Cargo bikes & some comments on Bakfietsen and Niholas

IMG_5170I mentioned recently that my daughter had a bakfiets on loan. She was going to make the purchase of a Nihola but it was not available at the promised time, so the Melbourne based dealer sent her the Bakfiets in the meantime, giving her the option of purchasing either bike should she prefer the Bakfiets. Ultimately she decided on the Nihola to transport her two young children around, and this leaves the Bakfiets for sale locally. The dealer said they will offer a substantial discount to a local Newcastle purchaser who wishes to buy this bike as it is already here and assembled. If any readers are interested, please contact Dutch Cargo Bikes or you can contact me via my email and I will pass the message on. (NB I am not receiving any incentives for posting this and neither are any of my family members)

I have ridden both bikes, but only for short distances. I would have preferred the Bakfiets as it seems like more of a proper (ie two wheeled) bike, but I can see why my daughter prefers the Nihola …IMG_5209See my grandson smiling and waving to me out of the side window!

The Nihola is wider but shorter than the Bakfiets and I felt that the three wheels would make it not seem like a bike to ride and would make it difficult to maneouvre, but I have seen how my daughter has become adept at riding it in a very short time and can see its advantages.

It has a cover which is useful in all conditions for sunshade, wind protection and, when totally enclosed, for rain protection ….IMG_5229You can also see how the two children fit into the cabin, both facing the front. Needless to say, they both love this mode of transport and the seat restraints work well to hold them safely in place.

The internal hub brakes make braking safe in all weather and the mudguards work well to keep everyone dry. On top of each mudguard is a double bracket, this one holds a light.

IMG_5226I found cornering the hardest part to get used to when riding this bike, as the three wheels mean the bike will lean to one side. My daughter said she very quickly adapted to this and now enjoys cornering at more speed than she did at first, and I have noticed how nimble she has become with riding it, even around the stupid bollards sometimes encountered on bike tracks. This photo also shows the short wheel base of the bike, the Bakfiets is much longer. I found the steering on the Bakfiets odd for the first few metres but I soon got used to it: it felt like driving a car and there is a rod under the box which steers the front wheel, whereas the Nihola has a more direct steering method though I am not sure exactly how it works…

IMG_5485There are eight gears in the internal Shimano hub and, while that gives an excellent range,  allows her to ride up all but the steepest hills. Living close to Throsby Creek, she can easily access the city and inner city beaches and markets, as well as Westfield and Lambton Pool in the opposite direction, via onroad, offroad and footpath riding.

For when we go shopping together, I take  a small pram on the back of the Bennett and the Nihola provides plenty of storage space at the feet of the children …IMG_5085

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Cargo bikes & some comments on Bakfietsen and Niholas

  1. Stuart says:

    I saw your daughter riding along Throsby Creek late week on the Nihola, I had a serious dose of cargo bike envy.

    • Vicki says:

      She gets many positive comments when she is riding it Stuart, they are mainly from women with kids who say “I need one of those!” The struggle with kids and cars and prams seems a lot more difficult than riding a cargo bike.

  2. Brendan says:

    The way they turn corners is amazing – and i like how they go nice and slow!

  3. Vicki says:

    Brendan, your comment went to spam which is why I did not see it till now. Do you have a Nihola too? They do handle amazingly well on corners, I agree, and they don’t always go slow, the handling is quite unique, I had to get used to the leant over feel of the cornering, but once I did it was great!

  4. Pingback: Demo Bike in New castle for SALE! | Dutch Cargo Bike - Australia & New Zealand

  5. emmy says:

    Posted the blog article on our website! Hope it helps spreading the word 🙂
    Cheers Emmy -DCB

  6. Vicki says:

    Thanks Emmy. I’ve had some people say they looked at your site after seeing the link on here and saying how good it was!

  7. JAsmine says:

    Hello Vicki,

    I know this is a very old post but I’m really trying to decide between a workcycles Kr8 and Nihola at the moment, and wondering what your perspective is as someone that’s ridden both.

    I can see the benefits (and downsides) of both – but am wondering why you daughter chose the Nihola at the end of the day, and whether she could answer a few questions for me. I guess my biggest concern is that the Kr8 is half a metre longer than the Nihola…. but I feel that the Nihola is less of a bike to ride.

    I live in Geelong, victoria, and whilst I wouldn’t describe it as overly hilly, there are some small hills I’d be taking the bike on daily (with 3 children one board). What are the brakes like on the Nihola, are they adequate for an average hill and to slow down. Also, what’s peddling like up hill on the Nihola with a full load?

    What sort of range does your daughter do in the Nihola… I keep reading that one a tricycle you can’t go nearly as far becuase of the weight of the bike but I can’t really understand this logic as the bakfiets bikes are all so heavy too!?

    Did you find the Nihola much slower to ride than the Bakfiets at the time? I want to ride my children to school (about 5ks each way) and whilst I don’t need to set any speed records, I don’t want to take 30 mins to ride 5 ks). I seem to read everywhere that a trike doubles travel time but again, I’m not sure why.

    Finally, does your daughter have e assist on her bike? And if so, has she found this helpful?

    Any thoughts/ideas from your insight would be most appreciated as I’m agonising over my decision and as it’s such a sizeable investment I want to get it right.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Warm regards,


    • Vicki says:

      Hi Jasmine, I’ve sent this to my daughter so hopefully she will comment as well. Ultimately she chose the nihola and still uses it a lot. She has two children, I would guess you will be carrying one on the rear rack in a child’s seat. Her nihola does not have electric assist. If you could test ride the bikes with your children in them it would probably assist you with your decision but that’s not always possible.
      When Ive ridden the nihola I found the brakes to be fine. I think the main advantage of it is its stability, you don’t have to worry about it falling over with children on it. It is slower but for a 5k ride that should be ok.
      I recently saw a woman on a bakfiets with three kids powering up a hill, I’d say she had e assist on it, but I was in awe! If you plan to do long distances or lots of hills, electric would make it much easier.

      • Jasmine says:

        Hi Vicki,

        Thank you for your reply! I’ll add it to my bank of information and continue deliberating.

        I appreciate your help.



    • Vicki says:

      Hi jasmine, I ride the nihola yesterday for some distance with my grandsons in it and I found it fine. The biggest stumbling block would be bad infrastructure. If there are good paths or bike lanes and good ramps to them, it is easy riding and there is a lot of space in it to carry luggage, under the seat etc.

  8. Hi Guys

    Sorry – I know this is a very old post, but I too am trying to make my mind up about which cargo bike to buy.

    The main thing I’d like to know is whether the Nihola could handle the hills here in Brighton that I have to negotiate on the school run. It’s fine with my mountain bike in the lowest gear and my 25kg son on a tag along behind me, but would the Nihola have the gear range to get up there? I definitely can’t afford e-assist!

    Sincere thanks in advance for any thoughts and advice – and thanks for the useful review.


Leave a Reply to Vicki Cancel reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s