PDA

View Full Version : Xtracycle Edgerunner w Bosch moter vs. Yuba Spicy Curry?



lisaj
09-13-2015, 09:47 AM
Hi! I'm new to this group, and new to cargo bikes, and am seeking opinions. In fact, I only know one person with a cargo bike, and she's been letting me borrow her Edgerunner 24 to see if I want to get one. I love it! But my kids (3 and 6) together weigh 100 lbs, and while I'm pretty strong and fit, I'm little. And they're only getting bigger. I discovered that if we are stopped on a hill, I just...can't get started again. We've narrowly avoided falling over, and then all walked up the hill.

My husband suggested we look into the motorized bikes, and on the one hand, I feel like I shouldn't need the help. But on the other, I can do hills with both kids if I have momentum, or if the hills are small, and even then, it's a struggle. From a dead stop on a big hill, impossible.

I went in to Bicycle Space, and they far and away prefer Xtracycle, as they said they had problems with Yuba warranties and they just think the quality is better. I definitely like the smaller back wheel. But Yuba has the new Spicy Curry, which has the smaller back wheel. And is cheaper than the electric Edgerunner.

They also said they can mount a motor on any of their bikes, and that's about $1000 cheaper than buying with the Bosch, so that would be an option. They definitely prefer the Bosch, however. And I didn't get any feeling of trying to sell the more expensive option.

It's a big investment whichever way you look at it. So I'm turning to the collective wisdom of this group.

Thank you!

jrenaut
09-13-2015, 06:22 PM
We rode both the Edgerunner and the Yuba Mundo last summer before buying the Edgerunner. The build quality is definitely better, although if I had to do it again I would avoid buying anything with Avid BB5 disc brakes (I think they don't have them on the Edgerunner anymore, but i'm not sure). The BB5s are a giant pain.

I can't really talk about electric motors as we don't have one.

I would also keep in mind the resale value. Kid hauling bikes are exploding right now in this area, but the used market is pretty slim. That's going to change in a few years when kids start outgrowing them and moving to their own bikes. Some people will certainly hang on to them for grocery shopping and whatnot, but the used market will be really interesting in a few years. I think they'll hold their value pretty well, so that takes some of the risk out of your investment. I realize it's still a lot of money to put down all at once, but it might make it easier. Ours has really replaced our car for almost every trip less than 5 miles.

Brünř Moore
09-13-2015, 07:33 PM
Having ridden both Bosch bikes (an Edgerunner, a hybrid, and a hunting fatbike [what?]) and Bionix retrofit Edgerunners, I prefer the Bosch, but understand why someone might shy away from it (even aside from cost!) I like the way it works with my biomechanics—the bike feels more responsive, more ready, and more like an extension of myself than a machine I'm trying to control by working the pedals (in other words, more like a bike than a car)—as well as the way the electronics are integrated into the frame and the power of the motor. However, I'm not as much of a fan of the limited gearing (means you're more dependent on the motor) or the proprietary, perhaps overly integrated, nature of the electronics. It seems a bit Apple Computer-y, like the PowerBook batteries that are specially shaped to the cavities of your laptop but can't be changed. Oh yeah, and I've seen the number on the price tag and am not sure if I can count that high. I know it's cheaper than a new car, I know it's more practical than one if you live in the urban core, but...

All opinions are my own, not my employer's, your milage may vary, battery life dependent on charge frequency and use, etc.

lisaj
09-13-2015, 09:05 PM
Thanks so much for your input, jrenaut! I don't know what kind of brakes but will certainly look into it. I'm actually very new to biking, so this is a big leap all around. I like how my friend's Edgerunner brakes, but I don't have much comparison. It's been awesome the past week, I have to say. The kids love it.
.

...the used market will be really interesting in a few years. I think they'll hold their value pretty well, so that takes some of the risk out of your investment. I realize it's still a lot of money to put down all at once, but it might make it easier. Ours has really replaced our car for almost every trip less than 5 miles.

