Electric Bike Action Bike Test: Yuba Mundo Electric Cargo Bike

YUBA MUNDO ELECTRIC
CARGO  BIKE

Photo: Pat Carrigan

 

We love cargo bikes. Properly set up, an electric cargo bike is an easy replacement for at least one family car. Long a staple in many northern European cities, whether it’s going to the market to pick up groceries or taking your kids out for a spin, the cargo bike is a revelation given all the tasks that they are capable of performing. 

Yuba is a California bike brand that has been evolving the cargo bike concept in America for years with a catalog of both assist and non-assist models that are broken down into three categories: compact, full size and front cargo. 

Over the years we’ve ridden a variety of Yuba bikes, including the comically-long Supermarche, a bike with an 8-foot wheelbase and a bathtub-sized carrier (big enough for two kids plus more) up front. The thing all their bikes have in common is an amazing variety of accessories to customize them for whatever you’re going to use it for. The Yuba Mundo Electric is no exception. 

THE BIKE

The Mundo Electric rates as a full-size bike and uses a chromoly frame and fork designed to carry a payload of up to 550 pounds. It is the very definition of beefy, with oversized tubing and bosses everywhere to attach things. It’s a sort of diamond-shaped frame, not available as a step-through, and only available in one size, which can fit riders from 5-foot-3 to 6-foot-6. 

Because it’s made to handle such heavy loads, it has a stand-alone center stand that lifts the rear of the bike and forming a tripod of sorts. With the springs used, it’s really easy to get it up onto the kickstand and roll it right back off of it when you want to.

THE PARTS

Yuba chose 26-inch wheels, which seem to be a perfect balance for this bike. It can sit low enough on 26×2.4-inch tires to fit a 5-foot-3 person, but the wheels still easily roll over bumps or other obstacles and keep it from feeling twitchy. 

The Shimano Deore 1×10 drivetrain handles the really long chain quite well, shifts smoothly, and is geared to get you going easily and humming along at whatever pace you like. Magura four-piston disc brakes provide ample stopping power for this beast.

The Bread Basket and liner are really beefy and can be attached with quick-release skewers instead of the bolts shown here.

 

There are front and rear fenders, but also a plastic side-protection plate on each side of the rear wheel to keep cargo and passenger legs away from the rotating spokes and dry if you go through puddles or rain.

THE ACCESSORIES

Yuba makes a mind-boggling set of accessories for the bike. The rear rack, which is an integral part of the frame, has so many great places to attach things. A Thule Yepp child seat clicks right in, and you can put Monkey Bars (handrails) for the kids if you want, and even a Pop Top rain cover for that. There is a front basket, called the Bread Basket, with a mesh liner and an optional rain cover. You can affix the Bread Basket with bolts, as we did, or with bike wheel-style quick-release skewers to make it easy to remove when you don’t want it.

This bolt-on bamboo Utility Deck is a really attractive and useful accessory.

 

Here is what we chose to add on:

Bread Basket: $40

Bamboo utility deck: $39

Go-getter bags: $150 each

Soft Spot seat pad: $40

Hold-on bars: $70

The Towing Tray actually has a setup for towing another bike (12- to 29-inch wheels), handy if someone breaks down or you want to bring your kids along to ride later. So many customization choices—some are Mundo-specific, others are for a variety of other bikes. The only thing we were missing was an easy option for head- and taillights.

THE MOTOR 

To handle the potentially massive payload, Yuba chose a Shimano STEPS e8000 motor that’s normally a mountain bike-spec motor. It has 70 N/m of torque, meaning it will get you going easily. The best thing about this motor is that if you don’t like the stock programming of the three power modes (we never do), you can change it to what you like. The stock programming has Eco where it should be, Trail only a smidgen more power than that, and Boost is off the charts. We bring Trail up to the middle and sometimes tone down Boost by a notch.

Yuba went with a powerful Shimano STEPS E8000 mid-drive, usually put into electric mountain bikes.

