Monday, January 26, 2009

Yuba Mundo - wow...

Nickie and I swung over by a friend's place this last weekend who's starting up a local Yuba distribution channel. He's another avid bike lifestyle advocate with kids and all.

He's been using an xtracycle for awhile now as his primary car replacement, but was considering a big dummy to upgrade the capacity and handling characteristics, but not long after he decided not only to go for a Yuba Mundo instead, but also to give it a go at starting up a side business to help folks get over the car habit by selling relatively inexpensive car replacement cargo bikes and an e-assist as an option.

Hence his new business. He got his first Yuba in last week and consequently we stopped by to check it out. All my wife and I could both say was "wow...". First I took it for a real brief spin around the block and was thoroughly impressed with how smooth and efficient the ride was. I was actually say it was better than the Big Dummy. Then I had my friend hop on the back and took another spin. Absolutely no flex at all. I stopped back by his driveway and asked my wife to hop on as well. Even at this point there was no flex at all!!! As soon as I was above 5 mph they might as well not have been there. We love our Big Dummy and are truly grateful for how it has facilitated this lifestyle, but I must say after that test ride and me riding passenger for my wife to get a sense, plus a couple hours looking over the bike, this thing is in a whole nother league when it comes to carrying consistantly larger loads.

Our base weight with the llama is around 85-90lbs when you include the two kids, kid seat and diaper bag. with that load, the big dummy is certainly better than the xtracycle kits I've ridden, but its not hard at all to induce flex on the frame. With the Yuba, I had over 300lbs of payload and there was still no perceptable flex. Despite this bomber rigidity, the real suprise was just how smooth it is to ride. I was truly the silkiest ride I've ever felt on a bike, yet not slow at all for a cargo bike.

This may come as shock to many, but we are now plotting our move to a Yuba from the Big Dummy. The way that it handles the heavier weight, plus the larger cargo area in the rear, thoroughly won us over. I must admit that I also love that it comes with a proper seat tube angle for a cargo bike right out of the box.



WheelDancer said...

It looks bomb-proof but I'm thinking a cargo bike needs disc brakes...

SiouxGeonz said...

Wow ... I love the chain guard! (and... and...)

The Stouts said...

I'll definitely be modifying the frame and fork to take disc brakes, but thats a rather small thing, especially compared to the relative strengths of this bike.

The main things that impressed us were the stoutness of the frame, cargo rack and the larger platform, cargo area.

To put into perspective how much less flex there is. Surly will be the first to admit that you must run a chain tensioner if running with a gear hub, and its not because they couldn't put slotted dropouts on it or and eccentric bb, but because there's just too much flex to properly tension the chain without having it go taught/slack and either snapping or derailing.

Yuba has slotted drops and sells a single speed version which does without a chain tensioner even with the payload capacity being twice that of the big dummy.

This does all come with a certain amount of weight, but its a tradeoff we're very willing to make.

MN_homesteader said...

How will you modify the rear frame to take disk brakes or are there mounts already?

The Stouts said...

from looking at the frame I don't think it would be unreasonable to find a spot where I could weld on a disc tab.

For the front, I'm torn between modifying the stock fork that comes with it and using an instigator fork I've got sitting in a box in my garage. I'm less concerned about how it would affect the handling, but I do appreciate how easy it is to foot down on this bike so am not so sure about raising the front end up.

I know there are lots of rigid forks out there, but I want something very much on the overbuilt end of the spectrum, and most of those seem to have suspension corrected geometry.

randy said...

Hey Buddy,
Glad you enjoyed the ride, and thanks for spreading the word. I had a nice visit with a really cool dude today who is a prospective new Yuba Owner; all thanks to you and your blog.
Oh, and I just put my shimano 105 triple ring on my personal Yuba Mundo (aka "Big John"), man does it look Sweet.
Thanks Again Buddy
I Like Bike
Yuba Mundo Dealer

Vik said...

How does the Yuba gear range work for you? The max is a 6 speed no? Will that be enough or are you going to upgrade that somehow?

The Stouts said...

Yeah, I'll be upgrading the drivetrain. Haven't decided on the exact course of action, but there's nothing particularly unusual about the Yuba that prevents modification.

I'm leaning towards building up a phil wood tandem rear wheel with appropriate spacing for the frame and running a triple up front. using our current bar end shifters on Paul thumbies to actuate it all.

Honestly even where the disc brakes are concerned, a good set of v-brakes are perfectly fine for a loaded cargo bike, even a lot of high end touring tandems come with them, its the drag brake functionality on the mountain descents during summer rides that makes me want the Santana tandem disc brake on there.

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting about the wonderful yuba mundo. this bike isn't getting enough attention, at least based on our experience with it down here in denver.

there are only five things that stood out as negatives (have had ours for about 7 months now?), which is really cool, because everything else is over-the-top positive!

