Once regarded as a form of transport fit solely for hard-pressed delivery boys, the utilitarian cargo bike has been brought from the tradesman’s entrance to the front door by a Dutch manufacturer aiming to revolutionise family travel with a range of models capable of carrying an adult and up to six children.
Babboe, based between Amsterdam and Utrecht, evolved from the collective brainwave of a group of eco-friendly Dutch parents looking for an efficient, fitness-inducing and environmentally sound replacement for the car as a means of transporting the children. The answer was a modern take on the bakfiets (or “freight bicycle”) more commonly used for delivering groceries and roadside trading.
The first Babboe bakfiets was produced in 2007, since when the firm has exported various versions – such as the two-wheel City model, the canine-friendly Dog and the articulated three-wheel Curve – to buyers around the world.
Business really picked up a decade ago, however, with the launch of the Babboe Big, the firm’s first electrically assisted bakfiets. The range now includes seven electric models powered by 250-watt, 36-volt motors that give them a top speed of 15.5mph.
The latest is the recently launched Babboe Slim Mountain, a £3,550 two-wheeler designed to be extra manoeuvrable to make it suitable for out-of-town touring. Fitted with a mid-mounted Yamaha motor, it can carry an adult and two children over distances of up to 37 miles between four-hour charges.
The Babboe line-up ranges from the £1,499 pedal-only Big to the electrically assisted Curve Mountain, priced at £4,479. As well as offering a range of accessories for the machines, including rain covers, extra seating, luggage racks and storage bins, the company also runs an “ambassador” test-ride service, through which enthusiastic owners make their machines available to potential buyers.