We have owned our Larry vs Harry Bullitt for almost 2 years. You can read my original post after owning the Bullitt cargo bike for 2 months. It’s time for us to review this family cargo bike, how we built it up, and answer some of the most frequent questions like, “Would you buy it again?”
Why the Larry vs Harry Bullitt Front Loader?
6 months after our daughter was born I knew for my own sanity I needed a way to bike with her. I tested out various trailers, but the car seat never seemed fully secure. The Xtracycle seemed like a great option as the seat could fit on the long wooden top between additional hooptie rails, but it was nerve-wracking to have your baby that can’t talk strapped in behind you. I wanted to be able to see her, interact with her and a front-loading cargo bike was the only way to do this.
I expressed all these concerns to Splendid Cycles and they highly suggested I try out a Bullitt. I found my closest dealer (which isn’t that easy!) and went for a ride. Instantly, I knew this was our bike. We worked with Splendid to find an orange frame and 3 weeks later our bike showed up in a very large box on the back of an 18 wheeler!
The Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike with a Baby Seat
The original reason for this bike was to carry my 6-month old before she was old enough to sit up on her own. To do this, we purchased a 2 child wide box from Splendid Cycles that is made by Badger Bikes. In hindsight, the 3 children wide would have given us the most room for growth but it doesn’t fit through a lot of doors and gates.
The box came with a bench seat and seat belts installed, I took these out temporarily to install a car seat. I used metal pipe strapping and large washers to attach a ratchet strap through two of the bolts that secure the box to the frame. The ratchet strap then went through whatever car seat we were using like a seatbelt would. I also used styrofoam packing blocks so the car seat was level, this also allowed me to snug the car seat down into something padded when tightening the ratchet straps.
How Does the Larry vs Harry Bullitt Handle?
The handling of this massive bike is one of the largest concerns of the front-loading cargo bikes. Your front wheel is way out in front of you and it is controlled by a strut or cable system instead of the wheel being connected to a fork right under your handlebars.
I typically tell people how twitchy it is. When you get started you need to focus on keeping the handlebars straight. Too many people pull on their handlebar when getting up on the bike. I don’t think it’s as hard as learning to ride a technical mountain bike trail, but it isn’t like hopping on any other bike! Unweight your hands as you get started and to steer like you are skiing or riding a motorcycle.
One note: Due to the long wheelbase this bike handles snow and sand very well, especially when you have weight on the front. It really surprised me going off-road, but the front wheel does like to skid if you are turning in the rain without weight in the front box!
One more note: The kickstand on this bike is beautiful, stable and difficult to find on any other bike. My daughter now climbs all over this bike and the bike is SO rock solid stable I don’t worry about it moving (I do worry about her slipping on to the chainring!)
The Life of our Larry vs Harry Bullitt with Kids (and a dog)
As of writing this (July 2017), we’ve owned this bike for nearly 2 years. Out of all the bikes I’ve purchased in my life, this is hands down the best one. Sharing the joy and freedom of biking with my daughter at such a young age can never be replaced. My guess is my miles are 2x the 600 miles that Strava says since I don’t track the majority of rides on this specific bike. I’ll be putting on a basic computer soon for this very reason!
We started off using the Britax infant carrier, and then a cheap rear-facing toddler seat. When my daughter went to a forward facing car seat in the car we removed the car seat in the Bullitt and installed the bench seat and seatbelts back in. These days we ride most mornings to preschool with her and our mini schnauzer strapped in the front. We can talk since she’s sitting right in front of me. I can point out things and sing whatever new song she is learning at school. These mornings of freedom, chasing dragonflies and trains are my favorite moments that I’ll cherish forever.
One disclaimer of riding with kids: We live in the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver where we have access to bike lanes and hundreds of miles of bike paths. I’m very exclusive on the routes I’ll ride with my daughter. I wouldn’t ride this bike in a busy downtown with my kids in it, but know many people that do.
How Did We Build Our Larry vs Harry Bullitt?
Since we purchased the bike through Splendid Cycles I relied on their suggestions and went with their most standard “entry level” parts. The parts are mostly Shimano Deore / Alivio 9-speed. Very affordable and durable. I need a new chain and I’m happy to report it won’t break the bank! The brakes are SRAM BB7 which I’ve run on dozens of mountain and cross bikes over the years. The wheels are hand built by Splendid and I haven’t had one issue. The tires are Schwalbe Marathon. Heavy, durable, and perfect for this bike. You can see the new 10-speed version of my build from Splendid here.
Fenders, a swept back Satori handlebar and seat post with Portland Design Works grips round everything out.
I added on an Abus BORDO Big lock, basically a requirement for me on any cargo bike, lights, and a bell.
Here’s a time-lapse video of me building the bike:
Would We Buy the Larry vs Harry Bullitt Again?
Yes, 5x over. More on this to come.
Video Review of the Larry vs Harry Bullitt
This was originally posted on YouTube in 2016.
Recommended Larry vs Harry Bullitt Cargo Bike Accessories
Did I forget something? Do you have a question? Let me know in the comments!
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