 

The battery is a stock Shimano 504-Wh battery, mounted externally on the downtube. We actually liked this, as it made it easy to take off the battery for charging and quick battery swaps. You can, of course, charge it on the bike as well. It provides plenty of range for in-town rides, and with this bike there are plenty of options for carrying another battery or two, plus chargers.

The display is different than we’re used to for an e8000 system. Normally, they come with the tiny Shimano e8000 full-color display, but this one comes with a larger monochrome LCD. It’s as easy to read as the smaller one, and you can customize the information it displays to your own liking via Shimano’s eTube app. 

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

The Mundo Electric is aimed at families who like to ride together and/or people who want a cargo bike to run errands, get to work or even those who want to do long trips and go camping. It’s a great all-weather replacement for at least one car in a 2-plus-car family, or just an additional vehicle to use for recreation and utility.

THE RIDE

Before we rode the bike, we first fired up the e8000 system and the eTube app and then paired up the app to the bike out on the path. This wasn’t ideal, we found out, because there were two firmware updates that would have gone much faster if we’d have done them via Wi-Fi. But we were also eager to try the bike with stock programming first. Ultimately, we preferred it the way we usually tweak it, bringing Trail mode up to the midpoint between Eco and Boost.

Quad-piston Magura brakes work very well, even when the bike is fully laden with people and cargo.

 

When unloaded, the bike is sublime in Eco, at least on flat ground. The voluminous tires take out some of the bumps in the road, and the steel frame has some flex to it, but it’s not enough to quell the shocks. If you don’t need to clamp anything to the seatpost, we’d recommend a suspension post to smooth out the ride. 

The Go-Getter bags live up to their claim that they each hold two full-sized grocery bags. They click shut and are weather-sealed on the inside, with one drain hole in the bottom in case something spills (or has a lot of condensation). Owing to all the carrying capacity of the bags, the Yuba could be a friendly adventure bike for camping. 

We climbed the steepest hill we could find, about 10 percent, and we climbed to the top using Boost mode, in third gear, on a hot day, with a strong headwind, without sweating. This bike is made to haul bananas in any conditions. 

Despite the 4 1/2-foot wheelbase, the bike still turns surprisingly well. We were on a bike path and had to turn around and did it within the width of the bike path itself. With the Bread Basket bolted to the front of the frame, it can be a little disconcerting when you initiate a turn to see the handlebars turn but not seeing the wheel turn
with it.

Making runs to get groceries suddenly became a task we looked forward to, and although nobody was going to make off with this long, heavy bike very easily, Yuba sells a pin lock, similar to what you’d use to attach a bike rack to a hitch receiver. The lock is a different take on the traditional cafe lock and secures the front wheel to two welded tabs on the fork. It doesn’t secure the bike to anything, but it will keep anyone from riding off with the bike.

THE VERDICT

Yuba makes an electric version for each of its three categories. The entry-level option is the $3,200 compact Boda Boda, and the high end is the $5,500 front carbon Supermarche Bosch.

We loved riding the Mundo. As fun as it is to ride, it’s the outright utility aspect of its design that makes it so impressive. If you’re looking for a well-built bike by a proven cargo bike maker, we think the Mundo is well worth the price tag. We’ll warn you, though, picking out accessories for it can be habit-forming, and add a chunk to the price, but amortized over years of owning the bike and riding it often might make it worth it.

SPECS

YUBA MUNDO ELECTRIC

Price: $4,400 ($5,029 as tested with accessories)

Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000

Battery: Shimano, 504 Wh

Charge time: 3–4 hours

Top speed: 20 mph

Range: 20–40 miles

Drive: Shimano Deore RD-M6000

Brakes: Magura MT32 hydraulic disc

Controls: Shimano

Fork: Mundo CR-Mo 1.5” threadless thru-axle with post-mount disc tab

Frame: Mundo STEPS CR-MO thru-axle with disc tab

Tires: Schwalbe Big Ben Plus 26×2.15”

Weight: 75 lb.

Color choice: Beige

Sizes: One size

 

www.yubabikes.com 


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