Testing the Madsen Cargo Bike

Madsen Grocery StopOur blog friend, George, contacted us last week and asked if we wanted to borrow his Madsen for a few days to test it out and share our impressions. We’re always up for trying out new utility bikes, so of course we agreed.

I pedaled over to Ballard yesterday afternoon and picked up the bike. We’ve only had it for 24 hours and are not ready to post a full review.

But I thought I’d throw up a few pictures of the first afternoon with the bucket bike.

School Pick up with the Madsen

– Anne

11 responses to “Testing the Madsen Cargo Bike

  1. Cool, cool. We gave a bucket bike away and rode it all over Austin before that. Dig it.

  2. You gave away a LOT of good stuff at the ride. I’m lovin’ my new Ibex Shak. 🙂

    Austin’s got a great bike vibe but I wouldn’t have known it if I hadn’t borrowed a bike for your ride. Thanks for the hospitality!

  3. Cool! I look forward to reading more and seeing more pictures.

  4. Love that black madsen! That sure beats idling your Suburban in the school pickup traffic jam.

    George has tricked that out a bit, eh? I like the new bar setup … Look forward to hearing how it compares to your xtracycle fleet.

  5. great pictures! have fun with the bike. I’m in SoCal for a few days and have been wishing I had the Madsen here for getting around…. Will look forward to hearing more.

  6. I love the 3rd row seating…

  7. We’ve got a Madsen, it has been great for hauling up to four of our five kids. We enjoy it.

    George, I have been looking at alternate bar setups for my bike. What have you done? Are those Albatross bars? The camera angle may be deceiving, they seem to have more rise.

  8. Thanks for all the comments. Tim and I are planning a joint review – we’ve both taken it out and loaded it up so we’ll share our impressions soon.

    George did upgrade the bars, grips and saddle. From the pictures I’ve seen of the stock setup, these changes were essential! I wouldn’t want to ride the bike around town in my “normal” clothes with the stock saddle and bars. Looks really uncomfortable.

  9. Looks great! I am saving up for a Madsen, looking to upgrade from walking all over town with a big double stroller and my two boys. Looking forward to the review.

    I am a real biking newbie and I am concerned about how a couple other reviews mentioned the necessity of upgrading the saddle and handlebars, I don’t really know anything about choosing the appropriate new pieces, so I would love some talk of that in your review. Thanks!

  10. The bars are not Albatross — though I do love the Albatross bar and considered them for the Madsen. I went instead with a more-reasonably-priced Wald bar from one of our local bike shops. They recommended it, as it’s one they use with a lot of their cargo bikes. I may try the Albatross bars on the Madsen at some point and swap them out and put the Wald bars on my short-haul commuter. Both are great bars; the Madsen’s stock bars actually do provide a great upright riding position — I’ve just come to love my Albas and other uprights, and like them a little more for this type of ride — as Anne says, they’re perfect for around-town kid-hauling/grocery-getting, etc. I put some platform-BMX-type pedals on, though the Madsen’s stock pedals are also quite wide and a great platform pedal, I just thought I’d put these on. I may move to the SKS grip king, but we’ll see. And the grips are just some I had lying around and like the look of…. It’s a great ride. Can’t wait to get back to Seattle and borrow it back from Car Free Days. 🙂

    In terms of the Madsen’s stock saddle/bars/pedals, it really is just a matter of personal preference. I like the wider Brooks B67 saddle, which I use on some other cargo bikes, so I went with that here. The standard saddle may be preferred by some, it just depends what you’re used to and what you like to ride. Because I went for the more upright riding position, I like the wider saddle. If I were using this bike as a bike messenger, for example, and racing around town a little more, and/or preferred a narrower saddle, the stock one would be just fine. I think Madsen’s designers were wise to spec the bike with the saddle, bars, and pedals they did: they’re good choices, but easily swapped out if someone prefers.

  11. I’ve actually liked the stock bars more than I thought I would, but I’d love to try your setup sometime for comparison. And I LOVE grip king pedals …

    The stock saddle will not make a more upright rider happy, but since saddle preference is so individual, I don’t mind that they spec’d a cheap seat. I hear the Velo Orange Model 8 compares well with a Brooks B67 (also my favorite saddle), but cheaper, if money is tight.

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