $800. That’s what you’ll spend before you install the first component. I’ve ridden the Big Dummy and like it a lot, however the price tag could be a huge deterrent to many people.

The Kona Ute (as in ‘utility’) takes a different approach in the big-haulin’ category. The rear is a platform ready for any style panniers and the frame is built with holes ready for your bungee chord hooks.

Kona Ute Utility Commuter BicycleKona Ute Utility Commuter BicycleKona Ute Utility Commuter BicycleKona Ute Utility Commuter BicycleKona Ute Utility Commuter Bicycle

The place the Ute lacks in direct comparison is the placement of the cargo. If you compare side-to-side you’ll see the center-of-gravity of the Big Dummy is much lower which will have cause fewer balance issues at low speeds or resting. However if your looking to use the panniers and bags you already have, the Ute my be a better choice. Especially when you consider that you can get the entire bike for $800 instead of just the frame/fork.

Differences aside, the utility of these bikes is hindered only by your imagination. The whole idea that bikes are being built with this much carrying capacity is exciting and shows the continued shift in the bicycle industry towards offering a range of bikes that will meet people’s everyday needs.

What do you think of these two bikes? Is this something you would spend money on? What variations would you like to see available?

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