Yuba Anniversary

On Thursday the 9th of December it will be exactly one year since I took the trip up to Ansdell to pick up my shiny, brand new V2 Yuba Mundo from Practical Cycles. I have really enjoyed having this bike for the past year, it has been both useful and fun. I bought the bike in the hope that it would be a lifetime investment; if I looked after it well and replaced the moving parts as they wore out, I would be able to keep it running forever. Because of this I have not shied away from doing upgrades and modifications to the bike over the past year.

The Saddle:

The Yuba Mundo came with a very wide and very squishy Selle Royal saddle, probably designed for the comfort of new cyclists. As a regular cyclist who had put the time in developing the “Arse of steel,” I found this saddle very uncomfortable after about 20 minutes of use. I replaced it with the same saddle I had been using on my mountain bike of the time, a Specialized Indie XC. However, having used a Brooks B66 on the DL-1 for the past few months, I now look forward to the day when I will be able to afford a B67 for the Yuba.

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The Top Deck:

This was inspired by Joe George of Urban Simplicity, who made a wooden top-deck for his V1 Yuba. I followed his instructions to the letter before realising that the rack of a V1 is substantially wider than that of my V2. After going back to the drawing board I was able to fabricate this ugly but functional top deck.

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The Fork:

The Yuba Mundo is rated to carry 200 kg of cargo yet is supplied with fairly basic V-brakes. The V2 didn’t even come with disc-brake bosses on the frame or fork. Knowing that the front brake is where the action is, I decided to replace the fork with a similar black one I purchased from eBay, which had IS disc brake mounts. The new fork necessitated a new headset due to the transition from a threaded to a threadless steerer. The new stem placed the handlebar a bit too low for my particular riding posture, and so eventually I added a stem riser to fix this issue.

The Front Brake and Wheel:

The new fork opened up the possibility of a front disc brake. Having had very positive experiences with the cable-actuated Avid BB disc brakes, I decided to take the plunge into the world of hydraulic disc brakes with the Avid Juicy 5. The brake came complete with lever, ready bled and good to go. It has been in service for nearly a year now and has yet to require any attention.

Disc brakes meant a disc wheel was needed, luckily I happened to have an old spare lying around from the old Cuillin Sport mountain bike. All I had to do was remove the old 160 mm rotor and replace it with the new 185 mm rotor.

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The Bottle Holder:

The lack of a bottle holder was a mild annoyance in winter and spring. By summer it was getting to be a more pressing matter. I managed to find a few handlebar-mounted bottle cages online, but none of those were adjustable for normal 500/600 ml drinks bottles like the Topeak one I use (EBC don’t seem to sell it anymore). A bit of an old Kryptonite lock mount and some screws later and I had made my own adjustable handlebar bottle holder.

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The Seatpost:

The original seatpost which came with the Yuba was 30 mm with a shim to fit it in the 31.8 mm seat-tube. The post wasn’t micro-adjust and after shredding the inside leg of a pair of trousers, I decided it was time to go micro-adjust. I tried a 27.2 mm post with a shim, but the result was some rather unpleasant creaking due to the fact that I was really pushing the maximum extension rating. Eventually I decided to spring for the official Yuba seat post and although pricey it has been hassle and creak free.

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The Tyres:

When I retired the Kona Africa Bike from daily service, I decided to fit the brown Fat Franks from that bike to the Yuba. The Yuba came with black Fat Franks, but the brown ones looked nicer and have reflective sidewalls. The original black Fat Franks are now on the Africa Bike, which I eventually intend to sell on.

The Transmission:

The Yuba Mundo V2 has a 130 mm OLD for the back wheel. Yuba spec a freewheel rather than a cassette for the Mundo because it is cheaper and more readily available in other parts of the world. The disadvantages of a freewheel are that the load is taken at a less than ideal point on the axle, which Yuba take into account by making the axle 14 mm thick (rather than 9 or 10 mm). When the ratchet mechanism on the freewheel started to play up, I had to replace the freewheel. I also replaced the chain(s) due to the fact that it had worn along with the old freewheel.

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The Dynamo and lamp:

Very recently, I added a dynamo and lamp to the Yuba. After replacing the bracket and unwinding the cable from the brake hose, I am very pleased with this arrangement.

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The newest version of the Yuba Mundo (V3) addresses some of the issues I have encountered with my V2. The seatpost is now micro-adjust, the frame and fork have disc brake mounts, the bike comes with a plastic top-deck included, the rear OLD has been increased to the more standard 135 mm and the frame even has well placed screw bosses and loops for luggage straps. The bike does cost more now, but the extra cost is justified. After a year of using it, I would heartily recommend the Yuba Mundo to anyone and everyone.

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One thought on “Yuba Anniversary

  1. Happy Birthday Yuba! After coming across it via your blog and through others (from your links), plus meeting the Chorlton lady who owns one too, the Yuba is definitely on my list of cargo bike… for future investment. Thanks for sharing your Yuba adventures, and showing amongst others that a bike can be a serious contender to owning a car… even for cargo haul 🙂

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