Please help choosing a long tail cargo bike

Jebanator

New Member
Hi everyone, ive recently been interested in getting an ebike. I want a bike that my wife or I can take our two kids along with us. I have a mountain bike currently that i pull a trailer along with the two kids but they are outgrowing it a bit and when i saw the longtail bike i thought that would be perfect! I cant spend a whole lot my budget would be around 2k. My main reason for wanting electric is getting back home from our bike trail requires about a 650 ft ascent over about a half mile which is fine by myself but impossible pulling the kids and their stuff. It really holds me back from going biking knowing i have to haul them back up that hill! So i was looking at the radwagon, the blix packa and the portal long tail bike. I was also toying with the idea of buying a Yuba Kombi and throwing the bafang 750 or 1000w mid drive kit on there. The only o e out of the first three that were mid drive was the portal. It seems very utilitarian (which i like). But there isnt much info about it out there. I saw one review which was for the non electric version but none for the electrified one. Im worried pulling the kiddos up the hill will be too hard for the rear hub motors. I dont mind pedaling at all. But im also worried that the torque going up the hill with all that weight with the mid drive will result in drive train break downs. So please help, 😊
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I own a yubabike bodaboda that I put a front geared hub motor from ebikeling on. I carry typically 320 lb gross up 15% grades out to my summer camp. 77 hills in all in 30 miles, 3 @ 15%. I had a DD rear hub motor previously but it drug unpowered and consumed more electricity on the hills. My bodaboda is for small people, I have 28" pants inseam and am 68" tall. At age 69 I don't like dancing over the crossbar when mounting, either.
If you are large the cheapest longtail cargo bike is the mongoose about $700. https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/mongoose-envoy.33132/ But it doesn't have bosses in the frame to hang loads off the front without swinging them with the wheel. I hung my battery up there to save load capacity for the back. I had the bike loaded to 220 lb gross with groceries last week, I'm 170 lb over that. I use 2.1" knobby kenda tires.
By comparison with some of the cheaper bikes, the yuba was perfect on delivery & required no adjustments. 5000 miles and 2 1/2 years later, no retorquing of spokes required. (the replacement power wheel needed 2 spokes tightened). I wore out one set brake pads, broke a shifter cable, wore out one chain. Tires get too thin to resist road trash at ~2000 miles. I like the 8 speed rear cluster and 3 speed front. With 32:32 I can pedal 320 lb up the 15% grade without power if I want some exercise.With 52:11 I can help the motor a little by pedaling at 20 mph. The geared hub motor will only go 23 mph, but will start the full load on the 15% grade and accelerate to 6 mph. Faster of course if I hit the start of the grade at speed.
Note mid drives chew up chains, especially the 9 speed and more versions. Even with lubing every 2 weeks, my 8 spd chain wore out in 5000 miles, 90% with me pedaling unpowered. Electricity is for days when the wind is >12 mph in my face, which can make my 30 mile commute take 6 hours at 144 bpm without power.
Other stretch cargo bikes, kona ute (the original), xtracycle, Magnum, blix packa, pedego ($$$$) reiss & mueller ($$$$) .
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
I was also toying with the idea of buying a Yuba Kombi and throwing the bafang 750 or 1000w mid drive kit on there.
Definitely do this, most bang for buck for your needs, Bafang mid-drive is going to offer far more torque than the direct drive hub motors on the RadWagon or Packa. Plus if you already have the motor and battery Yuba has lots of useful accessories that push the price up.
 
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Jebanator

New Member
I own a yubabike bodaboda that I put a front geared hub motor from ebikeling on. I carry typically 320 lb gross up 15% grades out to my summer camp. 77 hills in all in 30 miles, 3 @ 15%. I had a DD rear hub motor previously but it drug unpowered and consumed more electricity on the hills. My bodaboda is for small people, I have 28" pants inseam and am 68" tall. At age 69 I don't like dancing over the crossbar when mounting, either.
If you are large the cheapest longtail cargo bike is the mongoose about $700. https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/mongoose-envoy.33132/ But it doesn't have bosses in the frame to hang loads off the front without swinging them with the wheel. I hung my battery up there to save load capacity for the back. I had the bike loaded to 220 lb gross with groceries last week, I'm 170 lb over that. I use 2.1" knobby kenda tires.
By comparison with some of the cheaper bikes, the yuba was perfect on delivery & required no adjustments. 5000 miles and 2 1/2 years later, no retorquing of spokes required. (the replacement power wheel needed 2 spokes tightened). I wore out one set brake pads, broke a shifter cable, wore out one chain. Tires get too thin to resist road trash at ~2000 miles. I like the 8 speed rear cluster and 3 speed front. With 32:32 I can pedal 320 lb up the 15% grade without power if I want some exercise.With 52:11 I can help the motor a little by pedaling at 20 mph. The geared hub motor will only go 23 mph, but will start the full load on the 15% grade and accelerate to 6 mph. Faster of course if I hit the start of the grade at speed.
Note mid drives chew up chains, especially the 9 speed and more versions. Even with lubing every 2 weeks, my 8 spd chain wore out in 5000 miles, 90% with me pedaling unpowered. Electricity is for days when the wind is >12 mph in my face, which can make my 30 mile commute take 6 hours at 144 bpm without power.
Other stretch cargo bikes, kona ute (the original), xtracycle, Magnum, blix packa, pedego ($$$$) reiss & mueller ($$$$) .
Thank you for your input and resources
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
RadWagon and Bolton kit

