Since Last Mile began working with DHL, I have had the opportunity to test out the cargo capacity of our Bullitts in real conditions – regularly filling the cargo boxes to capacity. Most of the time the packets we deliver are small and lightweight – occasionally bulky, but not very heavy. Nevertheless, when the boxes are filled to capacity they do add up.
Last week a single large shipment gave me the opportunity to really test the capacity of the Bullitt – not just in terms of volume, but also in terms of weight. 6 boxes and 2 extra packets of exam papers, for one customer probably weighed at least 40kg. Adding another 27 smaller pieces (above) they all fitted into the Bullitt’s cargo box, and I was able to deliver them all in a single run from our depot.
So what was the Bullitt like to ride laden? The first thing I noticed was how much harder the bike was to manoeuvre when on foot. No real surprise of course when I was pushing a bike that probably weighed close to 100kg altogether. It certainly wasn’t impossible to push and I could still turn the bike around when necessary, but I avoided lifting the bike up kerbs if I could. There was a very significant degree of flex or bounce in the frame as the bike went over bumps, but it didn’t feel as though this was more than the bike was supposed to handle, rather that it was coping with the load rather well.
The second thing I noticed was that all hills were significantly steeper! That being said I still climbed the steepest gradient I faced in first gear, slowly, but without difficulty. Once on the level the Bullitt seemed to forget the load it was carrying and it was easy to accelerate up to a respectable cruising speed.
If I was expecting to carry such a large load over a significant (relatively flat) distance I would be far less concerned than carrying it on a typical delivery route, where the bike is stopping and starting, climbing kerbs or traversing cobbles and turning round in tight spots every few minutes. Given this if I was faced with a similar situation again, I might be tempted to divide the load choosing to make the 5 minute trip back to our depot to reload, so as to keep the bike more easily manageable at low speeds. Overall, however the Bullitt stood up well to the test, and confirmed its capability (and indeed, suitability equipped, the capability of ‘cycle couriers’ ) to handle anything that might be delivered by a man with a van.