Review: Yuba Supermarché cargo bike

Maybe driving a car is something you’d like to do less often. A cargo bike can make this a reality and can even replace the gas hog as a way of moving kids and groceries. Yuba, a company out of northern California, has been making longtail-style cargo bikes since 2006, first with the Mundo, Boda Boda and Spicy Curry models. Now, Yuba has expanded into the realm of front-loading cargo bikes with the Supermarché.

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Call it a Front Loader, Long John, or Bakfiets if you want to get fancy – the Supermarché puts the load low and in front of you for certain advantages. Compared to a longtail, a front loader opens you up to carry a wider variety of loads more easily. Small children can be sat side by side as you pedal along, chat them up and keep an eye on them. Front loaders are also great for those odd or heavy loads like boxes of bicycle magazines, bass drums or kegs. Not that you need to chat with your drum or your beer, but those are the kind of thing I like to carry. The center of gravity is low, and the cargo space itself can be configured to accommodate a wide variety of “things.” The Supermarché can (soon) be had in an electric version if you live in a hilly area or just want some more juice to go further without questioning your physical ability to do so.

So what sets the Yuba Supermarché apart? One design goal was making a cargo bike that would fit a wide variety of people and carry a wide variety of loads. This is accomplished with a loooong seatpost and a looong steerer tube for a wide range of seat and handlebar adjustments. I had no trouble fitting my 6’4” frame on to the Super – in fact, I found it fit quite well whether I was sitting or standing to pedal. With its short seat tube, the Supermarché is designed to fit riders as small as 4’7″.

Another goal was to make the Supermarché as easy to ride as possible, so Yuba’s team selected a cable-actuated steering system which not only eliminates the usual damage-prone steering rod extension to the front wheel but allows for an even lower center of gravity. They also used different sized pulleys and played with fork rake to make the Supermarché relatively easy to handle.

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The drivetrain is of the Shimano 3 x 8 trigger-shifting variety and connected to 20-inch wheels front and rear, providing ample gearing for the steepest of hills. Those 20-inch wheels have fat 2.4-inch tires and 36/48 spokes (front/rear), which provide confidence when carrying heavy loads. Plus, there’s only one innertube size to keep in stock for flats. Braking is handled by Tektro hydraulic discs for ample stopping power. The frame is aluminum the fork is cromoly and a wide kickstand holds the whole thing up without issue when loading or parking.

Other pertinent info? The Supermarché weighs 58 pounds before accessories and is capable of carrying up to 300 pounds of cargo, 220 pounds in the front and 80 pounds over the massive rear rack.

Accessories are a big part of the Supermarché thing. There are a variety of bamboo platforms and boxes available to customize your ride. My review rig came with the $250 bamboo box, which is pretty key if you just want to drop stuff into a box and forget about it. If you want to haul children, there’s a $150 seat kit that attaches to said bamboo box. And for the minimalist with a huge load, there’s a simple bamboo baseboard for $70. You are also free to build your own solutions and mount them to the frame. A third child can be put in a $199 Yepp child seat mounted to the rear of the bike. One more cool accessory is a $35 frame lock that slips through a special bracket that locks the back wheel from turning.

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How about the ride? Starting off on the Supermarché is definitely easier than a couple of other front loaders I’ve tried riding. The step-through frame makes it easy to get on, and once you push off there’s no drama, even with a large load. The riding position is comfortable whether sitting or standing and wide MTB-style handlebars with ergonomic grips made controlling the bike a breeze.

Acceleration was great for such a large bike with the smaller wheel size. Loaded, the low center of gravity was appreciated. I have carried some pretty heavy loads with the longtail Mundo, and getting the weight even lower was yummy. The burly center kickstand also makes parking a breeze. Mind you, the wheelbase is quite long, so it doesn’t have the turning radius of a regular bike, but it does feel pretty natural once you get rolling. The only thing that felt odd to me was the five feet of bicycle sticking out in front of the handlebars. This made it a bit weird when, say, pulling out from between two parked cars, but I got used to it. The added length (8’5″ total) also takes the edge off the roughness of the smaller wheels when the going gets rough.

Coming off the Yuba’s Mundo longtail, there were a few things I noticed right away. First of all, I found myself picking up and moving more odd loads of various sizes – a bass drum, Dirt Rag magazines, people, etc. This can be addicting. Why bother with a regular bike when you might decide to do some shopping, stop at a garage sale or flea market, or want to give someone a ride home? The Supermarché is becoming my daily driver.

