Feb 22

Video: A Preview of the Deluxe Boda Boda bike by Yuba

I had the chance to see this bike in person here in San Antonio when Steve came through town on the Yuba Powered Up Tour. It was after sun set so I couldn’t photograph it but I will tell you it was very nice looking in person.

 

Feb 16

Maiden Voyage of the New Yuba Mundo V4.3

Crazy Rims and Practical Bike

Crazy Rims and Practical Bike

I’ve been a bit excited about the new bicycle in the garage and eager to ride it since I brought it home in it’s giant cardboard box. After I put it together it did spend sometime at REI getting everything checked over after I put it together. It really only needed minor adjusting of the disc breaks, front derailleur and a new spoke to replace a broken one. It ended up being about $36 worth of work which I thought was more than reasonable.

Looking at the pantry, it became apparent that I needed to make a trip to  HEB (my local grocery store). So Friday night I installed the Go-Getter bags on the new Mundo then took it for a spin around the block. Everything seemed set for a trip so I went to bed ready to get up early Saturday and go for a ride to the store a short distance away.

I left about 8:45 am for the shopping center and peddled my way to the store. The new bike rode nicely it felt comfortable and smooth. Traffic was a bit heavier than I expected along the Loop 1604 access road so I’ll make a mental note to leave the house earlier next time. I rode into the shopping center and noticed a car with crazy bright rims. So I stopped there to take a photo. Then moved on through the shopping center.

WaterTower

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Once near the HEB I stopped once more to take a photo with the HEB water tower in the background. I locked the bicycle up at the rack and I was happy to see mine was not the only bicycle there. After securing the bike I went and gathered up all items on my list. This was going to be a heavy load. I needed a case of bottle water, distilled water for the baby which is sold in 3 gallon packs, 1/2 gallon of Orange Juice, about 6 lbs of meat and about 4 lbs of produce. I got many other things too including about 5 boxes of cereal, hot dog buns, a loaf of bread, cookies for a valentines get together, a platter of deli meat and many other items. It ended up being a full shopping cart worth of stuff and a heavy load.

DCIM127GOPRO

One of my favorite things happened on this ride. While loading the bike a nice older couple came up to me and said, “Is all that going to fit in that bike?” we went on talking and they used to do the same things on motorcycles and they stated they like to use bicycle as well. The husband made a comment that he “never saw one of these in person”. So it seems he knew about cargo bikes. We talked almost 10 minutes. Then I went back to loading the cargo.

 

It took a little bit of figuring out because the rear rack on the Yuba Mundo Version 4.3 is different than the version 1. So attachment points where different. I also didn’t add on the front rack that I have because I know that it scratches he head tube and I’ll be ordering a Yuba Breadbasket soon. Not having the basket in front of the handle bars made it difficult to bring home the more delicate items. I ended up just putting them on top of the rest of the food in the saddle bags.  I know that soon I’ll be ordering the add on Yuba Bread Basket but it’s cost is a bit high so it will require budgeting.

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The water made the ride a bit shaky because the water would shift during the ride. Luckily the ride home is shorter than the ride to the store (I follow the traffic pattern around the highway access road). I was happy that I made it on two wheels once again as it’s been nearly a year since I last rode a bike and it is been even longer since I made it to the HEB via bicycle.

water2

GOPR8382

Its amazing the sense of accomplishment that you get out of doing something that you usually take for granted and do as a chore with your car on your bicycle. I rode past the Egg and I which was crowded with a breakfast crowd and got lots of people watching me ride past.

Feb 14

Just a photo from today.

Just a quick photograph from the maiden voyage of the Yuba Mundo V4.3 to my local grocery store, HEB. I will do a full write up soon.

 

All loaded up.

All loaded up.

Feb 10

Thoughts on my Yuba Mundo V4.3 Build

I will start by saying that the Yuba Mundo version 4.3 came directly off the Yuba Bicycle van during the Powered Up Tour 2015’s stop in San Antonio. I’m not what you call a bicycle mechanic but I’ve rebuild a few cruisers/rat rod bicycles and I did help restore my V1 Mundo with the help of Hank from the Helotes Bicycle Shop. That restoration included replacing the head set which he let me do and just supervised. I’ve trued a few wheels in my day but I’m not a craftsmen wheel builder. I’d say that I’m an intermediate to beginner bicycle mechanic.

A few days after getting the Yuba Mundo V4.3 I was ready to unpack the bicycle and found a few surprises some good, some bad and some I am  indifferent about.

The start of the build.

The Good: 

I didn’t really have a choice on the Yuba Mundo specifics and options when it was offered to me.  I was wanting to upgrade for a while since my first born arrived and my meeting with Steve from Yuba lead to the purchase of a V4.3 and the opportunity to save on shipping. So the good point is that I was able to get a bike without dealing with Fed-Ex, UPS or other shipping hassles.

The bike Steve had was a black painted frame which I thought I wouldn’t like because I’ve always leaned a bit toward the blue or the orange framed bicycle, but the black has really grown on me.The bicycle also came with a bottle of touch up paint which matched perfectly. The bamboo deck on the V4.3 looks really good with the black matte finish.

