Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yuba Mundo Test Ride- Aug. 4, 2011 *Updated 8/7/11*

Yuba Mundo Ride by MPR-Photo
Yuba Mundo Ride, a photo by MPR-Photo on Flickr.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, my wife and I decided to take a drive up to Austin to try out a Yuba Mundo cargo bicycle at Peddler's Bike Shop. I've been researching Yuba's online for about a month. At first I wanted the Sun Atlas Cargo, a new bike by Sun Bicycles that is xtracycle compatible. The Sun Atlas Cargo is new and so there isn't much out there on the net about them and I've yet to see one and I bet I never will. Currently I own two Sun Cruz 3 speeds that my wife and I have been using for trips to the grocery store with a front basket and panniers. The idea of a cargo bike seems like a good one. First off, I'm a big guy (260 lbs) so I'm already exceeding the weight limits on my Sun cruiser bike...add groceries to that and you can see why I'm nervous. Good news is I'm loosing weight by riding more (down 14 lbs).

Internet reviews can only take you so far and before I decide to fork over a huge chunk money (or even budget for a purchase in the future) on something I want to check it out in person. The nearest dealer was in Austin, TX. They had a nice orange Yuba Mundo on their showroom floor but badly covered in dust and scratched up for a new bike. The owner of the shop made my a very tempting deal of $1,200 out the door for the bike with every Yuba accessory he had in stock (child seat, wide loader deck, passenger bad, bags, deflopaltor)... but I was STRONG... I walked away knowing that I need to stick with our budget even if that means paying more later that purchase would have messed us up for a month. Sure they offer 0% 6 month financing but I'm trying to get rid of debt so it will have to wait and an offer like that is a credit card based offer. I wish more shops offered good ol' fashion layaway at no additional cost (something I could just work into my budget). So even though I hate to pass on a good deal I will. But man does it hurt.

The shop owner said that he just wanted to get out from under the beautiful but dusty Yuba Mundo because it wasn't selling like he hoped and hasn't as much attention as he'd hoped it would have. So I don't know what the future of Yuba bicycles is in Austin, Texas doesn't seem favorable at least at the Peddler's Bike Shop. It really sounded like the shop wouldn't carry any more once this one sold, sad considering my purchase would have to be after months os saving for it.

The shop owner told me he gave the Yuba people $1,000 for the bike and accessories and all they have done was take up room in his shop so he was just trying to get out making a small profit.

So what were my impressions of the Yuba Mundo?

WOW it rides like a dream! It is amazing how straight the long tail rides. I could comfortably let go of the handlebars and it was straight as an arrow. The weight wasn't that bad. The rear of the bike was heavy but I could easily lift the whole bike. (note: I'm used to the lugging around a 150lb 16" Meade Lightbridge Dobsonian Telescope). The weight while riding reminds me of the old springer fork Schwinn Cruiser Deluxe only the Yuba has 21 gears that makes that weight more than dote-able and I seem to recall the Schwinn feels much more heavy when lifting by comparison, perhaps the Schwinn is just more dense. The seat on the Yuba Mundo was very comfy, and riding position was very upright. The handlebars had plenty of rise but seemed narrow compared to my Sun Beach Cruz 3. The grip shifts were nice. I believe it was a V3.0 and it had Yuba's beefy single kick stand that was nice and sturdy. This version had V-breaks and it stopped just as well as any other v-braked bike I rode. I didn't ride the bike with any load on it (I couldn't convince my wife to hop on the back).

So I hopped on rode about 6 blocks away from the bike shop and I didn't even want to stop I could have rode it all day even though a bank we passed on our drive to the Bike Shop said it was 107 degrees outside! The Yuba Mundo was actually FUN to ride this bike. It it was set up every comfortable. I didn't feel like I was leaning over at all like a mountain bike. The gears on the Yuba Mundo were welcoming as I turned to go back to the shop as it was a slight up hill climb. It took a bit of switching gears but I found a gear setting I was comfortable with and I was off. I even rode past the shop a few blocks without realizing it as was having that much fun! I've venture to say it rode more comfortable than my Sun Cruz.

I don't know how I feel about the bright orange colored frame. On one hand I really like it, it's eye catchy and people notice you. On my short 7-9 city block ride I saw people looking at me. Other cyclists in the bike lane across the streets did double takes. I liked the attention and makes me feel that cars would notice you on that orange bike. On the downside the orange draws attention to the Yuba and when locking it up to do some shopping I'd prefer to have it not stand out saying "look at me". Currently the Mundo comes in Black, Orange, and Blue. As to what color I would pick... I don't know. Only time will tell, that is if I order one.

The rear axle on this bike it THICK... and the 48 spoke wheel in the rear make the bike seem like a tank (in a good way). It seems it can handle anything you could throw at it (or on it). A sticker near the bottom bracket proclaims "400lb weight limit on rear rack"... that isn't 400lbs for the bike... that is the rear rack! To give you an idea a fully loaded Yuba Mundo with me being the rider tops out a 400+260= 660 pounds. The owners manual of my Wife's Honda Element SUV says total cargo capacity is 600 pounds that includes the weight of the passengers and actually the Yuba can haul more than my 2004 Honda Element! We've carried way more that that in my Honda but that has been a critical area that comes up in reviews on Honda Elements.

The Yuba Mundo rode nimble, my wife was able to do a u-turn and even able to navigate around utility poles on the sidewalk near the bike shop.

The Yuba we rode was fine the way it was set up but on mine I'd prefer to have it set up with disc breaks to know for sure that I'm going to have the stopping power when it counts. I'm impressed with the Yuba Mundo and I'm going to consider one in the future especially if we continue our shopping adventures via our Sun Bicycle Cruisers the Sun Cruz 3 and if our budget allows.

UPDATE 8/6/11: Friday night I attended the monthly SALSA First Friday bike ride here in San Antonio, Texas. It's a social bike ride of 250-300 bicycle riders though downtown San Antonio. I took my Sun Cruiser with 2 trans-it panniers on the rear rack. Inside those panniers where 3 reflective vest, 13ft cable lock cable, a Lock for the 13' cable, a 6ft cable lock, an On Guard U Lock, one bottle of water, kit of basic tools, my friend's purse, cell phone, and my Canon DSLR. By Sun Cruz loaded up like that was way harder to lift than the unloaded Yuba Mundo, but it was manageable. That said I think that with the Yuba I wouldn't have noticed the weight of these extra items because the frame is more robust than my aluminum framed, internal 3 speed beach cruiser. Lastly on this Update I thought about the Front Bike rack that one can get for the Yuba and how I read that it doesn't move with the fork.... that is utterly brilliant because I know that I hate to ride my Sun Cruz with the basket if it has anything in it over 4-5 pounds... it just makes the wheel unstable!

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