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In the past, I had already been handling many daily chores on my Yuba Mundo cargo bike. But now, with the Supermarché my car is going to be parked even more. Yuba makes it easy to go car-free! Breathe the outside air, enjoy the day and be happy!

Price: $2799

More info can be found on Yuba’s website.

(Edited 2/1/18 to reflect earlier use of cable-actuated steering system)

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Yuba unveils new e-assist long tail cargo bike

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Cargo bikes are the perfect application for e-assist technology, and Yuba’s elMundo has been a staff favorite for years. Now the brand has unveiled its second design, the Spicy Curry, built around the new Currie Tech center drive system.

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Adding e-assist power to a cargo bike takes nearly all the barriers away from switching from car-based transportation to bike-centric, especially with young families. The Spicy Curry can carry two kids or a week’s worth of groceries with ease, thanks to the 350-watt electric motor that is mounted in the bottom bracket area rather than in the rear wheel. Power is adjustable between four levels of pedal assist or a throttle for speeds up to 20 mph.

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Unlike the elMundo, which has 26-inch wheels, the aluminum Spicy Curry has a 20-inch rear wheel for added strength and a lower deck height to keep the bike’s center of gravity low. The Truck Bed system has multiple add-ons from Yepp kids seats to cargo carriers that plug in for an easy switch. It also comes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe Big Apple tires, fenders, and a built-in LED lights.

The Spicy Curry should go on sale in early June with an MSRP of $4,500. It’s still a lot of money, but a lot less than driving a car.

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Yuba launches PeopleForBikes special edition Boda Boda

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We just tested a Boda Boda in Issue #33 and loved it’s comfortable ride and handy cargo capacity. If you’ve been thinking about getting one of your own, now’s the time. Yuba is offering 50 limited edition Boda Boda bikes in partnership with PeopleForBikes to help raise money for bicycling infrastructure.

Yuba is donating $100 from the sale of each of the $999 bikes to the PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program, a fund for projects that leverage federal dollars to build bike paths and rail trails, mountain bike trails, bike parks, BMX facilities and more. The program has awarded 272 grants to non-profit organizations and local governments in 49 states and the District of Columbia, investing nearly $2.5 million and leveraging $650 million in public and private funding.

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The new bike will officially launch at the Sea Otter Classic in April and go on sale May 1. Dealers are taking pre-orders now, so head on over to your local Yuba dealer.

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Bicycle Times Issue #33 is here – Take a peek inside

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Photo: Justin Steiner. Rider: Karl Rosengarth. Bike: Breezer Greenway Elite

Bicycle Times Issue #33 has mailed to subscribers and will be available on newsstands soon. In this issue we feature $1,000 Bikes for Work + Play, interviews with Ben Harper guitarist Michael Ward and Santa Cruz custom guitar maker Jeff Traugott, plus our regular awesome product reviews.

All this and more, now available through paper and our digital editions. Print subscribers should start receiving their copies next week. You can always visit better book stores and bike shops to buy a copy, or order one online now.


What’s inside

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Ignorance is Bliss: A suicidal urge to cycle a game reserve becomes a five-day odyssey into Africa’s Nyika National Park in Malawi. Words and photos by Logan Watts.

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Couch Potater to Fifty Stater: How a retired university professor found cycling, love and friendship. By Murray Fishel.

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Drinks With: An interview with Michael Ward, a guitarist for Ben Harper and Gogol Bordello who brings his Ritchey Breakaway bike on tour around the world.

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Vintage Velo: A custom Gary Fisher mountain bike built for Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir and our Staff Playlist, a group of tracks that inspire us to ride.

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… And They Ride: We chat with Jeff Traugott, one of the most sought-after custom guitar builders in the world and and a cyclist in Santa Cruz, California.

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Made in Taiwan: We tour the factories of some of the largest component makers in the industry, and meet the people that build your bikes and components. By Gary Boulanger

Provisions

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$1,000 Bikes for Work and Play: We ride a very diverse group of six bikes that hit right at the magic $1,000 price point. We were surprised at what we found. By the Bicycle Times staff.

Plus: reviews of the latest from Niner, Brompton, Bike Friday and more.

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First Impression: Yuba Boda Boda

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Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.


