Reader Karen wrote, “I can’t find your ‘what we ride’ post after a few searches, and was just curious if you have any tips on accessories.” I was excited she was researching the Yuba, that she considered asking me what we had done in terms as add ons, and that I could help. Maybe you are considering a Yuba Mundo as well and wonder what this family of six has done to make this bike work well for us. Karen didn’t have any children, so I think some of these decisions could apply to anyone, and some were very specific to our needs.
Our children are currently 10, 8, 5, and 2. That’s 100, 60, 40 and 30 pounds respectively.
I am 5’9″ (maybe 10″) and 150 lbs. Brent says he is 6′, but I never think he is that tall. He weighs somewhere near 190lbs. He’s in much better physical shape than I am. Much stronger. I am doing a lot better now, after six months of more frequent and regular cycling than when I started, but I wouldn’t say I am extremely fit, just average with a below average start.
Our general cycling range is 2 to 4 miles out, so 4 to 8 miles round trip. The majority of this is on level ground. Our house is in the bottom range of a set of hills and the children’s school is at the top. Inclines vary from 4% to 15% (staying mostly within 4-8%) according to MayMyRide.
We did a considerable amount of cycling in darker conditions in the winter and we do bike in all weather, but limit our inclement experiences to those that are necessary. Since we have only been traveling by bikes for one full calendar year and we had an extremely mild winter, we can’t speak for snowy roadways and performance.
With all that out of the way,
The accessories we currently have from Yuba for our V4.0 and why:
- Wheel skirt, to protect little toes and fingers before we got our bags. Now it keeps the straps and strings out of the spokes.
- Double kick stand, the bike arrived with the single and the double is a much more stable set up with children and with cargo.
- Wheel stabilizer, with the double kickstand the front wheel lifts off the ground to keep the bike from rolling off the stand. Unless you have front cargo, then the rear wheel lifts off. Think teeter-totter.
- Disc brakes, based on reviews of hauling a lot of weight over hills and in
possibly slicker/wet conditions, this seemed to be recommended.
- The deck, which is a black piece of thick plastic that lays over the frame and you can sit on or load cargo/racks/baskets.
- Seat cushion, for the top of the deck plastic piece to make sitting back there more comfortable. It has room for one adult or two children close together. Two of them would be needed to cover the deck entirely.
- Stoker handle bars, attach to the seat post and can be used for the rear passenger to hold onto.
- Peanut Shell, when we did our initial research we couldn’t find any pictures or accounts of mounting any other child seat to the deck of the Yuba. Yuba recommended this seat and said, at the time, they didn’t know of another seat being mount on to the deck.I have since then had another conversation with Yuba representatives and read their blog post comparing the Peanut Shell to the Yepp Maxi. We bought the seat to hold our third child (now 5yo), who has since graduated to the deck, so the PS waits patiently in the garage for the next child, or when I dare to take four children out on the bike, as it bookends them all nicely.
Things we did NOT purchase from Yuba, and why:
- Running boards, we knew we were going to use the space on the protruding frame to haul other bikes and they slip into that space very well. The frame itself can handle as a step for the children and a landing place for their feet while we travel, so they didn’t seem necessary for us.
- Second soft spot, if we put three children on the deck we use the PeanutShell child seat as a rear book end and a second soft spot doesn’t fit under the PS. But the soft spot is extremely easy to remove, so having one on hand, would be handy later.
- Bread basket, I want this for more cargo space and to balance the front of the bike with the rear, especially on hills, but it is not compatible with a front child seat. No front seated children? No problems. Not sure how easy it would be to remove if you wanted to add a child seat for occasional use.
- Rumble strap, the children sit very close and both hold the stoker bars, hold each other or the deck. I did create my own strap from a bungee cord one day, but they didn’t use it. The bars were more sturdy for them.
- The GoGetter bag, we read a review from FullHands and emailed with her personally. We looked at the costs (GG more expensive) and what we were carrying and choose the FreeLoaders from Xtracycle. I now think we would like to have both as they serve different purposes.