I believe this! I've been looking for used ones and haven't found any in the area. And I know a lot of people with kids younger than ours who are staying in the city.

lisaj
09-13-2015, 09:11 PM
Having ridden both Bosch bikes (an Edgerunner, a hybrid, and a hunting fatbike [what?]) and Bionix retrofit Edgerunners, I prefer the Bosch, but understand why someone might shy away from it (even aside from cost!) I like the way it works with my biomechanics—the bike feels more responsive, more ready, and more like an extension of myself than a machine I'm trying to control by working the pedals (in other words, more like a bike than a car)—as well as the way the electronics are integrated into the frame and the power of the motor. However, I'm not as much of a fan of the limited gearing (means you're more dependent on the motor) or the proprietary, perhaps overly integrated, nature of the electronics. It seems a bit Apple Computer-y, like the PowerBook batteries that are specially shaped to the cavities of your laptop but can't be changed. Oh yeah, and I've seen the number on the price tag and am not sure if I can count that high. I know it's cheaper than a new car, I know it's more practical than one if you live in the urban core, but...

All opinions are my own, not my employer's, your milage may vary, battery life dependent on charge frequency and use, etc.

Thank you! I am going to test ride the Bosch Edgerunner in the next couple days. I've read that the Bosch motor makes a very smooth transition. And yes, the price tag is high. More expensive (and way nicer) than my first car, more than my current car is worth.

jrenaut
09-13-2015, 09:15 PM
We're on the east side of Columbia Heights, so we're nearly neighbors. If you have more questions, or want to check out our Xtracycle, or whatever, feel free to PM me.

If it makes you feel better, when we were looking to buy ours, the warning we got from everyone was that if you buy a longtail, you WILL dump your kids in the street at some point, but it won't be so bad, and they'll probably laugh. I almost crashed into a giant SUV on 14th St the first time I turned with the kids on the bike but we made it through okay.

Also, since dasgeh hasn't done it yet, I'll encourage you to check out Kidical Mass and in particular Kidical MASSIVE happening this weekend. Here's the details on the DC ride (http://kidicalmassdc.blogspot.com/2015/09/september-19-massive-international-bike.html#more).

lisaj
09-14-2015, 08:02 AM
OK, jrenaut, the idea of dumping my kids in the street terrifies me but since I regularly trip and graze door frames when I'm walking, I suppose it's inevitable for me.

Thank you so much for introducing me to Kidical Mass! That's awesome!

chris_s
09-14-2015, 08:48 AM
Thank you so much for introducing me to Kidical Mass! That's awesome!

Kidical Massive is going to be one amazing Family Biking Show-and-Tell. I expect box bikes, long tails, mid tails, trail-a-bikes, weehoos, trailers, front seats, back seats and kids-on-own-bikes.

dasgeh
09-14-2015, 09:57 AM
Welcome to the world of family biking! Along with here and kidical mass (thanks jrenaut! KM-Arl is the most updated these days (kidicalmassarl.blogspot.com)), the DC Family Biking FB group is a good resource for family-bike-related questions.

As to your question original question, it seems that you're asking two separate things: 1) you've settle on buying a long-tail,* but you want to know what brand to buy; and 2) you know you want electric assist (wise choice ;-) but you want to know what system. The questions are interconnected, because some bikes can come prebuilt with certain motors, but not entirely, because you can add e-assist systems to many bikes aftermarket.

To 1) I'm with BicycleSpace that Yuba, at least in the past, has been lower quality. And I have a Yuba, from BicycleSpace (they're an awesome store and they fixed my bike up, but with little help from Yuba). Someone likened them to the Ikea of cargo bikes, and I think that's accurate. Plus, the Mundo has a big back wheel, so the weight is higher than with the Edgerunner, which is harder to deal with. That said, I haven't ridden a Spicy Curry. Some reviews I've read say that it's much better built than other Yubas, but people are wondering how they'll stand the test of time.

You may also want to look into a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day (looks funny, but cool options) or a Surly Big Dummy (probably better if you're not always carrying kids). Neither comes with e-assist, so you'd have to retrofit.

