Cargo do-it-all bike - Kombi e5 vs RFA Utility

TimmyTwo

New Member
Region
USA
Hello all! Thanks for a great forum to lurk / peruse.

I am looking for a cargo bike to haul my 3 and 5 year-olds about 2 miles up some steep hills. Occasionally longer rides, too. I'm hoping my wife (5'3") and I (6'0") can both fit without swapping components. Today (it changes often), I'm wavering between the Yuba Kombi e5 and the Xtracycle RFA Utility X1. Concerns follow, if anyone has thoughts!

I love the price of the Yuba Kombi e5 but I'm nervous about (1) the shorter tail for two kids and (2) the motor not being strong enough for a fully loaded bike up hills. I know it's a freshly released bike, but any thoughts on these concerns?

I also think the Xtracycle RFA Utility X1 looks great, and there's a good price on a fully-equipped one now. But I'm nervous about the cockpit accommodating our height range (5'3" to 6'0"). Any experiences that suggest the medium size would work for a larger spread?

Thanks again. I look forward to learning more here and eventually contributing to the knowledge base.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Yuba have loads of accessories, but the Kombi’s Shimano Steps e5000 motor delivers I think 40nm torque which isn‘t a lot for steep hill climbing. The Xtracycle by contrast uses the Bosch Performance gen 2 motor with I think 63nm torque so it would be the better hill climber.

Gonna throw in another one to consider, Workcycles FR8 MAD Family. Fits riders 5’1”-6’8”. Uses a Bafang BBS02 mid-drive (100nm torque), comes from the Netherlands without the 48v battery you can buy locally.
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
The height spread of the 2 different riders is a problem. If a 63" person can reach the ground stopped, the 72" person is banging the handlebars with his knees. The combi website clearly states it is for minimum 65" people.
Yuba states that combi loaded gross weight is 440 lb. I would suppose they would expect that bike to get up the hills in San Francisco. My predecessor yubabike bodaboda had 24 speeds, including 32:32 to allow women to pedal their children up those SF hills without power. I pedal up to 80 lb cargo up 15% hills myself, unpowered sometimes.
Xtracycle RFA is a bosch CX motor, which has a great reputation, has expensive custom replacement battery, and drags substantially when pedaled unpowered. The Shimano the yuba bike has does not drag unpowered.
I've got the extra small bodaboda frame for short legged people, which definitely would not work for a 72" person. I even have trouble with my foot fouling the front fender & breaking it, and my foot is only size 9.
I will say my yubabike was perfect when I got it. After ~6500 miles I've broken the front fender, worn out a chain and a set of brakepads, made one adjustment to the SRAM front shifter stop. The combi doesn't have a front shifter. 4 sets tires. No loose spokes, no fractured rims as certain other brands get repeat complaints for. I didn't buy a xtracycle mainly because they didn't offer a frame for 28" inseam riders. Also the complete drop frame bodaboda (no longer available) is easy to mount with 70 year old legs that won't swing over the seat anymore.
I'd like to point out an easy adjust height seat (yuba came with a lever) is an easy steal seat. I've seen many bikes chained up with a missing seat & front wheel. I replaced my quick adjust seat & front axle with metric allen socket and elastic stop nut, which takes about 5 imnutes to get off if you have the right tools. I still have my seat & front wheel, even though I routinely cable up the bike in the parking lot when I am shopping or to a power pole on the street when working my volunteer job. I've lost a rubber mount tailight and another rubber mount headlight. No wheels, no seats. I did have a tire knifed in Louisville highlands: there is no protection against that.
Happy shopping & riding.
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Yuba have loads of accessories, but the Kombi’s Shimano Steps e5000 motor delivers I think 40nm torque which isn‘t a lot for steep hill climbing. The Xtracycle by contrast uses the Bosch Performance gen 2 motor with I think 63nm torque so it would be the better hill climber
Gonna throw in another one to consider, Workcycles FR8 MAD Family. Fits riders 5’1”-6’8”. Uses a Bafang BBS02 mid-drive (100nm torque), comes from the Netherlands without the 48v battery you can buy locally.
When comparing torques of mid-drives you have to do the math to determine force at wheel rim. TorqueXstepdown ratio(in lowest sprocket)Xwheel radius=force forwards. Force backwards=bike+load gross weightXgrade in fraction (percentX100). I'll let the user read specs to determine sprocket ratios. 1st off, combi has 24" wheels which means smaller radius than xtracycle.
I'd like to have seen one of those front bin bikes carrying the load home today. Steady 15 mph headwind with gusts to 25. Bin bikes are great for the horse latitudes.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
I checked out the ´bunch´ cargo trike EBR review. In appearance similar to the Dutch bikes, but it
seemed to me unwieldy & not terribly aerodynamic. It will carry 4 children with seat belts for all.
I think the concept has possibilities, but needs refinement. Structurally it appears quite sturdy. The
forward seating does give the pedaler a good view of one´s wards which is a plus to ward off
passenger mutinies. I´m not sure about hill climbs with a load, but it´s an 8 speed, 11/32, ( i think?),
500w, so climbs are possible if your in no great hurry.
 