- The GoGetters are larger and would hold more free floating items and bags of groceries, but they are bulkier with rear legs and not compatible with the PeanutShell according to the Yuba site.I have recently seen a photo of the PS with the GG bags. The installation seems to be compatible, but the legs keep the top flat down, hindering access or coverage
- GG are covered, which is good for weather issues, but not good for tall/long items.
- They remove very easily, but we never need/want to remove our freeloaders, even with the child seat.
- The FreeLoaders have a large inside velcro pocket which I store first aid/tools/personal items/locks, etc, out of sight and safely. That inside pocket flap can be pulled up to cover things in the rain.
- The FreeLoaders frame attachment straps have only caused problems with installing the PeanutShell seat but it still works.
- The FLs do not have enough strap/outside wall coverage for holding large and bulky things in, so we use bungee cords, and that’s ok with us too. I think a box of cords should come with your bike. Or a cargo net, as Hum of the City suggests and my friend with the Topeak utilized on our recent camp trip.
- The GG seems to have reflective sides and ends, the FL do not, but we got our FL in red, for added visibility. This is good in daylight only, of course.
- We just discovered the buckles on the FL are able to cross over the deck and latch together to hold things on the flat surface. This was a good find for when Brent made a bungeeless stop for pizza the other day. Besides, bungees would have been too tight, and crushed the box. I was also able to use the FL strap to hold extremely large bags and boxes.
What we may NOT purchase next time (should there be a next time) and why:
- Wheel skirt, the bags keep out the fingers and toes and the skirt hinders access to the wheel/chain/trailer hitch, etc. It does help keep the extra straps of the FreeLoader bags out of the spokes. It may help in keeping things cleaner, but we are not clean people A lot of mud on the Yuba!
- Disc Brakes, we had a lot of trouble getting the brakes installed correctly by our LBS (local bike shop) and they are considerably more expensive to have/maintain. The caliper brakes were working just fine for our uses and the LBS agreed. Certainly a personal preference. The disc brakes were much harder to realign after a flat change, but do work well.
- Peanut Shell, this is a questionable item from this vantage point. We would certainly need a child seat for the deck whether we were doing this purchase over again now, last year or next. Here are some of the advantages and challenges of the PS from our perspective.
- The seat accommodates a child up to 48lbs, 10lbs past the range of the iBert we use for our youngest (see bottom of this post).
- When I travel with the Yuba and three children (sometimes four), the heaviest child is easiest to manage if (s)he is directly behind my saddle. Placing the light child on the rear of the deck helps with center of balance and the feeling of carrying the momentum forward verses dragging or pulling the weight along. When the lightest child needs to be in the PS, the legs of the seat significantly hinder the use of space in the FreeLoaders, and would make it difficult to use the Go Getters.
- Despite the blog post Yuba made about the ease of installation of the PS, we don’t think it is easy. It’s was actually a stressful task to move the seat mid-ride, away from home (I had the proper tools). If you don’t need to move the seat, then you have nothing to worry about. Our LBS installed the seat the first time and we would have been good to go, except we play musical bikes/bike seats, often.I re-installed the PS last week and it took 45minutes. I watched the Yuba install video and discovered the LBS installed the seat incorrectly and bent a rail. The ratchet we had was the correct size but didn’t fit the nut (maybe these are replacement nuts?), and the space I had to work in was very tight. I have yet to call Yuba to replace the rail and inquire about nuts.
- There are small parts, and we drop them, a lot. Perhaps these small parts are for installing the seat without the deck plastic? This might have been our first mistake, using the seat without the deck board is how we began, and thus the LBS installed the seat with these little plastic spacers to keep the frame from being scratched. With the deck board, the spacers are not used.
- The wheel skirt gets in the way of installation and the FreeLoader straps get in the way of the seat brackets (the Go Getters wouldn’t from what I gather, but they are not designed to be used with the PS.)