TL;DR - Edgerunners are awesome, avoid Yuba Mundo, the Spicy Curry might be a good purchase. There are more options if you're willing to retrofit

2) E-assist is a fast topic that I don't pretend to understand, but I've had a number of e-assist bikes, including systems in the front wheel and in the rear wheel, and predictive v. just-give-me-the-boost systems. Rear v. front - eh, who cares. Predictive (like Bionx which helps more when you pedal harder) v. just-boost (whenever you pedal you get the max of the level you've set the system on) - I like the latter. I got e-assist because I want help, and if I want less help, I can turn the level down or just coast. I find with Bionx that I'm just spinning up to 8th-gear all the time, then I have to remember to down shift before I stop, which sometimes I forget. It's just annoying. But, the annoyance is tiny compared to the awesomeness of having e-assist. There are companies that make all kinds of these systems that have been around long enough to be reliable.

Then there are the crank-based systems, like what's on the Spicy Curry and the newest Edgerunner. I've never ridden one, but I've read reviews that make me think they are amazingly awesome, especially for hills with load. Bosch has been making them and selling them in Europe for long enough to be reliable. But they are crazy expensive.

Edgerunners, Mundos and Spicy Currys can be bought off the shelf with e-assist systems. For retrofitting, you should go through a shop that specializes in e-assist. BicycleSpace can help you with Bionx, and they are an awesome shop, but I don't really like Bionx. Hybrid Pedals in Arlington and the Green Commuter in Takoma Park are the go-to for e-assist help. (I had a bad experience with TGC, but other family bikers love them).

TL;DR - if you have the dough, I'd definitely recommend the crank-based system; otherwise, if you are willing to retrofit, I'd go with a just-boost system; however, if you want something that comes with the bike and don't want to spend for crank-based, Bionx is great and some people love it.

*There are other kinds of cargo bikes - most notably mid-tails (https://www.google.com/search?q=bakfiets&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAmoVChMI5La40OP2xwIVC5keCh2ZrgJx&biw=1280&bih=927#tbm=isch&q=yuba+boda&imgrc=bFxJEFQvvYfN5M%3A) (shorter than long-tails, but basically the same) and box bikes (https://www.google.com/search?q=bakfiets&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAmoVChMI5La40OP2xwIVC5keCh2ZrgJx&biw=1280&bih=927#imgrc=MlY1pEvGCqRHkM%3A). If you want to get into that discussion, we have (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/archive/index.php/t-9144.html) lots of opinions (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/archive/index.php/t-4808.html).


Kidical Massive is going to be one amazing Family Biking Show-and-Tell. I expect box bikes, long tails, mid tails, trail-a-bikes, weehoos, trailers, front seats, back seats and kids-on-own-bikes.

The real question is whether we will finally see a Madsen.

There are rumors of another ABCs of family biking (this is last year's) (http://kidicalmassdc.blogspot.com/p/abcs-of-family-biking.html) in October in DC. No details yet.

lisaj
09-15-2015, 09:25 AM
Oh, wow, dasgeh, thank you for the welcome and so kindly taking the time to give me so much thoughtful information! Yes, I guess I was asking two questions and really didn't know enough to separate them out. I feel more and more confident of the e-assist choice, even if it's more expensive. I returned the borrowed Xtracycle to its owner yesterday and I am champing at the bit to get my own bike. I told my friend about the ride Saturday and hopefully she'll be able to do it!

I went to all the links you suggested--plus a million others, because one leads to another and isn't that the way of the Internet? I have to say, you have definitely helped solidify my thoughts. I don't think we are likely to retrofit, unless it is Xtracycle with a non-Bosch motor, although the guy at Bicycle Space was way more positive about Bosch than Bionx. I already love and feel comfortable on the Xtracycle, and for someone who was a big chicken of a bike rider before, totally afraid of DC traffic, that is huge for me. I am going to test ride the Xtracycle with Bosch today. (We will be receiving some money from a deceased grandparent, and this "found money" will go to bike purchase. So crazy expensive is actually an option!!)

Thank you again for all your help!

dasgeh
09-15-2015, 09:35 AM
Happy to help.

Does BicycleSpace have the new Xtracycle in stock? I didn't realize that. I may have to test it out. They are an excellent shop. I would feel very confident buying from them, and especially buying from such trusted brands (Xtracycle and Bosch).

lisaj
09-25-2015, 09:18 AM
Happy to help.

