First of all, the 2X4 is indeed a hauler. It can schlep up to 100 lb (45 kg) on its front-located cargo bed. According to NTS, the way in which the load is centered over the 24-inch front wheel – along with its patented steering system – allows for “the best possible balance, handling and maneuverability in tight urban environments.”Cargo bikes are nothing new, nor are electric-assist bikes, nor even two-wheel-drive models. NTS Works’ 2X4 Cargo Bike is definitely unique, however, in the way that it combines all three.
Secondly, it does also provide riders with electric pedaling assistance via a hub motor. There are three levels of assistance, that automatically kick in as the rider’s pedaling resistance increases. One charge of the rebuildable 36-volt 500-Wh lithium-ion battery pack (which has a lifetime warranty) is reportedly good for about 30 miles (48 km) of “real world” riding. It takes four hours to recharge.
The 250-watt motor, however, is what allows the bike to get away with being described as a two-wheel-drive. That’s because the motor is built into the front wheel, whereas the rider’s pedaling action – as is the case with most other bikes – powers the 26-inch rear wheel. It does so via a Gates Carbon belt drive.
Anyhow, it may not be human-powered full-time 2WD, but both wheels do indeed receive power as long as the electric assist feature is being used. How much this may actually help with traction and/or steering is anyone’s guess, although it certainly can’t hurt.
The 2X4 additionally features a double kickstand, a sealed 8-speed Shimano Alfine hub transmission, and an adjustable-height handlebar stem. The whole bike, including its battery, tips the scales at 68 lb (31 kg).
The bike also comes with a bit of pedigree, as it was created by Neal Saiki, the founder of Zero Motorcycles. It was recently on display at the Eurobike trade show, and is soon to be the focus of a Kickstarter campaign. Its planned retail price is US$4,800.