Review: Yuba eBoda Boda

I purchased my eBoda Boda from The Daily Rider back in January. I had tested out a regular Boda but I’d never ridden an e-bike. At the time I had been bike commuting for about a year and I was frustrated with my current bike. I felt like I was fighting it everyday. I was making excuses for why I couldn’t ride (it’s cold, I’m tired, there’s a hill, I have too much to carry) so it really wasn’t serving me well.

When I saw a twitter post about interest in the eBoda by The Daily Rider I was interested. I read all of the reviews and specs. I tested out the regular Boda. And I sold my car, cashed the check, and headed over to the store to put down my deposit. I wanted a car replacement system, and that is exactly what I got.

When I ordered the bike I only added the bag, basket, and liner. I figured everything else I could add later if I wanted it. Mistake. While you can add them later, it can be costly to order parts & pay for install separately. Even if you plan to install at home the shipping is usually $20/order. I’ve since added: fenders, deflopilator, running boards, a ring, and a soft spot. I plan to add the center kickstand this weekend.

Pros:

  • This bike can carry amazing amounts of stuff and handle extremely well
  • Battery life is good for my needs (short, urban commutes)
  • All-weather & all surface handling
  • Disc brakes provide serious stopping power**
  • Basket liner has a great pocket for my cargo net and plastic rain bags
  • Human carrying power for carrying real, adult (and tiny) humans around – 220lbs on the rear rack (in addition to rider)
  • Tons of points to lash cargo straps onto, perfect for carrying weirdly shaped items
  • Durable frame – I crashed hard sideways and no dents on the frame – basket still fully functional – virtually no damage to the bike
  • Tires are extremely durable – only 1 flat with 1700 miles and it was a tube issue**
  • Beautiful to look at – always gets plenty of compliments
  • Rides fast, like mind blowingly fast down-hill and on flat straight-aways
  • Surprisingly easy to maneuver despite wide running boards
  • Ergonomic handlebars leave plenty of space for important items like pretty bells and cup holders
  • Very comfortable seat that reduces inner thigh chafe
  • Rack is great for any clip-on bag – I’m currently using a Linus bag
  • Yuba’s bag is large and can carry an impressive amount of stuff – I loaded in 2ย framed 16×20 paintings and another 8×10 with room to spare
  • Basket can carry up to 50lbs and since it’s frame mounted, the steering is largely unaffected
  • I like the new center kickstand although it was strange at first, I think I’ve got the hang of it now!
  • Shifts really easily & I don’t miss the extra gears
  • Fits on a bus in the front rack!

Cons:

  • Front clearance is too short leading me to kick the fender when I make turns
  • Side kickstand is too low causing the bike to have an extreme tilt – not useful if there’s more than 10 lbs of cargo on board (I like to load the left side, which is also the kickstand side)
  • Shipping costs for parts are high, and they take quite a while to reach the east coast
  • Basket liner is a drab color and if fills with water in the rain
  • Back tire needs special tools to be removed, requiring shop visits forย tube replacements (since it’s under the rack)
  • Front basket limits light placement since the liner is solid and the basket extends out quite far
  • Heavy – weighing in at 65 lbs it’s not a bike I can carry up/down our (very narrow) stairs
  • Not a full chain guard – leaving plenty of grease stains while being carried up/down said stairs
  • Prone to tipping without the “deflopilator” if you have weight in the basket – I load up my basket with groceries (40-50lbs) so this can be an issue
  • Difficult to start from a stop, especially on a hill due to excessive rear weight (when not using the electric)
  • Cork grips are really slimy in the rain
  • Yuba’s bag is too big for my every day, it also doesn’t have enough small pockets for phone/wallet

I love my Yuba. No, she’s not my bike for every ride, but she always gets me where I need to go. She provides that extra umph when I’m feeling tired or hot. She eases my back pain. She’s allowed me to give up my car and still feel like I can get around without relying on others.

**EDIT: Today I took her over to TDR to have them change out the kickstand because our wrench wasn’t the right size. While we were there I asked about the “sticky” brake issue where the rear brake would fail to release without being manually pushed back into place. His first question: “do you keep her outside, there’s A LOT of corrosion. This should be replaced”. Needless to say I’m disappointed, especially since she lives inside at work and home. We put in an order for a new brake cable (it’s a tandem) and I’ll plan on bringing her back in next weekend.

On our way home (in the cold, WINDY rain) I hear a wooshing sound as we approach a red light. Sure enough it’s a flat rear tire. Of course. We didn’t have a patch kit or pump with us so we had to take her into the shop. Luckily Mike was there so he carried her to BicycleSpaceย while trying not to rip the tire. When we arrived we learned the bad news: the rear tire was really worn and needed to be replaced. That obviously wasn’t going to happen 30 minutes before the shop closed, so he recommended that we order specialty (although non-white) tires for e-bikes meant to be puncture resistant and stand up to the extra battery weight. We opted to stick with the current tires but switch the front and back since the front had plenty of tread left. My plan is to put new tires on her by the first real snow (hopefully January).

While at BicycleSpace we talked to the mechanic about average lifespan on brakes and tires. His recommendation was 1,500-2,000 miles for race bike tires but after 2-3 flats for commuters. She’s at that mileage and has taken 10 months of daily urban abuse, so I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. He also said that it’s probably on track for brake cable replacement too with the extra weight of the cargo bike and the extra stop and go of urban commuting.

I’ve been riding Yube’s hard for 10 months and it’s really starting to show. But as they say: when it rains, it pours. I’ll be making the necessary repairs/upgrades over the next few weeks and months and we’ll get her back to her prime.

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