Congratulations on your new Tribe Bike! When we launched Tribe Bikes we hoped that we’d get more families out and about turning every day errands into family adventures, and more. We’re stoked that you’ve joined our Tribe Family!
You’re probably excited to get out and about on your bike, but please take the time to read our getting started guide first. Your Tribe Bike is a little different to the bikes you’re probably used to, and to ensure your ride is as safe and fun as possible it’s important you read the below.
This guide contains important safety, performance and service information. Read it before you take the first ride on your new bicycle, and bookmark it for reference.
Like all sports, cycling involves risk of injury. When you ride a bicycle, you assume responsibility for that risk. You must therefore practice safe and responsible riding and proper use and maintenance of your bicycle.
This user guide assumes you understand the road rules in Australia and will abide by these rules when riding your bicycle.
Because it is impossible to anticipate every situation or condition which can occur while riding, this Manual makes no representation about the safe use of the bicycle under all conditions. There are risks associated with the use of any bicycle which cannot be predicted or avoided, and which are the sole responsibility of the rider.
A note for parents and guardians
As a parent you are responsible for your childrens’ actions when riding in your Tribe Bike. When carrying children, common sense rules of safe and responsible riding are imperative. Ensure children always remain seated, keep their arms and legs in the cart and of course always wear an approved helmet.
- Always wear an approved helmet when riding your bike, and follow the helmet manufacturer’s instructions for fit, use and care.
- Ensure all passengers, including children wear an approved helmet when riding on the bike or in the cargo box.
- Ensure children are harnessed in the cargo box using the provided seat belts.
- Ensure pets and cargo are safely secured in the cargo box.
- Cargo bikes handle differently to regular bikes, take it easy, particularly while getting used to the bike.
- Always use the provided parking brake when stopping your bike and loading/unloading children or cargo.
- Do not leave the battery on the bike when parking the bike in the sun for long periods of time, particularly in summer.
- Before each ride, ensure:
- The brakes are fully functional and adjusted properly.
- Tyre pressure is correct.
- Seat belts are functional and adjusted properly.
- There is no noise or burr from the gears, wheels or steering system.
Riding a 3 wheel cargo bike
Cargo bikes ride different to regular 2 wheel bikes. Not better or worse, just different!
We recommend you take your first ride in a quiet area with no passengers. Turn off the electric assist, or put it on its lowest setting, and familiarise yourself with the bike before riding with children, pets or in traffic.
Unlike a 2 wheel bike, a 3 wheel bike does not lean into corners. As a result, you must take corners slower than you would a normal bike. Not doing this will risk tipping the bike. Over time you will get a feel for how fast you can safely take corners, but always remember to take it easy.
On most corners, the regular camber of the road (sloping to the gutter) will help stabilise your bike, however turning into an off camber road requires particular care.
In the above image the road is heavily cambered and the rider is turning against the Camber. Take this turn slow and lean into the inside of the turn to reduce tipping risk. Ensure your load in the bike is evenly weighted.
Riding into driveways & ramps
The safest way to ride into a driveway is by facing it straight on. If you come into a driveway on an angle, the front wheels will hit the driveway slope at different times, this may cause the bike to unbalance and tip. By facing it straight on, both wheels will hit the slope of the driveway together.
A fully loaded Tribe Bike weighs 170kg (70kg for the bike and up to 100kg for cargo) plus the weight of the rider. This is over 10 times more weight than a regular bike. Just as a truck requires more distance to stop than a car, your Tribe Bike will require more distance to stop than a lighter weight bike.
With properly calibrated brakes, braking is perfectly safe, however some general common sense should apply:
- Don’t let the bike ‘get away from you’ going down hill. We recommend riding the bike no faster than 30km/h, and slower in traffic, windy roads and highly built up areas. When going down hill always have your bikes engaged and ride at a comfortable speed. If you feel uncomfortable going down hill, hop off your bike, hold the brakes and walk your bike down the hill.
- Take it easy on busy roads and shared cycleways. Always be mindful of that car who doesn’t see you and pulls out in front of you or the child who runs across the path. Remember the longer stopping distance and ride ‘defensively’.
