UPDATE: My Babboe cargo bike e-curve review

Today I will be writing a review for my Babboe e-curve cargo bike. The opinions are mine. I did not receive any earnings from this post, but as you will be able to read towards the end of my post, I have been compensated. Just not for writing this blog post. 😉

To be honest, I am a bit ashamed to say that I am a grown 41-year-old woman without a driver’s license.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but here in Belgium I only have one other friend without a driver’s license so I always end up having to explain to people why I don’t have one. I just never came round to it and I am actually a bit scared, but fingers crossed, I will be going for my theoretical exam (together with my 25-year-old daughter.

But even if I do pass, it will still be months before I have a full permit and even longer before I can afford a car. So, my cargo-bike is a must in my life.

I am since July 2017 the owner of the Babboe e-curve cargobike. I have 3335 km on it. It is my main way of transportation. I drive my son to school in it, I bring him to and from swimming classes, I do my groceries in it, I run my errands with it, I even drive it 30km (18miles) on Sunday’s to church (Antwerp) and back.

 

Sleepy Baby

Falling assleep is one of the side affects of owning a “bakfiets”

I want to make it clear that my views expressed in this post are entirely my own and entirely based on my experience with this cargobike. I have provided a link to the Babboe website above for anyone who wants to look them up. Nobody has asked me or paid me to write a review. My only aim in writing this is to help others who may be thinking of buying the Babboe e-curve cargobike.

I did some research beforehand, I found some helpful Facebook groups where I could read experiences from other users and I wish that I had taken their advice. There were many complaints (mainly about the spokes), but I really fell in love with the e-curve Babboe when I saw it during a test drive. I made up my mind that I wanted a three wheeler, I wanted something that also looked pretty and because of my chronic pain, it needed the battery-powered pedal “assist”. One of the most well known brands here in Belgium is the Babboe and I fell in love with the e-curve when I saw it.

When my cargobike got delivered (then you could only buy it online in Belgium and it was delivered 4 weeks later) I tried it out straight away of course and oh boy….it felt really weird driving it. I constantly felt like I was going to fall off. But I was determined to make it work and so I drove it 40km straight to our fixed camping spot and once I got there, I was a confident cargobike, or how they call it here, even my expat friends, a “bakfiets” driver. I loved it. My son loved it, heck, even my two Doxies love it.

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Our Doxies do not fall assleep in the “bakfiets”

But…a few weeks later the first problems arose, my brakes and lights. One brake was not working, the lights were not working and so I emailed Babboe. I also inquired about when the technician would come by for the first maintenance (included in the price we paid. I had already received an email asking me if I was satisfied with the services…for the services that I haven’t received yet). It took exactly a month before the technician came. My brakes were then finally fixed and I had received new lights. My bike was riding smoother than ever.

Then the rain cover poles broke. I emailed again, Babboe said that they were aware of the poor quality of the poles and that they were looking for a solution. In the meantime they would send me new poles. And they did, the wrong ones. Emailed them again and soon after I received the first pair or rain cover poles. But the rain cover poles have broken off 5 times during the 18 months that I have owned my e-curve.

Broke rain cover poles

Picture explaining to Babboe where the poles broke off. The end bits are still sticking in the wholes and also needed to be removed.

Another issue, the wheel spokes. They too have been broken a multiple of times. This is apparently something that many, many Babboe owners have experienced. This is a pretty costly thing to have happen regularly. One of my back spokes is even broken now.

And something they forget to tell you…not many bike repair shops repair your electrical cargo-bike, definitely if you have not bought it in their shop. I have two bike repair shops in walking distance of my house, but they have refused to repair my bike (one will repair the spokes but nothing else) and so I have had to rely on friends to pick me up and drop me off at another bike shop further away. Not very convenient. You can always book a maintenance and repair service at home from Babboe, but be prepared to wait many, many weeks and with a broken spoke, you need to get it repaired as soon as possible.

Oh yeah, and my battery, remember at the beginning of this post I mentioned biking 40km to our camping spot? (I still drove around with it for a few more days before I had to recharge the battery) . Well now (18 months later) the action radius is +-15km. I alternate between mode 3 and 4 and transporting one child who weighs 21kg, I weigh 70kg. My friend who owns a “e-big” bike from Babboe even bought a second battery because she could not make the trip to school and back with her kids. Not ok.

I have emailed Babboe again (I have emailed them 8 times) I feel like a complainer, but when you pay almost 2.500euro’s for a bike, you expect it to work properly. Customer service is very unsatisfactory and while they are polite, they are evasive. They say they will get back but they do not and so I have spent a few hundred euro’s to date on reparation costs.

I am writing this post, review, because I am just so very upset about the quality of my bike, while it looks great. My brakes broke again two days ago, I have yet again a broken spoke and it is making a funny sound while driving, I am worried that it’s the motor. The key to the battery of the bike is so thin that it has been bent beyond use and I will have to get a new key made today, otherwise I will not be able to recharge the battery. I am a single mom on a very low income and I have no way to get it repaired again, let alone the money to buy a new one might this break down completely. It saddens me, I have really enjoyed driving it, my son loves it so much too and it has given us so much pleasure and freedom and I really need it, I just cannot do without and so I’m again praying for a miracle.

