What happens when you take a heavy duty cargo trike and make it even, well, heavier duty? You end up with something that looks like the Semi-Trike, a new cargo solution from Civilized Cycles.
The last time we heard from Civilized Cycles, the company was showing off a clever solution for storage on a typical two-wheeled electric bike, though the expanding hardcase panniers were anything but typical.
Now the company is back with something much larger, and with a few more wheels.
Civilized Cycles describes the Semi-Trike design as bringing “four wheel safety to three wheel vehicles,” which is seems mostly true other than the fact that they actually have five wheels.
The rear cargo box seems to come in multiple sizes and rides on a platform with four wheels for extra stability. The smaller version has 2,700 liters (96 cubic feet) of cargo space, while the larger version rocks a massive 5,600 liters (200 cubic feet) of storage. Add a bed and composting toilet, and you’ve got yourself a pedal-powered bike camper.
The Semi-Trike has a payload capacity of 340 kg (750 lb) and a gross vehicle weight limit of 450 kg (1,000 lb).
That much weight cruising along at the bike’s electronically-limited top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph) requires some strong braking. To get there, the company outfitted it with electric 1-ton rated 7” drum brakes with an inertial proportional brake controller.
The cargo platform rides on custom 1-ton axles with 8″ wheels, a 1,200W motor, and self-leveling air suspension. That self-leveling suspension is a trick taken from the company’s previous cargo e-bikes.
The aluminum construction of the rear cargo frame matches the aluminum bike frame up front. The single front wheel is a 20″x4″ fat tire that required a special fat bike suspension fork. There’s also another brake up front, this time hydraulically powered.
The company has begun producing the Semi-Trike and is looking to begin pilot testing soon in Detroit, Michigan, where the company manufactures the vehicle.
Civilized Cycles aren’t the only one working on bigger than life cargo e-bikes for heavy-hauling duties. Coaster Cycles, the same folks behind those giant USPS mail bikes we covered last year, are also working hard on big bike-based cargo movers. Others like EAV have also explored how electric three-wheelers and four-wheelers can bring bicycle-level efficiency to the parcel delivery and urban logistics industries.
With major companies like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, DHL and others all looking towards a future with more bicycle-based cargo delivery solutions, vehicles like these could help bridge the gap without taking up as much space as a traditional box truck.
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