Unlike a regular bike, there’s no risk of ‘going over the handlebars’ on a Tribe Bike when using the front brake. As a result, we recommend both front and rear brake be used with equal pressure in order to stop most efficiently.
If your bike ‘pulls’ to one side when using the front brake, this means one of the brakes on the front wheels is not properly calibrated. Have you’re brakes adjusted as soon as possible.
Correct riding position
You may be used to riding out of your seat/saddle to give you a bit of extra oomph, particularly when going up hills. This is an unsafe way to ride a 3 wheel cargo bike, as the bike does not tilt with your pedal stroke as a two wheel bike would.
Always stay seated when riding for safe operation.
Manouvering your bike
When you need to maneuver your bike in tight spaces, the simplest way to move the bike is by dismounting, picking up the back of your bike on the rack and turning your bike from the back. This avoids awkward 3 point turns.
Riding an e-bike
If you have the electronic version of the Tribe Bike, it is equipped with a 250w Hub Drive electric assist motor. These operate by sensing how much pressure (also known as torque) you are putting through the pedals, and automatically kicks in when it needs to. Most riders get comfortable with electric assist very quickly but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Here’s a few tips to get the most out of the electronics on an e-bike:
Use your gears
Its easy to forget about your gears when the electric assist is doing the hard work for you. However it is important that you use your gears as you would without electric assist, there’s 3 reasons why this is important.
- To prolong the life of your motor: Taking off in top gear is akin to taking off in your car in 5th gear. A lot of stress is put through the electric motor, so it should be avoided.
- So your battery lasts longer: The electric assist will be doing more work when kicking in at low speeds in a high gear. This will drain your battery quicker.
- To avoid ‘jolts’ on takeoff: If taking off in a high gear you will feel a ‘jolt’ as the electric assist kicks in. This can be dangerous particularly if you are trying to navigate a tight section of path or road. By starting in a low gear, you will avoid this jolt.
Change your electric assist based on your needs
Your Tribe Bike comes equipped with 6 electric assist levels. You may be tempted to put it in level 6 (the highest level there is) and be done with it. There’s no problems if you do this, but it will result in your battery running out quicker. Plus, you’ll miss out on one of the great benefits of cycling, fitness!
We dial our electric up and down as we need it. For flat cycleways, an assist of 1-2 is comfortable, for traffic light takeoffs we might crank it up to level 4, and for steep hills we’ll call on the maximum amount of assist.
Use your first few rides to get a sense for the assist levels, start low and work your way up. It won’t take long to get a feel for what works for you.
It’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of you new cargo bike. We’ve split this into 3 sections, The cockpit, the electronics & the cargo box
Your Tribe Bike is equipped with a rear caliper brake and dual front disk brakes. As per Australian standards these are controlled with the left lever for the rear brake, and right lever for the front brake.
The brake front brake lever (right side) includes an integrated parking brake. Use this when parking your bike and when loading cargo or children into the cargo box. Because your Tribe Bike has 3 wheels, it does not need a kickstand.
Ensure you release the parking brake before you begin riding.
Your bike is equipped with a 7 speed shifter. The top lever shifts the gears down (easier pedalling). The bottom lever shifts the gears up (harder pedalling).
This section covers the electronics and battery of the Electric Version of the Tribe Bike Original. If you own the non electric version, you can skip this section.
First, ensure your battery is fully charged. The battery is fully charged when the light on the charging cable turns from Red to Green. You can also check the battery level on the battery itself by pressing the small battery button. Green bars indicates a full charge
Slide your battery into the rear rack, push it all the way until you hear a click. Remove the key to ensure your battery is locked in position. Your bike comes with 2 keys, keep one in a safe spot, we do not supply spare keys if you lose them.
Turn the battery on with the on/off switch on the battery.
Turn the electric assist on at the control panel by pressing and holding the power button.
Your electric assist is ready to go! refer to the next section for what options are available on the control panel.
