Longtail cargo bikes: Kona Ute vs Yuba Kombi

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  • Longtail cargo bikes: Kona Ute vs Yuba Kombi
  • t3ap0t
    Member

    I am considering getting a longtail style cargo bike for ferrying kids (currently 1&3) about to childcare/school. Looks like there are 2 options within budget – anyone able to help me decide or have thoughts on longtails in general?

    1) Kona Ute. Available for £1300, would need to buy 2 x child seats to begin with, looks like polisport guppy would work and those are about £50 each.

    Pros -Includes a big pannier bag which is possibly useful for weekend shopping, but pretty sure you can’t use the bag with child seats installed which may make it a moot point.
    – available in 2 sizes, which might help me as I am 6’6″. Stack height of the large frame seems OK compared to my CX although completely different position.
    -Hydro brakes
    Cons
    -Seen some people describe the Ute as having a very high centre of gravity once loaded with 2 x child seats as it uses 650b wheels. Probably OK for me handling as I am tall but perhaps a maul for the other half at 5’9″
    -Doesn’t have foot rails for when the kids are older and can sit on the deck.
    -General lack of accessories available

    2) Yuba Kombi https://www.yubaeurope.com/en/bikes-add-ons/kombi/. £995 for bike but doesn’t include the deck for the rack (£40), any pannier bags (again, possibly useless if I have 2 kids onboard).

    Pros – lots of accessories for it, of note: Monkey drums bars for them to hold onto, foot boards, front basket. These are, however eyewateringly expensive in the main. £200 for the basket, £200 for the monkey bars, £100 for the foot boards. Possibly able to knock some of these up myself, especially foot boards.

    -have been told by dealer it will only work with Yepp Nexxt Maxi seat which are £95 online, so a big outlay for 2 of those. Although think I have found something on Hollandbikeshop that would work.

    -One size only, which, according to their website is good for people up to my height. Does look a little bit small but head tube is 175mm and there looks like a tonne of spacers on the stem.

    -24″ wheels makes the centre of gravity lower, and the overall length shortish which should help me fit it in the shed which is a big bonus. I think the same length as the Ute though. Guess these might make the ride a bit slower/harsher?

    -Only has mechnical disk brakes, but 180mm discs on 24″ wheels is probably plenty of stopping power.

    Weights look similar, both have mudguards, kickstand and lights, gearing looks low enough on both.

    Having had a Ute I’d opt for something else. Ute was squirrely, flexy and yes high-loading. Didn’t make sense to me once I’d tried it. Was ignorant of practical cargo-requirements/ design-characteristics before buying. Hindsight is 20/20. Bear in mind to read that others get along with them, but I really can’t see how! Not in anger. I did much better with a (used) Batavus Personal for a 7th of the price, with all security and dynamo lighting extras in the build.

    If I was choosing long-tail for rough-roads again, I’d first look at a Yuba Mundo V5. If my carriage requirements were all urban likely would choose something like a Gazelle Cabby or a used bakfiets of some type.

    TiRed
    Member

    Circe helios?

    The School run – 1

    Might be over budget, but you end up wit hhte best bike tha tyou can all ride. The 406 wheels will make it low and stable.

    Premier Icon spev
    Subscriber

    I’ve got a Mk1 Yuba Mundo and my brother has a current generation Mundo, both great to be honest. He’s been carrying his twins on it for 2 years (they are 8 now and still fit on it) he bought the monkey bars,deck,footboards and deck cushion, at the time it came to £1300 or so but it was called the Mundo Classic so I think was on offer (didnt have disc brakes). Its longer than the Kimbo though as its a proper longtail.
    There are some cargo bikes on Ebay now and again so might be worth a look.

    lardman
    Member

    I had a Yuba Mundo for my three boys, it was fab. Yes, the high centre sometimes required a little thought, but when used to it, there was no real issue. The seats i used were great, and yes expensive. But if you do get a Mundo, let me know, as i no have no need for the two seats currently sitting in the shed, Make me an offer. They’re a little dusty and the bum pad will no doubt be goosed, but the seats work very well to clamp onto the rack of the Mundo and probably most other ‘in built cargo racks’

    DT78
    Member

    I’m looking into this for,my next c2w. From my research so far via c2w options appear to be a KONA ute, surly big dummy or tern node cargo

    lardman
    Member

    in fact…. these are the seats i have.

