We just got the new Spicy Curry Bosch in and I’ve finally had a chance to test it out on our hills with my kids. It feels a bit like when your best friend goes away for the summer and comes back taller, wiser and sporting a cool new haircut. At first the bike is a bit dazzlingly new and different, but you quickly fall into your comfortable hang out mode together and you remember why you’re best friends. I still love the original Spicy Curry, but this Bosch version really is a very smart improvement. Here’s some context in comparison to other rear carrier cargo bikes:
This bike has been through many iterations over time. It was my first longtail and served our family very well until it became too tippy for me to handle with two non-tiny kids. In its current iteration, with the e-Rad mid-drive electric assist, it’s a super solid, lighter, really well designed bike for the tall. We’ve had a bunch of tall Dads (6’+) come through who don’t feel like fit of the Spicy Curry suits their body, but like sturdiness, capacity and price point of the Mundo. The Mundo v5, particularly with the e-Rad, is a fabulous deal for these folks. This is a bike that will go the distance with your family. If you’re tall enough to handle the weight, the bike will fit your older kids even longer and more comfortably than other rear carriers because of the higher, longer rear deck.
Yuba Boda Boda v2
The Boda Boda has also been through a few iterations. The v2, which I also own, was a big deal for petite women in particular. It’s a smaller frame (actually two available frame sizes) and Yuba had clearly thought about its female customers in developing the step through, upright design of the S/M frame. It was also visually more lovely than most bikes on the market. People who love the Boda Boda v2 love that it works well as both a kid carrier and a me bike. The high rear deck makes it less suited to Yepp seats and heavier kids for many smaller riders. But if you have the right body fit with the bike, it’s really a deeply fun way to ride, whether you have a child on board or are riding solo.
Xtracycle broke design ground a while back by debuting its Edgerunner line, with a small back wheel and low kid-hauling platform. It was an inspired move and suddenly Edgerunners were everywhere, in a bunch of really fun colors. Initially the bike was paired with a 350W BionX rear wheel electric assist. The motor was on the back wheel, which gave the bike waggle despite the low rear platform for carrying kids. And the e-assist system was still fairly weak to the point that I refused to ride the bike up our hills. So riders didn’t realize the full benefit of the lower deck. The newer 8E, 9E and 10E versions of the model corrects this problem with the mid-drive Bosch motor. The new Edgerunners are super solid and are well suited to riders who like the relatively large frame size and mountain bike-y feel of the ride. It’s DNA is in the California mountain bike scene translated to higher end urban commuting.
Bike Friday Haul a Day
On a similar timeframe, Bike Friday started working on iterations of its Haul a Day rear carrier. The bike has been a mid-tail but is now a long-tail. The Haul a Day tends to attract two kinds of customers for us: folks who are tight on space and want to be able to park the bike vertically (which: holy moly, very cool!) or riders who are very petite and sick of bikes designed for taller folks. We’ve tinkered with the setup of this bike a fair amount and found that it pairs best with an e-Rad mid-drive electric assist. The BionX 350W system is also great, and of course very smooth, but it adds a little waggle to the rear wheel even with the lower back platform, and doesn’t have the power that many people want. People who love this bike, LOVE this bike.
Yuba Spicy Curry (v1)
When the Spicy Curry first came out it was like fireworks went off across homes in San Francisco. It had the smaller, step-through frame, low back platform, super high powered mid-drive and lower price point that people were clambering to experience. I don’t think I would have seen what the big deal was if I had been living in Chicago, but this bike was everything that San Francisco riders really needed. And not surprisingly it became really popular really fast. We saw a lot of folks that were especially conscious about the size of the bike. They liked that it wasn’t as big and heavy as other rear carriers and rode like an urban commuting bike. Of course, like any bike, it revealed some first generation issues with the design. Little details like the rear wheel drop out and harder to replace lights. But we continue to see lots of folks enjoying this bike, and are happy that it’s a relatively easy, predictable bike to service.
There was a lot of buzz when this bike came out. How could you not be excited by its impossibly low price point? Rick had a chance to test ride the bike up in Seattle. His brief review was that you get what you pay for. The bike borrows a great deal with Yuba and Xtracycle in its overall design, but uses relatively cheaper components. It also has a high rear platform, similar to the Mundo. It’s tempting for bike dealers to badmouth this bike, but I’ll be honest: this bike is a good fit for customers who just can’t afford the higher price points of other, better made bikes. I want more families on bikes, and if this bike can help, then I’m all for it. That said, I also hope that these customers pay a lot of attention to the pro-active maintenance of their bike and pay attention to weight ratings.
Yuba Boda Boda v3
A little over a year ago Yuba came out with an updated Boda Boda. It became a much sportier bike that, paradoxically, was shorter in length but had room for more kids in back. They dropped the back platform from the extra high to the standard high level and focused on strengthening the front fork and steering. The result is a still-elegant bike that works well for folks with smaller multiple kids, one child of any age and/or who live in flatter areas. I like that, like the Mundo, Yuba has moved the bike to the e-Rad electric assist system. The mid-drive system helps keep the weight on this bike balanced while providing a lot of power. If you are adding multiple older kids to this bike, you’ll need to have a fair amount of strength and the right body/bike fit to feel comfortable managing the weight of the bike.
Yuba Spicy Curry Bosch (v2)
So now Yuba has released the Spicy Curry with Bosch. The bike has a bunch of little and big improvements. I love that Yuba has addressed the rear wheel drop out problem as well as the lights AND added an adjustable front stem. I’m not crazy about a bike that has me riding in a super bent over position when I have my kids in tow. The original Spicy Curry, and many of these other bikes, are a little too bent over for my personal taste, and I’ve heard similar concerns from some of our customers. The new version lets you play with your position on the handlebars, which I really appreciate. Yuba has also added wheel lock brackets to the front wheel, which is a smart move. The bike now comes with larger rotors and higher end brakes. The biggest change, though, is the switch to the Bosch e-assist. While I know that some folks didn’t like the more drive-y Currie system because it wasn’t as smooth as other systems, I actually really appreciated how well it integrated with the bike. It felt like adding the e-assist was a gradual change, and I liked being able to play around with the background power and kick level. Plus, the power! That said, I suspect most people will prefer the smooth floatiness of the Bosch system. Who doesn’t like the feeling of floating up hills? All in all, I’m really enjoying putting the bike through its paces.