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I live in South America where we don't have substantial supply of modern two-wheeled cargobikes in the market at reasonable prices, so I think converting a tandem bike by dismounting the stoker seat would be a good idea to have more place to put saddle bags. Also it would deter thieves from taking my highly customized, weird and hard to sell bike.

What would be the advantages and disadvantages of such a conversion, compared to a cargo bike?

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    Asking what do you think makes it sound like purely opinion, which wont make it very far on this site. Consider rewording your question to something like what could be done to convert a tandem to a cargo hauler, and what possible advantages and disadvantages would there be. An interesting question though!
    – Nate W
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 23:40

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If you want to have a real cargo bike, e.g. an "inverse Bullit-style" the challenge will be structural integrity of your frame: you can't easily cut the 2nd diamond of your frame without risking to break the frame.

However, I don't see a problem with removing your back saddle, cutting/removing the back cranks and building a sturdy plywood/mdf cargo hold left and right of the frame/using bags to attach. You could still haul a ton of stuff but would have the frame in the middle. In fact, there are quite some people that have done this before.

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    I've seen this done even in places where modern cargo bikes are easily available - the builder just cut down the seat tube, removed the cranks, and installed a flat deck. Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 12:49
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I have tried doing family cargo bike with a tandem, and had real stability problems due to the high center of gravity and placement of the weight, see https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/151941

I found that putting a trailer behind a regular bike, while slower, is much more stable and maneuverable.

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