Does BicycleSpace have the new Xtracycle in stock? I didn't realize that. I may have to test it out. They are an excellent shop. I would feel very confident buying from them, and especially buying from such trusted brands (Xtracycle and Bosch).

Oh, yes, they did...but I just bought it! I love love love it, and so do my kids.

Brünř Moore
10-14-2015, 11:44 AM
So, not to engage in thread necromancy, but between giving tours of the steepest hills on CUA's campus and meeting with Ross, the founder of Xtracycle...

—The Bosch system rewards high cadence. Ross was pretty explicit about this when I talked to him, and I sure noticed it when taking three mostly ruly kids up the hill towards Marist and Fort Totten. If you spin, the electric motor and its "smart assist" put out the most power, but when mashing, the motor just starts grinding, forcing you to drop gear after gear. IANAEngineer, but I suspect this is a speed vs. torque issue—spin fast, and the motor keeps up, grind and it grinds. Of course, I find out after the fact that you can get smaller cogs for the Bosch system to help keep your cadence up if you live in a hilly area, like...well, five out of DC's eight wards.

—The hardest part of riding an e-assist bike, IMO, is getting the motor to engage. It's more of a problem with the Bionx system, IME (I had a very memorable incident while hauling the Bikespace monkey wagon speaker system when my motor went to sleep before I had to climb a short incline, forcing me to walk/haul the bike up the hill because the motor wouldn't kick on without a couple pedal revolutions—which, given the weight and gearing, I couldn't actually manage while also keeping the bike upright), but even intuitive assist mechanisms like the Bosch or Faraday take a bit of pedaling to kick in. Normally, that's not too much of a problem, so long as you remember to keep the gearing low and trust the assist, but when trying to start up at an intersection without loosing your balance, it's a trick.

—On a not completely related note, it's much harder to carry adults, especially cyclists, than kids. Kids don't countersteer or lean into turns; they have the whole "sack of potatoes" thing down. I had to consciously fight my usual cyclist instincts and practice my Zen while in the passenger seat.

Tim Kelley
10-14-2015, 12:39 PM
—The hardest part of riding an e-assist bike, IMO, is getting the motor to engage. It's more of a problem with the Bionx system, IME (I had a very memorable incident while hauling the Bikespace monkey wagon speaker system when my motor went to sleep before I had to climb a short incline, forcing me to walk/haul the bike up the hill because the motor wouldn't kick on without a couple pedal revolutions—which, given the weight and gearing, I couldn't actually manage while also keeping the bike upright), but even intuitive assist mechanisms like the Bosch or Faraday take a bit of pedaling to kick in. Normally, that's not too much of a problem, so long as you remember to keep the gearing low and trust the assist, but when trying to start up at an intersection without loosing your balance, it's a trick.

My experience with the Bionix has been different. Perhaps the one I've used is newer/different or higher powered? It takes less than half a pedal rotation for it to kick in. I've noticed what you mean about grinding--if I'm starting in the hardest gear (on an 1x10 drivetrain) from a dead stop on a 80lbs bike. Otherwise I've occasionally had my foot on the pedal at a stoplight and felt the bike accidentally lurch forward simply as I rested my foot on the pedal too heavily (while the bike is at it's full level of assist).

dasgeh
10-14-2015, 01:11 PM
My experience with the Bionix has been different. Perhaps the one I've used is newer/different or higher powered? It takes less than half a pedal rotation for it to kick in. I've noticed what you mean about grinding--if I'm starting in the hardest gear (on an 1x10 drivetrain) from a dead stop on a 80lbs bike. Otherwise I've occasionally had my foot on the pedal at a stoplight and felt the bike accidentally lurch forward simply as I rested my foot on the pedal too heavily (while the bike is at it's full level of assist).

I was under the impression that Bionx was set so the motor would not kick in unless the bike was moving -- standard is that the bike has to be moving 3mph, but you can adjust that down to 1/2 mph.

Bionx also has a "boost button" that helps with the grinding issue. But that's the only thing that I like about Bionx v other e-assist systems I've tried.

Tim Kelley
10-15-2015, 06:54 AM
I was under the impression that Bionx was set so the motor would not kick in unless the bike was moving -- standard is that the bike has to be moving 3mph, but you can adjust that down to 1/2 mph.

