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Thread: Cargo bike comparison

  1. #1
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    Default Cargo bike comparison

    Just got back from Bicycle Space. We did some cargo bike test riding. I think we're deciding between a Yuba Mundo and an Xtracycle Edgerunner. The Yuba is cheaper, but the Xtracycle has the small rear wheel that lowers the center of gravity for the cargo, which in my case will generally be my children and sometimes groceries. The Xtracycle also comes with disc brakes.

    Anyone have specific preferences? I rode both, and I LOVED the Yuba, but the Xtracycle was too small for me, so that certainly affected the ride. They're supposed to get a large in and I'm going back to try it out.

    Mechanical vs hydraulic discs - worth the extra money for hydraulics? The Yuba doesn't come with either, but it has the frame/fork mounts so I could upgrade.

    I also didn't like the plastic wheel guard on the Yuba - there's no way to get at the brakes or really remove the rear wheel without taking it off, which is not trivial. The Xtracycle uses bags as a guard so it's not such a big deal.

    I'm really excited. I took the kids for a ride around the block and they loved it. I took them to soccer this morning in the trailer, and having them on the back of the cargo bike was so much nicer. I didn't do any hills on the cargo bike, though.

  2. #2
    dasgeh's Avatar
    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    I've been mulling this over as well, though with e-assist. I've been talking to Tony at BS, so I know he's been looking into these things.

    If you look online, Xtracycle comes in 3 (4?) versions and Yuba in 2 versions, each with varying components. From my research, with similar components and considering family attachments, you end up paying ~$300 premium for the Xtracycle. I agree with you on not liking the wheel skirts as much on the Yuba. I also didn't like the step over -- I didn't want to have to lean the bike or round house my kids to get on.

    My husband liked the Yuba ride better, I liked Xtracycle. But both of us would be happy with either.

    All that said, I'm leaning towards a Boda Boda, and getting ape bars (since there's no Hooptie option), since I don't really need the capacity of a long tail.

    Tony is looking into whether they can get a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day (though from the internet it sounds like they might not be ready to ship those soon). If you're thinking midtail, there's also the Kinn, and I've seen the MinUte online (and there are rumors it's coming back next year).

    Having a true cargo bike is a revelation. It's amazingly awesome for getting kids around -- much more fun for them and you. I wouldn't wait. Also, if you can see yourself using it often, I wouldn't skimp. The resale market around here seems very robust, if that gives you comfort.

    HTH.

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    Each of my Mundo wheelskirts was affixed with the usual three 5mm bolts and three(?) zipties. The zipties are not needed. Probably the two top bolts would suffice, meaning you'd only have to remove one to access the brake, even a disc brake. And you certainly could use bags instead of wheelskirts. But you need something -- the other day I watched a friend put his 3yo son on his FreeRadical longtail for the first time and the kid's natural reaction was to pull his heels in as if he were on a horse. You need some protection!

    Load height hasn't seemed to be a problem with kids & normal loads. More important is load position fore-aft. Usually I only carry one or two kids, but sometimes I also carry my wife. She has to sit in the middle of the rack -- if she's on the very back with her weight behind the rear hub, turning stability is significantly degraded. For the kids' comfort I prefer the Mundo to what I imagine the Edgerunner would (or, it seems, Haul-a-Day might) be. The running boards are just the right drop for my 6yo daughter, and the front foot peg (mine is DIY) is well-placed for my 3yo son. I fear my daughter would feel a little cramped with the rack drop 3 inches or so less.

    Step over height -- yes, you should consider this. The Yuba kickstand is stable enough for one or two kids to sit on the rack with just the kickstand stabilizing. This means I often mount or dismount with a kid right behind my seat, and can't swing my leg up & over as I do on my single bike. Fortunately for that, the Mundo seat tube is pretty small and I find it pretty easy to step over as if it were a mixte. (Downside to the short seat tube is less space for water bottle cages.)

    I love the Yuba front Bread Basket. Beware, you can't put anything really tall in the back due to handlebar turning clearance requirements. But I love having some space that's away from the seating area. (My daughter now uses DIY reins fashioned after Yuba's Rumble Strap and pretends she's riding a horse. With the Baguette Bag loaded & stuffed, she calls the bike a fat horse.)

    I really like the Hold On stoker bar -- my kids love having a bell to ring and a handlebar-mounted water bottle cage. I think Yuba's new Ring hold-on looks great for riders who have older passengers less often (with the Ring, Mundo looks much more like a normal beach cruiser than it does with the full Hold On stoker bar kit), though.

    I love that the rear rack is so well integrated, so solid. It looks like Edgerunner likely requires the Whatchamacollars to make the vertical rack bars stable for passengers. That seems clunky to me. In general, X looks like they've gone a little overboard trying to be flexible. E.G., the Sidecar looks really cool, but who *really* wants that, and wants to ride a longtail made so wide as to force you to take the lane, even when there's a 5 foot bike lane?

    I love that there are braze-ons all over the bike, and everything's pretty standard sizes, e.g. 5x0.8 and 6x1.0.

    I have a couple BB7 mechanical discs awaiting installation, but so far I haven't felt compelled to install them. KoolStop salmons on the stock el cheapo V brakes have been fine.

    I love the 7s SRAM drivetrain. Far less finicky than my 9s Shimano CX bike.

