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The ‘Mundo’ makes its Portland debut

Posted by on May 29th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Meet the Yuba Mundo-91.jpg
Jeremy Towsey-French loves the Mundo.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Jeremy Towsey-French dropped by BikePortland.org headquarters today to introduce me to the Yuba Mundo.

The Mundo (it means “world” in Spanish) is a cargo bike dreamed up by an ex-employee of Xtracycle and Jeremy is the Portland distributor. He’s set up a website at StumptownMundo.com and he tells me he’s got the only Mundos in the country right now.

I was interested in the bike because it fits an interesting niche. It’s billed as an affordable and versatile cargo bike. For just under $1,000, the all-steel Mundo — with its massive rear rack — will let you carry all sorts of crazy loads. And you don’t have to be shy about loading up — it has a load capacity of 440 pounds (no kidding)!

Meet the Yuba Mundo-92.jpg
Meet the Mundo.
Meet the Yuba Mundo-90.jpg
The rack.

The bike is built like a tank, it’s made in Germany and weighs about 59 pounds (compare that to a bakfiets which weighs about 66 97 pounds).

I’m going to ride it around for a few days (hopefully at the Voodoo parade tomorrow tonight) and I might share some more thoughts before I give it back.

Jeremy gives credit to Clever Cycles for making cargo bikes cool (with their Dutch offerings) and now he hopes the Mundo will also get a warm welcome in Portland. I hope he’s right.

If you’re interested in whether or not this bike would work for you, check out Jeremy’s website. He’s posted a ton of information, photos and FAQs that should answer all your questions.

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  • zac May 29, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    At 59lbs that\’s still quite cumbersome to lug around, but it certainly serves a great purpose. It would make a great alternative to renting a U-Haul.

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  • Tomascosauce May 29, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Freakin\’ Sweet…it makes Betty look pretty lightweight at 40lbs.

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  • turbodragon May 29, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    The SUV of bicycles! Awesome.

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  • Brian E May 29, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Cycle9 in Chapple Hill SC has these too. They posted this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcF8ceez-Ic

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  • Scott Mizée May 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Just curious about that Bakfiets weight statistic. That is considerably less than I heard.

    According to this review:
    http://tinyurl.com/5d3ggf

    …they weight 97 lbs. …although you wouldn\’t know it because they are such a pleasure to ride. I\’m pretty sure I saw that 97 lb figure on the Clever Cycles site too.

    Regardless, that is not what this post is about! Thanks for telling us about it and I look forward to riding one. The \”Price Factor\” seems to be a major barrier to entry into the family biking life for many I have met.

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  • joel May 29, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    60 lb! oof. sure, its lighter than a bakfiets or long john, but thtas still pretty heavy – and i dont think langtails *need* to be that heavy… its cool to see yet another purpose-built longtail on the market, but as someone whos carried 400lb on a long john style cargo bike, and ridden longtails with decent loads, i sure as hell wouldnt want to move 400lbs on a longtail… im sure the structure will support that weight – but im not sure that kickstand would! 400 lbs is seriously hard to manhandle on a 2 wheeled bike of any description.

    but at the same time – i cant knock another somewhat inexpensive cargo offering (even if it is another longtail; my bias for cargo pushers – rather than pullers – is well known :) )

    next stop, affordably-priced long johns? big tadpole trikes?

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  • todd May 29, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    i got your superlight cargo pushers right here joel: http://www.larryvsharry.com/english/

    congratulations, jeremy! i look forward to seeing a production model at last.

    confirming: bakfietsen are nearly 100lbs. weight isn\’t irrelevant, but it\’s way, way overemphasized IMO.

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  • dan May 29, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Don\’t you folks find that cargo bikes that place the load above the axle result in a top-heavy/unstable ride?

    I\’ve ridden an extracycle with a buddy sitting on the back, and the handling was pretty poor. It seems to me that solutions where the load hangs below the axle (i.e., bikfiets, trailer) will be much more stable, no?