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TimmyTwo

New Member
Region
USA
Such fantastic feedback. Thanks everyone.

Dewey - those workcycles look great but I'd want to have another kid to take up that forward seat. On the wheel sizing issue, I can say my experience with Bike Fridays were always positive except for bump encounters. That's my biggest fear of the Terns, despite the wonders of low center of gravity.

John peck - those bunch bikes look great for putting around on nice bike routes. They look less satisfying for open stretches of road and having to occasionally hit a gravel stretch. Still, exciting to see that style gaining momentum.

For me, I think the Kombi is out given the potential for hill troubles, but the RFA sizing is equally offputting. So, we're going to go give a few bikes test rides next weekend, which is obviously the right choice anyway.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Such fantastic feedback. Thanks everyone.

Dewey - those workcycles look great but I'd want to have another kid to take up that forward seat. On the wheel sizing issue, I can say my experience with Bike Fridays were always positive except for bump encounters. That's my biggest fear of the Terns, despite the wonders of low center of gravity.

John peck - those bunch bikes look great for putting around on nice bike routes. They look less satisfying for open stretches of road and having to occasionally hit a gravel stretch. Still, exciting to see that style gaining momentum.

For me, I think the Kombi is out given the potential for hill troubles, but the RFA sizing is equally offputting. So, we're going to go give a few bikes test rides next weekend, which is obviously the right choice anyway.
I totally agree. The Netherlands´ infrastructure would be fine with this bike, but until we have the a system
safe for light, low spd e-vehicles, we are all at risk. That goes for pedestrians as well.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I think the Kombi is out given the potential for hill troubles
The pedal version of the Kombi is $1200 If it could be converted with a mid drive kit motor like a 750w bbs02 or tsdz2, that run about $750 with battery, you could get a more powerful hill climber with the cargo features of the Yuba for a reasonable price.
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
For me, I think the Kombi is out given the potential for hill troubles, but the RFA sizing is equally offputting. So, we're going to go give a few bikes test rides next weekend, which is obviously the right choice anyway.
The combi has a 36 lowest sprocket which likely provides some torque multiplication. No telling what the front sprocket diameter is on a shimano 8000 to calculate the force uphill.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@TimmyTwo, I am converting an Xtracycle with a small rear wheel so kids can easily climb in and out and it lowers the center of gravity while dropping the effective gearing for hills. This is not a racing bike. It is being converted with a Bafang BBSHD with a 48V, 17.5Ah battery. I am taking the amps down to 17 so that this Kw powerful motor does not shred the drivetrain or do a wheelie dumping the kids on the tarmac. The goals of this build were 1) Make it CLEAN. 2) Maximize motor support.
I have a little soldering this morning remaining and then the new chain goes on.
Note: Bafang HD conversions are notorious for being a mess of wires, connectors, and zip ties. Even the 'factory' ones. This one has the brake lever cutout wires and a light kit. How does it look given the nature of these builds?
 

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TimmyTwo

New Member
Region
USA
@TimmyTwo, I am converting an Xtracycle with a small rear wheel so kids can easily climb in and out and it lowers the center of gravity while dropping the effective gearing for hills. This is not a racing bike. It is being converted with a Bafang BBSHD with a 48V, 17.5Ah battery. I am taking the amps down to 17 so that this Kw powerful motor does not shred the drivetrain or do a wheelie dumping the kids on the tarmac. The goals of this build were 1) Make it CLEAN. 2) Maximize motor support.
I have a little soldering this morning remaining and then the new chain goes on.
Note: Bafang HD conversions are notorious for being a mess of wires, connectors, and zip ties. Even the 'factory' ones. This one has the brake lever cutout wires and a light kit. How does it look given the nature of these builds?
Wow, this looks great! Super clean. Hard to distinguish from a factory build, which is definitely goal to maintain. Very cool. The smaller wheels is such a nice take.
I’d love to undertake the same, but alas, I think another garage project isn’t in the cards for me. Plus our bike will be shared between two very different sized people, and the xtracycle just doesn’t do that too well.
For us, we’re going to give the low-end a try before we dive into a big boy. Meaning, we’re going to pick up the radwagon and try it for a year. If we get some good miles (which I expect we will), we’ll repurpose or sell it and pick up something fancier. Hopefully by that time the tax credit will be in place, too, to offset some cost.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
If you don't need wheels or tires, radwagons are great! 22" tires & tubes come from rad, only. Wheels, there are 33 pages of complaints about stretched spokes & fractured rims on known problems thread, plus other complaints on introductions & parts forums. They will gladly give you one new spoke if you stretch one. 4 times if it happens over & over like the lady in Scotland.
 