The pro’s:

  • It is very pretty to look at. Classy.
  • The finishings are much nicer than the cheaper models. Especially the “leather” handles.
  • The display is nice and easy and it’s digital, so you know how far you can still drive before the battery runs out.
  • The rain cover (not the poles) is cute and you have velcro on the top for stopping it to flap down while children are getting in or out. You can also roll up sides on warmer days. It has to be -20c degrees here before my son wants the sides closed though.
  • Comfy seat for the driver.

The con’s

  • The spokes, just the wheel in general is not strong enough for the cargobike according to two repair shops.
  • The battery. I know, I know that a battery looses it’s power the older it gets and by usage, but going from +-50km a year ago to 15km now…that’s ridiculous.
  • The rain cover polls break very easily.
  • The brakes…ugh, I find that the scariest.
  • The rear light is powered by battery. The two front lights are powered by four AAA batteries between them. It would be great if the front lights were powered by the battery or dynamo powered. The front lights don’t give much light, plus you need to slide them on and off, meaning that they also easily slide off by themselves. I have lost one like that.
Babboe red devil
I also like to pimp it up, here it is as a “red devil” in honour of Belgiums (euro)football team during the 2018 World Cup.

I want to again remind you dear reader, that this has been my experience. I am not technical, so I cannot comment on the motor, or stuff like that, I can only write about my experiences and how people have advised me. I advise you to do your re-search before buying your “bakfiets”. Go try some out or rent one for the day and even if you think that you would not be able to drive a two-wheeler bakfiets, try it out, it’s like riding a normal size bike. I wish that I had, because I know now which one I would have bought then knowing what I know now.

Do you have a cargobike? Which one? I would love to hear about your experiences.

 EDIT : 4 February 2019

Since writing this post about the Babboe e-curve cargo bike review, it has been shared around on social media and was the talk amongst my friends. My bike actually broke down, the crankshaft broke, leaving me in a bit of a predicament. But I am truly, truly blessed by all the wonderful people around me. People were texting me, asking if they could help with the groceries or if I needed them to bring my son to and from school. Then one mom in school even lent me her cargo bike!!! *happy dance* That was really a lifesaver for me. Thank you all again! Big love.

Now what happened next; Babboe contacted me through this blogpost and I finally got to speak to this very nice lady Aimée. She said that they (at Babboe) were very sorry for all the difficulties that I have been experiencing with the Babboe bakfiets and said that they will be sending me a technician who will hopefully be able to fix all the problems. A week later the technician came (again a very nice person who really enjoyed my coffee and cookies) and he made me a very happy mom again by :

  • replacing the whole rear wheel (due to the crankshaft)
  • new disk brake
  • new battery and charger
  • and tightened the brakes and bolts

For my lights, I can also visit a bike repair shop to get some new lights installed and Babboe will reimburse me.

So I practically have a new bike now, all done under warranty, thank goodness!!! We are again zooming all around town overjoyed by having our little piece of freedom back.

Thank you all for sharing my Babboe e-curve cargo bike review.

EDIT 15th of April 2019:

So, my cargo bike has again, started to make funny noises. I’m afraid it’s the motor or something. So Babboe has gracefully proposed to replace my bike. They only do this when there has been many issues with a bike.

I am very grateful for this, it helps me to be independent, gives great joy to my son and I and I can continue to get groceries myself without having to rely on other people. It makes a big difference in our lives.

So thank you again Babboe, your generosity humbles me and alters my perception.

Thank you re-posters and thank you dear friends for sharing this post of my Babboe e-curve cargo bike review.

Be blessed.

EDIT 9th of August 2019

I was a bit late with this update but I am very very happy to say that since writting my latest update:

That we have been so blessed by receiving a BRAND NEW Babboe cargo bike!

*Insert party ballons here*

The sweet (patient) lady who had been trying to help me sort out the problems with our previous bike realized that the problems that I had been experiencing with the cargo bike were really abnormal.

So we started a new adventure with a new e-curve. Since June we’ve had our new bike and I’m glad to say that we have not had any problems yet. I’m not going to lie, I seem to be waiting for something to happen, but that’s just me. If you know me and my life, you will know that it’s just something that stems from the very unconventional life that I’ve had up to now.

I’m loving it again and we have been traveling all around Antwerp visiting museums, going to parks, getting groceries done and now I’m planning a trip with the Ferry!

So even though we did not have much luck with our first Bike, Babboe really came through for us and I really stand by my opinion that they’re practical, beautiful, and damn fun to ride. They can haul everything from babies, to groceries, to large pieces of furniture. They make moving gear through traffic-choked cities faster, and more fun, than any big air polluting car. I’m totally smitten again!

Thank you Babboe and thank you all for reading and sharing my Babboe e-curve cargo bike review.

UPDATE: My Babboe cargo bike e-curve review

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  1. Dear Mim,

    We are so sorry to read that you have had such a disappointing experience with your Babboe Curve-E cargo bike. We would love to get in touch with you to learn more about your experiences. We’d really appreciate if you can send us an e-mail with your name, order number and telephone number and with reference to your blogpost. Hope to get in touch with you.

    Kind regards,

    Babboe

    (Aimée – customer satisfaction)