There’s no doubt about it: this is a quirky bike with a quirky name. The second Yuba model after the widely acclaimed Mundo long-tail, the Boda Boda is designed as a “half-tail”, a bike that falls somewhere in between the 18-wheeler Mundo and a regular car. If we keep rolling with the analogy, the Boda Boda is a minivan—plenty of room for kids and stuff, but not so big that you won’t be able to park it.

There are two models available: a small/medium step-through and a medium/large step over, which is what’s pictured here. At six-foot-two I’m pushing the limits of the seatpost, but otherwise the bike fits great. The handlebars are nice and wide, and the riding position is upright and relaxed. If you’ve ridden a Dutch-style opafiets, you’re going to feel right at home.

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Behind that seatpost is where things get interesting though. The wheelbase is extended to allow for the extra cargo space created by the integrated rear rack. Yuba offers a ton of accessories for hauling kids or cargo, but to squeak under the $1,000 limit we had to go without. Now, normal panniers do attach just fine, but you’re really missing out on the versatility of the bike without them. The extra-huge Yuba Baguette panniers are $89 each.

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If you’re wondering, the black panels over the rear wheel are skirt guards to keep kids toes or—or your skirt—from getting caught up in the spokes. They are easily removable if you’re more of a pants-person.

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So far I’ve taken the Boda Boda on a few leisurely rides and it has a great casual vibe to it. It’s certainly a bike you could ride as an everyday commuter without feeling like you’re a piloting a cargo ship. Watch for my full, long-term review in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Subscribe today and you won’t miss it.

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Yuba launches 20-city tour with electric cargo bike demos

While you can debate whether an e-bike is a “real” bike or not until your batteries are dead, we think cargo bikes are a perfect application for the latest electric assist technology. Yuba does too, and offers versions of both its Mundo long-tail cargo bike and Boda Boda “mid-tail” with the Bion-X drive system.

This summer the company will take them on tour to 20 cities across the country to give folks a chance to experience them firsthand. Even the cynical bike journalists here at Bicycle Times got have gotten plugged in to e-bikes after spending time on them. Yuba says the goal is to give parents, small business owners and others a chance to sample the bikes in their own community so they can get a better idea of how they can replace a car or other vehicle.

Yuba says the first leg of the year-long “Power Up” tour will visit Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta and many more cities between. It is also planning to visit several festivals and bike shops on the way, including Kiddical Mass in Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta and Miami. It will also join rides with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the South Florida Bike Coalition and join a Save Haiti fundraiser ride in Miami as well as the annual Blinkie Awards in Atlanta.

If your tots are a little small to be piloting a cargo bike of their own, Yuba will also have the Flip Flop balance bike available to demo, and you can compare the electric-assist bikes back-to-back with their pedal-powered versions.

Read more: You can read our long-term reviews of the electric-assist Mundo cargo bike and Boda Boda.

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All event dates

  • San Luis Obispo, California: January 17, 2015
  • Santa Barbara, California: January 18, 2015
  • San Diego, California: January 22, 2015
  • Phoenix, Arizona: January 24,2015
  • Tucson, Arizona: January 25, 2015
  • San Antonio, Texas: January 28, 2015
  • Austin, Texas: January 29, 2015
  • Houston, Texas: January 31, 2015
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: February 2, 2015
  • Mobile, Alabama: February 3, 2015
  • Pensacola, Florida: February 3, 2015
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: February 4, 2015
  • Sarasota, Florida: February 5, 2015
  • Naples, Florida: February 6, 2015
  • Fort Myers, Florida: February 7, 2015
  • Miami, Florida: February 8, 2015
  • Jacksonville, Florida: February 11, 2015
  • Savannah, Georgia: February 12, 2015
  • Atlanta, Georgia: February 14, 2015
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: February 15, 2015
  • Nashville, Tennessee: February 16, 2015
  • Memphis, Tennessee: February 17, 2015
  • Little Rock, Arkasas: February 18, 205
  • Dallas, Texas: February 19, 2015
  • Flagstaff, Arizona: February 19, 2015
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: February 21, 2015
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This Just In: Six $1,000 Bikes for Work and Play

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The new year draws near, and for the first issue of 2015, we’ve rounded up six bike in the $1,000 range as a representative sample at this popular price point. We’ve found it to be common dollar amount for a first “good” bike, or adding a second bike (or third or fourth, etcetera) to the stable. Here’s the rundown with some basic stats, expect more in depth First Impression posts to follow soon.


