Yuba Mundo V3

Background
Yuba is a small company based in Sausalito, California specializing in building long wheelbase cargo bikes for hauling heavy loads. The company was founded in 2006 by Ben Sarrazin who, after helping start Xtracycle and spending several years working there, saw the need for a more robust, fully integrated longtail design capable of carrying extreme loads. The result is the Mundo, a heavy-duty longtail with one of the highest load capacities of any bicycle on the market.

First Impression

The Mundo is a big, heavy-duty bike (it’s nearly 7 ft. long) that is obviously built to handle large, heavy loads. When you first get on the bike, you immediately feel the stiffness and mass in the frame; it’s clear from the first pedal stroke that this is a purpose-built cargo bike that makes no allusions to being anything other than a workhorse for hauling anything-and-everything from a pair of children to 400 lbs. of bananas.

Construction

The Mundo frame is manufactured in China. Hi-ten steel is used throughout to reduce costs and simplify repairs in the event of a damaged frame. The downside is that building with hi-ten results in a heavier bike than when building with stronger, but more expensive chromoly (the Mundo weighs in at approximately 58 lbs.). The frame is generously triangulated, and the main frame tubes are ovalized to optimize stiffness. Overall, the frame gives the impression of being well-built and utilitarian in the best sense of the word.

The overall fit-and-finish are what you’d expect for a cargo bike in this price range, and the powder coat and decal set look fine, if not refined. The numerous braze-ons in the cargo area are a nice detail that add significantly to the versatility of the bike by allowing the end-user to experiment and add their own cargo securing methods. The welds are reasonably clean and about what you’d expect on a Chinese-made frame in this price range.

The Mundo is designed as a one-size-fits-all frame with a sloping top tube, long seat post, and adjustable stem. While I’m usually not a fan of this type of sizing, it can work fairly well for specialized tools like cargo bikes and folders where time in the saddle and distances are typically shorter. We were able to adjust the saddle and bars to comfortably fit everyone in our family. If you’re on the extreme edge of the sizing bell curve, be sure to take a test ride before making a commitment.

Components

The Mundo’s component group is a budget mix from Shimano and Promax. The indexed twist shifters are sufficient, if not inspiring, and didn’t require any adjustment over the test period. The Promax V-brakes are sufficiently stiff, though I’d suggest swapping out the brake pads for KoolStop salmon pads. Yuba offers a disc brake upgrade option ($85) that I’d highly recommend for anyone who will regularly be carrying loads over 100 lbs. or for those who live in hilly terrain. You certainly don’t want to load 200 lbs. on any bike and head down a steep hill with only V-brakes to stop you.

The Mundo comes delivered with heavy-duty, high-spoke-count wheels (36 up front, 48 in the rear) with 14mm solid axles and sealed bearing hubs. Wheels are frequently the Achilles Heel of budget-priced tandems and cargo bikes, but the stout wheels on our test bike stayed true throughout the test period.

For the relatively flat terrain and fairly light loads we carry, the Mundo’s 7-speed triple drivetrain was perfect. At 20.4″, the low gear was fine for us, but those who will be carrying big loads in hilly terrain may want to consider a slightly lower bottom gear.

Our test bike came delivered with a heavy-duty single-leg kickstand. While it’s the strongest single-leg kickstand we’ve seen, it wasn’t ideal when the bike was heavily loaded. Fortunately, Yuba recently developed a stout, double-leg centerstand that will be supplied on all bikes going forward. This should be a big improvement over the single-leg stand. If you already own a Mundo, the double-leg stand can be purchased separately for $77.

Uses

Think pedal-powered minivan or pickup truck and you have the correct mental picture of this bike. With a pair of “Go-Getter” bags mounted, the Mundo easily carries 6 bags of groceries. With the addition of a pair of “Peanut Shell” child seats, the Mundo can safely carry two young children. Add the “Soft Spot” padded seat and “Hold On” stoker kit and the Mundo effectively becomes a tandem (without the second set of pedals, of course).

With the creative use of straps, all manner of large and heavy objects can be carried on the Mundo. We don’t actually move around large, heavy objects very often, but we did take the time to test some heavy loads and found the Yuba totally up to the task. Even with loads over 100 lbs. on the bike, the frame felt solid and secure. Even though the Mundo is rated for up to 440 lbs. of cargo (plus rider!), at some point, the challenge becomes less about the bike and more about balancing the weight and dealing with the bulk. For us, anything past about 150-200 lbs. is pretty much unmanageable. It’s no fault of the bike, it’s just the difficulty of handling that kind of weight.