- The seat is secure on the bike. It never moves, compared to our iBert that needs tightened a little every now and then.
- When the PS was in the front position I didn’t check to see if I had clearance for my own feet as I pedaled before tightening the nuts. I didn’t, so we had to more the seat, again.
- The cross over lap bar on the PS is difficult to remove. I believe it was designed to stay on the seat, but with our now five year old we often had to take it off to get him in the seat, so we just left it off so he could get in and out by himself. This is an observational comparison to our friend’s Topeak seat (not on a Yuba) that has a lap bar that snaps in on one side and hinges open on the other.
- Because it has a fabric liner, it gets wet in the rain. The liner is removable, but you would have to take out the seats belts to do so. The liner does makes the seat cooler when sitting in the sun and more comfortable all the time. We try to remember to carry plastic bags on rainy days for coverage.
- The foot rests in the leg trays are adjustable and removable. We adjusted them and used them for a couple of rides because we thought we were supposed to. Now we have them removed because we didn’t need them, and it took less time to ready children without them there.
Things we added from other sources and/or wished came standard, and why:
- Lights, we are burning through rechargeable batteries and constantly switching out the clip on lights we purchased from our LBS/Target/online and having to remove them at our destinations, which adds up in time. We switch them out because we overlight our bikes when we go out solo. So Brent might put three or up to five front lights on his bike or mine if they are all avialable, then we put them back on individual bikes when we go out as a group. The rear light we fixed in a way it’s more difficult to steal, but we do have to replace the batteries. We ride at night more than we anticipated, especially in the winter months when the sunsets early, and Brent works nights and there are meetings and dinners and trips to friends, etc.We don’t necessarily need lights to brighten the path, there is decent street lighting. We use them for visibility from cars, pedestrians and other cyclists. We want to be seen.
- Water bottle cages, the Yuba came with one mount/braze-on and the shop added the cage as a kind gesture. The Xtracycle Surly Big Dummy (a comparable longtail) has THREE! and being a family of six, we just put extra bottles in bags, but the accessibility of three on the frame is very appealing. A handle bar bottle holder is in my sights as summer approaches but might not be compatible with the front mount seat. Public water access is scarce in town and I don’t wish to unload the children every time I want to go in a retail establishment to refill.
- Locks, we like the wheel locking systems of other bikes, such as Madsen. It’s just convenient and less to haul and forget when we leave. We have small locks and big locks, some with combos, one with a key. I don’t worry too much about locking up the Yuba. I even told the mayor and police that I would move from Huntington if they can’t find this bike if it were stolen! I do lock it up, just not diligently if I am nearby.
- iBert front seat, we had made this purchase for this bicycle. I checked with Yuba to see if it was compatible before purchase. We considered two PeanutShell seats, but due to the compatibility of rear seats with cargo bags, we decided to split the child seat needing children into front and rear positions. We chose this brand of seat because of the higher weight limit (38lbs) and cheaper price (ours was $89 on Amazon last year). The extremely easy install and simplicity of the seat remains a positive feature, as we take it on and off frequently. A front mount seat does hinder using a breadbasket. The added weight on the front of the bike is easier to handle on a climb uphill than placing the same child behind me.Initially we thought the iBert didn’t have enough back coverage for our toddler or head support for napping. Then we realized he slumps over in the iBert, the PeanutShell and his car seat, so we just go with it.
If there is something you are wanting to know more details about, please leave me a comment or send me an email. See something I left out? Let me know. My experience with bikes is limited to what has been in my garage for the past year and we have only had our Yuba for about six months. Overall, we continue to love our Yuba and have not yet found another bike that would meet our needs, in any price range.
We are looking to add another bike to our fleet. We want the option of transporting four children and cargo with a single bike, some of the time. We also would consider transporting four children with two bikes. There is also the thought of electrifying our current bike to aid in transporting so much weight. A second Yuba has been a high contender, a Bike Friday Triple or Onderwater are also on the list.