(The Gear Loop) - Take a trip to Amsterdam or Copenhagen and the prevalence of the cargo bike is inescapable - these forward-thinking city-dwellers have long preferred two wheels over four when it comes to getting kids and cargo to a destination quickly, cheaply and cleanly.
But Danish company Larry vs Harry is making waves across the world with its cargo machine that’s loosely based on its home country’s traditional Long John freight bike design. But unlike other cargo-carrying bicycles, its load-lugging area is neatly integrated into the heat-treated aluminium frame, making it both stronger and lighter than many rivals.
In fact, the original Bullitt is load-tested to carry up to 180kg in its front area, which is both staggering and slightly unnerving in equal measure, but it works and it looks great while doing so.
The e6100 range of electrified Larry vs Harry machines is designed to push cargo bikes into the future, with a fantastically powerful Shimano STePS electric motor offering a boost that’s much-needed when transporting a heavy load and generally making it easier to cover big distances without breaking a sweat.
Although it could be argued that a cargo bike is more at home in a bustling city, we’ve noted a growing number of water sports enthusiasts, stand-up paddle boarders, kite surfers and general outdoors enthusiasts using something similar to the Bullitt as a way of getting kit to the beach, lake or river without the worry of traffic and parking.
So with that in mind, we took custody of a Larry vs Harry eBullitt, decked out in a retina-singeing "Major Tom" orange paint job, and lived with it for a few weeks, using it for everything from coastal kite surfing jaunts to school run duties to see if we cold be bitten byt the cargo bike bug.
As lovers of the great outdoors, we’re always looking for ways to leave the car keys hanging up and hitting the road in a greener, more efficient manner. The Larry vs Harry eBullitt makes a solid argument for ditching the second car in favour of something that doesn’t require taxing, can be parked almost anywhere and slices through traffic like little else.
Granted, the rider has to put up with getting a bit cold and wet on occasion, but those lucky enough to be riding in the front can enjoy the comfort of a weatherproof canopy and the best views of the road ahead. If you ignore the potential safety implications and if this country got its act together with regards to cycle lanes, it would be very difficult to fault.
Child-transportation aside, we found ourselves reaching for the eBullitt more and more as time went on, realising it was often the quickest and easy way to get anywhere, whether that was popping to the shops or hitting the beach for a frigid foil boarding session.
Of course, it’s not going to replace all car journeys, but as a functional tool, it’s hard to argue with. The fact it rides so well, looks this good and proves so versatile is just all the more reason to start saving.
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Larry vs Harry eBullitt
- Powerful Shimano motor
- Customisable carry space
- Massive electric range
- Impressive riding experience
- Takes time to get used to the long frame
- Lofty initial outlay
- Not easy to store inside
The cargo king
As previously mentioned, the Bullitt is unique in so much that the frame incorporates the cargo area. This is important for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, it makes it fairly easy to ride and manoeuvre.
Other cargo bikes we’ve tried have been heavy and cumbersome, with a cargo area seemingly slapped on the front end, but the slimline eBullitt is really easy to pick up and move around, which is great for manoeuvring it into a parking spot or when storing it in a tightly-packed garage (we really must do a car boot sale).
The complete bike weighs around 28kg, electric motor and all, but it somehow feels lighter than that when riding. This is likely down to the exceptional levels of detail the guys at Larry vs Harry have clearly lavished on their design, as it feels fantastically stable at all speeds. We're not cargo bike experts, but we were blown away by how easy this thing was to ride.
What’s more, there’s giddying levels of customisation when it comes time to purchase, with everything from giant aluminium boxes, foldable seats, canopies and even signage billboards available to add to the basket. Of course, this makes things expensive, but it’s further proof just how versatile this Bullitt can be.
The eBullitt we took charge of for a number of weeks came decked out in a bright orange paint job that, coupled with the elongated frame, stopped folks in their tracks. With all of the Larry vs Harry bikes sporting some kind of unique character, this is one of the shoutier colour schemes to own, and if you don't like having conversations with strangers, it might best to avoid it.