Accessories

Yuba offers a long list of accessories for the Mundo. The “Go-Getter” bag is a nicely constructed, oversized nylon pannier that easily swallows 3 large grocery bags. The “Soft Spot” seat pad straps on the cargo deck and provides a reasonably comfortable spot for a passenger. Up to two “Peanut Shell” child seats can be attached to the Mundo’s rear platform for carrying children from 20 lbs. up to 50 lbs. each. In case you need to increase the Mundo’s already huge carrying capacity, the “Bread Platform” platform rack mounts on the headtube above the front wheel. Visit the Yuba website to see the full list of accessories.

Conclusion

At $1099, the Yuba Mundo is one of the least expensive full-featured cargo bikes on the market. It also happens to have one of the highest load capacities of any cargo bike ever made. It’s a purpose-built bike that serves its intended use as a minivan replacement quite well. It’s a large, heavy bike that I wouldn’t personally consider using as an everyday ride for commuting, light errands, and just getting around town, but if I had the need for a bike to haul major loads on a regular basis, the Mundo would certainly be on my short list.

Specifications

  • Model: Mundo V3
  • Frame: 26″/50 Mundo MP Hi-Ten Steel 1 1/8″ w/disc brake mount
  • Fork: 26″ Steel w/disc brake mount
  • Size: One size fits all
  • Headset: 1 1/8″ Steel
  • Brakes: V-Brake TX-125 L – Promax
  • Brake Levers: BLG 82 – Promax
  • Freewheel: Shimano 7-speed 14-28T
  • Crankset: Triple 22/32/42 SL Gigga Blk
  • Bottom Bracket: VP-BC 73 boron steel 113mm
  • Shifters: Shimano Tourney
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Acera
  • Hubs: Modus Sealed Bearings – Alloy
  • Rims: Huafen 660g single wall – 36H/48H
  • Tires: Kenda 841A
  • Handlebar: Promax HB-T310 alloy
  • Stem: Promax Adjustable
  • Seatpost: 400mm Steel
  • Saddle: Velo VL-3205
  • Weight: 58 lbs. (on our scale)
  • MSRP: $1099

Yuba

Disclaimer: Yuba is a sponsor of this website. View our review policy here.

20 Responses to “Yuba Mundo V3”

  • CHenry says:

    This is an interesting addition to the workbike catalogue. If W*lmart were to come up with something in a longtail–if they actually had any interest in car-replacement bikes–this could be it, and I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way. I don’t think Surly has anything to worry about over the Big Dummy, that is priced two and a half times the price of this model, the component list here shows clearly what is possible and not possible on the budget: lots of lowest-rung components or non-brand components and a lower-quality frame material with a significant weight penalty. If they can get a few shops to carry them, perhaps there is a market, although this is a relatively late addition to the smallish longtail club that has been supplied most recently and most successfully by Surly.

    If i had to choose, I think I would save a little longer for the Big Dummy. It is enough of a better bicycle to be worth the price difference.

  • jamesmallon says:

    In a word, ‘overkill’. If you need a heavy duty delivery bike (not going to use an engine when money is on the line?) or have a retail stand off the bike, I can see it; otherwise: overkill. And how much more would chromoly cost for saving a whack of poundage? And with all that mass, no disk brakes makes it a death-trap. Not sure the gearing is too tall: at 20″ you can barely stay upright, and pushing’s faster. I also think the Surly Big Dummy is overkill.

    Most people are going to do a bit of grocery shopping and hual a pair of kids. No more. I know the extracycle acolytes are going to anger, but most people need a Kona Ute: same price, lighter, better parts, smaller.

  • solatic says:

    I’d be interested in reading some stuff seeing how Trek’s new Transport+ is going to compare in the utility bike market, specifically in whether or not the electronic assist helps riders balance and manage loads that are closer to the weight limit. All the other components may be worse, and heck, we don’t even know what a Transport+ costs yet, but the electronic assist may be a complete game changer for many people.

  • Matt says:

    James

    Long Tail Acolyte signing in…

    The Big Dummy and even the Yuba are anything but overkill. My wife has a BD and I have the Mundo. We use the capacity regularly, both in weight, and in cargo volume. Both bikes feature wideloader side rails that are absent in the Ute. We use those rails for hauling 15 cubic foot bails of sawdust for our chicken coop, 50lb bags of feed, and as footrests when’re carry both kids on the back. I’ve even taken the whole family out on the Mundo. Me (235#), wife (115), 10 year old (85), and 5 year old (40). It handled the load fine and was great fun. I’ve tried out the Ute and honestly found it too timid a jump into the cargo bike style. It doesn’t reach far enough beyond the capabilities of an LHT to justify it, and I’m no fan of aluminum for such a long ride…(as such, I’m dissapointed with the Gary Fisher cargo spec as well).