    pollisport bilby

    lardman
    Member

    silly image linking…. tsk tsk

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    Keep an eye on eBay and gumtree, you can pick up a used bike with all the accessories, and within budget

    My advice is to do it, I have a Big Dummy and it’s ace! Sometimes come up in budget

    Premier Icon burko73
    Subscriber

    I bought a kona minute which is a shorter ute. There was a company on Etsy iirc doing accessories for it. My 5 yr old sits on the deck feet on some bmx stunt pegs that bolt on to a couple of places and she holds onto A cut down mtb bar on a stem attached to the seatpost. My 1 yr old goes in a thule chariot behind. The minute has smaller panniers that still fit in this config.

    Without the chariot it’s great for popping to work or to the shops and in the summer I pick up the 5 yr old from school on it. I would feel more comfortable with the monkey bars but I tend to stay off the roads on it.

    TiRed
    Member

    (they are 8 now and still fit on it

    Admirable, but mine were pedalling the kiddyback tandem at 4yo and the eldest completed London to Oxford at 6yo. I’d be buying something where they can provide propulsion as they get older, personally. The circe is a great option which wasn’t available when I bought my Dawes.

    My kiddyback provides the most smiles per mile of any bike I’ve owned.

    t3ap0t
    Member

    Thanks for replies all.

    Cargo bike eg the bakfiets or a gazelle caddy isn’t really an option for me as I don’t think I could get one around the side entrance to my back yard, plus they are about 40kg which is going to hurt on the hill up to work after kiddie drop off.

    Helios is an interesting option, perhaps price dependent. Hadn’t come across it at all..

    Yuba Kombi looking most likely new option. A bit put off by the complete lack of any kind of review for the Kombi with it being a new model. Mundo classic is being discontinued, but can get a frameset for £999. Or the whole bike for a Mundo Lux for £1800, but then into well over £2k territory when accessories added. @Lardman I will message you in the event I buy one.

    Currently getting by walking the eldest and wheeling my CX bike along with the wee ‘un in the rear seat so may just continue that and monitor Ebay/gumtree for a while. There is a Big Dummy not too far from me..

    rents
    Member

    I have a Kona minute. It has been the best bike for generally everything I have ever had. To the point that a lot of other bikes have come and gone in th3 7 years I have had it. It’s set up with a single hamax on the rear rack that slides on and off when needed to move a child. I use a tubus Tara front rack to carry stuff when moving kids about and a rack top pack when the seat is off. I use it everyday. Light and nimble.

    Tern Cargo Node Xtracycle (fully kitted-out with hub generator and cargo bags) reduced here link

    From here it seems a steal for the spec. Just add some (used?) Yepp seats. Plus, smaller wheels make infinitely more sense for urban cargo and kid-carriage.

    DrP
    Member

    I’m a big fan of my Kona Ute..in fact, it’s probably my mostest favourite bike purely for ‘all it encompasses’!
    Yeah, i get it’s a bit noodly at times, but when it’s just ME on it, i appreciate the 700c wheels for their speed and rolling.

    Use it for carrying all sorts..kids, shopping, boxes etc etc!
    I made some wheel skirts, and STILL need to sort out foot pegs..

    Here I am carrying 2 9 years olds and a 5 year old…one of them DID fall off the back, but hey ho!

    And taking both my kids bikes from one place to another!

    DrP

    kevs
    Member

    I have a bakfiets type bike which i made, my twins are now three and id say the perfect age for longtail bike.
    Ive heard good things about yuba bikes and xtracycle.
    If you’re anywhere near Plymouth you’re welcome to try mine to check options

    Premier Icon edhornby
    Subscriber

    I had a Ute and loved the cargo ability but for transporting children there are better options – big dummy or the xtracycle

    geomickb
    Member

    I’m also watching this. Currently do the school run using a Burley trailer. Not sure to do when daughter is too big for it.

    It’s only one mile and all downhill (I don’t do the pickup) so I don’t want to spend a fortune.
    I would like a solution that can also carry/tow her bike for long family rides.

    Mick

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Subscriber

    I haven’t ridden the ute or Yuba but love my big dummy – a true utility bike for life. We also have a Bakfeits but the BD is a proper bike.

