Spotted in the Wild: Yuba Boda Boda

Hubba Hubba, Boda Boda! I first spotted this Yuba Boda Boda midtail cargo bike during a commute home over Beacon Hill sometime last week. I don’t really remember the spotting, it was over so fast! Riding North, I noticed a rider heading South on Beacon. (I notice every bike in my field of vision. I bet some of you do, too. It’s a curse, right? An AWESOME curse.)As soon as I realized their bike was the new Yuba Boda Boda I started dinging my bell and shouting. Then they were gone. No picture, no story or bike review worthy of a blog post, and at this point, almost six months into this bloggy life, an event with no postwothyness is almost a nonevent. JK! There is more to life than this!

Anyhoooo, imagine my relief when I ran into that same rider again the following week on a much more quiet street, heading uphill slow enough that I could smile sheepishly at my embarrassing show of enthusiasm the other day and invite them to stop and pose for this blog! Yay! The rider’s name is Alma. She’s got a three year old who she’ll be sticking on the back of her bike when the seat arrives. (The Boda works with Yuba's Peanut Shell seat). Apparently Alma knows the designer of the Boda Boda, a cool sounding person named Robin. Alma was happy to tell Yuba that she’d already been greeted with frantic bell ringing and shouting in her first week of riding. I hope she tells them about this post as well. (Hi, Yuba, love your work!) Alma was very nice. She seemed delighted with her bike and reported that she was stil getting used to the switch from seeing herself as a commuter, to seeing herself as a “cruiser.” I wonder if that sense of “cruiserhood” is a result of the swept back bars the Boda Boda is fitted with (I approve), or the single chainring, limited range of gearing that Yuba chose to equip this bike with (I don’t really approve)? Either way, the bike looks awesome and Alma seems delighted.

Like most cargo bike fanatics I know, I’ve been increasingly interested in the Boda Boda, and the midtail profile over the last few months. I first became aware of the Boda Boda with You Aint Got Jack’s enthusiastic contest win. For me and Little Oil, the Xtracycle longtail has been a perfect solution to our cargo bike needs so far. The profile is nimble, sturdy and flexible enough to meet my Workable Working Bikes Criteria “Can I live my life, exactly as I want to, even when plans change unexpectedly?” I do wonder sometimes if the longtail is just a little too much tail for us. We do only have the one kid and a pretty simple life that doesn’t require trips to Costco or the lumber yard. We don’t haul kiyaks or surfboards. My friend Hum of the City has a great time with her midtail, a Kona Minute, unless her two kids start fighting on the deck. So does Barbara, with only one child back there. Recently, Kinn Bikes has emerged as a domestically, practically locally built midtail and I join the rest of the cargo biking blogger community in my deep enthusiasm for that bike and every bit of news I can get on it. (Pssst, I may have the opportunity to review one of those bikes soon! Cross your fingers!)

If a longtail taxes your parking capacity and a commuter bike can’t haul your groceries, if an Xtracycle is too unwieldy and you need to fit your bike on a bus rack sometimes, if you have some sod to haul, but not too much, maybe a midtail is for you!

The Boda Boda has been particularly exciting because:

  1. It is hot. The bike is all curves. It looks like a cruiser built for harcore commuting. The green paint job in particular looks great with the white Kenda balloon tires. The bike just screams cool to me.
  2. It seems well built. Round aluminum tubes, a bamboo deck, decent quality components. A pretty wide kickstand. If the quality of construction winds up similar to the current Yuba Mundo, the bike will satisfy a lot of riders.

I’m not too psyched about:

  1. The gearing. The sweet little half a chaingaurd that graces this bike all but requires a single chainring, or “one by…” gearing. I think this could be a mistake. Here in Seattle cargo bikers need all the help they can get up the hills. More granny gears, please!
  2. The height of the rack. The way I understand it, the Boda Boda’s rack is so far above the rear wheel in order to provide a nice spot to stash your battery if you chose to build an E-Assist rig. I think this is unfortunate. There is plenty of room behind the seatpost, where the front of the rear wheel goes in a traditional bike. Thing is, a lower platform would be less tippy under load and that decreased tippyness is waaaay sought after by cargo bikers, especially Pedal Parents. Most cargo bikers I’ve talked to are already assuming that Yuba will drop the deck to a lower height in the next revision of the frame. I hope so.

I’d love to ride a Boda Boda. As a one kid Pedal Parent, I am very interested in midtails. As a very vain bicyclist, I am very interested in hot bikes. (Anybody at Yuba reading this? I'll review anything you send me! No shame here!Call me!)

Alma seems pleased with hers, anyone else ridden a Boda Boda? What do you report?