Also upon unpacking I noticed the bike I got was the  “LUX” version which comes with disc breaks and a dynamo hub that powers a headlamp and break light.  This will be nice on night rides or commuting.

There is an obvious difference in weight compared to the version 1 Yuba Mundo that I already own. With this current production version I can put it on my Park Tool repair stand without any issue. The Version 1 would weigh too much to do this.

This newest Mundo is updated compared to my V1. It has a quick release front wheel and seat clamp. It also comes standard with the double kickstand which is a great stand for this bike so much that I welded one to my V1. This new frame will accept the Yepp Maxi child seat with an adapter from Yuba. Also, it has the ability to have the bread basket installed as well. I’m looking forward to getting both the child seat and the bread basket when finances allow.

Marc at Yuba Bicycles headquarters was very helpful during the build and he emailed me photos to help me visualize what needed to be done. He wrote step by step directions on wiring of the lights. He even included the electronic background to the system on the bike after reading that I was a  ham radio operator on my blog. This was all very thoughtful and shows personal care.

Wheel skirts are now integrated into the rear fender and come standard from Yuba. This is needed to prevent little ones from getting their feet caught in the rear wheel.

The Indifferent: 

As stated before, Steve offered the bike he had and he thought it was a V-Break version V4.3. I did notice that the box said disc breaks but Steve said that it was the correct one because it had a shipping label to the Arizona dealer. Apparently, according the Steve, this Yuba Mundo was shipped to a dealer but didn’t match what they ordered of the customer backed out or something.That didn’t matter to me because It was never ridden and not put together.

Well, I took Steve at his word that it was just mislabeled but a few days later when I got home and started to unpack it I realized that the sticker was correct. I had a disc break version of the bicycle. I remembered a conversation with Brent and Stacy of the blog A Simple Six about their frustration with the disc breaks while visiting with them a few summers back.  So on one hand I was ok with having disc breaks because it’s almost become the industry standard but on the other I know the frustration that Brent and Stacy had on theirs.

I also googled the Tektro breaks that come standard on the Mundo and almost all the threads on forums and reviews stated that this model of breaks is very fussy and needs adjustments frequently. Almost all sites I read recommended the Avid BB7’s over these Tektros.

The Bad: 

Keep in mind that the history of this Mundo is that is was a mis-shipped item to a dealer in Arizona, but one of the first things that I noticed was the back corner of the Bamboo deck was cracked and damaged. This isn’t a bid deal because they only cost $40 from Yuba but the bad thing is that the shipping is High +$20 for it. I will copy the pattern using Home Depot plywood for a faction of the cost, but it’s an added cost none the less.

Another quality control issue I had with the bike is that one of the front spokes’ nipple was cracked and the spoke was loose. I’m hoping that it’s just the small nipple part and not an issue with the rims. Either way this added to the build time and cost because it will need to be fixed. The wheel will need to be trued once it’s replaced. So now I’ve got to take the bike in to get it repaired since I don’t own a truing stand.

The Mundo build sheet is very limited in specifics and even the detailed manual doesn’t offer specific component info. In fact the build sheet is basically a cartoon with pictures of each step. One of the most frustrating parts of the build was trying to get the front beak caliper on without interfering with the support skewer of the front fender. I eventually got it all worked out after Marc sent me photos from Yuba HQ but it would have been nice to have more details in the build sheet. (which focused on the v-break version).

Did I mention the disc breaks. This is my first experience with disc breaks on a bicycle and after having to look up the spec sheet for the Tektro disc breaks on my own (because Yuba didn’t provide it). I tried adjusting them so they would not rub but I was unsuccessful after about 2 hours of fussing with it. Granted this is my first disc braked bike and I’m not an expert. But this lead to frustration and the realization that perhaps I need to take by bike in to get it serviced by someone with more experience. Which again will add to the cost.

I worry now about how frequently these Tektro breaks will need to be adjusted given all the reviews that I’ve read about the Tektro breaks being in need of constant adjusting. I almost wanted to order a set of Avid BB7’s off amazon.com but I thought I’ll give the Tektros a run for a while and see how they are. I’m hoping I will be surprised and all the things read about and heard from fellow cargo cyclists about the breaks will be false.

The mounting posts for v-breaks are included but have a cover or are painted over but their outside of the posts where really sharp and unfinished… it was like a flat disc on the top of the post. It was so sharp that I had to trim it with diagonal cutters to make sure it wouldn’t cut anyone.

As mentioned before I unpacked this bike to find a Lux Model instead of a V-Break model. So this meant that I needed to let Steve know and pay the difference, because I’m an honest person. Yet again another added costs.

Almost Done!

