Yuba FastRack Review
Yuba Bicycles is the trailblazer in the cargo bike business and has a lot of models in their range. They provide compact "mid-tail" models with rear racks, which are ideal for city dwellers with limited space, as those fit in hallways and small gardens.
The new FastRack mid-tail cargo e-bike brings forth an entirely novel innovation: Yuba's exclusive, tool-free Dual Rack System.To put it succinctly, the Yuba FastRack provides swift and effortless versatility for toting all kinds of cargo, even accommodating a couple of kids, all packaged thoughtfully with the electric power any rider might require.
Specifications: see here
An Accessory-Friendly Convertible Rear RackThe Dual Rack System (DRS) eliminates the necessity of attaching or detaching accessories like passenger footboards or a rear cargo tray. By simply flicking a quick-release lever at the back of the bicycle and adjusting a few T-bar levers - devoid of any Allen keys or additional tools - the DRS swiftly changes into four distinct modes.The flatbed mode suits larger cargo items, allowing secure strapping. The cargo mode has raised walls on both sides of the rack. The side-loader mode involves folding down the rack and extending footboards for passengers. Finally, the compact mode entails folding up the footboards for more convenient storage.It's genuinely an ingenious system! It eradicates the necessity to keep, attach, or reattach these essential cargo accessories. And there's no risk of losing bolts or screws.
The Yuba FastRack relies on a 250W Shimano STEPS E7000 mid-drive motor, powered by an external 500Wh battery. The E7000 produces a peak torque of 60 Nm and features three pedal-assist modes (Eco, Trail, and Boost). Additionally, there's a Walk mode, which the rider can activate by holding down the button on the handlebar-mounted controller. This mode can prove useful for manoeuvring the fully laden e-bike through pedestrian areas or up steep slopes.
The 20-inch-wheeled Yuba FastRack boasts a sturdy low-slung aluminium frame. A robust mid-tail rear platform houses the DRS. Protective plastic covers over the rear wheel shield passengers' legs. A standard front tray rack is present to accommodate bags and baskets. The external battery is concealed between these frame tubes. A keyed lock ensures battery security, while allowing easy removal when the bike is parked or for off-bike charging and storage.The gear range was more than ample to pedal at maximum electric-assisted speed and surmount challenging inclines. A Shimano Deore 10-speed shifter and derailleur ensure smooth chain movement over an 11-36T cassette.
Considering the base weight of the FastRack is already substantial, robust brakes are a necessity. Yuba equips the bike with Magura MT23 mountain bike hydraulic disc brakes.The ride is cushioned by a short-travel SR Suntour MOBIE suspension fork, 20 x 2.4-inch Schwalbe Super Moto tyres, and a wide Yuba-branded comfort saddle. This saddle comes equipped with a lower handle for lifting the FastRack when required. The FastRack arrives with urban riding essentials such as front and rear lights, along with high-quality metal mudguards.
Yuba has an impressive range of accessories to adapt to your needs. These include panniers and other bags, cushioned passenger benches, Thule child seats, and more. I predominantly used the FastRack for errands like grocery shopping, without a passenger, but with an Urban Iki childseat.
How does it feel on the road
This is an exceptionally smooth machine. Yuba employs premium Shimano and Bosch mid-drive motors across their electric lineup, and the former's STEPS E71000 unit is an impeccable match for the FastRack. It offers refined pedalling sensations and instantaneous engagement. During my initial jaunt on flat roads, I didn't need to engage the highest pedal-assist mode, Boost, to sustain speeds near the 20 mph pedal-assist threshold with minimal exertion. The same held true for shopping trips, hauling moderate to heavy loads (up to 30 kg, in addition to my 70kg), across rolling terrain. Only occasionally did I rely on Boost to tackle uphill sections. Ample motor power was at my disposal, with rapid acceleration from a standstill in both Trail and Boost modes.I mainly rode the FastRack in Eco and Boost modes, with varying cargo loads - even when unburdened. The 500Wh battery afforded me a range of 60km, including a lot of travel up and down the Constitution Hill. Those on flatter terrains could expect even greater distances.
Cargo Carrying Capacity
I primarily used the Dual Rack System in the cargo mode, with the side walls raised to stabilise rear loads. This configuration still provided ample cargo width, permitting me to haul boxes of toilet paper, bags of soil from the garden centre, and even the cat for her trip to the vet, all that secured with tie-down straps.
The Suntour suspension fork adeptly dampened the impacts of bumps and uneven terrain. The Schwalbe tires, with their substantial 2.4-inch width and generous volume, greatly contributed to stability. Furthermore, the low-profile tread pattern effectively balanced traction and swift, vibration-free rolling.
The Deore drivetrain from Shimano, renowned for its reliable performance on mountain bikes, proved more than up to the challenge. The Deore components provided seamless gear shifts and securely maintained the chain engagement regardless of the terrain. I particularly appreciated the Magura mountain bike brakes featuring generously sized rotors. This was especially evident when descending swiftly with a hefty load. These brakes never felt overwhelmed. Their finely tuned lever feel, which avoids sudden and abrupt actions, should be approachable even for novices accustomed to less potent rim brakes.
When the time comes to stow the FastRack, you just have to lower the double-leg stand and effortlessly raised the bike into its upright storage position. The urethane wheels and rubber padding at the rear facilitate this process, ensuring floor protection. The bike's adjustable stem also permits the handlebars to pivot 90 degrees for even more compact storage.
Final Impressions of the Yuba FastRack
The standout feature of the bike is undoubtedly the patent-pending convertible rack system and its compactness, which makes it ideal for people with limited storage space. This holds particular significance for riders seeking the ability to switch seamlessly between transporting cargo, passengers, or even both, on the go. Shifting between modes took mere seconds, with no need to set anything aside for later reinstallation. The ease and convenience of this system were undeniable.
The entry price for the FastRack might not be low, but it remains quite reasonable given the exceptional performance of the Shimano motor, respectable battery range, intelligent selection of components, and the impressively robust construction quality of the frame.
Lastly, the FastRack is undeniably eye-catching, especially in the vibrant green colour we tested (grey and a subdued blue are also available options).