Monday, June 10, 2013, 7:00 am
Small maker of cargo-style bikes moves from Sausalito
By Gary Quackenbush, Special to the Business Journal
Yuba Bicycles can be outfitted to carry two or three children in securely mounted seats with wheel guards to protect little feet.
PETALUMA – Yuba Bicycles LLC, maker of the Mundo and Boda Boda families of cargo bikes, has moved its headquarters to 409 Petaluma Blvd. South with 5,000 square feet of space – more than five times the capacity of its previous location in Sausalito.
“We chose Petaluma because it is a bike-friendly and very livable community where we could expand our business in an affordable manner,” said company owner Benjamin Sarrazin.
“Petaluma is a great place for our five employees to live and work without long commutes. We want to help make bicycling even more popular and practical than it is today.”
Ben Sarrazin, Owner and founder of Yuba Bicycles LLC, on an elMundo BionX cargo bike with an electric assist motor and battery pack.
Mr. Sarrazin is an adventurer and a world traveler who grew up in bike-friendly Strasbourg, France, before coming to the U.S. He founded the company in 2006.
His mission is to provide parents and family members (ages 25 to 55) with bikes that can replace cars for doing errands, bringing kids to school, transporting a ladder or when taking a kayak, surfboard, paddle board or inflatable raft to the beach.
“We’re witnessing a two-wheel revolution. It’s a new phenomenon. We want consumers to envision how cargo bikes fit their active lifestyle and realize that they don’t need a car for short trips.”
He said craftsman, such as carpenters and plumbers, are putting their shops on our bikes and carrying the tools and supplies they need to and from a worksite.
Yuba Bicycles, named for the Yuba River where Mr. Sarrazin enjoys kayaking, recently launched several new bike models.
The new elMundo and elBoda Boda models are equipped with BionX electric pedal-assist motors made in Canada as options for customers who want extra power for longer trips, or when carrying bigger loads.
Ben Sarrazin, owner and founder of Yuba Bicycles LLC, is shown on a cargo bike equipped to transport a paddle board.
The BionX regenerative breaking system (which charges the battery when brakes are applied) makes it possible to go up to 37 miles (60 km) per charge with a top-speed of 20 mph (32 kpm).
The firm’s Boda Boda model takes its name from the Boda-Boda taxis that are part of the East African bicycle culture.
Reported to be the world’s lightest and most compact cargo bike, the Boda Boda weighs in at 35 lbs., yet is capable of carrying up to a week’s worth of groceries in a single trip.
The elBoda Bionx has eight speeds and can generate up to 355 Watts of power. The Boda Lux, built to European specifications, includes fenders, dynamo lights and Big Ben tires.
The Mundo v4 is the 21-speed bike that started it all. Mr. Sarrazin was a co-designer of this bike as well as other models currently available.
The elMundo BionX, with 21 speeds and 455 Watts of power has enough “umph to get you there,” according to Mr. Sarrazin. The Mundo NuVinci Lux comes with the NuVinci 360 internal hub, dynamo lights and was also built to European specifications.
All Yuba Bicycle models are made in China and shipped to Yuba Bicycles in the U.S. for assembly and customization.
A complete line of accessories and bike models are kept in inventory at the company’s warehouse and repair facility adjacent to the showroom and administrative offices.
The standard Yuba bike retails from $999 to $1,500. Bicycles with electric assist motors and battery packs are priced from $2,700 to $3,500, depending on the configuration and accessories.
Yuba Bicycles are unique. The wheelbase is 15 inches longer for stability and to accommodate additional passengers (including up to two or three children in secure hard-mounted seats). Wheel covers are also available to protect little feet. For older passengers, rumble strap handles make it easy to hold on.
Sturdy steel racks and heavy-duty aluminum front baskets provide strength to hold packages and/or saddlebags mounted on bamboo decks.
An innovative double-prong bike kickstand is standard allowing for easier loading. There are running-board style feet and cargo supports, as well as special places to attach tie-down straps to secure large cargo.
The Yuba Bicycle business model includes developing the brand label and identity, as well as sales, marketing and distribution.
“We have a network of distributors in place across the U.S. from Maine to Florida, Texas, Washington State, Colorado, California and points in between.
“Our bikes are also distributed in Europe, Australia, Thailand, Canada and Singapore. The goal is to expand our distributor base and our global reach into other markets, said Mr. Sarrazin. “Cargo biking is really catching on.”
The company has doubled annual sales each year since 2010.
Yuba Bicycles won a Green Dot Award in May 2013 in the Best Sustainable Transportation category given in recognition of outstanding products or services manufactured and delivered in an environmentally friendly manner. (www.greendotawards.com)
For information about Yuba Bicycles LLC, go to www.yubabikes.com.