    On the whole, I think the ultimate cargo bike is not here yet. If you could take the better points of the Mundo (welded integrated frame, extreme weight bearing capacity) with the Cromo build, better manufacturing, and component group of the Big Dummy, then you would have the winner. I’d love to see xtracycle embrace a modified open source spec for their Tail racks that allow frame manufacturers to just integrate those v and h racks into the frame via welds. Either Xtracycle moves this way, or Yuba comes out with a top tier version of the mundo that is built with Cromo and includes a better component choice. We easily spent 3500 on my wife’s custom built Big Dummy…the main reason why I ended up with a Mundo (the money was gone when we got around to buying my cargo bike). But it was money well spent. My wife is basically car free. She has become the local longtail ambassador, with several other school parents having purchased xtracycles or mundos in the last year as a direct result of her modeling of the true potential that cargo bikes offer to mom’s (and Dad’s) to replace the gas sucking mini van.

    These bikes aren’t overkill, but they are still in their infancy. I see a future where common cargo frame standards may develop with Yakima like attachments providing the flexibility and utility of the current v and h rack options. This market is young, and it will take time to sort out the best approach. That said, I think Cromo frames, welded racks with “bolt on” modularity, with tandem level componentry will be the sweet spot. And none to soon with peak oil knocking on the door.

  • Pete says:

    I think it’s great that there are more options available in this market segment. It’s not for everyone for sure, but if I had a business that could use one of these I’d be hard pressed to justify a big jump up to the Surly. I actually have seen quite a few of these around NYC, and I always think from a distance they are Big Dummies, but they almost always end up being Yubas.
    I think if utilty bikes are going to become commonplace we’ll need a lot more bikes that can take a beating and be repaired by any body shop with a welder.

  • The-Milkman says:

    I test rode this bike in San Francisco a few months back and found the handling (with no cargo) to be so very smooth, relaxing, and easy for this behemoth and this was in City traffic! The bike truly is a tank but I walked away with a grin. What I found interesting and desiring though was the ability to put an adult passenger on back for short rides, curious if you had the wife on back or vice versa and what the rider/passenger experience was like? Thanks!

  • Alan says:

    @jamesmallon

    “In a word, ‘overkill’.”

    I think it all depends upon a person’s needs. I personally don’t need a bike with the carrying capacity of the Yuba, but I don’t need a cargo bike of any sort; a standard bike with a couple of racks takes care of my needs. That doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there with a need to carry more, larger, and heavier items who would benefit greatly from having a Mundo. As always, “horses for courses”.

    Alan

    PS – On the gearing; loaded tourists routinely run sub-20″ low gears, though I agree, balancing becomes an issue at those speeds.

  • Alan says:

    @The-Milkman

    It’s fun to put two people on the Mundo. It’s not practical for long rides, but it’s great for a quick trip to the library or the corner market. The bike certainly has no problem handling the weight.

    Alan

  • Joseph E says:

    I would think a tricycle would be better for loads over about 100 lbs. With a european-style cargo trike, you can gear down very low for hills or extreme loads without worrying about balance. It won’t be as quick around the corners, and the big bucket up front will slow you down when the bike is unloaded, but if the bike is a dedicated cargo-and-kid-carrier, that may not be such a bad thing.

    I’m planning to use a detachable rear trailer which doubles as a stroller, now that we have a second kid. I certainly see the appeal and utility of a long-tail or bucket bike for car-free families, however.

  • Joseph E says:

    BTW, love the photo of the fixie being towed by the Mundo.

  • Logan says:

    There is an article in the NY times this morning about cargo bikes that complements well with this post. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/spokes-hauling-cargo-no-car-necessary/

    Cheers. :)

  • Alan says:

    @Logan

    Great article. Thanks, Logan!

    Alan

  • Urb Anwriter says:

    While one could argue in favour of CrMo tubing, would you be likely to argue in favour of larger diameter tubes, with correspondingly thinner walls, and ever closer to disaster (well, hardly) with respect to denting, fatigue, yada, yada, yada. A bike at the lower end of the price-performance range is, I think, more likely to be used and abused. Design choices that make sense when it is ‘owner-operator’ do not necessarily make sense if there is a possibility that there will be multiple operators – just look at that dolled-up, tricked-out, hyper-lighted Peterbilt. And parts are always up-grades for the future.

    My only real quibble is the pricing on the stand; you can pay full price for a bike already in the pipeline (dealer stock say) that has the ‘old’ stand, and then add nearly $80 USD for the decent stand, or, just wait until your dealer has a bike with the new and improved stand come in. Seems a tiny bit hard on early adopters with the replacement stand (and cargo bikes by default need/deserve two-legged stands) being 7% of the new-bike price.

  • Elliott @ Austin on Two Wheels says:

    I’m not sure what all the complaining about v-brakes is about. I’ve extensively ridden just about every cargo bike out there (including the Yuba) and none of them had disc brakes. Some had v-brakes and others had drum/roller brakes. I’ve had no problems stopping on Austin’s hills, loaded or unloaded. If I had a choice, drum brakes are a preference for low maintenance and all weather stopping, but I would not let these brakes stop me from using a cargo bike. I know disc brakes are all the rage, but the cost and finickiness of the system hardly seems worth it in most applications on the road.

