Wooden boxes, metal boxes…​
Why choose an ABS box for your cargo bike?

Trois roues qui changent tout

How to choose the right box for your cargo bike?​

Wood, metal, ABS… Benefits and drawbacks of the different types of materials available.

When you invest in a cargo bike for professional use, the choice of material for the cargo bike box is essential. Metal, wood, plastic or resin? The answer depends, of course, on the use of this key part of the cargo bike. Transport of goods, services or food, …: each has its pros and cons.

Above all, metal provides a guarantee of solidity and resistance to repeated internal or external shocks. A professional use that requires, for example, the regular transport of heavy and blunt parts (toolbox, ironwork) can justify the choice of a metal box. The major drawbacks are weight (even aluminium has twice the density of plastic) and, above all, a design limited by the assembly of flat surfaces, unless you use the (expensive) services of a boilermaker. A metal box will therefore remain limited to very specific professional uses.

The wooden box is used by several manufacturers of cargo bikes and trikes. Light, easy to assemble, aesthetic when only varnished or stained, it also enjoys an “ecological” image that appeals to many family transport enthusiasts. However, its professional use in the manufacture of cargo bikes remains limited. Fragile, difficult to repair after an impact, a crack or a breach, it is also sensitive to bad weather (watertightness, gaps in the assembly) as well as to temperature variations. Moreover, in professional use, its customisation possibilities (painting, logotyping) mean that it loses the advantage of its ecological image… adding danger when damaged (splinters, etc.) or worse, bursting in the event of an impact.

Vélo cargo électrique professionnel Bluemooov Clipper Pro
Vélo cargo électrique triporteur professionnel Bluemooov Clipper Open
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At Bluemooov, to make the bodies of our cargo bikes,

we have chosen ABS because of its many qualities

Chemically, ABS plastic (for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) belongs to the family of thermoplastic terpolymers. It combines the properties of its three components: the hardness and high resistance to heat or corrosion of acrylonitrile, the impact resistance and toughness of butadiene, and the high surface gloss, easy colouring and processability of styrene.

For all these reasons, ABS has become the noble material of thermoforming. It is now the most widely used material in 3D printer modelling. It is also widely used in the automotive industry. For example, it was used more than 50 years ago in the construction of the Citroën Mehari, whose performance in terms of the longevity of the body no longer needs to be demonstrated. But it is also found in the electronics and electrical industries, in communication accessories (telephones, tablets), office furniture and also, very frequently, in the sanitary equipment sector (furniture and accessories). In all these areas, its popularity is due in particular to its good resistance to impact, its longevity, its lightness and also its very accessible cost. 

The body of a cargo bike is a particularly exposed part of the vehicle. To internal shocks, on the one hand, when transporting goods or heavy equipment in a professional and intensive context. External impacts, either when handling materials or tools near the tricargo, or due to the hazards of road traffic… The choice of ABS, rather than metal or wood, as the material for the body is fully justified here by its ease of repair. ABS softens at 90°C and melts at 180°C and is easy to work with at around 230°. Depending on the repair task, these temperature ranges are ideal for sealing a crack or filling a hole in the casing after a damaging impact. However, its excellent absorption and impact resistance qualities mean that repairs can usually be avoided…

Vélo cargo électrique professionnel Bluemooov Ketch Pro
Vélo cargo triporteur électrique professionnel Bluemooov Ketch Pro
Trois roues qui changent tout

ABS boxes for our professional cargo bikes:

the choice of a material that is easy to maintain and recycle.

Vélo cargo électrique professionnel Bluemooov Clipper Pickup
Vélo cargo électrique professionnel Bluemooov Clipper Pickup
In terms of maintenance, it is also the ideal material for professional cargo bike use. Unlike many other plastics, metal or wood, ABS is particularly resistant to alkalis, grease, petrol and other substances that are aggressive to many materials. While some types of polymers can melt or discolour on contact with them, ABS withstands their influence long enough for cleaning to be sufficient to remove them without leaving traces. Of course, regular cleaning of the box, both internally and externally, is also very easy.​

Finally, even if it does not enjoy the same ‘green’ image as raw or varnished wood, ABS offers some very satisfying environmental qualities that are not well known. Unlike thermoset plastics, and thanks to its low melting point, ABS does not burn: it melts and turns to liquid. As it cools, it returns to its solid state (and can therefore be worked on during this period). Better still, it can be reheated as many times as necessary. This makes it much more efficient than thermoset plastics which can only be heated once. This property of being able to reheat and melt ABS over and over again makes it a great candidate for recycling. And an excellent material for the environment. In addition, ABS is non-toxic, which is why it is used in toys and many familiar everyday objects.

For all these reasons, and after carefully studying the different materials that could have been used, all the bodies of our Bluemooov cargo bikes are made from high-quality ABS plastic, ensuring comfort of use and long life…

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