It comes with 35A controller.
35A x 48V = 1680W 😀

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Geez, whatever you do, make sure there's some gears involved. Either a gear driven hub or a mid drive. A direct drive is likely going to fail miserably.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Geez, whatever you do, make sure there's some gears involved. Either a gear driven hub or a mid drive. A direct drive is likely going to fail miserably.
Care to elaborate? 🤔

I haven't seen RadWagon owners complaining because their motors failed miserably. Though, I know that direct drive isn't the best for hill climbing.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Timpo, I felt the stock direct drive on my '17 City, which is the SAME drive they use on the 'Wagon, was gutless. Granted, it would move me, but it had very low performance w/little hill climbing ability. That's why it was replaced with a direct drive motor TWICE the size of the stock motor just 6 weeks into my purchase. The bigger motor was much better - but even that motor would have me and the motor panting by time we got to the top of a bigger hill. That happened often enough to justify going with a gear driven rear hub, a good one, rated at a 1000+ watts (MAC 12t). With NO other changes, not only is that big hill no longer a challenge, my range increased from an easy 25 miles to an easy 35 miles. Same bike, same rider, same riding area, over a period of months. So clearly, not only more power, but also more efficient.

Noteworthy is the fact that I'm a big guy at 6'2"/315 (very similar to a loaded 'Wagon I think) and I ride for pleasure at speeds generally under 15mph.

I'm assuming a decent sized mid drive could provide similar performance. -Al
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Timpo, I felt the stock direct drive on my '17 City, which is the SAME drive they use on the 'Wagon, was gutless. Granted, it would move me, but it had very low performance w/little hill climbing ability. That's why it was replaced with a direct drive motor TWICE the size of the stock motor just 6 weeks into my purchase. The bigger motor was much better - but even that motor would have me and the motor panting by time we got to the top of a bigger hill. That happened often enough to justify going with a gear driven rear hub, a good one, rated at a 1000+ watts (MAC 12t). With NO other changes, not only is that big hill no longer a challenge, my range increased from an easy 25 miles to an easy 35 miles. Same bike, same rider, same area, over a period of months. So clearly, not only more power, but also more efficient.

Noteworthy is the fact that I'm a big guy at 6'2"/315 (very similar to a loaded 'Wagon I think) and I ride for pleasure at speeds generally under 15mph.

I'm assuming a decent sized mid drive could provide similar performance. -Al
ah, okay I see. Thanks
 

Jebanator

New Member
Timpo, I felt the stock direct drive on my '17 City, which is the SAME drive they use on the 'Wagon, was gutless. Granted, it would move me, but it had very low performance w/little hill climbing ability. That's why it was replaced with a direct drive motor TWICE the size of the stock motor just 6 weeks into my purchase. The bigger motor was much better - but even that motor would have me and the motor panting by time we got to the top of a bigger hill. That happened often enough to justify going with a gear driven rear hub, a good one, rated at a 1000+ watts (MAC 12t). With NO other changes, not only is that big hill no longer a challenge, my range increased from an easy 25 miles to an easy 35 miles. Same bike, same rider, same riding area, over a period of months. So clearly, not only more power, but also more efficient.

Noteworthy is the fact that I'm a big guy at 6'2"/315 (very similar to a loaded 'Wagon I think) and I ride for pleasure at speeds generally under 15mph.

I'm assuming a decent sized mid drive could provide similar performance. -Al

Im not small either I'm about 5' 11" and 105-110kg I used to ride my road bike all the time when I was 80kg then I started powerlifting as my hobby when I felt the roads were just getting too dangerous. Now I live in an area with an awesome network of bike paths. I literally have hundreds of miles to explore. But I want to be able to bring the kids with me on some of them. I really don't mind pedaling I just want to be able to get up the hill to my house from the bike path while hauling 35-40kgs of kids and stuff
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Yes, a solid hill climber. You want gears for sure. NOT a direct drive. The geared hubs with bigger motors do pretty good. Mine has yet to let me down, but my hills are in a rolling coastal area (think old sand dunes that can be pretty tall). The mid drives will climb walls in granny gear. I don't know if you need that kind of performance? Also, care must be taken when shifting a mid drive when under load to avoid crunching gears. Geared hubs can be driven while brain dead, or while paying attention to something else.....