We Bought a Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike

ArleighBikes, Cargo Bikes, Family Riding, Latest, Reviews16 Comments

Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike

As you could probably have guessed from the time-lapse video last week, we bought a Larry vs Harry Bullitt cargo bike. Today we will dive in to the process of purchasing a family cargo bike, and at the very bottom of the article is a quick one month review. If you are here for the photos, scroll to the end!

As an active mom, specifically a bike loving mom, the first 3 months of my daughter’s life hit a hard reset button on my personality and personal desires in life. I walked A LOT with my daughter during those first 3 months. As long as the temperature allowed for it we would go for 2 hour walks all over east Denver. Walking is a peaceful act, but it doesn’t allow you to go very far from home or link together errands over 3+ miles during the summer heat. I loved walks with my daughter, but I greatly missed pedaling. Due to this we started thinking about how we could haul her by bike. Deciding on how to carry your most precious cargo is stressful, add in that I’m an analyst by trade and research things to death this process took about 3 months from start to finish. I talked to every possible person, including random tweets to strangers across the internet. I test rode any option I could find in Denver. I drew out plans, and measured various car-seats. My wife as a pediatrician had her own list of safety requirements that were also added into the master spreadsheet that I developed. There were several times over those 3 months that I threw up my hands thinking I would take the cheapest and easiest route which was to not ride with my daughter until a year (or so). The more I searched for options, the more overwhelmed I got. Then I found Barb at Splendid Cycles who eased my mom worries. In the end of it all, we picked a Bullitt from Splendid Cycles and it has been one of the best bike decisions I have made in my adult life.

Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike

Key Reasons We Bought a Bullitt

(The main reason is right above!)

Requirements from my pediatric wife

Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike

  • Ability to secure a rear facing car-seat
  • Ideally this would be secured to the frame of the bike
  • Sun protection

    Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike

When building the bike I installed longer bolts through the double-box to the frame, made a loop out of metal plumbers tape and installed a 500lb ratchet strap that secures the car-seat to the the bike. Before we upgrade carseats I’ll document a full article on just this as it is one of the most common things I am asked by potential Bullitt owners. A few notes for now: there is additional foam under the carseat, we had to order at least a double for the width of our carseat, measure all potential carseats before ordering a box!

My daughter’s current infant seat provides shade, but we also purchased the Splendid/Blaq rain cover for our double box. I haven’t installed it yet, and will report back when I do.

Requirements of a bicycling snob (me)

  • Easily see my daughter
  • Efficient, yet upright, riding position
  • Agile
  • Upgradable
  • Long-term reliability
  • Easy resale

Once we determined that having our daughter in a carseat facing backwards was a requirement it narrowed down the options significantly. Add in that I wanted to be able to see her the options were narrowed all the way down to one style of bike, the front-loading cargo bike. There are only a few options, which we get into with the Hauling Kids By Bike, but the two main players in the U.S. are either the imported Larry vs Harry Bullitt, or the custom built Metrofiets.

The Bullitt over Metrofiets

I was able to ride a Bullitt locally here in Denver, but I couldn’t track down a Metrofiet in this time-zone. Doing a quick search it seemed that I could easily resale a Bullitt locally for close to what I bought it for if we didn’t end up liking the bike. Timing wise, Metrofiet were amazing to work with but the 3+ month turnaround time was going to put us almost to the window of my daughter being able to ride in a normal bicycle seat. It also made it difficult to swallow that we were going to wait 3+ months for a bike I couldn’t even test ride to understand the difference between the two. Finally, the available accessories for the Bullitt is reassuring. The company means business and seems to be THE name for serious front loaders. With all that being said, there are many perks of a Metrofiet over a Bullitt. Being handmade in the US may be the largest one.

Ultimate Deciding Factors

  • I couldn’t find any warranty problems online
  • The shop I was dealing with (Splendid) are experts in cargo bikes and 100% recommended the Bullitt for my needs

Bullitt Retail Price Breakdown

  • Bullitt built with Alivio 3×9: $3,000
  • Double wood box: $800
  • Rain canopy for box: $325
  • Shipping & Handling to Denver: $250

Why You Should Buy Your Cargo Bike Through Splendid

I’ve talked about why we decided on the Bullitt, and one of the largest reasons was Splendid. If you are in the market for a cargo bike of any kind please give them a call, email or visit. I’ve worked in the bike industry for over 15 years now and Splendid really sets the bar high for not only cargo bikes, but bike shops.

  • Experienced. They know their cargo.
  • Passionate.
  • Great communication, feedback and willingness to answer my 1000 questions.
  • Did I mention great communication? I got updates along the way. They followed up if I went dark for too long, and they sent me tracking info right away with out me asking for it!
  • Their system isn’t high-tech but it worked out beautifully.
  • The bike was packaged beautifully. The box was even decorated to look like a house! I wish others would take note. Have a personality & do great work.
  • Attention to detail. This includes the bike build to notes on the parts box.

Splendid Cycles Box

A Month Review of the Bullitt

We have about 200 miles of daily riding on the Bullitt. Considering our average round trip is about 3 miles I am very proud of that number for a month of riding! I would like to have 500-1000 miles on a bike before giving a thorough review, BUT I will repeat myself and say this is easily the best adult bike purchase I have ever made. Helmets aren’t including in that statement. At least 50% of our car rides have been replaced by the Bullitt. We make more frequent trips to the grocery store, but buy less stuff (and have actually spent less money.) My daughter loves it. She is so happy watching the world go by and a good amount of the time falls asleep before we get home. If she is fussy around 5:30pm then we go for a bike ride and it fixes everything. My family is even toying with going down to one car as my wife commutes 2-3x per week, and I don’t drive most the week.

