- A smooth but powerful electric-assist cargo bike with optional boost button to make starting from standstill easier
- Compatible with a wide assortment of accessories including child seats, cargo racks, running boards and even a frame mounted front basket
- Integrated LED lights with an automatic light sensor on the display panel, reflective tire stripes for larger visual footprint and full length plastic fenders to keep you dry
- No shift sensing on the drive system but the motor operates smoothly, higher price tag (especially when you start to add in accessories)
The Spicy Curry is a mid-drive powered electric cargo bike from Yuba! I’ve covered several of their earlier electric bicycle including the smaller elBoda Boda and very similar elMundo but prefer the Spicy Curry for several reasons. The primary benefit is efficiency and power because the drive system leverages the same eight speed drivetrain that you do as a rider! If you shift down, the motor can spin faster and work more efficiently to climb. If you shift up, the motor can help you reach and maintain higher speeds (up to 20 mph). This design also brings motor weight in towards the center of the bike improving balance and allowing the rear wheel to use a quick release skewer just like the front.
Both the motor and battery are positioned at the middle of the frame and while I love the protection this offers for the battery it does make it more difficult to reach for charging and especially removing. Furthermore, because this battery has to be powered on and off independently from the display console, you have to reach down every time you want to go for a ride and that’s a drag… it might also lead to confusion at times when you wonder why the primary display isn’t turning on. But hey, maybe that will also confuse a thief or bystander at a rack who decides to mess with your display ;) I like the display well enough and appreciate that it swivels to reduce glare but feel that it takes too long to turn on. You have to hold the power button near the left grip for several seconds (after activating the battery) and once the signal is received the display does a seven second countdown. In a time when you can find similar e-cargo bikes with removable displays and USB charging ports on something like the Xtracycle it feels a bit outdated. But hey, that bike costs $800 more and given the integrated lights on the Spicy Curry maybe there’s less need for an accessory power outlet.
The display console is large, easy to read and feature rich with a dynamic range estimator to help you select the appropriate power level (to make it home with some juice left) and I like the small 2 amp charger that you get with the bike, small and light enough to bring along and charge on-location. Some quick tips with the display panel and button pad near the left grip… Hold the up button for a couple of seconds to force the lights on and hold the box icon towards the bottom to switch from mph to km/h. At first when I was testing the Spicy Curry I thought you were always stuck in pedal assist 1-4 (and thus, the motor would activate any time you pedaled) and this means you’d use the battery more quickly and couldn’t just run the lights and the display like a cycle computer. Eventually I discovered that if you arrow down to assist level 1 then hold the power button on the button pad for a couple of seconds it will switch to zero.
The Yuba Spicy Currie does value pretty well but it’s not cheap by any means, especially when you add racks, the upgraded two-leg kickstand and possibly a front basket… why get a cargo bike without the racks after all? The color is nice, the tires are premium with reflective sidewalls and best of all the mid-step frame is easy to mount and accommodates shorter riders. It’s a solid platform and nearly everyone who hops on has a great time. I was impressed with the frame stiffness and noticed some gusseting where the downtube meets the head tube. I love that the optional “Bread Basket” rack that connects to the frame vs. the fork and appreciate the “deflopilator” spring that keeps the front wheel straight for loading. For now there’s only one frame size and color but it’s a nice unisex light green they call “avacado” – this limited selection keeps the price low. Areas where I feel like they put extra emphasis into the bike include the larger 13 gauge spokes front and rear for increased strength and carrying capacity, clear stickers where the chain bounces into the right stay tube, a bell for signaling fellow riders and hydraulic disc brakes (with a larger front rotor for improved stopping power). One other quick tidbit about the smaller rear wheel is that it’s easier to turn than a large one and thus, better for hauling weight and climbing.
The motor operates smoothly and quietly (especially in the middle and high gears) and behaved more like a cadence sensing drive unit than torque sensing. Apparently the sensors used measure rear wheel speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque and I did notice an increase in power output when I pushed down hard on the pedals but it almost always felt like the motor was helping out… even if I was slacking off and just pedaling lightly. Frankly, I love this! It does mean the battery will drain quicker and that’s got to be why Yuba lists the range as 16+ miles vs. 20+ but it will save your knees in the long run and makes riding more enjoyable. For those who want throttle power, there is an optional accessory called a boost button that can be wired in and held down to make the motor go without pedaling. It will change the class rating from Class 1 to Class 2 possibly limiting where the bike is allowed and I found that it was difficult to reach from the right grip and not very fun to hold for long periods… but at least it’s an option. All things considered, I enjoyed the Spicy Curry quite a bit and while I’d love to pay less for the base unit so I could spend more on accessories, the two year battery warranty, lifetime frame and one year “other” goes a long way creating value as with Yuba’s longstanding reputation in the cargo bicycle space.
- Smaller diameter rear wheel brings the cargo deck down making it easier to load and handle while riding, the mid-mounted motor and battery stay completely out of the way
- High emphasis on safety with this ebike, you get integrated LED lights (though the headlight is a little dim) and reflective sidewall tape on the tires
- The Schwalbe Balloon tires are large and comfortable (especially if you run them a bit under the max PSI) and they incorporate GreenGuard to stymie punctures and flats
- Highly adjustable seat hight thanks to an extra long 18.5″ seat post (optional 14.5″ post for shorter riders) the stem is also raised up with seven spacers and I love the swept-back “gull wing” handlebars and ergonomic grips
- Integrated cables keep the frame looking beautiful and reduce snags, I love that the Spicy Curry comes stock with full length fenders because it could be wasteful to get two different sizes on your own (having to buy two separate sets then mix)
- Solid grippy pedals with plenty of room to stand and balance, the optional double-legged metal kickstand keeps the bike upright when loading with gear (and the deflopilator keeps the front wheel straight)
- Lots of options for adding a passenger seat and bars at the back, running board “side loaders” and cargo platforms, a front basket or a Yepp! child seat because the tubing is compatible with all of Yuba’s existing kit
- The mid-drive motor is powerful (offering up to 73 Newton meters of torque!) but operates smoothly and quietly in the mid and high gears, even though it doesn’t offer shift sensing it felt smooth – possibly due to the longer chain
- Yuba did a great job with the chainring, it’s relatively large with 48 teeth to balance out the smaller rear wheel and includes an Aluminum alloy chain guide that also functions as a chain guard for the sprocket and your pant leg (reducing snags and grease stains)
- Both wheels offer quick release so you can take them off quickly and easily to true wheels, replace flat tubes or work on the derailleur, cassette, etc.
- I love that the battery pack is removable but feel that it’s difficult to unlock and actually remove because it’s surrounded by tubing
- As with many of the TranzX Currie Electro-Drive systems the battery has to be powered on and off independent from the main display, so it’s a two step process and the main button pad takes a long time to initiate (like three seconds of holding)
- I love the display backlight and automatic light-sensors but sometimes would like to make the display completely dark so it’s not distracting at night
- No bottle cage bosses on the frame but plenty of other mounting points, the display is fixed and non-removable but it does swivel to reduce glare
- Especially for a large heavy cargo bike it would be nice to have a throttle to get going from standstill but at least with the Yuba Spicy Curry you can get a boost button that acts as a throttle and I believe it’s priced under $50
- Be careful bringing the bike down off of the kickstand or even walking with it if you get the running boards as shown in the video review above as they can scrape the back of your legs, I also noticed they can collide with curbs and other low obstacles since they hang down (this is an issue with all cargo bike platforms not just Yuba)