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2X4 Cargo Bike puts the power to both wheels


September 10, 2013

The 2X4 Cargo Bike, in all its stuff-haulin' glory

The 2X4 Cargo Bike, in all its stuff-haulin' glory

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Cargo bikes are nothing new, nor are electric-assist bikes, nor even two-wheel-drive models. NTS Works’ 2X4 Cargo Bike is definitely unique, however, in the way that it combines all three.

First of all, the 2X4 is indeed a hauler. It can schlep up to 100 lb (45 kg) on its front-located cargo bed. According to NTS, the way in which the load is centered over the 24-inch front wheel – along with its patented steering system – allows for “the best possible balance, handling and maneuverability in tight urban environments.”

Secondly, it does also provide riders with electric pedaling assistance via a hub motor. There are three levels of assistance, that automatically kick in as the rider’s pedaling resistance increases. One charge of the rebuildable 36-volt 500-Wh lithium-ion battery pack (which has a lifetime warranty) is reportedly good for about 30 miles (48 km) of “real world” riding. It takes four hours to recharge.

The 250-watt motor, however, is what allows the bike to get away with being described as a two-wheel-drive. That’s because the motor is built into the front wheel, whereas the rider’s pedaling action – as is the case with most other bikes – powers the 26-inch rear wheel. It does so via a Gates Carbon belt drive.

Anyhow, it may not be human-powered full-time 2WD, but both wheels do indeed receive power as long as the electric assist feature is being used. How much this may actually help with traction and/or steering is anyone’s guess, although it certainly can’t hurt.

The 2X4 additionally features a double kickstand, a sealed 8-speed Shimano Alfine hub transmission, and an adjustable-height handlebar stem. The whole bike, including its battery, tips the scales at 68 lb (31 kg).

The bike also comes with a bit of pedigree, as it was created by Neal Saiki, the founder of Zero Motorcycles. It was recently on display at the Eurobike trade show, and is soon to be the focus of a Kickstarter campaign. Its planned retail price is US$4,800.

The 2X4 can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: NTS Works

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Wow, that is a steep price for a bike. I only ride bikes for exercise or to get somewhere, never to haul anything so to be fair if it was a bike I'd use I probably wouldn't be so shocked by the sticker price.


This bike covers no new territory, front hub assisted cargo bikes have been around for many years.

Gary Bonney

Great- apart from the very high price, and the lack of built in restraint to stop the load from shooting forward in the event of an emergency stop. It could really do with fold-out side extensions with bungee points to allow compartmentalisation of the load space- not to mention a rack at the back.


They patented that steering? Really? Is the US patent office on drugs? I'd be very interested to know how it differs from any number of existing linkage steered bikes.

I think it's great that people are building new(ish) innovative(ish) cargo bikes but God I hate when someone designs a bike and then presents it as the bicycling equivalent of new messiah - here to change the world. Cargo bed? Twin leg stand? Small front wheel? I can see all of these features on a 1940's workcycle we have in the back of our workshop. Front wheel electric motor? So what? It's all been done before.


4800$ for an electric bicycle? I must have missed something, at that price it must be nuclear powered at least!


Suppose you saved $2000 over the cost of the bike for a used 1/2 ton truck that gets 20 mpg. At $3.50 per gallon that would allow you to purchase about 571 gallons of gas which would let you operate for about 11,428 miles. That is a lot of miles on a bike, even with electric assist. Add in a payload that is 10 times larger and you would have the equivalent of 114,280 miles on the bike to haul the same load as a truck does in 11,428 miles.

These are rough numbers that obviously don't take everything into account, so don't nit-pick. But looking at the big picture is still useful.


Why is everyone so critical all the time?

First of all,this isn't being made for the U.S. market but more so for crowded, world cities with small business deliveries. Could eliminate allot of polluting vehicles. Many parts of the world,like Europe & Japan,bicycles make more sense to the users.

Yes,it seems expensive but the Chinese will copy & build a much cheaper (quality too) model. Yes,allot of this has been done before but not all together.


I'm NOT seeing $4,800 worth of bike. Basic tube construction. Could use suspension front and rear. Plus rear cargo carry. You could build a bike of capable of 80% what this does with a $99 Walmart mountain bike, $100 front/rear rack kits, and a $300 electric hub kit. This idea and many variations have/are made. Just google cargo bicycles. Utility bikes are popular the world over where cars are just too expensive relative to income.

Tom Swift
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