-wheels needed serious truing upon arrival after shipment
-chain guards are wonderful, but the yuba's is pretty dumb
-the front reflector bracket is well designed to handle the beating it will take, but it just shouldn't be mounted that way. i see you took yours off, too!
-the seat! ugh! it's cozy enough if you coast down the block, and we know the yuba mundo creators were focusing on function at a cheap price, but the seat has to be swapped out for any serious riding.
-six speed was just blue, and we hate blue. are jealous of those who might now be buying green ones.

what an awesome machine. my youngest daughter can haul her brother-who-is-in-college-and-six-foot-two around denver (the main hill up capitol hill gave her a problem though). we can haul five or six full boxes of books, an air conditioner, and miscellaneous other stuff on top with no problem (don't underestimate the weight of books in boxes).

again, thanks for providing another nice review of this bike we love so much...

The DINKs said...

Pretty cool, and good to know that your friend is relatively local to Boulder.

I may be in the market to replace my X-kit-on-Trek-7300 with something more sturdy. It has always irked me that bid dummies don't come in a frame that is quite small enough for me, so this may be the answer. Of course, I may also hold out for disc brakes and better gear ratios. I have a lot of hills I need to go up....and down!

Anonymous said...

Hay Anthony, I recently put a Dura Acs Triple ring on my Yuba. You gotta come ride it, it is so sweet. I hauled my daughter and all of our stuff 10 miles out to her school at an average speed of 14 mph, and 16 on the way back with out her (the wind was blowing). I love having a triple ring. I thought I would mention this as I saw someone on here talking about gear ratio upgrade, I can do a lot with the crank to make a sweet bike even sweeter. Custom paint is an option as well. Thanks for letting me shamlessly promote my Business,the Yuba, and for helping to spread the word.

Joe said...

I own a Mundo Yuba and love it. Here's a smattering of posts about it on my blog:

Mogolife said...

Great read. We are exploring going car-free and curious aout differences betweeen such bikes as the xtracycle and yuba. I don't know yet how much of a load we could end up carrying, especially as we are thinking of one longtail and one regular bike for a trailer. How important is it to consider the flex when carrying a load?

The Stouts said...

The frame flex thing really depends on how regularly you're planning on carrying heavier loads.

If you're really considering going car free, then odds are you're going to be making heavier use of a longtail than most consumers. Just picture transporting EVERYTHING you used to by car, and it begins to answer the question. While it is true that you will adjust your lifestyle to an extent the reality is that you’ll still end up portaging a lot of things by bike.

The frame flex or lack thereof on the Yuba even when carrying loads up around 200lbs, just means that its far less hair raising than an xtracycle. Xtracycles and big dummies are awesome things and make for a very complete package that is capable of quite a lot, but I think its day to day weight limit before it gets annoyingly squirrely is 100-120lbs on the rear. It will certainly do it, but it just requires more attention and from those I know who've used the kit version heavily in the day to day will usually develop cracks in the frame. FWIW, we're adding the Yuba and keeping our Big Dummy, as both bikes have their places, and multiple cargo bikes can only help :)

I was very skeptical of the Yuba mostly due to its stated base weight, but after riding one, and thinking about 15lbs in the grand scheme of things when we're typically carrying 100lbs of kids, and stuff, its strengths far outweighed the weaknesses. Besides we’re going to the model of electric assists on the cargo bikes which promptly makes up for the weight, while maintaining all the strengths of the Yuba.

Do be aware that while Yuba and its associated aftermarket dealers are working hard at fleshing out the product line, there is still a lot of DIY required to make the Yuba fully useful. My wife and I like making things so that was less of a concern, but for some folks it could and should be a consideration. But from what I’m seeing coming down the line Yuba is anything but static and there will be new options and improvements all the time.

Anonymous said...

I have recently purchased one too. I am quite happy. I wrote elsewhere, the options for me were:
1- Big dummy
2- Xtracycle free radical kit to convert my old MTB
3- Yuba Mundo
4 - Others like bakfiets & box-bikes, trailers and such

I went with Yuba Mundo because :

option (2) required construction and I am mechanically impaired, I did not know enough Spanish to explain everything to LBS to get it done there. Also, my wife is a lot shorter than me and I would be the only rider. Option (3) costs nearly same anyway and is a more solid bike.

option (1) is >1500 euros, way too expensive for me. and I would still be the only rider because of its size.

option (4) was interesting but I decided against box-bikes and most were too expensive. trailers could have been a good options, we could have attached them to either of our bikes. but then, they are wider and I am always worried about climbing bridges and such with them. with long-tails, the width is nearly the same as a regular bike.

option (3), yuba mundo was nearly fully assembled, it was 26 euros for shipping, available in many countries, 540 euros at that point by a bike store in Spain. it can be used by myself and my wife by just adjusting the seatpost. drawback is that it is not a top of the line bike in terms of its components, it is also less popular so less accessories than xtra cycle & big dummy. it is a heavy bike so I am not sure I can board trains with it etc. it does the job for me though. In fact, it works really well. I love it. I was also lucky that I got the 6 gear one for same price as the single-speed one. well worth it.