    No.2 has been riding on a Yepp on the handlebars but it is difficult to get your leg over the cross bar with front and rear seats. Hardly used Yepps come up on flea bay half rrp all the time and bolt straight on to the deck( there are 2 versions make sure you get the right one).I have started looking but No.1 likes sitting on the deck so may buy a ludicrously expensive Surly Dec pad instead.

    We also have a Bakfeits but the BD is a proper bike.

    Surely they’re both ‘proper’ bikes, but the BD is more of a mountain bike with a long tail on it… so a jack of all off-road load-lugging (albeit minus an electric motor) yet no ‘master’ of anything urban/city?

    There are better ‘proper’ urban utility bikes by far, including ones that allow you to mount and dismount effortlessly when fully loaded 😉

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Subscriber

    MR you are of course correct. When I say proper bike, I meant one that I could load up with camping gear and go on an adventure with daughter No. 1 rather than the reality of looking after two kids whilst i pop to screwfix! Could your proper urban utility bike cope with 2 x 25kg bags of tile adhesive?

    Could your proper urban utility bike cope with 2 x 25kg bags of tile adhesive?

    Pfffft, you bring the cement, I’ll bring the wall 😉

    (Seriously, your feat is impressive! Would your bakfiets handle 50kg?)

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Subscriber

    The bakfiets could easily – I couldn’t ! I think this is the reason I don’t regard the bakfiets as a proper bike, I wouldn’t enjoy an all day bike ride on it (despite its many advantages). The BD (even with a trailer) no probs and have done many times (slow but so much fun with the kids). I think it may be the range of gearing or lack of, An e conversion would probably be the game changer.

    I think it may be the range of gearing or lack of, An e conversion would probably be the game changer.

    Gearing has a lot do do with it. For urban riding especially for utility I much prefer the easy-gliding ride and frame-design of my Batavus Personal than the longtail (Ute) I sold. I did have to change the sprocket and chainring to get up these hills. Now can winch a shedload or as much as my legs can manage. All day riding in town and towpaths is remarkably easy, if leisurely-paced.

    Offroad would be a different story and I think the BD makes sense there. In town if I instead needed the extra capacity of a heavy duty longtail for whatever reason I’d probably go with an 8freight. Money no object – then a GSD!

    Premier Icon nixie
    Subscriber

    Think I’ve had 50kg on the back of my dummy. Both children come in at around 40kg plus the silly heavy locks I carry. It’s rated to 90kg I think.

    @Jaminb your yepp seat looks really high in those pictures. Are you using an adaptor bolted to the deck? Mine is much lower than that (xtracycle deck).

    Those thinking about it other than cost a long tail is a great choice for hauling kids (and cargo often as well). Mine fortunately is cost neutral now as without it I’d need a city centre parking permit at £1200 per year! Both daughters love going on it. It’s also great for dragging them and their bikes to a safer place to ride at the weekends.

    DT78
    Member

    despite really wanting a surly I will prob end up with a ute due to c2w lkmits. it seems there are lots of negative comments about them bring flexy. any ridden a 2020 with 650 wheels?

    those with monkey bars what age are your kids using them instead of a proper seat? and anyone know what ones fit a ute? do the adjustable yuba ones fit?

    ^

    Not ridden one, but 650b shouldn’t make too much difference especially if you run a higher volume tire it would be negligible or even the same. The design is poorly thought-out for cargo compared to so many others, ie Yuba, Edgerunner, Tern Node Cargo Xtracycle etc. There are also no options on the Ute for siderails/Xtracycle monkey-bars etc gubbins to help kids feel safe nor support side-luggage from below. The Kona bags flapped side to side, and when loaded heavily they just hang and can foul the gears as they hang at hub-height and lower when loaded/bulging.

    Then the rear frame-flex and front-wheel shimmy made it more interesting. It blows my mind that Kona simply switched to 650b rather than make a sensible design change and make a 20/26 or similar. The Trek Transport+ makes a similar mistake (seems they copied the Ute to a degree) but at least Trek specced 26” with some decent-looking fold-down racks.

    Here’s a Kona Ute user trying to ‘fix’ their bike by to carry kids lower-down, by making it a 26er – the comments are darkly amusing, but I genuinely feel sorry for them:

    https://www.bikeforums.net/utility-cycling/1054562-concerned-about-safety-55lbs-babies-kona-ute.html

    Appreciate that other’s Ute mileage may vary, but my disappointment was costly to me so I let it be known straight!

