It seems to be a forgone conclusion that if you're going to make a bicycle built for two, then both riders will be pedaling. If that bike has an electric motor to help with the extra weight, however, then perhaps just one rider will be able to move the thing along nicely. That's the thinking behind the Yuba elMundo – it's an electric cargo bike that specializes in hauling humans.
The elMundo features a long frame that provides lots of sitting space for passengers, and which also allows for relatively steady tracking when in motion. The rear rack/seating area is built into the frame for added rigidity, as opposed to just being bolted on.
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Buyers can opt for running boards on either side of that rack. These can be used as footrests by passengers, or as a hand truck-like means of holding cargo items that are strapped into place. Removing the recycled plastic platform on either of those running boards turns it into a bike-towing tray, in which the bottom of the towed bike's front wheel is inserted into the tray.
Power is provided by a 350-watt BionX rear hub motor, along with a down tube-mounted 425-watt-hour lithium-ion battery. This combo provides a top electric-assisted speed of 20 mph (32 km/h), and a maximum range of approximately 37 miles (60 km) per charge depending on use.
We had a chance to see and ride the elMundo last week, at the Charged Up e-bike event in New Jersey. Riding it without a passenger was easy, as the motor easily compensated for its 66-lb (30-kg) weight. With a passenger on board, it still didn't require much effort to turn the pedals, although the difference in handling took a bit of getting used to – as would be the case with any passenger-carrying bicycle or motorcycle.
When riding as a passenger, the optional second set of handlebars mounted on the seat post definitely helped us to hold on. The optional removable cushions also greatly contributed to butt comfort.
The Yuba elMundo is priced at US$3,199.
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