Virtue Gondoliere +—A Cargo Bike with a Difference.
Stretched out, equipped with electric-assist and ready to roll, this cargo bike will turn heads everywhere you ride it. Yet its real purpose is to handle a load with ease and comfort. With the basket in the middle of the chassis, the Virtue Gondoliere + makes easy work of a tough job. Cargo bikes are gaining bigger interest everyday, and bikes like this are much of the reason.
In a classy Atlantis green, the wood basket and tan trim blend together nicely. This steel framed bike has the strength to take you past the cool appearance and to the world of using your bike for most every transportation need. Shopping and errands will become much easier, fun and less expensive too. Packing a kid or two where you can keep an eye on them will help make a family outing comfortable and pleasant. And for you pet owners, the same applies.
At first look you may think this Gondoliere + might be a little hard to handle. Although the learning curve could take a few blocks, for me it was instantaneous. It rides easily and smooth, even at low speeds. The E-assist adds to the quick balancing right from the first turn of the pedals. I found it easy to ride, and got into its interesting look and feel without a second thought. I think most any bike rider will take to it as quickly as I did.
The seven-speed derailleur system is a basic one, but works and shifts well. Like many bikes it has the ultra low 1st gear for good hill climbing. The entire drive train has light-weight modern components that should give good rider confidence and a long life. The brakes are more than sufficient, with a strong V-brake up front and roller brake out back. Roller brakes aren’t known for ultra braking, but work better than some under extreme conditions (water and dirty environments). So the brakes and drivetrain are up to snuff for this cargo bike.
Comfort is covered with a well padded saddle and ergo grips in a matching finish. It seemed to me this bike can handle riders of most any size and weight. The upright seating position fit me nicely, and most likely you too. It is kind of a heavy bike, but will carry quite a load. The carry capacity discussed at the shop is more than listed on their website, but I think you can load the Gondoliere + down with most anything that fits in the wooden cargo box.
The power system added is a light one, and maybe not as powerful as some might need. The front drive 250 watt brushless hub motor is paired to a 36 volt 8.8 Ah lithium battery. It is a true pedelec, meaning it only powers up while pedaling and there is no hand throttle. This helps to increase the range between recharges, yet won’t allow you to use the motor assist at all times. I found it to have good speed and acceptable power, but if you have some really steep hills to pound while fully loaded, it won’t fill the bill.
I think for most people, they will like the assist system on this E-cargo bike, but while riding I envisioned some options. One would be to get the un-powered version (just called the Gondoliere) and add the E-bike conversion kit of your choice. There are many to chose from, allowing you much better climbing ability, a longer range, and a hand throttle if wanted. So taking the base model and making it a better and more powerful E-cargo bike could make real sense.
A little more about the electric system on the Gondoliere + should mention the display and controls. This is an all-in-one unit with the readout and the control buttons. It gives a lot of information about its settings and operation. Many E-bikes have a set of buttons for choosing your level of assist close at hand, but on the Virtue they are a little bit of a reach. The photos on their website show it mounted closer to the handgrip. This would be the better way to go and is probably they way they come from your local bike shop.
For quite a while 250 watt E-bikes were more common. As Americans crave ’more power’, 500 watts (and more) seem to be on most of the bikes. The extra juice can be handy on the heavier climbs, but uses the battery power so much quicker. Of course large motors and batteries weigh the bike down more, so finding the right balance of power, cost and weight is something most E-bike companies work hard on. Like I said above, the installed system on this Virtue Gondoliere + will make most people happy.
The wood carry box is supplemented with a rear rack. The rack is mostly there to hold the battery, but looked strong enough for more cargo. The front box is very large, and even has a small seat. There are two strapping systems in the box that could be used for the kids, but to call them safety belts seems wrong. Using the box for people or the cargo will require a little fore thought on the rider’s part to make sure it (they) are safe and won’t shift when riding.
If you follow the bike world, you have heard what a following cargo bikes have. They continue to gain great popularity for many reasons. Those reasons practically write themselves. Staying healthy, keeping our environment healthy, saving money, getting outdoors and having fun are just a few of the many things that drive this trend. People want to ride bikes, but have to move their kids, pets and stuff, so cargo bikes fill those needs. It all makes so much sense.
Make you own trend on the Virtue Gondoliere +, Turbo Bob.
“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.”—Helen Keller.
You can find Virtue Bike on the web and Facebook.
Two videos I posted on the Virtue Gondoliere +