Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 23rd, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Yuba has a new offering in the growing cargo bike market. The California-based company that has built a strong reputation with their no-nonsense and extremely capable Mundo cargo bike (which was also launched in 2008), unveiled their new Boda Boda model in Portland last weekend.
The bike was on display at the Disaster Relief Trials on Sunday and two Yuba employees rode them in the World Naked Bike Ride the night before (sorry, I've promised to not share those photos).
Yuba's Marketing Director Kaytea Petro (who looks great in leopard print, sorry Kaytea) calls the new bike a "cargo cruiser" and the name comes from the common African taxis known as Boda-bodas. The bike's design was also inspired by the African boda-boda, which are standard bicycles (or motorcycles) with a large and padded rear rack designed for hauling people.
Petro says the rear rack on the Boda Boda has a 220 pound weight capacity, which makes it, "Perfect for a kid or a date."
The first thing I noticed about the bike was its swooping lines. The aluminum tubes of the step-through front end swoop down toward the seat tube and then head skyward again as they turn into the supports for the rear rack. The rear rack is the entire rear end of the bike. The large deck features a bamboo inlay and an opening made for hands. There are also sideboards for your feet.
Petro said all the company's accessories for the Mundo will also work on the Boda Boda (including the massive, frame-mounted front rack). They've also made some new accessories just for the Boda Boda like a sharp new pannier bag. The drivetrain is a standard, 8-speed SRAM rear derailleur (not internal).
The feel of the bike is definitely cruiser. The wide bars, large tires and the gentle geometry make this bike feel very laid-back. It's an interesting departure from Yuba's much more serious cargo/utility background, which may be yet another sign that cargo bikes are entering the mainstream. The ride is as predictable and relaxed as you'd expect. Petro claims a total bike weight of just 35 pounds.
The Boda Boda will definitely be a contender in the growing "midtail" market. Xtracycle proved to the bike industry (including Yuba, whose Mundo was inspired by it) that there's a huge market for longtails. But now there's a realization that not everyone wants the full commitment of such a long rear end. Kona has recognized this as well with the introduction of the Minute last year (a smaller version of their Ute longtail) and there's a Portland-made bike in the works that is also based on the midtail concept (more details on that soon).
The Boda Boda comes in green and white and will retail for about $1,000 with availability starting at the end of July. Portland's Joe Bike is the largest Yuba dealer on the planet (seriously) and they're taking pre-orders now.
For more details and impressions about the Boda Boda, check out this post on Joe Bike's blog.