I had to fiddle a lot with the chainguard. It is really poorly attached and there was only one gear where the chain did not touch it. I ended up taking it to a LBS which made a piece of metal to raise and move it away from the chain. for 3 euros.

it really should come with a nice kickstand. I bought a dual- and center-kickstand for 15 euros. Not as usable as some that I see on the web but does the job.

My mother-in-law is now working on a custom, xtra-cycle free-loader-like attachment for that. I will post pictures if it works out well. Right now, I attach a gym-bag side way on one side, and I attached a cardboard box on the other I side when I need it.

Jim said...

The Yuba is a viable every day bike. I do regular 35 to 50 km runs with 2 to 3 kids on the back. OK with no hills, and park stops so the kids can play on the slides, but with no real issues... Check us out on ;

Carl said...

I've yet to see a Yuba Mundo "in person" but I've done a lot of reading and internet surfing, trying to decide on the best cargo bike for electric assist. I've finally settled on the Mundo but I'm still undecided about which electric system to use, so I'm quite curious about your own plans?

I plan to use the Mundo for serious hill climbing on gravel mountain roads, hauling no more than 75 pounds of cargo -- camping and photography gear.

The most tempting system I've found so far is from Australia -- the Elation 500 watt with NiMH batteries. My second choice, much less expensive but also not as high quality, is a Cyclone, also a "mid drive". Both of these are similar to a Stoke Monkey but not as pricey.

I'm not an experienced bike rider but presently have a Trek hybrid with a BMC rear hub -- a great electric assist combination, especially for paved roads.

What do you think of adding a Nuvinci "infinite" hub to the Mundo?

North Cascades, WA

Anonymous said...

I have a cyclone 500W on my normal mountain bike. It works very well, especiall on hills. -But it is noisy!
I am planning to buy a yuba and put the cyclone on there in combination with a SRAM dual drive.
If you do not ahve to climb hills >30% I think the set up at on a mundo are also very good.
Once the cyclone is fitted I will let you know.

Anonymous said...

I have a cyclone 500W on my normal mountain bike. It works very well, especiall on hills. -But it is noisy!
I am planning to buy a yuba and put the cyclone on there in combination with a SRAM dual drive.
If you do not ahve to climb hills >30% I think the set up at on a mundo are also very good.
Once the cyclone is fitted I will let you know.

Mark said...

Watch out because the new Yuba Frame is ovalized and is too wide for the Cyclone and Elation mounting kits in the standard location in front of the crank. I'm thinking about trying to mount the Elation kit behind the seatpost ad the mundo looks to have plenty of room there.

Carl said...


Which Elation do you plan to use?

mark said...

I am using the 200watt Elation system (due to Australian Power Limits). I have finally got the frame and elation kit in one place and a test fit shows it does fit....Just! Not final yet and have not tried under power (a few weeks away probably) but it looks very positive. I will post some pics on my new blog soon.

Also a mid mounted cyclone system (with a dual flywheel as often used on recumberants) looks like it could be a very neat solution.

I like the idea of a chain driven system as unlkie hubs they use the bikes gears.

andy said...

Hi Guys,

We've had our Yuba's for about a year now in Central Victoria Australia and have made many mod's to them because we carry cargo on touring trips that are over 70 - 100Km indistance. The mod's we've made include the manufacture of an Electric Assist Push Trailer, the 'Watt-Bot', which you can check out here:

We've also added a new triple front crank along with a six speed 'mega-range' MTB rear. We'll have photo's up shortly. We also lightened the rear end considerably by making new alloy cargo racks, lost about 6 kilo's off the bike weight!

We also had the panniers custom made by Ron D Swan in Castlemaine, Vic.


andy said...

Sorry, that should have been a 7 speed rear end!

yuba said...

Check out the upgrades to the newest Yuba Mundo. 21 speeds, lighter yet stronger frame, nicer seat, disc brake mounts (there's even a disck brake kit on the web) and guess what? We 're introducing an electric motor kit!

andy said...

Hi Yuba,

Would love to know more about the disc brake kit and whether its can be retro'd to the version 1 Yuba's. Unfortunately, the 750 Watt motor on the ElMundo, eclipses the legal limit for electric assist in Oz by about 500 Watts. Any other options?


日月神教-向左使 said...


Lori Tompkins said...

I just got an electric Mundo (see Riding E Mundo ... it's a pretty fabulous ride. Heavy and heavy duty ... So far it's been okay w/out disc brakes.