Picture of Another Homebrew Bakfiets (or Cargo Bike, if you don't speak Dutch)
I ride bicycles. In a densely populated city like Jakarta where the traffic jams will never make sense, riding bicycle is the best way to go. Some might say riding bicycle in Jakarta's crazy traffic is insane, but let's keep that story for another time.
Owning a bicycle shop means sometimes I have to carry bicycle parts across town. In some cases, even frameset(s). While wheel(s) can be easily strapped to backpacks, messenger-style (providing it's big and versatile enough), carrying framesets or bicycles are another set of challenge. Resorting to motorcycles? While that sounds like a good idea, I still prefer carrying stuffs with bicycle because the running cost will be cheaper. And it's another way to advertise my small bicycle shop.
Enter the bakfiets. Or longjohns, as some may refer to it.
Two-wheeled cargo bike is preferred because while three-wheeled bikes could haul more stuffs, they did it by sacrificing the manuverability. I also go with front-loading because it's easier to manage in traffic, all with the low center of gravity and stuffs.
While three-wheeled cargo bikes are a bit more common in Indonesia, it's not the case with two-wheeled ones. Buying one from overseas will costs me a hell lot of fortune, all with shipping dimension and weight. So if one of the goals was to advertise my shop, why not building from scratch? In Jeremy Clarkson's words, how hard could it be?
So here's a not-so-well-written story about how I built my homebrew bakfiets. It's homebrew, because apart from the welding process (I don't have a welding machine in hand), I built it entirely on my home-slash-bicycle shop. Some language barriers might be found since English is not my primary language. I also didn't put much pictures of the process (only the results), since I didn't always have camera (or phone) in hand.

tl;dr, here's how I built my cargo bike!
kokos5463221 days ago

hello there, i am about to start my own cargo bike project, i need though to buy a welding machine. so my question is, what did u use to do the welding? is it a MIG or a TIG welder? thank uou very muvh

vinz3nt6 months ago
wow, very nice project! I never realised that a lot of none Dutch speaking people use the term bakfiets. bakfietsen are quite popular in the Netherlands though, I have a 3 wheeled one which can easily hold up to 100kg or 4 small children, I love it.
but making one yourself must be very satisfying and yours looks amazing.

English is not your primary language, ie you are from a NESB, and "stuffs" isn't a word.

I don't yet know how to weld, and I don't know anybody who can weld for free for me, but maybe I can join a 'Men's Shed', although they probably don't have welding equipment for safety reasons.

So, how can I make my own bike?

Should I learn to make bamboo bikes?

Could I somehow clamp tubes together?

And/or I should just do most of the design and preparation work, then pay somebody to weld it?

What problems could there be if I didn't paint a steel bike?

ranggapanji (author)  AHeadOfMyTime10 months ago
thank you for the grammar lessons! writing this whole Instructable in Bahasa Indonesia will be a lot easier for me, but maybe you will have quite a little bit help to comprehend it.
as for the bamboo cargo bike, browse around, you'll find a good Instructable about it: from which I take one or few inspirations. should you learn how to make bamboo bikes, or do design work and pay somebody else to do it? I don't know, should you?
steel will eventually rust. some people called it patina, but I for one can't stand having corroded tubing that will eventually weaken the structure of this heavy duty bike, so there's that.
amulder11 year ago
no way you can buy a bakfiets for $500,- here in the netherlands. They are way expensive even more since they've become popular again. Nice job!

Wouldn't bakfiets etc be cheaper when they are more popular?

Are the bakfiets made in China, or the Netherlands?

If made in China, then the price should be very cheap.

Can you buy bakfiets etc cheaply online from China eg Alibaba, Ebay, etc?

I have seen one company on Alibaba etc which says that they sell just 1 'Set'/piece/bike to customers, and for what seems to be a cheap price of about $500.

Well yes and no, they are popular but still not sold in large numbers not like everyone has one. They start at around €800 which is a $1000 and that easely doubles.

Importing one could be an option but with the expences for customs and importing it goes up fast.
ranggapanji (author)  amulder11 year ago

thanks! it only costs me that much because I got the steel tubing from the local scrapyard. most of the parts, including the rims, are parts I've already had kicking around in my parts bin. Shimano components are cheaper in Indonesia, that's a fact. and being able to build the wheel myself (and getting paid for doing it for other people) helps a lot. ;)

nemalim1 year ago
I live in flat Palo Alto, and I love my bakfiets! I take both kids to daycare every day, including tons of stuff. Your bike looks great!
ranggapanji (author)  nemalim1 year ago

thanks! the next thing on my list will be building a wooden cargo box with built in seats in it for my two children. it will definitely made the bike heavier, but my son already outgrown his bicycle child seat. the cargo box will let me carry both him and his little sister with ease!

sounds great! please post a picture when you're done...

spiny1 year ago

this is on my list of things to build, possibly even this summer - do you (or anyone else?) have more info on the steering setup ? I can happily weld, but I'd like to know I'm welding in the right place :)

ranggapanji (author)  spiny1 year ago

user carkat made a better written Instructable on the steering setup, here:


good luck with your build!

thanks :)
hzxasdf1 year ago
ranggapanji (author)  hzxasdf1 year ago

it's stable enough for me, besides three wheels will make it harder to steer on tight traffic. it just takes time to get used to the handling, but it won't take you hours. I've got friends who already nailed complete U-turns on the first minutes aboard this bike. thanks by the way!

如果有机会,我应该让你看看一种叫做“倒骑驴”的三轮自行车。 If you have a chance, I should let you see something called "inverted donkey," the three bikes.


ranggapanji (author)  vladivastok1 year ago

thank you brother. it's stable enough in turns, just like riding a tandem if it's easier to imagine. a little wobble usually caused by the slack on the steering rod link, which I have to check periodically (about once every two months or so). I prefer two wheels because it allows me to lean harder in turns, making it agile. besides, with wheelbase this long, it's very stable on straight line.


Nice work! I've homebuilt a similar bakfiets style cargo bike & love it, but my brakes are really bad.

Where did you get the disc brake front fork? Is there a brand / manufacturer on it? I can't find 20" disk brake forks anywhere!

ranggapanji (author)  jamesinfreo1 year ago

thanks! if you read the 4th step, you'll see that the fork is just an ordinary BMX fork with brake tabs brazed in place.

first I have the front disc and wheels installed on the fork dropouts, put the caliper on the disc rotor, and made a template for the caliper tabs with a cardboard. the template then transferred to 5mm steel plate, then brazed in place.

Love it! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
Foxtrot701 year ago

Hats off and thumbs up to you an excellent build! I can see bike couriers in New York, Chicago or other large US cities or anywhere else where the terrain is relatively flat increasing their business with this type of vehicle. Keep up the good work.

billbillt1 year ago

great idea

nthomas121 year ago
Super nice build!!
RushFan1 year ago
Very well done! Nice job!
Hahob 1 year ago
Beautiful! I too live in bikehostile city, but could not live without my cargobike!