Madsen Bike: Should you buy it?
This post is long overdue. Since you may have heard that a new bike is in the works lets talk about bikes I have ridden.
Should you buy a Madsen? Well, that would really depend right?
First, how often do you plan to use it? Will you be biking on lots of hills? What kind of load will you be schlepping?
My needs are not necessarily the same as a family living in Ballard or Wedgwood. We don't own car and really have no plans for buying one. On occasion we have to carry large stuff and most recently we have made some really funny pit-stops at Cash n' Carry. I have to get from the Rainier Valley up to the University District and then back home five days a week. I can easily rack up at least 20 miles each weekday.
I want a bike that will be a multitasker. We had the Burley trailer for a long time and still get use out of it despite the fact that it looks pretty beat up. I have schlepped all sort of stuff in that thing, including some compost. We even moved from one house to another by stuffing it.
The Madsen has the potential to make a mean Costco run without kids. What I don't like about the bucket is that the inside should have some way to attach bungee cords. I found myself using the seat belts to make sure my load didn't tip out all over Rainier Ave. I kinda felt like I was constantly playing a tetris game with my stuff and trying to secure it. It would be nice if it had holes. Yes, holes.
Once you have loaded your kid cargo it doesn't leave much room for the other stuff. Kids come with an assortment: backpack, water bottle, lunch box, sweater/jacket. This is the bare minimum but what if a kid has a diorama, well you better get your friend with a car to bring it to school for you.
|Far in the distance: Safeco Stadium|
Noise: This bike made so much noise while I was riding it. I would attribute it to the kickstand. I don't know if every bike has this problem but even deaf people could hear me coming and I seriously mean it because we bike passed the Services for Blind and Deaf multiple times.
The front disc breaks made a ton of noise. After riding the Bullitt I am guessing that this is not normal. Plus, the front disc breaks looked cheap. I don't know, that's just me.
Repairs: This is the worst part. I talked to people at two different bikes shops and was told that the components are cheap. One of the shops did multiple repairs on two different Madsens. If your back wheel gives out and you need a new one you will have to have your shop hunt high and low to find the wheel. The second bike shop told me that Madsen does not have a good warranty policy. I don't think the guys at this shop were trying to poo the bike but if a family has to pay for constant repairs it doesn't seem like a good investment. In general, a good bike shop is trying to help you and not suck money out of your wallet and I truly believe what I was being told about the bike.
My other consern was how the load was being supported. As you can see on the blue Bullitt the load is supported by a frame.
Here is the bottom of the Madsen. That's it. Humm, this would make me nervous. How long are those bolts going to last in a plastic bucket?
|Up on Capitol Hill, Trader Joe's|
If the bucket can somehow break apart after a while it makes me scared. Now, I am not saying that Madsen is a horrible bike. I actually met a family who seemed reasonably satisfied with their bike. They did have to do plenty of repairs but the bike was going on year 3. In theory the bike is a nice idea. I had some problems with the kids moving and feeling that it made me off balance.
So, before you go off and buy this bike take a look at all your options be nit picky and ask to put "fake" cargo in it so you get a good idea and if you are in Seattle attempt a couple of good hills. In the picture above the bike is parked on Madison and 17th Ave., outside Trader Joe's of Capitol Hill.