Bionx also has a "boost button" that helps with the grinding issue. But that's the only thing that I like about Bionx v other e-assist systems I've tried.

That's incorrect.

The bionx motor will kick in below .5 mph. The "boost button" is just a throttle that can allow you to drive the bike without needing to pedal. We've never had it enabled.

dasgeh
10-15-2015, 08:00 AM
That's incorrect.

The bionx motor will kick in below .5 mph. The "boost button" is just a throttle that can allow you to drive the bike without needing to pedal. We've never had it enabled.

Actually, I was right. Bionx calibrates its motors so they won't kick in under the set speed, which is 2-3mph stock, but can be set as low as .5mph. Lots of sources out there if you Google it, like this one http://m.nycewheels.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nycewheels.com%2Fbionx-owners-manual.html

And yes, boost button is a "throttle" that turns the motor on full. It helps with grinding because if you do end up in a too big gear on a too big hill, instead of grinding, you hit the button. You can still pedal to downshift. Seems silly not to enable it.

peterw_diy
10-15-2015, 08:03 AM
Wait, isn't anybody going to challenge Bruno's amusing assertion that kids sit as still as sacks of potatoes??

Tim Kelley
10-15-2015, 08:43 AM
Actually, I was right. Bionx calibrates its motors so they won't kick in under the set speed, which is 2-3mph stock, but can be set as low as .5mph. Lots of sources out there if you Google it, like this one http://m.nycewheels.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nycewheels.com%2Fbionx-owners-manual.html

Well...in practice I had the motor kick in this morning at .3mph. The third party resource you cite is incorrect (and misspelled). "To insure [sic] a smooth departure, the assistance will only start when the bicycle moves at 2 mph or more." The official manual doesn't include any reference to a speed at which the motor kicks in. I also noticed an inconsistency from the official user manual and the page you link--the recommended pedal cadence being 80rpm, not 60rpm. You ride a bionx regularly right? Perhaps you have an older model?


And yes, boost button is a "throttle" that turns the motor on full. It helps with grinding because if you do end up in a too big gear on a too big hill, instead of grinding, you hit the button. You can still pedal to downshift. Seems silly not to enable it.

Perhaps you're thinking that using the remote throttle requires you to to be moving at a default minimum of 3km per hour? That's mentioned in official user manual...

I've never really felt the need to use the throttle when riding that bike. How frequently do you use yours? Does your thumb getting tired from holding it in a pressed position for extended periods of time? I usually just downshift when needed--I experience the high torque, low cadence grinding when starting from a dead stop in too hard a gear at a stoplight. I roll for a split second, down shift, and then I'm on my way. ZOOM.

lisaj
10-15-2015, 09:32 AM
Wait, isn't anybody going to challenge Bruno's amusing assertion that kids sit as still as sacks of potatoes??

Haha! Since I bought the Xtracycle without trying the Yuba, I don't have an opinion on motors, but I DO have an opinion on kids sitting like sacks of potatoes! I have a Hooptie, and as such, haven't tried to carry an adult, but I totally get how Bruno is saying that as passengers, cyclists will respond with their bodies in the way they would if they were doing the pedaling. On the bike, my kids act like they're at home, which is to say, they bicker and squirm and harass each other and I am constantly shrieking "NO FIGHTING!" "KEEP YOUR BODY TO YOURSELF!" "WHO IS WIGGLING? PLEASE DON'T MAKE US FALL OVER!"

lisaj
10-15-2015, 09:51 AM
9843

This is us on our new bike! Your input here helped me feel confident in my decision, and I really appreciate it. Our Xtracycle has genuinely changed our lives for the better. Love!

Also, Bicycle Space put us on their blog! http://www.bicyclespacedc.com/our-blog/2015/10/14/cargo-bike-convert

DismalScientist
10-15-2015, 01:04 PM
Wait, isn't anybody going to challenge Bruno's amusing assertion that kids sit as still as sacks of potatoes??

Straitjackets and bungie cords FTW.:rolleyes:

Brünř Moore
10-18-2015, 07:25 PM
All I'm sayin' is that three kids, at least one of whom was standing up at some points, had greater spudity than WABA's executive director.