I’m still tweaking the fit to find the balance of upright and efficient. Out of the box I have been rather happy with the saddle and grips, which I can say I have NEVER said about a stock set of grips and seat before. There isn’t anything I would change about the specifications if I had to do it all over again. The Alivio 3×9 is a really nice group set, and the wheels and tires are bombproof. I don’t really use the small or large chainring so I may end up going to a 1×9 with a bigger front chainring.

Overall Thoughts

$4,500-5k is a decent amount of money to spend on a bike. Granted, these days people are spending $5-8k on road or mountain bikes to purely pedal themselves further and faster as the bike industry paints this “concept vehicle” mentality around bikes. They must be stiffer, and lighter!! Our Bullitt with baby and baby junk is probably close to 90+ lbs, but it is pretty stiff.  While it may not be the lightest, it may replace a $30k vehicle in our household, has kept me out of my car for 200 miles in the past month, and it has provided necessary sanity of pedaling back into my daily life (how much is therapy going these days anyways?!).

Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike
More than any of the above reasons to spend $4,500 on a bike I think the biggest one is being able to share the experience with my daughter. Getting her out of the car, and showing her through actions what it means to live a healthy and active lifestyle doesn’t have a price tag. How much do parents pay for their kids to be able to play sports these days? While we will be those parents I want to instill the active lifestyle of using our bodies as transportation and movement. In the same breath I do my best to keep her as safe as humanly possible, and we pick as many side streets or paved paths as we can. Hopefully this will also teach her that life is worth slowing down for, not only by making smarter decisions but by making healthier ones.

I’ve built my life around bikes, but the Bullitt is one of the first bikes that has truly shown me in my soul that it isn’t about the bike. It is about the experiences, the lessons, and that life wasn’t created to be spent inside glass and steel. Life was created to be cherished, not taken for granted, and to be experienced outside with other people. A bicycle is simply a tool tool to provide that lifestyle to people. A tool to be efficient, but not detached from the world around us.

16 Comments on “We Bought a Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike”

  1. Congratulations – I tried the same bike but the top tube height was just too great for my short arms. Huge fun to ride and a terrific solution for riding crazy parents.

  2. thanks for this review. I look forward to your next report, and all of your great posts. I purchased a cargo bike two months ago and have really gotten to like it. I have ridden about 800 miles and have only used my car 3 days each month. My partner has a car for work and we do use that sometimes on the weekend. I purchased a Kona Ute because of the cost of these bikes. I paid $971 and got the big bags, fenders, all set up when I picked it up. I had to drive about 80 miles to find this one. My son is 23 and I wish I could get him to ride on this bike with me but it’s too late for that. I have a great mountain bike that is my all purpose bike but that hardly gets used these days. I can carry the stuff I would carry in a car and still be ready to shop for groceries, dry cleaning, coffee shops and Goodwill trips. Travel the cigar lounge and farmer’s markets along the road. I am working to get better lights and to get my winter clothes squared away. I am trying to wear normal clothes to ride like they do in Scandinavia. My regular bike shoes are either my Wolverine high top, steel toe, black boots, or my Chrome forged rubber bike shoes. I would love to ride all of the interesting cargo bikes and if I win the lottery will set up a track and a barn and have all those available for anyone who wants to come and test them.

  3. Congratulations! Your baby is adorable!

    Here is a link to a description and two videos of cycling with babies in The Netherlands. My own children really, really love the second video, Anthony’s Putsch “King of the World.”

  4. Pingback: Bike Shop Girl: A Bullitt Review | Larry Vs. Harry

  5. Great review! We got our Bullit from Splendid and had a similar experience; they’re the best. If you don’t already, I’d recommend following LarryVsHarry on the facebook, they post interesting stuff.

  6. Great review. I recently had a chance to try this bike and the Workcycle kr8. Your feedback about family lifestyle is right on point. I primarily bike to work and with my kiddo but am finding that I would like to make this more streamlined as we consider having a second kiddo . . . not dealing with a trailer and lights and all the little things that can add up time wise with biking. Did you have a chance to try the Workcycle? I am torn between the two.

    1. Ashley – I did not have a chance to try out the workcycle as no one had one in Denver!

  7. hi-whats the gauge on the bar in the rt photo in the second row from the bottom of the last group of photos? seems to have too many divisions for a chain ring position indicator and not enough for the cassette. puzzled in gj

  8. Nice post. The bullitt is by far the best bike purchase I’ve made. I ride it daily, half the time with my infant daughter as well. I find that in Denver, the Alfine 11speed is more than sufficient and reduces the weight. I’d say mine weighs in around 50lbs.

    An easier way to install the child seat is to drill two I-bolts through the wood and clip in a child seat base. That makes for easy access to car seat.

    Happy riding!

    1. Matthew,

      Thanks for the response!! Where in Denver do you ride your Bullitt? We should have a meet up!

      Your idea about the seat is very true, but I felt that the bolt should go through the frame and not just the wood mainly because I hit some rough areas and I could see the wood starting to split with time.

      Thanks again,
      Arleigh

    2. Hi Arleigh,

      I did go through the frame as well and the wood. I ride anywhere. I live out in Aurora by Anshutz, so I usually get downtown a few times a week. In fact, I’ll be down tomorrow. I’m all for meeting up. It would be nice to hang out with other Bullitt owners!

  9. As an Xtracycle owner, all I can say is the Bullit looks awesome! Keeping the weight down low has to improve handling and for city riding clearance is not an issue. What a great bike!
    I think I will have to fabricate something like it someday. But, for now my longtail is getting the job done! I would be very interested in another long term report!

    1. How are you enjoying the Xtracycle, Oldcyclist? I’m trying to decide how to reenter bike life after a decade off, with two kids in tow (past Bullitt stage). I’m enraptured intimidated at the same time.

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