Car Diet – Update

We are now proud owners of a Yuba Mundo cargo bike!


Things happened rather quickly after we test rode Ryan & Daniela’s Yuba (the only other one in Adelaide). We both liked the way it handled, even better than we had expected, so we decided to go ahead and get one. 

Yubas are only available in three colours: black, light blue and orange. Black was out (not visible enough on the road), blue was also out (“too male”), so orange it had to be. The Australian dealer was out of stock of new orange Yubas, and it would be another 4 weeks before new stock arrived. 

But he did have one orange ex-demo Yuba, fitted with an electric assist kit. We had planned to perhaps get an electric assist kit at some stage in the future, and were leaning towards a Stokemonkey type of kit, but the Stokemonkey is currently unavailable. The simplicity, cost and relative light weight of the Solarbike kit made sense to us, so we took a gamble and ordered it. 

The electric assist kit consists of a 200W hub motor in the front wheel, a 9Ah LiFePO4 battery, a controller and a thumb throttle. Very simple. It’s not as sophisticated as the BionX kit on Nadja’s bike, but I think that the simplicity will be its virtue. It does seem to provide a decent amount of power, it’s easy to use and recharge, and it should have a range of 30-40km, which is ample for most of our cargo bike riding. 

We’re now two months into our car diet, and we’ve spent $117.40 on fuel. If you’ll recall, we want to cap our fuel cost to $500 for the year, so we’re currently a little over budget (we’d spend $700 at current rates). So we need to tighten our belts a bit.

Luckily we have another string in our cycling bow, which should help us to avoid a decent chunk of driving.

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5 Responses to Car Diet – Update

  1. Ron Shook says:

    Andrew, Good for you and your family. Next step, melt down the car and built e-bikes for your neighbors and they’ll have personal transport when no one else will. It’s just a matter of a few years more time.

  2. Thanks Ron. We certainly see what’s coming: rapidly rising oil prices and resource scarcity.

  3. BoldDavey says:

    Hi, My name is Dave and I live in Vermont in the good ol’ USA. I was wondering how your little 200 watt motor was working for you and do you go up any hills. Any big hills with kids and cargo? We are trying to lead our town into a cargo/family bike revolution. Back in the mid-90’s I started Pedal Express, a human-powered cargo delivery service in Berkeley, California. We already have a Long John style bike, but we’re ordering a Mundo real soon to demonstrate how to get your family around without denying your child’s future on this planet.

    Hope the Mundo is still serving you well.

    • Hi Dave, nice to hear from you. Yes we are very happy with the 200W front hub motor. Until very recently this was the maximum power allowed in Australia (which is low by international standards). In the last couple of months the power limit has increased to 250W, but only in “pedelec” mode with a torque sensor instead of a throttle.

      We find that 200W is enough for us though. The main benefit from higher power would be higher speed. We can cruise close to 28km/h which is enough for us. We like the simplicity and low maintenance characteristics of the front hub motor too, compared to a mid drive.

      We don’t have big hills near us (we live on Adelaide’s coastal plains), but I have taken our Mundo up the steepest hill I could find. It wasn’t heavily loaded, and coped OK. With a passenger it would have been harder work.

      Overall we’re really happy with our electric Yuba Mundo. So much so that we now sell them! We get a lot of interest whenever we ride it, and gradually more and more are appearing on the streets of Adelaide.


    • Ron Shook says:

      Dave, My guess is that you would be a lot happier on the Vermont hills with a 350-500 watt more American sized motor of the geared rather than direct drive variety running at 48 volts. Direct drive is faster, geared has more torque for the hills. You’ll lead more folks if you keep the work down a bit and don’t slow to a crawl up steep hills. (grin)

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