Closing

I would like to close by pointing out that even though the “bad” section was lengthier than the rest much of it is due to my limited skills as a bicycle mechanic and I must say that both Steve and Marc at Yuba where helpful with many of the issues. At the time that I’m writing this I have not rode my Yuba Mundo V4.3 yet because it’s at REI San Antonio and having the breaks adjusted and also having the front wheel fixed. I plan on doing a comparison between the V1 and the V4.3 in the near future on the site. I will say off the top of my head their is an obvious advantage toward the V4.3 frame at the moment because been engineered to be lighter and so parking it, loading it up on a bike rack and putting in it the Park Tool bicycle repair stand is much easier than my V1 Mundo.

Long tail cargo cyclists joke that the hardest part of owning a long tail is that it’s so dang hard to park but this one is much easier than it’s 1st generation older brother because it’s lighter!

I can’t wait to see how she rides!

– Matthew

(Written on  2/7/15… Edited 2/11/15)

Disclaimer: I got a discount on the Yuba Mundo Lux from Yuba, however I was not otherwise compensated for writing this post. The opinions above are my own and I will tell it like it is, the good the bad and the ugly.

Feb 07

A Dinner with Steve Bode of Yuba Bicycles

#YubaPower

Recently, I was able to meet up once again with Steve Bode, director of outreach for Yuba Bicycles, the manufacturer of my beloved cargo bicycle the Yuba Mundo (Version 1). We enjoyed Tex-Mex and live music while sitting outside on a warm late January day at La Hacienda. Steve was in town on the Yuba Powered Up Tour 2015 and sent me an email to say he wanted to meet back up. I always jump at the chance to talk with someone who is a fellow cargo cyclist. Not only is he that, he has a good lay of the land so to say on the whole movement and industry behind it.

Tina and PJ met Steve for the first time. Steve was captivated by PJ. We chatted about our views on all kinds of cycling topics such as Critical Mass Rides, Bike Share programs, cycling in Minneapolis and the changes to New York as far as cycling infrastructure since Tina and I were last in Manhattan. Steve reports that it has changed a bunch, and I know this because I’ve seen this on the net through the blogs and sites I follow. On the critical mass topic, Steve had a much different approach than I do. I enjoyed the discussion about bike sharing and Steve, who isn’t a fan of bike shares, had some valid points in his favor.. perhaps this discussion could be a whole blog in itself, so I will save details for such a post. It was refreshing to meet a fellow cyclist who challenged my views on Bike sharing and critical mass.

The part of the conversation I want to share with you is this: Steve brought a really revolutionary idea to the table and that is that perhaps we shouldn’t focus on calling the bicycles we ride that are modified to haul people and things cargo bike but rather we should call them a “Family” bike. Steve went on to explain that thought the movement of cargo bikes started with non-living cargo i.e. stuff, it has evolved to be much more about the human cargo these bikes can carry. I would agree as most of the blogs that I read about are families who are car free and car lite. They are writing about their kids on the back of the bike and how they get around as a family. I guess up until now, I’ve been the rare exception because I’ve been the one without kids blogging about hauling stuff back from the hardware store. Steve told us about one of his favorite stories of a woman who ordered a Yuba Mundo “cargo bike” from Yuba’s website and there was a mix up on the stock status so Steve had to call her to let the woman know that her bicycle was going to be delayed for a while and the woman on the other end of the telephone said, “That is ok, Steve, I’m just now pregnant”.

Steve then went on to say that many in the cargo bike industry have made a recent switch in marketing and they now are focusing on selling the family station wagon bicycle rather than the U-Haul truck. He also explained that in dealing with customers at Yuba he sees a pattern: Cyclists enjoy riding their bike, then along comes baby and they wonder, “Do I have to take a break from cycling until the little one gets older or do I get a sitter so I can keep the rides up etc.?” So they ponder this for a while. Before too long, hopefully, they google cycling with kids, bicycle carrier for kids, etc. and eventually they will see a site like A Simple Six, You Ain’t got Jack, Car Free Days, etc. and they will learn about this new style of bicycles. They realize that it creates a much more shared experience than a enclosed bicycle trailer. With this bike, they can share the road/trail with their little ones and the little ones can truly experience the bicycle the way it was meant to be experienced.  I agree with Steve on this. For a long time in my mind, I’ve been thinking about my Mundo version 1 and I know from my research that because the back rack is so wide I can’t simply put a Yepp Maxi child seat on it. So the thought progression went something like this… “Well when we have a baby, I’ll have to upgrade to a new Yuba Mundo, so I can take the little one along since the new bikes hold the child seats and even older kids.” So in some respects I’m taking the same thought path that many who end up getting a “Family Bike” have. However, with me it was a move from Cargo Bike mindset to a”Family Bike” one. Family bike is the term that Steve said the cargo bike industry is wondering if they should switch to.

The evening went well.  We talked about the blog-o-sphere of cyclists that we both follow and then Steve showed me his newly converted Sprinter Van that he is traveling around in. It is a cool van part RV part Cargo van. I also was able to purchase and bring home a newer V4.3 Mundo Lux from him. We shared our final good byes, and I wished him safe travels on his tour of the US and we parted ways. It was good to catch up on things and also get a new bike that will allow me to transition into the family biking habit.

 

Steve Bode and his Yuba Bicycles Sprinter Van

 

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