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  • joel May 29, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    todd:

    HMMM! under 50 lbs – good! and i also like the frame design… but… aluminum? argh! i know for a fact they can be built this light using crmo, and frankly, for a workbike, i prefer the repairability of steel… aluminum is cheap, though… but for something thats going to get banged around, ill take steel thank you.

    but whats up with all the car-related themes? bullitt? john player special (formula 1 in the 80s, anyone?)? bluebird?

    leave it to the danes. i think im most curious about the frame design – i especially like the integrated platform design. i was a little squeamish about the steering rod and the low attachment point on the fork, but on second thought, it seems to work – seriously, this is the first truly new take on a long john ive seen yet. consider me intrigued!

    of course, by the time one gets to the states, itll probably run about $4k, considering the pricing on the site of 1700-2000+ euro…

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  • joel May 29, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    and todd, im with you in saying that weight is way overemphasized, but at the same time, these bikes dont NEED to be that heavy – and theres a lot of users whod be more open to them if they werent…

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  • DrMekon May 30, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Whilst we are sidetracking the thread, google found me this cardboard model of a child-carrying box for the Bullitt

    http://www.23hq.com/andjohan/photo/3092617/view-large?signature=

    Looks like its from in the shop if you have a poke around the photostream. Have to say that a JPS-themed bike is plain odd. What next, a Skoal-themed Christiania?

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  • Schrauf May 30, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Seems like there could be a good rental market for cargo bikes. Most cyclists may have only an occassional need for them. It would be nice to be able pick one up at a local bike shop for hopefully not too much more than $20 a day.

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  • Moo May 30, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I\’m with #12. Just ride your own bike over to the rental place, park and lock, then rent theirs for a big load or two, return and pick yours back up…and away you go. Boom-20 bucks, and there\’s 6 bags of groceries waitin\’ for ya at home.

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  • E May 30, 2008 at 7:53 am

    yes!!! u-haul bikes! No sense having a monster like that take up space in your garage, when you only need it every so often. I would totally rent one for a big shopping trip or bike move. :D

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  • Zaphod May 30, 2008 at 8:50 am

    This bike weakens a few excuses for those that need to carry serious cargo for their job. I\’m not suggesting that a plumber with >10 appointments per day nipping all over town could call this viable but it does fill a niche for loads too heavy for the xtracycle.

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  • Vance May 30, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Seeing this thing brings some questions to mind. I see on the website that indeed they are touting a 440lb. cargo capacity, not gross-vehicle-wieght. I also see that is outfitted with off-the-shelf Vbrakes of no special kind. I am dubious. Oh, and conventional spoked wheels of no special kind. Oh, and OEM rubber of no special kind. Oh, and plenty of room to overload it, stand back from it, and state to yourself, \”Oh, it\’s only a few blocks, it\’ll be kool\”.

    Some cargo bikes, and some bicycle/trailer set-ups, I\’ve seen on the road are not designed for the loads I see being put on them. Is the presence of these types of bicycles going to end up being a catalyst for regulation?

    I only ask because it seems like the responsible thing would be to question how a brake/wheel configuration designed to stop a 30lb. bike, with a 250lb. rider, can be used safely to stop a 700lb. package instead?

    At that point, perhaps I can join in the marveling.

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  • Jeff TB May 30, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Good point Vance, though I can\’t see anyone wanting to pedal this thing with 400lb cargo. Stopping is a problem sometimes when I pull my 30lb daughter in my Burley trailer. Probably need to upgrade my brakes.

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  • Vance May 30, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Jeff TB #17 I hate being a wet-blanket all the time. As a cyclist, first and foremost, I love this stuff. But, I know a little something about bikes too. Braking fixtures designed to, \”squeeze\”, a rim to work, have some real limitations.

    Makes me think we\’ll see a new niche filled in the near future. High-capacity brakes of some sort. Likely going to spin-off of existing of disc-brake designs. Rubber too, for that matter. Doesn\’t take much to overload a bicycle tire, and pop it. I am only re-posting to commend you on your awareness regarding your trailer. That\’s good thinking, IMO. Heartening too, as I figured most people figure if they can pull it, they can stop it. Good lookin\’ out!

