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First look at Yuba’s new ‘Spicy Curry’ electric-assist cargo bike

Posted by on May 12th, 2015 at 1:31 pm

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Yuba Bikes Founder and CEO Benjamin Sarrazin on his new Spicy Curry e-bike.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)


When Yuba’s debuted in Portland nearly seven years ago, I can remember the dismissive chuckles. Back then, Xtracycles ruled the market for “longtail” cargo bikes and most people thought the Dutch bakfiets bikes were the state of the art when it came to hauling kids and cargo.

The company’s first model, the Yuba Mundo was stout and overbuilt and relatively heavy at 59 pounds. It took a while to win people over, but eventually the Mundo proved itself. It became a favorite for anyone who valued stability and toughness and it’s a hit with bike-based businesses. Heck, we’ve even met a guy and his dog touring the country on one.

In the past seven years Yuba has come a long way. They’ve grown alongside the cargo bike boom in America and they’ve benefitted from a renaissance in urban biking that has seen many cities add protected bike lanes and other infrastructure that makes living without a car much more feasible.

And it’s people who want to live carfree or low-car Yuba now hopes to attract with its latest offering — the Spicy Curry. Yuba’s Founder and CEO Benjamin Sarrazin rolled through Portland last week and I met up with him at Fields Park to take a closer look.

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Sarrazin pointing to the modular rear rack system. He didn’t have the “truck bed” platform with him when we met.

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Nice graphics.
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Sarrazin said he’s working on a hand-lever released dual kickstand that will be ready once the bikes are available in June.
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Love this huge rear rack!
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1 1/2″ threadless headset.

Sarrazin’s roots go way back in the cargo bike world. He was one of the original employees of Xtracycle when he started there 15 years ago and was a close partner of that company’s founders Ross Evans and Kipchoge Spencer. Xtracycle built its reputation on a kit called the “Freeradical” that would transform the rear-end of (nearly) any bike into a fully-competent longtail. But Sarrazin, now 41, thought the company should make a complete bike. After being rebuffed internally, he sprung out on his own and started Yuba. He designed their first model, the Mundo, and it was the first purpose-built cargo bike in the North American market.

Sarrazin’s new Spicy Curry is an evolutionary step from the “El Mundo” model, which is a version of the Mundo that ships with an aftermarket electric-assist kit built into the rear wheel.

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The name Spicy Curry name is a nod to Currie Technologies, the company Yuba partnered with top make the bike’s 350W motor. (Currie also happens to be the umbrella company for several e-bike brands and sells more e-bikes than any company in the U.S.) Sarrazin says it’s that motor that sets his new bike apart. “For years now, I’ve been looking at a way to make an integrated e-cargo bike. Then about a year ago, Currie came around.”

Sarrazin says the Spicy Curry’s “mid-drive” motor gives it the best efficiency, power and torque (acceleration) on the market. Instead of driving a wheel, the Currie mid-drive motor drives the crank-arms forward and it’s especially smooth and powerful when climbing hills.

With an estimated 80 percent of Yuba customers carrying kids, the extra power is a huge asset.

The Spicy Curry is made out of aluminum, which allows it to tip the scales at just 55 pounds — that’s lighter than the first (non-electric) Mundos that hit the market.

Another cool feature (that unfortunately wasn’t on the bike I saw last week) is what Sarrazin calls the “truck bed,” an attachment to the rear rack that creates a two-by-two foot loading platform. Pop off the loading platform and two child seats can snap on the deck in seconds. The Spicy Curry comes in one size and can be shipped with either a 350 or 500mm seatpost.

I took a quick spin on the bike and was impressed at how smooth it was. My only quibble so far is that it doesn’t come with a chainguard or a bell (UPDATE: Yuba says it will come with a bell. Yay!). It does come with integrated front and rear dynamo-powered lights – a must for any real utility bike.

I would love to try it out fully loaded to see if it could really be the car replacement Sarrazin hopes it will be. (Stay tuned for a possible hands-on test.)

The bike will be available next month from Clever Cycles in southeast Portland.

Learn more about this bike at YubaBikes.com

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shuppatsu
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shuppatsu

Looks very nice! I love the Edgerunner-style form factor, and it’s always nice to read about another electric drivetrain.

I wish electric bikes were cheaper. I don’t understand what makes them so expensive.

Paul Cone
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Paul Cone

Aluminum? How strong will it be compared to steel when fully loaded?

Joe
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Joe

Of course, there’s a whole other side to the Mundo origin story, but I’m not sure anyone would want to talk about it.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

for those too lazy to look on the web site:

$4,500… Order now for June delivery…

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

“it doesn’t come with a chainguard”

that’s a new requirement on bikes that I buy… I got so very tired of strapping my pant leg, and then that leg not getting enough air flow and getting too hot…

Adam H.
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Adam H.

