Yuba el Boda Boda V2 review

Hauls kids 'n cargo with two types of electric assistance

BikeRadar score4/5

Yuba expands the possibilities of what a bike can do with the el Boda Boda. Yuba's Boda Boda cargo bike has always offered huge storage capacity, with options for an expansive front basket, rear cargo seat or storage rack, and cavernous panniers. The 'el' adds a boost of electric power in two flavors, with adjustable pedal assist and a straight-up throttle for pedal-free power.

In addition to the practicalities of adding electric power to a cargo bike — the extra oomph is most appreciated when starting a heavy load from a stop — the 350w motor also adds something else: fun. Every test rider who piloted the big bike and every small passenger who climbed on the back smiled widely when the throttle kicked in and the instant electric torque snapped the bike forward.

The yuba el boda boda shows a bionx battery underneath the rear cargo panel: the yuba el boda boda shows a bionx battery underneath the rear cargo panel
The yuba el boda boda shows a bionx battery underneath the rear cargo panel: the yuba el boda boda shows a bionx battery underneath the rear cargo panel

Highlights

  • 350w motor
  • 8-speed
  • adjustable electric pedal assist
  • throttle-controlled power
  • claimed range of 30-50mi / 48-80km
  • weight: 58lb / 26kg
  • length: 6’2” / 188cm
  • battery: Li-Mn,48V,8.8Ah

Cargo options

The el Boda Boda can be configured as a kid hauler, a stuff hauler, or both. Yuba is no stranger to cargo bikes. The original Boda Boda is a standard bike with geometry configured for stable handling with a long frame and heavy load. 

The el Boda Boda comes stock with the bamboo rear rack, to which you can strap cargo or on which a child can set. There are loads of optional accessories, such as an expansive front 'Bread Basket' that can hold a 50lb / 25kg load and cavernous 'Baguette' panniers that have a 10gal / 40l capacity. If your rear load happens to be a small human, there are accessories like a padded seat, foot pegs, and a ring or mini bars for them to hold onto.

The fork is spring-loaded to help balance the load, especially when the bike is stopped, and a moto-style, two-foot kickstand stabilizes the bike when not being ridden.

The optional front basket adds huge capacity, and the spring-loaded fork helps balance the load : the optional front basket adds huge capacity, and the spring-loaded fork helps balance the load
The optional front basket adds huge capacity, and the spring-loaded fork helps balance the load : the optional front basket adds huge capacity, and the spring-loaded fork helps balance the load

Electric drive – assist plus throttle

You have three primary ways to propel the el Boda Boda. For starters, the 8-speed drivetrain works like a normal bike. Then, the 350w BionX motor allows you some extra oomph in two ways: adjustable pedal assist kicks in only when you pedal, and the red-button throttle propels you forward with or without pedaling.

The BionX dashboard allows you to control how much battery-powered assist you get (in bars to the right), or, if you like, how much your pedaling recharges the battery (in bars to the left). The battery-recharge setting, when combined with the heft of the bike, feels like pedaling through wet concrete. The pedal-assist settings, however, feel wonderful, as if you have a massive, silent tailwind. These can be adjusted on the fly as you ride, at either the dashboard computer or at the right-hand control.

The bionx dashboard allows you to control how much battery-powered assist you get (in bars to the right), or, if you like, how much your pedaling recharges the battery (in bars to the left): the bionx dashboard allows you to control how much battery-powered assist you get (in bars to the right), or, if you like, how much your pedaling recharges the battery (in bars to the left)
The bionx dashboard allows you to control how much battery-powered assist you get (in bars to the right), or, if you like, how much your pedaling recharges the battery (in bars to the left): the bionx dashboard allows you to control how much battery-powered assist you get (in bars to the right), or, if you like, how much your pedaling recharges the battery (in bars to the left)

The right-hand control area is a bit crowded, with the thumb-shifter controlling the eight gears, the +/1 switch controlling the amount of pedal assist, and the red button controlling the throttle. In our experience, we would sometimes accidentally press the - button instead of the throttle button as a hill approached — which resulted in less electric boost instead of the wanted and needed increase in power.

That said, as long as you are pressing the button you want, the extra power is immediately noticeable. Unlike a gas motor that needs a small amount of time to wind up, an electric motor's torque is instant. Pressing the red button is fun, there is no two ways about it.

When the bike was loaded with a small kid or two, backpacks and groceries, being able to throttle away from a standing stop was a bit of a revelation. Once the heavy bike is moving, keeping it going forward with the pedals isn't hard. But starting the load under your own power is a chore. All that to say, we'd pick the el Boda Boda over the standard Boda Boda any day.

Three things here: the plus/minus toggle switch controls how much pedal assist you receive; the thumb lever shifts gears; and the red button is the fun one - the throttle!: three things here: the plus/minus toggle switch controls how much pedal assist you receive; the thumb lever shifts gears; and the red button is the fun one - the throttle!
Three things here: the plus/minus toggle switch controls how much pedal assist you receive; the thumb lever shifts gears; and the red button is the fun one - the throttle!: three things here: the plus/minus toggle switch controls how much pedal assist you receive; the thumb lever shifts gears; and the red button is the fun one - the throttle!

The controls are a bit crowded, but know this: the red button is magic

Space, weight and battery considerations

The tradeoff for an enormous bike that can tote a huge cargo load is weight and overall size. The 58lb / 26kg el Boda Boda has a claimed range of 50-80mi / 48-80k range) for electric assist. The weight of the load and how and where you use it (up hills under full throttle versus on flat ground with minimal pedal assist, for instance) determines the bike's electric range.

The bike is heavy, and it is also huge, at 6ft 2in / 188cm long. It is surprisingly easy to ride and maneuver, but there is no getting around the machine's size for parking and storage. 

The battery sits under the rear rack, and incorporates an electric tail light as a welcome safety addition to the standard reflectors.

The mechanical disc brakes are essentially required for such a heavy bike, and work well for easily modulated stopping.

In our experience testing electric bikes, everyone smiles when the acceleration kicks in, whether the pilot or the passenger, and the el Boda Boda is no exception. This is a zippy way to haul kids or cargo. it requires substantial storage space, but is relatively easy to handle for such a large bike.

In our experience testing electric bikes, everyone smiles when the acceleration kicks in. everyone: in our experience testing electric bikes, everyone smiles when the acceleration kicks in. everyone
In our experience testing electric bikes, everyone smiles when the acceleration kicks in. everyone: in our experience testing electric bikes, everyone smiles when the acceleration kicks in. everyone

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