    Go compare:

    Proper cargo bike

    Silly cargo-a-like

    I’d instead be looking at a Tern Node Cargo Xtracycle for C2W?, especially at discounted price as mentioned upthread. tbh I really felt sucked in by Kona (as a mountain biker who knew nothing about cargo-/utility-biking, so I suppose I chose what looked like a 29er/mountain bike with a skate deck on the back, cool! Still, I only lost a few hundred quid selling it on 🙄)

    Also maybe look at converting an old bike for cargo with an Xtracycle longtail kit? Check compatibility for the dropouts first, as I got caught out after buying the kit and couldn’t make it fit!

    DT78
    Member

    thanks for your views on the kona.

    there seem to be several warning threads online about the tern frame snapping which has put me off alot.

    xtracycle kit does not appear to be for sale in the uk. unless you know where? I’m not up for faffing about with importing and charges especially with gbp on its knees.

    so that leaves a surly….but they are 2.5k 🙁 way over budget and the accessories are bloody expensive too

    Premier Icon mudfish
    Subscriber

    Hi
    Do small wheels really aid stability?
    The BB is the same height on all bikes within reason so that sets the bar and seat height?
    Is the point that if the kids are loaded over the rear wheel then their CofG is lower? If so, then of course small wheels will aid loaded stability.
    Like the old small front wheel bakers bike I guess. Nice those.

    Interesting thread. Always liked cargo bikes like the “Long John”?
    Neil

    there seem to be several warning threads online about the tern frame snapping which has put me off alot.

    Yikes. Count me out of Tern folders too.

    Can’t you get anything Yuba?

    Premier Icon nixie
    Subscriber

    DT78 you maybe able to get a frame set for a lot less than that, and on c2w. Accessories do come do second hand. You just need to be a little lucky. 26″ bits to build up are cheap. There is nothing fancy about the OEM full bike kit, I’d have gone frame only if I’d had the time and would have ended up with a better bike for less.

    t3ap0t
    Member

    Yuba have a European website and there is a company in Dorset that sells them, kids and family cycles I think they are called. They quoted me for the kombi.

    DT78
    Member

    That’s useful info, https://kidsandfamilycycles.co.uk/Yuba-Mundo-Classic.html localish to me too down in Christchurch.

    No mention of c2w though.

    Nixie, possibly frameset is am option. I’ll have a donor 26 it will be replacing. Limiting factor will be finding someone who will take a Halfords c2w voucher for a surly frameset. Then it looks like the accessories required will add another 600.

    ctk
    Member

    For young kids I’d just get a Burley trailer. My kids loved it.

    No mention of c2w though.

    Not an endorsement, but a Google of C2W and Yuba and this place came up

    Yuba: Kombi 2020

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    We had a Ute till the boys outgrew it.
    It is the one bike I really regret selling. I never found it overly flexy, even giving the Wife’s girl friends drunken backies around the park.
    If it’s for ferrying kids to Nursery or School it’s perfect. Some of these cargo bikes are great if you want a true car replacement (& the de-rigeur trip to the tip), but try getting a bakfiets on the train..,!!!
    If you just need something for commuting it’s great.

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Subscriber

    @Jaminb your yepp seat looks really high in those pictures. Are you using an adaptor bolted to the deck? Mine is much lower than that (xtracycle deck).

    Nixie I just bolted the yepp base plate to the deck plate – it looks similar to those in MR’s example of a silly cargo bike. Could you post a pic of yours so I can see if I have ballsed up.

    MR i have to agree that does look a very sensible set up for carry kids

    5lab
    Member

    To pimp the bakfiets option again, the basket on the gazelle folds up to get it through narrow gaps, but it really isnt that wide, goes through the pedestrian door at the back of my garage unfolded with room to spare. I lug a 1+3 year old combo on mine and a bakfiets cargo bike really is the best tool for the job. With the rain cover on (I leave it on sept to April) they stay warm and dry the whole time, with a selection of toys and books in the basket to keep them occupied on longer rides.

    Yes its slow, the brakes aren’t great, but for the money I cant think of a better option

    Premier Icon nixie
    Subscriber

    @jaminb It’s the different deck I’m using. I don’t have a side on picture with the seat fitted however found this one that shows the deck. The seat fits into the deck without the bolt on adaptor plate which means it sits lower. I spotted it as the foot rests on mine are much further into the pannier bags.

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