Haul Pretty Much Anything Pretty Much Anywhere : The Luna Cargo Truck

Ebikes are great, they allow you to ride harder and faster than god ever intended you to be able to with those skinny chicken legs of yours. What if instead of going really fast for long distances and up steep hills, you want to carry a lot of weight along with you, what would you do? I’ve traveled to about 40 countries in my life and many third world countries use the common bicycle for pretty much anything you can possibly imagine. I’ve seen bicycles with full-grown pigs in cages on them, tricycles carrying a 15-foot high pile of cardboard, bicycles with dozens of live chickens hanging off the back. If you can imagine it, some poor guy in some third world country has already done it. The only way to carry a heavy load on a human powered bicycle is to gear it way down so that you’re crawling around at what amounts to a fast walking speed. If you want to carry very heavy loads on an ebike, then you’ll need the following :

  • A powerful mid-drive motor that will be able to pull the weight
  • Gearing system to gear way down for hills so you don’t blow the motor
  • A sturdy frame that will be able to support the extra weight without breaking

The Luna cargo truck has all three of these attributes and is really fun to ride on top of all that.

So the bike looks like something a clown in the circus would be riding, doesn't mean it's not awesome

So what if this bike looks like something a clown in the circus would be riding, that doesn’t mean it’s not as much fun as a barrel of monkeys to drive

When I spent a couple weeks in LA with the crew from Lunacycle last fall, and the Luna Cargo truck was one of our go-to bikes for almost every outing. We’d meet up at the shop and then just start tying everything we had to the Cargo truck with tie downs. We’d throw on extra batteries, drones, backpacks and cameras on both the front rack and the rear. It was pretty amazing how much crap we could pile on this ebike without it ever complaining. When the 60 lb Apocolypse Luna scooter would run out of juice we just tied it on the back and carried 200+ lb Josh on the rear as well as the scooter for many miles back to the car. When we were shooting video with it in the back yard of the school we decided to pile 3 people on it (over 600lbs) and tool around the lawn with it. I totally expected the bike to self-destruct at any moment, but it seemed like anything we could throw at this ebike, it could take.

Josh from Lunacycle and I talk about some of the features of the Luna Cargo Truck and try not to bore you to tears while doing it.

The Luna cargo truck is made out of steel in the USA by cycletrucks.com . You can order this cargo bike from them directly for about $1299 plus tax and shipping (On the cycletrucks.com website is called the Sport Utility Bike). Although you can buy this ebike from Lunacycle with either the BBS02 or the BBSHD I would highly recommend the BBSHD. The BBS02 can have some issues if you ride it hard with full throttle for extended periods. If you load this bike up with over 600lbs of stuff and go up a big hill then you’re going to be leaning on the throttle pretty hard. It makes a lot more sense to pony up the extra $200 for the BBSHD and have an ebike that you can thrash on with total impunity. You can peg the throttle on the BBSHD all the way down and dump 1500W into this drive unit all day long without burning out the motor. Although I’ve burned out 2 nylon gears running the BBSHD with 60+ amps, the stock 30 amp drive unit is rock solid and should be able to tow anything you need it to (including Eric’s 4000lb ‘midlife crisis’ Audi R8).

Here is three of us riding around like a bunch of hooligans with the cargo truck and using the drone to shoot video. It was every bit as much fun as it looks. So much fun that I expected the cops to come and lock us away at any moment.

The Luna Cargo truck comes stock with the 13.5 Ah 52v GA shark pack which has become my pack of choice whenever I’m running an ebike at 30 Amps or less. I’ve had my 52v shark pack for over a year, used it hundreds of times with very few issues. I managed to mangle the plastic case and break a few of the holding tabs off it after a couple of spectacular wipeouts, but Luna replaced the case for me free of charge. That being said you can save a few dollars by buying a shark pack off Alibaba or ebay, but before you do just do a search for “Lithium Pack House Fire” and see all the people that have had their houses burn down from cheap Chinese 18650 cells. When buying from unreputable Chinese vendors you never know what the heck you’re going to get. If you do buy cheap Chinese packs, then make sure to charge them inside your woodstove or in someone else’s garage that you don’t like that much. Ebike battery safety is no joke and if you take it lightly then you almost certainly will get burned. Those Chinese don’t give a rat’s ass about whether or not your house burns down, all they care about is more money in their pockets. I would hazard to guess that a LARGE number of Chinese pack sellers are moving counterfeit packs into the US with relative impunity. You should be afraid, be very afraid. If you think that it will never happen to you, you’re just plain wrong. The question you have to ask yourself is that $100 you’re going to save worth burning your house down for?

Treat your ebike battery with as much respect as you would treat a 1-gallon container of gasoline in a plastic milk jug and you should be fine.