Alongside the Shimano STePS electric propulsion system was external Shimano XT 11-speed Di2 electric gearing, which cleverly shifts with a press of a button on the handlebars. It’s an optional extra, but offers a far greater spread of ratios when compared to the internal hub gearing that comes as standard, making it better for out of town riding. It’s also laser precise when it comes to swapping cogs under load.
Our bike also came equipped with the "honeycomb" running board at the front, which works nicely with the foldable seat for transporting small human beings, as it means their legs don’t dangle through the frame, Flintstones-style, and gives storage solutions a stable platform to sit on.
We found this set-up to be eminently versatile, as the load area at the front was just as happy comfortably and safely (there are seatbelts, you know) transporting two kids to school as it was being fully loaded with kite-boarding kit for a trip to the beach.
Realtively easy rider
The first hurdle to clear when throwing a leg over the eBullitt is its length, because a 2,430mm frame won’t exactly feel natural to anyone riding a road, gravel or mountain bike on a daily basis. But apart for the obvious difference in turning circle, it doesn’t take long to get used to.
However, we’d argue that the longer chassis and small front wheel can make the ride feel a little twitchy at high speeds, especially when coupled with the flat, wide bars attached to this test model, but it’s easy enough to adapt riding style to suit and we had very few issues, bar the occasional awkward U-turn after missing a turning.
Load up the front with heavy items (two massive kids, in our case) and the additional weight is barely noticeable thanks to the 60Nm of torque provided by Shimano’s fantastic compact eMotor system.
A small display resides on the left side of the handlebar that shows remaining battery life, speed and a few other nuggets of information, but more importantly it’s used to cycle between drive modes.
There’s Eco, which understandably delivers the least amount of power and ekes the most out of the battery's range, which is slated at 110km (68-miles). In all honesty, we skipped the lesser-powered Eco and Tour modes in favour of Trail or Boost, which seemed to deliver the biggest glut of power, but still left enough juice in the tank for a good week's worth of short commuting.
But like all road-legal eBikes, electrical assistance cuts out at around 15mph, so you’re still left to throw in some fairly hefty leg power if you want to cruise at speeds above this mark. We found it best to blend pedal power with shove from the motor for the best results and make peace with the fact we weren’t going to cover ground at the rate we would on a lithe carbon road bike.
Loads of uses
The Gear Loop isn’t really here to tell you the best way to transport your kids to school, but that’s not to say the Larry vs Harry eBullitt doesn’t have a place on the website. We folded the little leather seat away on numerous occasions and loaded the cargo area up with kites, paddle boards and pumps for a trip to our local stretch of coast.
During the winter, parking and traffic aren’t really an issue (you have to be a bit mad to enjoy the sea when it's snowing out), but come Spring things get hectic… and expensive. As a tool for getting outdoor active lifestyle kit to the appropriate locations, the eBullitt is simply fantastic.
With its massive range, all-day comfort and versatile front load area, it’s really the only thing you’ll ever need to get yourself, your gear and even some younger family members down to a local stretch of coastline, a lake, river or favoured cycling spot for the day.
Larry vs Harry sells a fine range of accessories that will house most items you can think of, but there’s enough exposed frame to attach things like a surf, kite or skate board rack (we carried ours, as we didn't think the guys would be very happy if we drilled holes in the frame) and even areas where a smaller child's bike can be stashed or strapped safely.
What’s more, the modular system means all of these accessories are relatively easy to bolt on and off, allowing the the bike to transform from extremes sports mule on the weekends to child-friendly school run steed during the week.
Cargo bikes are taking off in a big way in the UK and it’s easy to see why. With such an easy-to-live-with electric propulsion system, masses of space for carrying kit and an agile riding experience, the Larry vs Harry eBullitt is one of the finest ways to transport your outdoor gear to the beach and beyond.