Though most of our customers are looking for family bikes with electric assists, we also help a lot of people who want a bike with no electric assist. Customers who live in flatter places, just really like to have to pedal hard or have very small children, can and do well on a regular family bike. But which bikes do best in the Bay Area?
Here is a rundown of customer feedback on the best family bikes for riding with no electric assist.
- Bullitt: If you are a taller rider (5’7″+) who likes to ride hard, you may really like the Bullitt. Though it’s much easier to ride an unassisted Bullitt with the internal hub setup, some families find that it makes the most sense for them to get the unassisted Bullitt with the derailleur setup so that they have the flexibility to add an electric assist in the future. Fun Fact: One of our co-founders carried a 200 lb load up and down Bernal Heights on a Bullitt with an internal hub. And another took an unloaded Bullitt with a three kid box (sans kids) from the Marina to downtown via Polk. Both rides were doable and created some serious bragging rights, but weren’t exactly everyday fun. If you’re doing a flat route, an unassisted Bullitt can be loaded with lots of kids. On a route with moderate hills, you might be able to fly around with one kid on board, but have less fun with a second or third child on board. The Bullitt without electric assist is a super fun bike for taller riders with flat to moderate hills to eat (riders under approximately 5’7″ will have an easier time on a Bullitt with electric assist). Kind of dreamy, in fact.
- Haul a Day: If you are not someone who identifies as tall, have space constraints where you park your bike or are budget conscious (aren’t we all!) the Haul a Day is an excellent option. It offers 24 gears and small wheels that make it especially easy to get going from a stop, but keep the bike feeling really “bikey” and natural. The low rear deck keeps the weight of your children balanced and easy to maneuver. The bike comes standard with a derailleur system, which makes it relatively simple to add an electric assist later on if your circumstances change. The Haul a Day is also a relatively light bike for a cargo bike, weighing around 35 lbs, which helps keep the ride light and easy. Choose the Haul a Day if you are looking for an intuitive, super nimble but strong bike that can handle the flats and moderate hills with confidence.
- Boda Boda: If you are looking for a bike that is equally a relatively upright “me” bike and a one-kid hauler on flat to moderate hills, the Boda Boda is a good option. Yuba, the creator of the Boda Boda, will soon (very soon!) be coming out with an updated version of the Boda Boda which features even stronger front steering and a lower rear deck with two built-in Yepp child seat adapters. The new Boda Boda will also be compatible with standard monkey bars. People who gravitate to the Boda Boda appreciate that it doesn’t look and feel like a cargo bike; the new version will be even shorter than the current one. Customers have let us know that they also appreciate its price tag; the Boda Boda has the lowest price tag of these three options. The Boda Boda is an eight-speed derailleur bike that offers to flexibility to add an electric assist down the line. This is an easy, super intuitive and efficient bike that’s great for families in the flats and people with smaller children — or really strong legs — who commute along moderate hills.
Of the bikes we offer, these are the ones that we find that people most enjoy riding without an electric assist. We’ve also met people who purchase the Spicy Curry, which offers the most powerful electric assist, but take out the battery when doing flatter commutes. The Spicy Curry handles unusually well without the electric assist — it’s actually pretty shockingly awesome that way. So this allows these customers to have the best of both worlds: the super power for the hills and long rides, and the easy, fun ride of the flats. We’re always impressed by our customers’ smart ideas!
Ready to try these bikes? Our test ride models all have electric assists, but we often remove the batteries on bikes for customers to get a sense of what it’s like to try the bike without electric assist. Click here to schedule a test ride!