The Lunacycle Truck can carry 10 times its weight and is made out of steel

The Lunacycle Truck can carry 10 times its weight and is made out of steel

The Luna Cargo Truck does not ship with a warranty, although you can pay extra for one. I would not try to carry more than about 700lbs of weight on this bike (including the rider), and you should make sure that the weight is evenly distributed if you can. If all the weight is in the rear then the front wheel will tend to want to wheelie when you hit the throttle. When riding this cargo bike fully loaded it makes sense to make sure that the tires are pumped up to the limit printed on the side of the tires. Also, I would not try to do much offroading with more than about 500lbs on the bike as you could break it while hitting bumps and jumps.

Pros

  • Carries a lot of weight, easily goes with 3 people
  • So much fun to ride, you feel like a clown and look like one too
  • Steel frame and fork
  • Both front and rear cargo racks
  • Comes standard with a 13.5Ah GA 52v Shark pack (get a cheaper 11Ah pf pack and save $75)
  • The kickstand is awesome and can hold the bike up even with hundreds of pounds of weight on it
  • Large triangle for a triangle pack
  • Great ebike for the coming Apocalypse (It will be televised)
  • It’s a Luna e-bike, so if you throw an extra $250 and do some groveling you can almost certainly get it with a 50 Amp Ludicrous controller (I recommend a large triangle 50 Amp soft pack if you get that option, which will cost extra as well)
  • Throw a cushion on the rear rack and it’s a two person low-speed electric scooter with very comfortable foot rests for the rear passenger
  • Frame is easyish to step over, no nutcrackers here (unless you are a midget)
  • The front rack is part of the frame not attached to the front fork which means that the bike handles better when there is a heavy load in the front
  • Much more versatile and intelligent solution than trying to motorize a tandem bike divorce maker

Cons

  • Heavy at 60lbs
  • Skinny tires not much good in soft sand or snow
  • Looks dumb, really dumb, you will not pick up chicks with this ride
  • Seat really sucks, get a Thudbuster LT, your ass will thank you for it
  • Tires are skinny (1.7″) you can go up to 2.2″ which I would recommend for more comfort
  • One size fits none, at least when you’re 6′ 10″ like I am. Pretty fun when I sit on the rear cargo rack, rides around like a low rider
  • The bike is designed for carrying heavy loads on pavement, it’s not going to work that well on singletrack trails
This bike is a work of art, crazy bizarre, supremely functional art.

This bike is a work of art, crazy bizarre, supremely functional art.

The Luna Cargo Truck is a totally new kind of ebike, one that allows you to carry massive heavy loads up steep long hills with relative impunity. Although there are other cargo ebikes that have been on the market for much longer like the less expensive Radwagon, these types of cargo bikes have a 750W hub motor which can’t hold a candle to the power of the mid drive BBSHD. If you want to move heavy loads up big hills, you will quickly be disappointed in the performance of any hub motor powered cargo bike. The Luna Cargo Truck will not disappoint, and if you get the chance to test a Radwagon against the Luna Cargo Truck, like I have you, will see that it is no contest at all. The Luna Cargo truck wins hands down for both raw power and functionality. A decent mid drive will outperform any hub motor at the same power levels, and the BBSxx units have a much higher peak power level than what they are sold as (1300W for the BBS02 and 1500W for the BBSHD).

In case you missed it, Eric has mislabeled me one of the 10 most influential people in the e-bike revolution for 2017 which I find incredibly flattering, and probably not at all true. I think what he really means is that I am actually the only person in the entire ebike community who is actually willing to write any real reviews about Luna bikes or products. Why will no one else write about Luna products? That is a very good question indeed, one that you are probably smart enough to figure out on your own.

Ride On.

13 thoughts on “Haul Pretty Much Anything Pretty Much Anywhere : The Luna Cargo Truck

  1. Good call. In Europe, real men don’t care about riding a “step through” frame (which was called a “ladies” bicycle” for decades). In the US we are very socially image-conscious about style. For example…a “European sachel” is a handy accessory. and…you “might” be able to get away with calling it a “:bicycle messenger” bag. But…most guys in the US will see it and call it a “man purse”. When I am using a hikers backpack, I only use one strap (but…I will not use an actual “purse”)

    What I’m getting at is…the Europeans (and Germans in particular), believe that form follows function (when it comes to design). If you are riding on reasonably smooth city streets, there are several benefits to smaller wheels (with “20 inch” being the minimum I like). Smaller wheels are lighter and stronger, and replacing worn tires is cheaper.

    This small cargobike needs a suspension seat-post (as Karl mentioned), but…it has the frame triangle space to easily locate a LARGE triangle battery pack (if you want), and a bottom bracket that accepts the common BBS02 and BBSHD mid drives.

    If you go for the BBS02, get the 52V battery option. However…the smaller wheel provides so much extra wheel torque on hills, that…if you want the BBSHD? I recommend the 48V system, simply because less volts means your battery volume can be used to maximize the Amp-hours (AH) of range.