Electric Assist Levels
Your bike has 6 levels of electric assist, 1 providing the least assist and 6 providing the most. Higher levels of electric assist will make pedaling the bike easier but will drain your battery faster. Here’s a guide on how we like to use our electric assist in order to get the most out of the battery and make the bike comfortable to ride:
Level 0: No electric assist will be provided but the control panel will remain active allowing you to use the speedometer and trip meter.
Levels 1-2: Use for flat cycleways. Comfortably ride at 14-18km/h
Levels 3-4: Use for fast traffic light starts and most hills. Comfortably ride up hills at 12-14km/h and on flat paths at 16-20km/h
Levels 5-6: Use for steep and long hills. Ride up steep hills at 8-12km/h and flat paths at 18-24km/h
Once you reach 25km/h the electric assist will cut out, it will not re-engage until your speed is less than 25km/h.
Your bike comes with Walk Assist, which is a handy feature to help push your bike if you need to get off and walk it, eg to push your bike up your driveway. With Walk Assist enabled the electric motor will push the bike at 6km/h without you needing to pedal.
To enable walk assist press and hold the ‘+’ button for 3 seconds. Walk assist will automatically disengage when you stop pressing the + button.
Only use Walk assist when you have dismounted the bike.
For longevity of your battery and safe operation, there’s some important things you must do:
- Remove the battery from the bike when parked in the sun for long periods of time. The heat from the sun can damage your battery and even cause it to explode. It is important that you do not leave the battery in the sun.
- Turn off the battery at the switch when not using your bike.
- Do not leave the battery on charge for more than 8 hours. Leaving the battery on charge for excessive periods of time can damage the battery.
- Charge your battery regularly. Modern Lithium Ion batteries do not need to be fully run down before you re-charge them. In fact regular ‘top up’ charges are better for your battery, just like how you charge your mobile phone.
Your bike comes with a front and rear light.
The front light is controlled by pressing the power button on the electronic controller once (pressing and holding the button will turn your electric assist off).
The back light is controlled by pressing the light button on the battery. The back light has 2 modes, solid light and flashing. We recommend flashing to be able to be better seen at night.
It was likely the cargo box that encouraged you to buy a Tribe Bike! Here’s what you need to know about using your cargo box.
Weight limits & Safe cargo carrying
The cargo box is rated to carry a maximum of 100kg.
When loading your cargo box:
- Ensure weight is evenly distributed across each side of the cart to minimise risks of tipping around corners.
- Ensure cargo is safely secured inside the cargo box.
- If an adult is riding in the cargo box, ensure they sit on the bench closest to the rider, to ensure safe steering.
Benches can be easily removed to enable you to fit more cargo or dogs.
Removing the front bench
The front bench can be removed by unscrewing the two screws that attach the bench to the box.
Removing the rear bench
The rear bench can be removed by unclipping the storage door and sliding out both the storage door and the bench.
The rear cargo box comes equipped with lockable under seat storage. This is a great spot to store valuables while you stop and generally keep cargo off the floor of the cart.
The storage box can be locked by simply attaching a padlock (not supplied by Tribe Bikes) to the clasp. A lock with a diameter of 6mm or less will fit.
Correct Bike Fit
Tribe Bikes have been designed with a relaxed geometry allowing riders of almost any height to comfortably ride the bike.
For comfortable and safe riding there are a couple of adjustments you can make, as outlined below:
Using the quick release seat post clamp, adjust the height of the seat post so that your leg has a slight bend on the bottom of the pedal stroke.
Seat height too low
Seat height too high
Seat height correct
Fitting a seat for shorter riders
The minimum height for comfortable and safe riding with the included comfort seat is 5’2″ (157 cm). Shorter riders can still ride the bike by swapping out the included comfort seat for a more traditional bike seat. This will allow the seat post to drop lower (the springs on the comfort seat hit the rear rack when fully lowered) and also reduce the height of the seat itself. These seats are not provided by Tribe Bikes but can be purchased from a bike store.
Using the four quick release clamps on the handlebars, you can adjust the height of the handlebars for a position that is most comfortable for you. We recommend adjusting them to a height that reduces the amount you need to lean forward to reach the bars.
