Noomad transforms bicycle into three-wheeled cargo bike
By C.C. Weiss
August 20, 2013
We appreciate well thought out concepts here at Gizmag, and it can be frustrating to learn that a product of someone's imaginative creation has little to no chance of actually reaching production. One such design, the S-cargo carrier that we covered back in May, generated a positive response and undoubtedly left a number of readers disappointed when they learned its production future was unknown. Happily, there's a similar bike attachment already available. The Noomad can swap in for your front bicycle wheel, turning the bike into a capable, three-wheeled workhorse.
The Noomad, from Spanish outfit Polo De Innovacion Garaia, is designed to transform a traditional two-wheeler into a stable, three-wheeled cycle equipped for hauling groceries, luggage, babies and more. At its core, the Noomad is a simple metal panel connected to dual 18- or 20-inch wheels. It attaches to the bike fork with a quick release axle and screws that secure into the V-brake mounts. If you don't have V-brake mounts on your fork, you can buy optional clamps to secure the upper part of the accessory.
Besides adding stability via its two wheels, the Noomad is really about adding carrying capacity. The metal plate has a number of screw and lash points for securing various luggage accessories. We'd imagine you could bungee and otherwise jerryrig your own cargo-carrying equipment onto it, but for a more seamless experience, you can purchase Noomad-specific accessories, including a child seat, large wicker basket and hard suitcase. These compatible accessories come with the appropriate mounting hardware to bolt securely to the plate.
When we covered the S-cargo carrier prototype, we received several questions about the braking system. If you have to pull off the front wheel of your bike, which is also part of the braking system, do you simply rely on the rear brake or do you have to spend a tedious amount of time fitting new braking hardware?
The Noomad solves the braking dilemma with its own integrated braking system. You simply remove your front brake lever and hardware and replace it with the Noomad's brake lever, which comes pre-connected to the Bengal Helix 2.5 dual-wheel hydraulic disc brake system. This means you get brakes at each wheel without a lot of tedious effort.
To ensure a nimbler ride, the Noomad's two wheels are connected to a tilting system that allows the rider to better corner by leaning. The upfitted bike is certain to lose some agility over the original two-wheeler, but the tilting system should provide a fairly natural ride when commuting.
The Noomad seems like an innovative solution for transforming a regular bicycle into a cargo bike without adding a trailer or other tow-along. The swap isn't something you necessarily want to do every day, because it involves removing the handlebar grips, swapping out the brake levers, etc., but it's also not so difficult that you couldn't switch back and forth on a regular basis. The assembler in Noomad's instructional video does the whole thing, including pulling the original bike wheel and brake hardware off and putting the wheels on the Noomad frame, in about 10 minutes, with rather slow and purposeful movements (read: boring video).
The Noomad was a finalist for a BrandNew Award at last month's ISPO Bike show in Germany. It is available now in several wheel sizes, starting at €441.65 (US$590). The Spanish company also offers full cargo trikes starting at €1,350 and has a folding trike on the way.
Product page: Noomad