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Hauling a family, a dog, or just a ton of cargo? Let us help you find out which compact cargo bike fits your lifestyle best!
If you’re in the market for a compact cargo bike, the Yuba Kombi and the Tern Short Haul are two popular options. Compact cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular as people look to reduce their carbon footprint, ditch their cars, and continue getting around easily, and these are very popular options among our customers who are looking for ways to travel with their families. Both bikes offer a convenient way to transport goods and passengers, but there are some differences to consider when deciding which would be the best fit for you.
Anyone in the market for a compact cargo bike is looking to accomplish one key task – carrying cargo. For some, it might be carrying oversize cargo, loads of groceries for an entire family, or the members of the family themselves – children! The carrying capacity of a bike is different based on a number of factors, so in order to look at the cargo-towing capabilities of both these bikes, we have to take the vehicle’s Max Gross Vehicle Weight (MGVW) into account. In the simplest terms, MGVW is the maximum weight capacity of a vehicle. The carrying capacity is determined by looking at the sum of a bike’s own mass, the mass of any accessories and add-ons, and the mass of the rider. After adding these up, we subtract that number from the Max Gross Vehicle Weight, and the number we are left with is the maximum weight of the cargo you will be able to carry.
The Yuba Kombi is a heavy-duty compact cargo bike with a solid steel frame. It can carry up to 440 lbs of cargo, meaning you have the capacity to support heavier loads. The Kombi is also able to accommodate riders with heights between 5’0” and 6’5”. The bike also has a long wheelbase for stability and a low center of gravity for enhanced maneuverability. The generous cargo rack can accommodate a variety of items, from groceries to small furniture items. The Kombi also offers plenty of space for two small passengers or a child seat.
Let’s use a 150 lb rider as an example for calculating the MGVW on the Kombi. The bike itself weighs around 51 lbs, and the accessories like the Bamboo Sideboards, the Soft Spot Seat Pad, and Monkey Bars, weigh a combined 15 lbs. All together, this brings us to 216 lbs. Subtracting 216 from 440 leaves us with 224 lbs as our maximum cargo load. This also brings us to another important point to consider, however. Generally speaking, the maximum amount of cargo a rider is able to ride comfortably with is going to be 80% of their own body weight. This means if we look back to our 150 lb rider, the most they could comfortably ride with is only 120 lbs! But with a great capacity range in rider heights, and generous MGVW, the Yuba Kombi is able to take on a larger, heavier rider, who might be more inclined to take on a heavier load.
The Tern Short Haul, on the other hand, is a more lightweight compact cargo bike option. Its aluminum frame makes it easier to manoeuver, and its higher centre of gravity provides riders with much snappier handling, and it still has plenty of cargo capacity with a MGVW of up to 308 lbs. The Short Haul has a shorter wheelbase than the Kombi, allowing for better manoeuverability in tight spaces and a higher center of gravity for more control and quicker changes in direction. The cargo rack is adjustable, but it doesn’t have as much space as the Kombi. The rider heights that the Short Haul is able to accomodate are also smaller, from 4'11" to 6'3". It does have a huge leg up on the Kombi in price though, as it is one of our most affordable compact cargo bikes!
If we look at the 150 lb rider on this bike, as well, we can see some differences coming out. The bike’s mass is 35.4 lbs, the accessories like the Clubhouse and the Soft Crate come to a combined weight of 15 lbs, and with our rider’s weight factored in, brings us to around 200 lbs. Subtracting this amount from our 308 lb MGVW leaves us with a cargo carrying capacity of 108 lbs. This sits very comfortably within our 150 lb rider’s carrying capacity, but doesn’t quite max it out the way the Yuba Kombi’s does. It does still leave us with ample space for carrying both one small passenger and a generous load of groceries, however!
Both of these bikes are great options for anyone who needs a compact cargo bike for transporting goods and passengers, or is looking to leave their car behind more often. The Yuba Kombi is a great choice for those who need to carry heavier loads, while the Tern Short Haul is better for lighter loads and travelling faster. As with all things, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you plan to use the bike for, and we’re happy to help you find the right ride for you at any time in store!
You can also check out this video we made for a comprehensive in-depth look at all the differences between the two rides:
- Veronica Ing
Generally, I would recommend starting with an electric bike that comes Electric out of the box (such as an e-Kombi). There's a number of challenges doing these conversions and a big one being it voids the warranty on your bike plus not all kits are designed to handle cargo capacity! But in short- Yes, we can do an electric kit installs (you provide the kit) but you would personally take on much more risk and unknown total cost (the install would be billed by time required). Feel free to shoot us an e-mail if you would like to chat about some options! All the Best -O
I bought a Yuba Kombi from your shop last year but now and considering electrifying it with a Bafang electric motor kit. It kinda defeats the purpose of a diy but is that something that your shop would be able to do? I have two young kids and I find my grand plans don't always pan out.