Monday, February 7, 2011


I'm in a position that I'm rarely in, I've got some money burning a hole in my pocket. I'm not poor mind you but I've got four kids to feed, clothe, and educate. Usually when I prepare to buy some shiny new bike part or accessory, I go through mental checklist; does anybody need new shoes, a jacket? What about car repairs? I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about. At this time, I have clicked through my mental checklist and determined that bike stuff may be purchased without guilt. Now, what to buy?

My Takara has shown itself to be a great all-arounder. I momentarily considered buying a new Long Haul Trucker, but, after an honest assessment I decided against it. I've had my camping gear together for quite some time now and have managed a grand total of one S24O. A long tour necessitating an honest to goodness touring bike will not be happening anytime soon. So I'm now thinking in terms of cargo hauling. I'm looking at the new Civia Halsted. It's so new that there aren't any reviews to be found.

This is the Halsted with an optional folding cargo box they're working on. I think it would be great for hitting garage sales or hauling stuff home from the grocery store. Price for the Halsted is around $995.

Instead of buying a new bike it might be more fun just to go ahead with a couple of projects that I haven't been able to start. I've got the old Panasonic ATB frame gathering dust in the garage. One thing that I will do is make a few adjustments to the Lotus that I had originally purchased for my eldest child. He's working and going to school and hasn't shown much interest in riding lately, so I've officially claimed the Lotus as my second bike. He can borrow it when he'd like. I'll keep you guys updated.

These are the Craigslist photos of the Panasonic ATB. I used that huge sofa seat as leverage to twist the stuck seatpost free. I ordered a cheap dynohub from Trinity Bicycles that I may build into a 26" wheel for this frame. I kicking around the idea of equipping this thing with an internally geared hub.

I bought a wider set of classic bend drop bars at a recent swap meet for $5. I'll be fitting them to a Nitto Technomic stem that I've been holding onto for a while. I'm hoping that raising the bars will make riding drop bars tolerable once again. I also plan to swap the 27" wheels for 700c's, Maybe I'll go to 650b, if it's possible.


  1. The Civia with that huge front cargo box looks like it'd almost flip over the front wheel if you loaded it up. And I thought MY new front rack was maybe a bit much!

    Still, why do we live in North Texas if not to break new ground? After all, it's "where the West begins!"

  2. Steve A--Cycle Trucks are more robust than you might think. I'm the proud owner of a Worksman Cycle Truck, and it can hold a lot of stuff on the front, and I never feel it's going to flip over.

    However, the Civia is brand new and I don't know its handling capabilities. It looks like it's only rated for 50lb, which seems kind of low. Most cycle trucks I've seen have a third tube between the top and down tubes, which the Civia does not. And I'm wondering why they went with a derailleur rather than an internally geared hub (7 or 8 speed). If there's one type of bike you'd like to be able to downshift at a stop, it'd be a cargo bike!

  3. So hard to choose, so hard...what does your gut tell you? When you have this many excellent choices, you have to go with your gut. Or buy them all.

  4. Well...another classic Rat Trap Press project would be the most entertaining option for me. Since I'm still thinking about some kind of inexpensive offroad project myself, I think you now know my recommendation.

  5. I'm not sure what you should do, but I look forward to seeing what you choose!

  6. Well, my vote is to fix up the Panasonic. That looks like a durable frame with lots of life left in it, plus you can make the bike into what you want. As long as you don't get too crazy with components, you can have a really sweet build for less than the Civia. You could put a porteur rake on that baby and have a good, all-round working bike that is a lot of fun to ride ( Maybe some moustache bars also.

    Although, like adventure! says, you could do the Civia, or similar, working bike. But then you need to ask yourself how much stuff will I be hauling?

    Good luck, I'm interested to see what you come up with!

  7. These are good problems to have.

    I also picked up something at the swap meet and just put them to use- I put drop bars with Tektro brake levers and my new (to me) Suntour barcon shifters on my commuter hybrid, getting ride of the straight bar. It looks like a LHT now.

  8. Interesting, this is the first I've heard of the Civia Halsted.

  9. Thanks. I appreciate everybody's input.

    Steve A-The new porteur rack on your bike looks pretty nice. I believe that you'll use it much more than you thought. I like baskets, and a cycle truck looks to be basically a bike with a monster basket but with a low center of gravity. I bet you would have to seriously weight your rear wheel in an emergency stop.

    Adventure-I watched a video interview with one of the Civia people. It sounds like the bike can handle much heavier weight but 50lbs was recommended for legal reasons...CYA. I also wondered why they didn't equip it with an IGH, although they do offer it as a frameset.

    John Romeo Alpha-My gut is leaning towards doing a bunch of smaller projects rather than making one big purchase. Of course that could change when I actually test ride a Halsted. We'll see.

    Pondero-Now I'm interested in what you're planning. An inexpensive off-road projects sounds cool.

    Apertome-Thanks dude.

    Big Oak-I was thinking about the same thing, in reference to the Panasonic. I've been looking at the Cetma racks. The Panasonic might do a decent job as a junk hauler.

    Doohickie-This is a good problem to have. The planning and decision making is half the fun.

    Post some pics of your commuter bike. I'd like to see the changes you made.

    Dottie-You can't find much about it other than on the Civia website. It's good to see another moderately priced means of hauling stuff around.

    fridaycyclotouriste-I've been admiring the new Cetma Cargo bike which looks like a bakefiet (I don't know what qualifies something as a bakefiet). I don't think I'd have room to park that thing.

  10. Steve--ah yes, CYA. S'funny, when I emailed Worksman about the weight capacity on their Cycle Truck, they said without hesitation "Oh, 150 pounds or so!" Then again, Worksman's been building them for eons and they've been put to heavy use in factories, so they can rate it with much more confidence (and much less CYA) then Civia.

    A porteur rack is a good option, but the problem I've had when I've put the super-dooper Wald basket on a roadbike is the steering and handling get squirrely. That can be an issue with a porteur rack, though maybe not as much. There's something to be said about the lower gravity, small front wheel, and frame mounted rack of a cycle truck type bike. Just wish there was more companies doing them.

    Have you considered an xtracycle conversion?

  11. I converted my Panasonic MTB to a 700c mixed-terrain bike. It rides great.

    I have a set of 650b wheels and some tires, if you decide to go that way. They are gathering dust, and I was thinking of putting them on eBay, but I'd rather send them to one of my blogger buds, if you are interested.

    Maybe do the Panasonic in 650b. I can make you some adapters for v-brakes, so that the pads will reach from the stock bosses (I did this on a 1984 StumpJumper, a couple of years back, you may recall).

  12. Jon-I was going to contact you. You are the vintage mountainbike expert.

    I'll take those wheels.