Safely carrying kids, dogs & cargo
The cargo box can safely carry 4 children as long as their total weight is under 100kg. You can add a 5th child to the rear rack carrier with an approved child seat. Refer to manufacturer instructions for installation of a rear rack carrier.
All children must wear an approved helmet when riding in a Tribe Bike.
Larger children can climb into the cargo box themselves by placing their foot on the steel bar that encloses the front wheel and their other foot on the tread plate above the fender.
Once in the cart, attach the seat belt by:
- Lengthening the straps to the child’s size. Pull the slack in the straps tight.
- Cross straps over back.
- Link the two straps together using the male and female connectors.
- Clip the straps into the latch.
- Optionally attach the chest strap.
For large dogs, remove the front seat, allowing them to comfortably sit in the cart.
If you have purchased our dog securing ring, ensure the lead is short enough to not allow the dog to get out of the cart and clip your dog lead on to the dog ring.
With 100kg load capacity, adults can ride in the cargo box, so long as the combined weight of the adult and any other cargo is under 100kg.
Adults must be seated on the rear bench to ensure the bike remains stable when riding.
Evening your load
To ensure your bike remains well balanced when riding, it is important that weight is reasonably well distributed across the width of the bike. For example, Do not place 2 children on the same side of the bike, and if carrying bigger and smaller kids, ensure the relative weights are reasonably well balanced across the bike’s width.
If you are only carrying a single child we recommend seating them on the right side of the bike to better balance the bike on heavily cambered roads.
Storing & Securing your bike
Storing your bike
Your bike should be stored undercover, preferably indoors. If you are unable to store your bike undercover or indoors, we recommend an outdoor cover, available from our store.
Damage incurred as a result of leaving your bike uncovered in the elements will not be covered under warranty.
Securing your bike
Don’t compromise on security! Cheap locks are easily broken or cut by thieves.
The best locks for bikes a ‘U locks’, secured to the bike on the down tube, below the seat stays and secured to a steel pole.
If you prefer a cable lock, go with a reputable brand, such as Kryptonite.
Mechanical Safety Checks
All bikes require maintenance, in our essential maintenance section we’ve outlined the regular maintenance activities, many of which can be completed yourself. At a minimum we recommend the following checks and maintenance be carried out:
Some argue the most important service you can complete is the first one. After your first month or so of riding, your bike will have ‘bedded in’. As a result some parts need to be tightened and adjusted for safe operation. Don’t skip the first service. We recommend this be undertaken by a professional, see below for our network of Mobile Bike Mechanics.
Before every ride
The following should be checked before every ride:
- Tyre Pressure: Ensure tyres are properly inflated. The rear tyre should be inflated to 60psi, and the front tyres 40psi. All tyres lose pressure over time, so low tyre pressure does not necessarily mean you have a puncture.
- Check that front and rear brakes are properly functioning, adjust if necessary.
- Check that gears are shifting properly, adjust if necessary.
- Check all lights are functioning if riding in the dark.
- Ensure there’s no strange noises coming from the bike.
Every 4 weeks or 200kms, whatever comes first
The following should be checked or completed every 4 weeks or 200km, whichever comes first:
- Lubricate your chain.
- Wipe down and clean frame.
- Check for loose spokes. Tighten if necessary.
- Ensure your wheels are true. True wheels if necessary.
- Check cranks are tight. Tighten if necessary.
- Clean out the cargo box.
Every 6 months or 1,000kms, whatever comes first
the following should be completed every 6 months or 1,000, whichever comes first:
- Check Brake and Brake pads. Your brake pads may be due for replacement, or your brakes may need some more complex adjustments made.
- Replace brake and gear cables.
- Check your tyre tread. It may be time to replace your tyres.
- Examine your chain and replace if worn or stretched.
- Check and tighten all bolts and screws.
Need a bike mechanic? We can help
Cargo bikes aren’t necessarily the easist bikes to get to a bike shop and many shops simply don’t have the space to store and service them. As a result we’ve partnered with Mobile Bike Mechanics, an Australia wide network of bike mechanics who will come to you.
Simply find your local mechanic, get in touch and tell them you have a Tribe Bike. They’ll provide you with a quote and arrange a time convenient with you to complete your servicing.