Tuesday, July 01, 2008


For the most part, storage on motorcycles is absolute rubbish. You’re lucky if you can fit a wallet and a phone under the seat of anything that’s got an R in its model designation. Sports tourers are little better - and even scooters, lauded for their practicality, can’t fit much more than a helmet and a bag or two of shopping in them.

Yes, there’s top-boxes, but they hang out past the rear of the bike on struts that can’t support more than 10-20kg - and even the largest only store about 50 litres worth of gear. They also load the rear end of the bike - just like panniers and throw-overs do, which makes for easy wheelies but upsets your handling at the end of the day.

Which is why we were fascinated to discover Cargobike. It’s designed with one goal in mind: proper carrying capacity on two wheels. And that it delivers - 150 whole litres of waterproof, lockable storage capacity, and a maximum load of a whopping 80 kilos in the cargo compartment which is nicely balanced where the tank and engine would be on a normal motorcycle.

Let’s not tap-dance around the issues here - it’s an absolute eyesore, a ten-pinter with a face for radio. But it’s ugly in that special way that only the purest designs can be - take the Hayabusa, for example, whose blobby appearance was the tradeoff for the most slippery aerodynamics ever slapped on a production bike - to this day, nothing in the showrooms has bested the 320+kmh the old unrestricted Eyeabusers were capable of. And who was it that said “anything that is designed solely to be beautiful is in itself inherently ugly- but anything that is designed to perfectly fulfil its purpose is inherently beautiful?”

Either way, in terms of practicality the Cargobike is a giant; probably the only bike around that can zip you through traffic with a full suitcase, laptop and a few pairs of shoes all stored securely in a waterproof compartment, with room for your lid and gloves when you get where you’re going. And while it may not be the most desirable bike at the motorcycle rally campsite, you’ll no doubt be everyone’s friend when they all see how many beers you’ve brought along.

The Cargobike will be available from January 2008 through Aprilia outlets and www.cargobike.com. The 125cc version will set you back EU€4980 and there’s a 250cc available for EU€5990. Both are twist-and-go autos.


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