 

Marin Lombard Introduction—WEB (1 of 1)

Marin Lombard

Price: $999
Weight: 24.8 pounds
Frame/fork material: Aluminum
Drivetrain: Shimano Sora 3×9
Brakes: Promax Render R mechanical disc brakes, 160mm rotors
Tires: 700x35c Schwalbe Road Cruiser

The Lombard is a listed as a “cyclocross utility” bike on Marin’s website, and is a great way to categorize this bike. An aluminum frame and fork keeps the weight down, while reflective decals and rack and fender mounts should make this bike a willing companion on local commutes or long tours.


 

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Specialized Diverge A1

Price: $1,100
Weight: 24.2 pounds
Frame/fork material: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum frame with Specialized FACT carbon fork w/ Zertz
Drivetrain: Shimano Claris 2400 STI, with SunRace 11-32 8-speed cassette, KMC chain, and Shimano Claris 50/34T, 175mm crankset
Brakes: Tektro Spyre mechanical disc
Tires: Specialized Espoir Sport 700x30c

The Diverge line is new for Specialized, and illustrates the diffuclting of finding the correct way to label modern drop bar bikes. Disc brake road bike? Utility cyclocross? light touring? Adventure bike? We are slotting this in the disc brake road bike category, with its compact road crank and 30mm tires.


 

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Yuba Boda-Boda

Price: $999
Weight: 39.4 pounds
Frame/fork material: Aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM 1×8
Brakes: Mechanical disc brake front, V-brake rear
Tires: 26×2.0 WTB Freedom Cruz

As far as we know, this is the least expensive, complete, long-tail cargo bike on the market today. This is a pretty stripped down bike at this price, and will need accessories to really take advantage of the cargo capacity. Yes that is a lot of seat post. Our reviewer has a lot of leg, and Yuba offers the Boda Boda in only two sizes: one a step-through, and the step-over pictured here.


 

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Raleigh Clubman Disc

Price: $1,100
Weight: 27.4 pounds
Frame/fork material: 4130 butted chromoly
Drivetrain: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed, 50/34 crank,
Brakes: Shimano BR-R317
Tires: Kenda Karv 700×28

The Clubman is a long standing model for Raleigh, and we were glad to see it move to disc brakes for the 2015 model. The full Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain and Shimano discs are a great spec at this price point. And those painted to match metal fenders give the bike a whiff of NAHBS.


 

Breezer Greenway

Breezer Greenway Elite

Price: $1,049
Weight: 31.5 pounds
Frame/fork material: aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM VIA Centro 2×10 speed
Brakes: Shimano M355 hydraulic disc
Tires: Vittoria Adventure 700×32

The Greenway Elite from Breezer comes stock with a solid year round commuting set up: fenders, rack, bell and even a kickstand. The best part? A set of front and rear Trelock lights running off the Shimano dynamo front hub.


 

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Framed Minnesota 2.0

Price: $900
Weight: 34 pounds
Frame/fork material: aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM X7/X5  2×9
Brakes: Avid BB5 mechanical disc
Tires: Framed 26×4

Framed is a newer bike company, and besides the a full range of fat bikes, bmx and urban bikes, it is also first to market with a women’s specific model, and sells a kid’s 24-inch fat bike as well. It seems fat bikes are becoming more and more popular as a second or third bike, and not just for snow and sand. The big tires seem to strike a chord with a wide range of riders, for a wide range of uses.


 

Coming up

The full feature review of all six bikes will appear is the first issue of 2015. Don’t miss this, and the rest of the great content, subscribe now!

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Interbike: Yuba Flip Flop balance bike

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We can thank the smarty-pants over in Europe for introducing balance bikes to American parents many years ago, and now we can thank a Frenchman for introducing the ultimate kid’s bike, the Yuba Flip Flop.

Best known for its adult cargo bikes, Yuba unveiled the Flip Flop at Interbike last week, incorporating a curiously simple concept to extend the life of the bike as your child grows: flip the frame, flop the position of the bars, rack, seat and front wheel. Voila! You’ve added another inch and year to the bike’s use.

Yuba founder Benjamin Sarrazin, a native of Strasbourg, France, developed the patented Flip Flop with serial designer Barley Forsman (CamelBak, Specialized, Volagi). Aimed at children aged 1-½ to 6 years old, the Flip Flop comes in three colors: lime, raspberry and aqua. It should be available in November in stores and online. Price is $149.

Keep reading

See all our 2014 Interbike coverage here.

 

 

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