Chances are you may have seen this bike around a lot lately, and for good reason. It recently took home the "Best in Show" award at the prestigious Bespoked Bike Show in Germany just a couple of weeks ago. The first time I laid eyes on the "Doggo Cargo" was through Drust's Instagram feed, and I can honestly say I was utterly blown away. While there are numerous bike hacks out there for dog-carrying bikepackers, most are just that—a makeshift platform bolted onto a rack. What sets the "Doggo Cargo" apart is that it's the first-ever purpose-built "dogpacker" I've ever come across.
As I delved deeper into examining the bike, the intricate details started to emerge, further blowing my mind. From the exquisite brazing work to the complete set of 29er wheels and the Pinion gearbox, every aspect reveals solid decision-making and deep craftsmanship. Not to mention the extended and reinforced frame, which added to its dynamic personality. In fact, this marked the first time I had ever encountered a cargo bike without a 20-inch wheel on the front.
I've been a fan of Konstantin Drust's bikes for a couple of years now. His unique and purpose-built bicycles are not only visually stunning, but you can just tell they're an absolute blast to ride. Personally, I consider him one of the more intriguing bike builders out there, constantly pushing the new ideas and provocative design. I wanted to know more, so I reached out to him in hopes of spotlighting the "Doggo Cargo" and uncovering the process behind Drust's remarkable work.
What inspired you to create a cargo bike with a focus on dog transportation?
The inspiration for creating a cargo bike with a focus on dog transportation stems from my desire to enhance the bikepacking and overnighter experience with my dog, Adrián. He's a lively 1.5-year-old mix between a close friend's dog and a street dog. It's been about 8 years since I lost my last dog, and I've cherished the freedom that came with it. However, I couldn't resist taking in one of the puppies and embarking on this journey.
Certainly, I had concerns about cycling with a dog, especially on longer trips. But Adrián loves darting through the woods beside me and cozying up in a tent. When it comes to resting or safe transportation on roads, this cargo bike brings immense joy to both of us. The happiness it brings to him undoubtedly amplifies my own.
How long did this machine take to design and build?
That’s a bit tricky. I usually start with a rough concept and the overall frame geometry, allowing the design and build process to evolve organically, with ideas for the finer details emerging along the way. While I did need to invest some additional thought into the steering geometry and incorporating the Pinion housing into this project, the rear end design with the elevated chainstays is essentially inspired by a bike I constructed about four years ago.
As for the exact building time, it's a bit challenging to pinpoint, but if I had worked full days on it, I'd estimate it took approximately 1.5 to 2 weeks. I adapted the style of the chainstays from a fatbike I previously built, which allowed for exceptionally short chainstays and a low q-factor while accommodating 650bx3.8 tires.
Like most things Drust, this bike has a look. Where do your ideas flow from?
My inspiration draws from a multitude of sources. The bicycles I craft are born from my own cycling experiences and my passion as a cyclist. Essentially, I build the kind of bicycles I would have yearned for before I had the ability to bring them to life. While I believe that the design language of Drust Cycles has maintained a clear and consistent trajectory over time, it also continually evolves with new possibilities facilitated by new tools and machinery.
Ideas are often inspired by the work of other builders, both present and past. I also find inspiration in vehicles, architectural elements, and a wide array of objects that pique my curiosity.
A 29er cargo bike? Why not! I envisioned a setup where the front wheel effortlessly glides over obstacles rather than colliding with them. I also wanted it to be visible and not concealed beneath a platform. We don't know if we don't try.
Winning "Best in Show" at Bespoked is an amazing achievement. How do you feel?
Well, it’s heartfelt recognition of years of perseverance, numerous attempts, occasional failures, and the determination to keep pushing forward. It's accompanied by sincere congratulations and warm hugs from individuals and friends who share the same passion and dedication. Needless to say, I'm feeling exceptionally good and immensely grateful to everyone once again.
Can you share any challenges you faced in bringing this project to life?
One of the major challenges revolved around finding the time to bring this project to life. Devoting hours to a personal endeavor is always a significant commitment.
The idea for this bike initially arose when a friend, whose company had strong ties to Pinion, contacted me. He asked if I had a Drust bike equipped with a Pinion gearbox, but I didn't have one at the time. As our conversation unfolded, I shared my vision for this bike with him. To my surprise, my friend Alex immediately proposed building it with the Pinion gearbox. However, financing such a project personally was a daunting prospect.
That's when Alex stepped in and made it feasible. I am genuinely thrilled with his support and grateful for the assistance we received from the folks at Pinion, which ultimately enabled us to turn this project into a reality.
I want one... is the Doggo Cargo something we can get?
Certainly, the "Doggo Cargo" or "Howler Hauler" is something that can be made again. The experience of building it once has ignited a desire in me to recreate it, and this time, even better. By "better," I mean optimizing the construction process. Building something for the second time is generally more straightforward and efficient. While I have a few minor changes in mind for the design, the overall concept remains intact. For you, I would recommend the addition of couplers, which would facilitate its transportation across the pond.
Any other interesting project cooking up at Drust in the future?
Indeed, there's an exciting project on the horizon for Drust Cycles. I've recently been asked to build the first Drust cycle truck with 24" wheels. It's a project that truly excites me, and I'm looking forward to bringing it to life.