    Like

    • I like the step through frames, esp in the city. Riding them helps me to get in touch with my feminine side.

      Good point about the batteries, 48v will give you more range for the same weight and it will be cheaper, I really only use the 52v batteries anymore, but I never seem to run them dry.

      Like

  2. Man, you lie about not being able to pick up hot chicks on this bike after watching that last video! 😉

    Seriously, this looks to be a great ride with SO many possible uses! Love the steel frame and brick shithouse racks, and great to hear that a serious bottom bracket motor can handle these kinds of loads without issue. Kudos to Eric and the crew at Luna for continuing to push the ebike envelope–bravo!

    Like

  3. Another great article Karl. I see some comments on Reddit saying you are too biased in favor of Luna… to me, it’s clear that when someone intelligently looks at all the bikes on the market, and the competition, it’s difficult not to sound biased in favor of Luna – as they offer so many clear advantages over what else is out there today. Not just in terms of price, and performance, but also how they operate as a company. As you’ve already described very well.

    Regarding why other reviewers won’t touch Luna bikes – yeah, that’s an interesting one… why could that be… I think it’s best how you left it for the reader to make their own conclusions.

    I will add something: several days ago, I e-mailed a popular bike reviewing site, suggesting they review the Luna KHS 4 Seasons 3000/Ludicrous bike that you have. Which site? I won’t name any names. But I can say that I was Courting them, to do a Review, on Luna’s Electric Bike. I mentioned that it would be interesting for them to look at a very high-powered bike, since this site’s reviews focus almost completely on low-power factory bikes.

    And so far – crickets. No response.

    Like

  4. I wish there were some standards in the battery space and the battery pack space. Putting that aside for a second, there is no question that China wants to be the dominant force in the standard cells for e bikes and electric cars:

    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/china-leading-charge-lithium-ion-megafactories/

    You might want to look at the chart at the top and see who the partners are for all the capacity being added in China. It’s a little nuts when you consider these numbers and how much capacity is really being added. I saw a Wall Street research report that suggested the Chinese would do for lith cells what they did for solar cells, just move into the market with big price cuts and try to gain as much control as possible.

    Americans are idiots when it comes to this stuff. Surveys show American know nothing about how electric cars work, what the price structures are, efficiency versus gas, and what the ranges are getting to be. Americans know nothing about electric bikes.

    Anyway, assuming the Chinese are partnering with the top companies for new capacity, the quality of the cells should improve.

    Beyond this, how should a pack be constructed? If you ask Paul (EM3ev) he wants a much more robust pack than Eric. Bruno seems to like the Bosch packs. I don’t know, and I don’t know how much the quality of the cells affects the final safety of the pack. Trump wants to deregulate everything, but he also wants import taxes. Does anyone do the robotic assembly of cells, the spot welding, in the US?

    It’s an interesting question whether the low quality cells from China will disappear over the next couple of years. And honestly, with the capacity increases we are seeing even the best quality cells could end up around $1-$2 apiece by 2020. I would expect the Chinese to constantly undercut Tesla and the Gigafactory near Reno.

    I like that bike because I don’t think half this country can get decent housing or decent transportation. You end up with dense housing, small units, and services that are walk and bike friendly. Or add another million to the homeless lists. That bike shows what you can do with a small motor.It’s like a whole lifestyle, that bike. Eric is a genius, but he’s not always super practical.

    Like

    • Amazing charts. This reflects what I’ve seen in the marketplace. I could see the cells being 1 or 2$ by 2020 easy. The biggest problem I see for most buyers is trying to make sure they are getting legit cells. I buy high power flashlights from China and the cells are always scary. They are 18650 that say 4000Mah on the side, but I never even use them because I’m too afraid of them blowing up and burning my house down.

      Paranoia is always justified when it comes to Chinese 18650 cells.

      Like

    • ebadiere… I agree. Not just for all-terrain but city riding also. Going fast with those small thin tires over bumps and potholes is potentially dangerous.

      Like

  5. as a “truck”,it is too small.When carry heavy or big things,if you make a turn or catch a small stone on road,small bike will fall ,much easier than big.

    Like

  6. I am very happy to have discovered your blog. I’m visiting every page. It’s incredible. Thank you for providing quality content. I live in Brazil, and am going to travel to China. When I bought the ticket the first thing I thought was: I’m going to buy an electric bicycle in China and I was very interested in the folding Xiaomi electric bike. Then I discovered the problem: it has 250 hours, above the allowance to carry on flights. Can you imagine some solution to the problem? The Xiaomi battery is removable. Can I send the bat by some company and take the bike with me (without the battery) on the plane? Thanks in advance for your help and attention.

    Like

      • Yes, thank your for the help. But still i have a problem: how to ship it? I mean, It is forbidden to send by plane, the transport companies that I researched also do not accept to send. Or is there any special service to send the batteries (under the category of dangerous), although more expensive?

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s