Velovision’s cargobike test is up on the web. It is a very good review of the Madsen, IMO. I don’t think he’s right about it being an adapted tandem frame. I think he’s confused by the seatube type arrangement for the stand. He’s noted a number of short comings, but nailed that the essential design is very good, and that for a modest price rise, the bike could be transformed. Having swapped the awful OEM tires for Schwalbe Marathons and the saddle for a Brooks B67, I agree. Quite honestly, if I had to sell my bakfiets and only ride my wife’s Madsen, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. I also agree that hub gears would be lovely too, as would a frame lock and a dynohub… suddenly the price rises into bakfiets.nl cargobike territory, which has all those (except the Brooks, but the v.cheap Selle Royal saddle is incredibly comfy for the price), plus a far superior stand and all stainless steel fittings.
IMO, the Madsen does well to avoid competing directly with the bakfiets.nl. The bakfiets has everything sorted – every conceiveable child seat arrangement, larger volume carrying capacity, a full chainguard, a huge rear rack, etc, whereas we’re making our own hood, and we’ve had to hack a child seat to get it to fit. What the Madsen brings to the party is flawless normal bike handling (no shimmying on my wife’s bike), pretty looks and a low price. Also, it is small enough for someone 5’2 to ride, whereas I suspect 5’5 is the bottom end for a bakfiets. Sure, if Azor made version of the long bike layout with all the trimmings would be wonderful. It would also probably cost £1800.
I think Julian from Totcycle summed it up in his review. The Madsen is being reviewed by bike geeks who are “used to debating the finer points of a $2000-3000 Big Dummy build, is naturally going to have issues with the components and build quality on a $1299 mainland China-built cargo bike”. My wife is over the moon with her Madsen, much as I remain delighted with my bakfiets.