Looks nice, but I won’t buy one unless there is a steel option.

invisiblebikes
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invisiblebikes

Beautiful… but here are some more in depth pro’s and con’s

Pro’s:
-Smaller rear wheel size brings any load (especially kids) closer to the ground for superior weight to stability ratio and easier for kids to get on and off.
– built in rack’s also add a superior weight to stability ratio and load capacity.
-much higher weight carrying capacity compared to competitor long tails like Surly Big dummy, Xtracycle, etc
-Upright position, swept bars for super comfortable ride
-Single front chain ring and Rock ring/chain guide helps protect pants and less chain maintenance

Con’s:
-The Mid drive 350W E-assist is under powered and lacking torque needed for any extended load carrying or hills. this is Portland, we have lots of hills!
-limited gear range due to mid drive/ no front derailleur option
-gear ratio of front chain ring to rear gear ranges is limited and relies to much on torque input from mid drive instead of better gear ratio of mid sized chain ring or 2 or 3 speed cranks. Making it harder to ride with out more input from mid drive.

Best comparison is the new Xtracycle Edgerunner W/ Bosch mid drive, it has more torque and power for better hill climbing and then matches the rest of the Yuba pro’s and Con’s
I prefer the new Bionx D500 on my Big dummy for ludicrous hill climbing torque… I can carry an extra 200 lbs up a 18% grade at 12 mph, neither the Bosch or Curry will compete with that. And the Bionx D500 lasts closer to 30-80 miles on full charge depending on how much assist I want. Much better than Curry or Bosch.
Since I don’t carry loads over 150 lbs I don’t miss the lower center of gravity but I do sometimes want it when the kids are moving around while I’m doing 20 mph…

Eric
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Eric

350W? $4500? Weight? My fully-custom 750W mid-drive edgerunner was $4000 with 48V 9Ah LiIon battery, kickback stand, x2 bags, and yepp seat – 75lb total. At 350W, you will rarely make 20mph uphill with cargo (1% grade maybe.) I have a hard time sustaining 20mph up a prolonged 6%, which is mainly due to battery size.

Aluminum might be less springy, but I’m thinking high-ten steel (as in the madsen (sadly: made in china), or the new xtracycle add-on) may be the way to haul really heavy cargo. Test-ride fully loaded on a curvy and hilly course since you may not enjoy the flex with a full-sized passenger.

10 speed cassette has a good range, but I often want more and at higher power, I generally skip gears. I would love to see an independent transmission 1kW setup (left-side drive, 4speed + neutral w/regen?) and keep the triple crankset+cassette with human-oriented gear spacing.

John Liu
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John Liu

Looks very nice.

Those are large diameter tubes, very triangulated, I’d be surprised if there was much if any flex in the frame.

Since this bike isn’t meant to be raced, i.e. pedaled at 40 mph, I doubt a second chainring is needed. 1 x 9 or 10 should be a very sufficient gear range. The small rear wheel results in lower effective gearing.

Some of the ebikes described in the comments sound like they have excessive and illegal amounts of power. I support ebikes, but if too many ebike riders get into a hot rodders war with 1000+ watts, then it will be time to ban them from bike lanes and send them out in traffic to play with cars and trucks.

anna
Guest
anna

shop talk folks discussing cargo weight, there is usually a defined load limit for in front and behind the rear wheel axle, in case you’re putting your children, keg, or boyfriend on the back rack

The eBike Store
Guest

invisiblebikes: Hub Motor and Mid-Drive power levels are not interchangeable.

Because mid-drives transfer power through the chain, you can actually climb a steeper hill with a 350w mid drive than a 500w hub motor. I have found that for steep terrain and large cargo loads, mid-drives are about 40% more efficient.

The eBike Store
Guest

If anyone would like to try the Felt Bruhaul cargo bike… (350w Bosch Mid Drive, 24″ wheels, 51lbs total weight, including bosch system and battery).

Felt representatives will be at The eBike Store on Friday, May 15th from 1-5pm.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Remind me why an electric bike has a dynamo powered head lamp? (Other than for backup?)

JEFF BERNARDS
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JEFF BERNARDS

Jonathan, thanks for informing your readers about one of the many types of electric vehicles that are available. If, as a nation we’re going to lower our carbon foot-print, the e-bike in all its forms are going to lead the way. The electric car is 50 times heavier and is a distraction from the environmentally friendly e-bike.
Thanks again and please keep your readers informed in the ever changing e-bike technology.

Champs
Guest
Champs

I disagree with Jonathan’s quibbles because they are two of the Mundo’s weakest features in my experience. The chainring plates are scarcely better than placebos and the bell is lousy. Buy trouser clips and a brass bell (like very few other bike components, this is the only correct material).

Otherwise, compared to the Mundo those hydraulics are a BIG plus but I’d hold out for that two-leg kickstand.

Joel
Guest
Joel

I’d love to see a head to head comparison vs the Bosch edge runners.

I’ve heard the edge runners have better components, but I’ve never seen that spelled out.

Mike Minnick
Guest

That guy who pedaled the Mundo with his dog sounds like a badass!