Originally Posted by xtrajack
Why a Yuba over a Big Dummy, Xtracycle, Kona Ute, or Sun Atlas? Not saying you're making a bad decision, just curious.
Yuba offers more value from what I see, and seems to be a more stable, reliable company than its main competitor, Xtracycle.
In general, Xtracycle's design is too modular. First that means more pieces to buy, and a higher total cost, especially compared to Yuba, as X's parts are often much more expensive (kickstands and child seats are about twice as expensive in X land). Second, the modularity means the end result isn't as good as Yuba's integrated/welded one-piece design. Consider, for instance, that X recommends adding the whatchamacallit collars to help keep the vertical rack stable if you have a child seat, while Yuba uses its vertical rack to make the whole bike stronger & more stable.
I have little confidence in the future of Xtracycle. I've followed them for about a year and it's seemed like much of their catalog has been either out-of-stock or not yet available. Over the past few months, as they've tried to convince fans to pre-order Edgerunners they've quietly removed info about products ranging from their own Radish to non-Surly 3rd party bikes like the Sun Atlas Cargo. Maybe Sun didn't pay for a Longtail Standard license but merely climbed on board during the AFAICT relatively brief period that X decided they'd let anyone build to their specs. While they haven't stooped to the desperate pleas that Grant has at least twice a year for keeping Rivbike afloat, they certainly seem on shaky financial ground from what I can tell.
Surly BD: costs $700-$900 more than a Mundo. Fit looks relatively aggressive, likely too much so for my spouse's comfort (so, add another $100 to fix that?). Reviewers seem to agree that Mundo carries kids considerably more comfortably (for the captain) than BD. The complete bike's parts list is great, though. If I were rich, I'd probably build a Mundo using the parts Surly puts on the BD complete.
Xtracycle brand: the only current option is the FreeRadical (Cargo Joe is just a pre-hacked FreeRadical + Tern bike, and my garage is plenty big for an intact longtail). IIRC the parts on the cheaper complete EdgeRunner are not so hot, even if I was willing to pre-order in hopes of getting a bike by 2014. I'm not. Once you add a rack & sideloaders, the FreeRadical costs about the same as a new Mundo frame, and everyone seems to agree that a Mundo will be much more stable than any FreeRadical build.
Kona Ute: my main load will be 1-2 kids, so I'd rather have wheels smaller than 700c. Also, no running-board side bars. Not good for me.
(Note: after test riding a Mundo with my older child, I think the 20" wheel on the X Edgerunner might actually be too smal)
Trek's whatever-it's-called cargo bike: not recommended for kids? Sorry, try again.
Sun Atlas Cargo: I haven't given it a whole lot of thought, didn't even know much about it until this week. I expect it, like the Big Dummy, won't ride as well loaded as the overbuilt Mundo. And it sticks me in the more expensive, suddenly less fun Xtracycle ecosystem [more on that in a minute]. So even though my favorite relatively local LBS has one in stock that he'd love to ditch (been on the sales floor too long) for less than I'd spend on a Mundo frameset+seatpost+kickstand, I have little desire to even test ride it.
More on Xtracycle: personally, I find their change in Longtail Standard "licensing" really discouraging. If I were DIY enough to weld up funky stuff for the bike, I might like the extreme modularity of the Xtracycle ports & tubes. But I'm not. I might buy a 3rd party accessory to plug into my cargo bike (and why not, I've done that for years w/ my other bikes). Now that Xtracycle has moved from the open here's-what-you-need-to-know documentation
("While we want to ensure the compatability of parts, we’re not charging money for the right to use our technology. We only ask that makers conform to a certain set of criteria, so that customers can be assured that everything will work well together. ") to some blah blah agree to all these legal terms before we tell you anything blah blah
approach ("Xtracycle may choose to license our intellectual property to the right industry partner to scale our impact."), I expect a 3rd party X accessory market will never take off. From what I've seen over the years, I don't think the folks at X could really stop anyone from making unofficial Longtail Standard doodads, but certainly they've made clear that they 1) have little interest in supporting others' longtail work and 2) have hired lawyers to help build an IP/patent fortress. That's bad for me as a customer, and IMO, like removing old web pages that descibed other companies' Xtracycle-compatible bikes, tarnishes their brand's image.