I won't rehash what was discussed in the original post, but it was one person's strong opinion about various styles of cargo bikes and the quality of product offered. The original post has since been updated by Henry(blog owner) and commented ad naseum by several folks, some comments good, and some not so good. Like many sites and blogs with comments, things can quickly get nasty and people get really defensive about their decision of a bike.
The original post centered mostly around Josh's perspective on the quality and durability of the most popular cargo bikes available in Europe and the US. Some folks took offense to negative comments made about two relatively new but strong contenders in the space, Metrofiets and the Larry vs Harry Bullit. Since I don't have personal experience with either of these bikes I won't add meaningless comments. Josh didn't have much good to say about longtails, be they xtracycle conversions or the Yuba Mundo.
One thing that I feel was unaddressed in this conversation was perceived value, cost and growing adoption of cargo bikes in the US. Having been a recent consumer of a cargo bike in the US I thought I'd share my thoughts.
Some perspective: I am a bike geek. Really, a lot. In our 2-person home we own 8 bikes. 6 are mine, if you count the cargo bike that my wife also sometimes rides. I really, really like bikes, and would rather ride than drive whenever I can. So I am a basically a dream consumer for a cargo bike. We are also expecting in about a month so having a kiddo has played into my decision a desire for a cargo bike. All those things being said, a cargo bike was a big decision and a big expense. Yes, it is infinitely cheaper than a car, I don't need to be convinced of that. But writing a big check is writing a big check, no matter how you frame it.
Here's how I saw it. We wanted a bakfiets style bike so our little girl could ride up front. That eliminated a lot of the lower cost options (Mundo, xtra conversion, Ute, Big Dummy, etc). So I was presented with this:
Quickly drop $3,000+ plus on an entry level "real" bakfiets from Dutch Bike Co, Workcycles, etc. Spend at least that or easily more on a Bullit or Metrofiets.
Spend $1600-$1900 on a Joe Bike, a Chinese frame that has been well upgraded with good components. We have a garage, so the bike is kept inside and out of the elements.
As I have written before, we got the JoeBike, a decision I have been very happy with so far. To me it was a reasonable way to test the waters with a cargo bike. Also, I feel like I am going to get 90% of the value of a $3,000 bike for 60% of the cost. If, in a few years we decide we would benefit from a full size box or a higher quality frame build, we'll consider that.
Realistically, I think it would be very difficult for most folks in the US, even people who love bikes, to drop $3,000 on a cargo bike. I know that there are plenty of roadies who are willing to drop much more than that on the newest, lightest, stiffest CF creation, but we are a fickle bunch. Having a reasonably priced option for a frontloading cargo bike can help bring these bikes to more people. Personally I am glad there are $500 xtracycle conversions and $5,900 Metrofiets frontloaders. More people using their bikes for more stuff is a win, in my opinion.