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  • Moo May 30, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Especially going downhill in the rain-oy!

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  • Bill Stites May 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Great to see more cargo bike action! I wish the best of luck and success for Stumptown Mundo.

    It looks like it might be tricky to fit a StokeMonkey electric assist … hope it\’s possible.

    I submit that the ultimate hybrid = human + electric power.

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  • joel May 30, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    vance – main worries as far as wheels with cargo bikes of this capacity (sub-500lb) are:

    1. tire sidewalls. low gear torque + high cargo weight = torn sidewalls. fortunately, most euro-style commuter tires (schwalbe marathon and the like) make this problem a thing of the past. you dont necessarily need a heavy tread, just a strong sidewall.

    2. rims. a standard cross-country mtb rim *will* crack at the spoke holes, and split down the center of its box section. takes about 6 months to a year of consistent (ie near-daily) heavy (100 lb +) load hauling, though. however, the rise of downhill mountain bikes has made this problem a thing of the past, as super-burly rims are easily available.

    the conventional spoked wheel as a whole, though, works just fine.

    as for braking – discs are optimal, but v-brakes work passably well with decent (id say about 200 lb) loads, and drum brakes can work with the same, but require some decent lead time, and definite awareness of whats going on around you :) remember, speeds arent terribly high for most people on cargo bikes. hydraulic or cable-actuated discs pretty much eliminate the braking problem, and if you really need more power, you can move up to the big 8\” downhill rotors.

    (hey, did you know that the driver + cargo capacity – in terms of weight – of a long haul is about the same as that of a 2-door geo metro? :) )

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  • Dan Herford May 31, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Oregon boasts two shops carrying the Mundo. If you are between Salem and Eugene, you can try out the Mundo at Cycle Solutions in Corvallis.

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  • Dabby May 31, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Sounds like a tank to me.. Too much weight, especially when you add cargo, for most wheels, as Joel points out very well above.

    By the way, he is offering these on Craigslist for $600, saw an ad yesterday.

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  • Jeremy May 31, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Dabby, we did post an ad on Craigslist offering the Mundo for $850 for an unbuilt kit (which includes the Hebie bipod kickstand). I\’m not sure where you got the $600 figure. For more details on price, please visit http://www.portlandrides.com/own/

    The best way to get a feel for the Mundo is to give it a try, so please feel free to come on by and take it for a spin.

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  • Liz May 31, 2008 at 9:22 am

    looks to me like $850 on Craigs list. Don\’t know where you saw $600.

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  • Dabby June 2, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Thought it was $600, guess it wasn\’t.

    Still way too heavy for me to want to even test ride.

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  • Stuart June 7, 2008 at 6:25 am

    No one seems to take the time to actually read specifications anymore. The Yuba rear wheel is its big selling point: 48 extra thick 2.34 spokes and a size 21 rim are the reason they are claiming this bike will haul big weight. Where did it say in the specs that this bike is aluminum? The specs say high-tensile steel frame. The objections to the brakes may be legit. The theory behind the bike is it\’s supposed to be sent all over the world, especially to the third world where it will help small farmers/merchants with their transportation problems (part of the American/European price is actually a donation to help Africans get the bike). The designers had to go to Germany to get the bike built and cost factors had to be kept as low as possible without compromising quality. Yes, Magura hydraulic brakes would stop the thing better than v-brakes, but the cost factor had to be kept in mind. We in the rich West can modify the bike to our heart\’s content with after-market stuff. Let me know if you need me to read the specs on any other bike for you! (Sorry I couldn\’t resist!)

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  • IanO July 12, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Quick update from a block-neighbor of Jeremy\’s.

    He is enjoying the same success as Clever Cycles. He has sold out his initial inventory of 50 Mundos, selling about half in Portland and half in the rest of the US (even Hawaii!). And like Clever Cycles, he is awaiting a second shipment in August.

    Cargo bikes are HOT, HOT HOT!

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  • [...] his lonely editing career and purchase Stumptown Mundo a fledgling, Portland-based company that began distributing the Yuba Mundo cargo bike back in [...]

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