  • Alan says:

    @Elloitt

    You have hills and rain in Austin?? ;-)

    Seriously, in my experience, cargo bikes (or loaded touring bikes), rim brakes, long-steep hills, and rain aren’t usually a great mix. I happen to like powerful, all-weather brakes, a result of living in Seattle and riding all over the Northwest for 10 years. Now that I’m back in sunny California it’s not as much of an issue, but old habits die hard.

    Regarding discs: I find high-quality, cable-actuated discs (i.e. Avid BB7) to be the most reliable and trouble-free of all performance braking systems (dual-pivot calipers are right up there, but they’re moot for our discussion due to their limited application on utility bikes). The biggest problem I’ve had with discs is poor packing for shipping. In other words, the rotors arrive from the factory pre-bent in shipping. This isn’t a disc brake issue, it’s a poor shipping practices issue.

    While I like the concept of drum/roller brakes, unfortunately, I find their braking performance to be sub-par. I really do wish someone would make a drum brake I could love!

    Alan

  • Elliott @ Austin on Two Wheels says:

    Alan,
    We ARE in the Texas Hill Country so yes we have hills. They are not like San Fransisco or Seattle but there are definitely some short steep ones around town. As for rain, we actually get the some annual totals as Seattle it’s just we get it in torrential downpours instead of constant drizzle.

    If I lived somewhere with honest to God mountains and regular rain, I’d understand the need for disc breaks more (though I won’t relish climbing them with a cargo bike!) It’s just the vast majority of the population of this country do not live in cities with the hill/weather combination that makes this necessary. That was what I was getting at. V-brakes are totally fine on a cargo bike for the majority of situations, and saying it’s a safety hazard to not make disc brakes standard on cargo bikes is being more than a bit of a homer for that brake system.

  • Alan says:

    @Elliott

    “…saying it’s a safety hazard to not make disc brakes standard on cargo bikes is being more than a bit of a homer for that brake system”

    I don’t recall saying disc brakes should be standard on cargo bikes. Here’s my original statement:

    “Yuba offers a disc brake upgrade option ($85) that I’d highly recommend for anyone who will regularly be carrying loads over 100 lbs. or for those who live in hilly terrain. You certainly don’t want to load 200 lbs. on any bike and head down a steep hill with only V-brakes to stop you.”

    This is a bike that is capable of carrying 440 lbs. It would be irresponsible of me to not point out the limitations of rim brakes in this case.

    Alan

  • cameron’s a walker + new bike! « reisz-family.net says:

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  • Yuba Bicycles says:

    Alan,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to do a first-class review of the Mundo.

    After reading the review, however, I was left feeling that you saw the Mundo as only a special purpose bike, to be used only when someone needs to carry super-heavy loads. I speak for all the Mundo riders out there when I say that the Mundo is much more versatile than you give it credit for. The beauty of the Yuba Mundo is that although it can carry all kinds of loads, its long wheelbase and solid feel make the bike fun to ride even when you aren’t carry much of anything.

    You felt that the bike was too difficult to ride with loads over 150-200 pounds, yet we regularly ferry two adult passengers around at nearly 300 pounds. We admit that this is not the ideal commuter bike if you have a regular route and a regular load, but I commute on my Mundo through very hilly Marin County and while it is not as fast as my road bike, it certainly is an easy, comfortable ride. Best of all, I never need to worry about how much stuff I need to take with me to work or home. You mentioned that the gearing is not low enough. I ride my bike on the very steep trails of Mount Tamalpais and have tackled Hyde Street in San Francisco (the really steep part) and bike performs great because of its low gearing and excellent geometry.

    The Yuba Mundo is really a “go-to” ride for everything from a quick trips to the corner store to a full day at the beach. That’s because it’s convenient, capable and most of all – fun!

    Steve Bode
    Director, Sales & Marketing
    Yuba Bicycles

  • AdamDZ says:

    Yuba also sells the frame itself for under $600 so one can build it up with higher quality components if so desired. The V.3 frame weighs 30lbs so it’s probably possible to build a whole bike for under 50 lbs easily. I’m thinking exactly about doing that. The Big Dummy is cool and lighter (18lbs with fork) but I can’t find any place that sells large, weatherproof bags for the Xtracycle. The Yuba bags are really a big plus.

    V.3 frame specs:

    Weight: 30lbs
    Front dropout: 112mm, 14mm BMX axels (!)
    Rear dropout: 135mm, 14mm BMX axels (!)
    BB: 1.37×24
    Headset 1 1/8″ threaded
    Seatpost: 31.8 (hard to find, get it from Yuba)

 
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