By Maurice Tierney
The Boda Boda “Cargo Cruiser” is only the second bike from the Yuba braintrust, following the Mundo cargo bike released in 2006. Hard to imagine a bike company paying the bills with only one bike to sell, but Yuba has flourished with the singular purpose of the Mundo, which is carrying stuff affordably, comfortably, and efficiently.
I ride a Mundo, and it’s a great bike that can carry up to 440 lbs. of stuff, plus driver. Four bags of groceries? Two passengers? No problem. But It can be a bit much to handle sometimes. Stairs, small rooms, and public transportation all present challenges.
Enter the Boda Boda, which in simple terms might be described as half a Mundo. With its aluminum frame it’s half the weight (35 lbs.), half the payload capacity (220 lbs.), and twice as easy to maneuver. Surely not the same cargo bike.
On the contrary, maybe it’s not a cargo bike but a regular city/cruiser bike with some added room for stuff. It’s just a little bit longer than a regular bike, easy to maneuver onto bus racks and other public transportation, and its longness is perfect for a child seat or adult passenger, two full bags of groceries, or both.
There’s two models available; the step-through model comes in apple green or white and is more suitable to smaller riders (5’0″ to 5’7″) while the step-over model, which comes in green, is designed for humans from 5’7″ to 6’2″ and still easy to mount. Included are a Bamboo rear rack, cork grips, ding-a-ling bell, and kickstand. The spec is entry-level. At less than $1,000 it’s priced to get more people on it. The parts selection is perfectly functional without too many bells and whistles. A deluxe edition is soon to be, and it will up the ante with fenders and dynamo-powered lights front and rear.
The ride is cruiser-like and functional with an upright position; big, wide, comfortable handlebars; and good pedaling efficiency. An 8-speed SRAM derailleur provides enough gear choices for most conditions. A custom Yuba saddle is a nice touch, although female tester Poppy found it more comfortable than I.
I see the Boda Boda perfect for folks just getting into the idea of the utility cycling lifestyle. Imagine hauling your kid to school while getting a little exercise—sure beats sitting in a steel box with a brain-frying device to your ear. Kid hauling, grocery getting and such are all good times (assuming the infrastructure is good in your town). Parking lots at the grocery store become a joy instead of a nightmare as you roll right in and park by the door while the automobilians struggle. That’s the life!
This life is yours for the low low price of only $999! Step Right Up! Other accessories include the Peanut Shell child seat at $169, Baguette bags at $77 each, and a center stand (recommended) for $69.
But wait! There’s more! What are all those other accoutrements attached to the Boda Boda pictured here? Why it’s a battery and motor! Yes, you are looking at the electric version of the Boda Boda, priced at $2,697. Well, yes that’s quite a few more dollars, but those bucks might make the difference between embracing the lifestyle and staying in your car.
The electric assist Boda features a BionX motor system for pedal assist and battery regeneration. The BionX system is the real deal. After a long day it can really make a difference between riding or not if you’ve got a lot of hills in your way. The 350 watt motor is good for speeds up to the gubmint-regulated speed of 20mph. And the 9.6 amp hour battery is good for up to 37 miles, depending on terrain and load of course.
And it’s fast! I hit the turbo button on the trigger and hit the top speed of 20 in half a city block, about seven seconds. It’s also rad that the BionX has regenerative powers, such that you can set the bike to slow you down and recharge the battery at the same time. This is best on downhills, but the brake lever switch can be adjusted to regenerate the battery as you approach stop signs. I actually used the system for a few days without charging the battery. I’d set the BionX into re-gen mode, ride the Boda like a resistance trtainer, and then expel the power when I needed a kick. The BionX system adds 22.5lbs. to the total weight of the Boda Boda, bringing it to 57.5 lbs.
Allright, let’s wrap this up. The Boda Boda is a great way to expand the endless possibilites of cycling. Priced right, it’s a no-brainer for those looking to get deeper into the possibilities. The electric verision, while costing more money, breaks down even more walls to cycling nirvana.