    I've said elsewhere that I also worry about Xtracycle's financial stability (they've seemed to have supply problems the last few years, and the Edgerunner pre-order pitch felt like a Grant/rivbike ploy to preserve desperately needed cash flow). And as a sometime Free-as-in-speech software geek, I really don't like how they changed direction on their "Longtail Standard" spec documents, going from what looked like a real open source license facilitating widespread adoption to something defended by a clickthrough license agreement with gibberish about needing to protect their IP. Yuba doesn't have any such pretense of setting any open standard; they just sell well-designed bikes and gear. Xtracycle used to promote others' X bikes -- Big Dummy, Sun Atlas Cargo, etc. Now they don't, even as Yuba promotes all sorts of weird DIY hacks on http://whatabikecando.com/. In short, X has lost its FOSS hipster shine. They've suited up and become cold IMO.
    Last edited by peterw_diy; 04-26-2014 at 09:04 PM.

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    Update - borrowing an Xtracylce from a friend this week, though I fear it's the small size, too.

    Peter - overaggressive IP enforcement is one of my hot button issues, too, so that makes me sad. Also, I couldn't get the Yuba kickstand down while I was on the bike - am I missing something, or is this just the way it is? I also do not want to roundhouse kick my children (Because I am Chuck Norris and they would land in Pennsylvania).

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    That's just the way the kickstand is. I hold both brakes while dismounting, then use a foot to pull one of the kickstand legs down, release the brakes, and pull the handlebars back. Easy.

    As for roundhousing, at least the local helmet laws mean I haven't left any visible scars the few times I've forgotten how to dismount. :-)

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    Borrowed cargo bike by thetejon, on Flickr

    So, we lucked out - some friends have two cargo bikes (his and hers - they're inspirational). She's going out of town for work for a couple days, and offered to loan us her Xtracycle Radish while she's gone. I am pumped about biking the kids to school tomorrow (even though the kids walk every day, they're also excited about getting a ride), then I'll take the bike to work, and then maybe even take the kids out for a quick ride after school.

    It's awesome how just saying, "I want to get a cargo bike to haul the kids around" generates so many offers to borrow a bike. This offer was the most appealing because it's similar to one of the bikes we're lookign at and the owner lives a few blocks from us. But I had three more offers that I didn't even take, which just speaks to how great the biking-with-kids community is around here.

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    I like the Yuba because having the rear rack area be welded as part of the frame gives the bike a very secure, solid feel while riding it while loaded. It isn't that the Xtracycle is wobbly... the Yuba just gets points for the ride quality.

    Disc brakes make a big deal. Mechanicals are fine. Battleship Stupid has 203mm, Avid BB7 brakes. They work wonderfully. You need to adjust the pads every few weeks (Assuming that you're riding it daily.). The Xtracycle Hooptie is amazing. (That is the ring that goes around the people riding in back.)

    When it comes to test riding, try to do so with some load on the bike.

    I look forward to hearing what you think.

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt View Post
    ...Disc brakes make a big deal. Mechanicals are fine...
    You're making my wife very happy. How hard is it to adjust the pads?

    For the test rides at Bicycle Space, I did a lap around the block on my own, then grabbed one of my children for the second lap. Definitely a different feel to the ride, but for now the kids are so nervous that they hold on really tightly and keep their center of mass centered. Once they get comfortable I'm sure they'll start hanging over the sides and trying to kill Daddy and it'll get much more interesting.

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    Hooptie looks pretty cool, but I think Bike Friday's U-shaped bars look better: http://www.tinyhelmetsbigbikes.com/1...aul-a-day.html Do folks with Hoopties just hoist their kids in for each ride? With the Hooptie bars set "narrow", kids can't climb in or out solo if they're wearing their helmets. Both my kids love that they can climb on & off the Mundo unaided. At playgrounds my son especially will just climb down & start running for the climbing structures with his helmet still on (he doesn't have the dexterity yet to release the chin buckle, or maybe is just afraid of pinching himself).

    Speaking of Hooptie: note how close the front bar is to the seat on the Radish. That's better than Yuba's Monkey Bars, at least the pre-production beta units I saw. My impression is that Xtracycle racks sit further back from the seatpost than Yuba's -- consider that even though Edgerunner's rear wheel is only 20", it's still a longer bike than the Mundo (an inch, I think). Rack setback, I think. Both are right around the max length officially allowed on MetroRail. Anyhow, the Monkey Bars problem that was demonstrated to me is that the Bars interfere with the saddle at specific saddle heights, as the front bar of the Monkey Bars is pretty close to the seatpost.

    Longtails are awesome. Over the last few days I've brought out the Burley trailer again (5 mile ride with 3yo in chilly morning weather -- I wanted the windscreen to keep him happy) and the Trail-a-Bike (6yo wanted to pedal). Once you're accustomed to just having the kids strap on helmets and climb on the rear rack, the little routines of hitching trailing contraptions to singles seems even more annoying than it already was. And the Mundo with both kids is far easier to ride than the single with my 6yo on the Trail-a-Bike. It's crazy how much lateral instability the Trail-a-Bike introduces to my all-rounder. I need to figure out a good bike-towing setup so that I can counter Trail-a-Bike requests with suggestions that we take her two-wheeler and tow it when she tires or on busy sections.

    On longer rides I think I'd like Hooptie-style bars, as a safeguard for sleepy kids. I wish the rails weren't so permanent, that there was something simpler like the 2x4 sockets that most pickup trucks have around their beds, something that would make it easy to add rails if a kid was getting sleepy, but leave the rails stashed until then. I'm sure I could rig something with my meager carpentry skills, but someone with aluminum welding skills could do much better...

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    KLizotte's Avatar
    KLizotte is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    jrenaut,

    Feel free to come by my place any morning you choose to give me a ride into work. If I can take my pillow for a snooze in then bonus points!!! Surely you need to test out all kinds of riders before making this important investment.

    Just trying to be helpful.

    K.

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