TimmyTwo

New Member
Region
USA
Yeah, I’ve seen em. I ordered a few extra tubes and will go from there. As to your second point, I talked to two friends who have radwagons (one an older model), and they both had no more problems than a normal new bike. Personal recommendations go a long way versus semi-anonymous internet comments, of which I am inherently skeptical. I mean, by that logic, Eunoraus have virtually no negative comments, but I suspect they have a host of problems given their price point. At least with Rad, the user base is big enough that major problems have been identified and discussed. In the end, I am balancing two potential risks (maintenance and non-use) against a monetary risk (cost of entry). For me, that formula weighed for the cheaper alternative for now. Ask me again in 6 months and see what tune I’m singing. 🙂
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Go for the independent reviews. EBR is trusted. Not the testimonials on a seller's site. Those are like a midnight infomercial. Getting into the game is better than sitting on the bench. That said, be wary of proprietary systems. I have seen companies come and go leaving vendors, suppliers and customers in a lurch. Or a proprietary system once you are locked in can charge what ever they want for key items or "required" updates.
 

UncleGarage

New Member
Region
USA
Hello all! Thanks for a great forum to lurk / peruse.

I am looking for a cargo bike to haul my 3 and 5 year-olds about 2 miles up some steep hills. Occasionally longer rides, too. I'm hoping my wife (5'3") and I (6'0") can both fit without swapping components. Today (it changes often), I'm wavering between the Yuba Kombi e5 and the Xtracycle RFA Utility X1. Concerns follow, if anyone has thoughts!

I love the price of the Yuba Kombi e5 but I'm nervous about (1) the shorter tail for two kids and (2) the motor not being strong enough for a fully loaded bike up hills. I know it's a freshly released bike, but any thoughts on these concerns?

I also think the Xtracycle RFA Utility X1 looks great, and there's a good price on a fully-equipped one now. But I'm nervous about the cockpit accommodating our height range (5'3" to 6'0"). Any experiences that suggest the medium size would work for a larger spread?

Thanks again. I look forward to learning more here and eventually contributing to the knowledge base.
Hi TimmyTwo.

Have you purchased a ride yet?

I'm leaning heavily to the Xtracycle RFA. I just watched the review on ElectricBikeReview.com for the 10th time ;) I've configured an RFA utility in black with the CX motor and a 500wH battery along with the accessories listed below.

The thing I am hung-up on is the fact that this RFA sports the 2nd gen CX motor and Bosch is on the 4th gen today. I feel like I'm outdated before I even buy it. The 4th Gen CX has 85Nm and a top speed of 28mph. Xtracycle are going to the Shimano motor in the fall and are pushing the existing RFA\Bosch with good discounts. I'm also still wrapping my head around paying 5k for a bike.

1 x RFA Utility Bundle
1 x PorterRack
2 x RFA CargoBay
1 x MagicCarpet - Black
1 x RFA Footsies
1 x CarryHandle
1x Snack Bar
 

TimmyTwo

New Member
Region
USA
I ended up with a Radwagon because of the cost and the need to accommodate two very different heights switching all the time. I’m very happy so far, but our trips are rarely over 4-5 miles, so I’m not worried about reaching the limits of the battery capacity.
Based on what little I know, I think you’ll be very happy with the RFA. They seem awesome and I would’ve gone that route if I was shopping for just me. I don’t think having a slightly aged motor is a big deal, especially with the great Bosch rep. That’s plenty of power and it’s going to last. It’s not like a computer where you’re missing out by not getting the latest/greatest.
As for cost, that’s obviously tough, but I think having a high quality and fully outfitted bike for 5k is very reasonable. The Rad price point is nice, but I fully expect to have additional costs down the line and to encounter issues. Again, if I’d been deciding alone, I’d go RFA. Pay once, cry once!
All that’s to say, go for it! Sometimes the best decision is the one you make ;)
 

UncleGarage

New Member
Region
USA
Pay once, cry once! I like that. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying your Rad. Agreed. I’ve only heard good things about the RFA so I’ll just have to go for it.