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What is the maximum allowed (cargo) weight for the Gazelle HeavyDutyNL (dutch)? This (german) store page suggests the max weight for driver+cargo+bike is 135kg; assuming an 80kg rider and 22kg bike would leave 32kg of cargo. This (german) Amazon review suggests 25/10 kg for rear/front rack, i.e. basically the same amount.

These numbers seem low for a steel bike that is marketed as "heavy duty", and the only advantage over e.g. an average aluminum trekking bike with the typical 25kg rear rack limit would be the additional 10kg for the front rack.

So, are these numbers accurate and does a reliably source exist?

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The limiting factor when it comes to durability and cargo on a “normal“ bicycle are the wheels. The Ryde Zac 19 rims used on this bike actually list “MAX. SYSTEM WEIGHT (KG): 110” in the specifications. They also don’t recommend it for “HIGH LOAD 130KG” usage. Though that seems to be a rather conservative estimate considering the weight, number of spoke holes and symmetrical rear wheel (possible because of the internal gear hub).

I think the 135kg limit is reasonable.

I think in daily usage the bad center of gravity of the cargo will be a much bigger problem than a lack of durability. The cargo is sitting very high and the middle of the rear rack is behind the rear axle. If you are loading the rear rack only the whole bike will tend to rear up.

So even if the bike had stronger wheels (e.g. tandem wheels) it would be quite unwieldy. At some point overheating of the brakes and lack of very low-speed gearing could become an issue.

To me it seems to be a very heavy bike without any real advantages. Other bikes like the Surly Long Haul Trucker can do the same at “just” 15kg of weight.

If you want to transport more cargo get a real cargo bike or a trailer.

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  • Yeah its hard to know if a rim/wheel loading spec is per rim or total, and whether its dynamic peak loads or static loads. – Criggie May 6 at 7:28
  • Okay thanks, the rim load is a good point. "To me it seems to be a very heavy bike without any real advantages." - at least it's inexpensive, has a comfortable upright sitting position and is low-maintenance (chain covers and internal-gear hub). – Erlkoenig May 6 at 8:12
  • @Criggie: Weight limits are always very vague. A maximum force vector, number of load cycles etc. would be more specific. But then nobody would know how that relates to real riding. To be fair I think they assume a two wheel bike with 110kg in total, so 55kg per rim, though the load distribution is not specified. From the recommended usage one can assume it’s for dynamic loads occurring during city or touring rides (very vague again). – Michael May 6 at 8:29
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    If you really want to carry heavy loads one of those Danish long-wheel-base bikes with the cargo-box in front of the rider would really be the best solution. And the centre of gravity is ideally situated. – Carel May 6 at 9:22
  • @Carel You're probably right; unfortunately these "Long John" bikes aren't really cheap and also unwieldy. They won't become a car-replacement for many people if they aren't needed a lot (e.g. once per week for groceries) to justify the expense, won't fit in an ordinary bike shed and you can get an old used car for less (okay, not counting fuel etc)... – Erlkoenig May 6 at 12:35
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If that's the manufacturer's recommended max weight, then that's it.

If you're looking for a "max weight" you could carry, then start loading it up. If you go too far, then its a bit less than that.

Also be aware static load maximums are always higher than dynamic loads. Just cos you can stack hundreds of kilograms on doesn't mean the bike will handle that while moving, and braking becomes quite sketchy when parameters are exceeded.


However, a real world example. I have a small kid's trailer, which is rated to 35 pounds or 18 kilograms of live load. I have carried two lead-acid UPSs, and weighed the whole trailer at 100 kilos when I got home.

The bike was hideous to ride - I was towing the trailer with my 20" folding bike, even at 15 gear inches it was an effort to get over any grades. And these grades were merely "crossing the crest of a road" at an intersection. At one point I had to ride up a half-metre high railway crossing, and it was horrible. Then, going down the other side was like a runaway rollercoaster. I also managed to barely avoid jackknifing the combination when stopping for a red light.

And for my efforts, I managed to subtly bend one of the stub axles on the trailer.

Upshot - the manufacturers recommended limits are what they set. While you can probably exceed them, all the risks and consequences are on you. I would not expect a warranty to be serviced if you routinely overload the bike.

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  • "If that's the manufacturer's recommended max weight" - that's the point, I can't find out what the manufacturer recommends, just the semi-reliable sources mentioned in the question. – Erlkoenig May 6 at 7:39
  • @Erlkoenig I just tried emailing customerservice@gazelle.nl to invite them to answer here and got "Message bounced due to organizational settings" which is disappointing. – Criggie May 6 at 10:40

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