News & events

  • Contenders: Xtracycle EdgeRunner Electric and Yuba Spicy Curry

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    We now have two kinds of mid-drive longtail cargo bikes for you to try back to back: Xtracycle's EdgeRunner 9 and 10E, and Yuba's Spicy Curry. Heck, you could even buy either or both, yesterday.

    These represent a convergence of thinking in the upper echelon of the world's longtail cargo bike makers: all two of them. Xtracycle and Yuba are fierce competitors, so there's a certain tension discussing them side by side. So many toes in such a tight shoe. But the competition is fertile, the one company driving the other to ship better, first, or cheaper bikes and accessories. There's a whole lot of copying going on, too.

    Xtracycle pioneered the longtail cargo concept with the FreeRadical hitchless trailer. The FreeRad was a breakthrough product that proved hard to sell as great base bikes became hard to find, with too many conversions exhibiting too much flex to make good urban family car replacements. Yuba's founder left Xtracycle to make a complete heavy duty bike version, the Mundo. Xtracycle answered the challenge with a one-piece version of its own, the lighter weight EdgeRunner, lowering the center of gravity of the cargo area with a smaller rear wheel. Unsurprisingly, Yuba has followed with a smaller rear wheel and lighter weight on the new Spicy Curry.

    What's new to both companies' flagship models is the best kind of electric assist for cargo: mid-drive. This means that the motor doesn't power a wheel directly, but instead takes advantage of the same variable gearing on the bike that you do. It's a mechanically more complicated approach than hub motors, but decisively better when you need lots of low-speed torque as well as a decent top end.

    We've been personally involved using, breaking, inventing, patenting, manufacturing, refining, selling and promoting mid drives for longtail cargo bikes for almost 15 years in the form of our Stokemonkey product. There remain cases where Stokemonkey is the best approach, but suddenly now with both Xtracycle and Yuba offering mid drives as a factory option, those cases are much less common.

    So how do these two contenders compare? Here are our first impressions:

    Yuba Spicy Curry

    It's the bang-for-buck winner, or is at least poised to assume that position if its assist proves reliable. The drive unit, by volume leader Currie Technologies, is more powerful than that of the Bosch assist on Xtracycle's offering. It is lighter than an unassisted Mundo. It has a lower step-over than EdgeRunner, and an even lower rear deck. It is better fabricated and specced than earlier Yuba products, with more sensible features like lights and fenders included in the base price than EdgeRunner, even at $1500 less. The ride is very stiff and confidence inspiring: massive aluminum tubing braced every which way. The jury is out on the various modular accessories forthcoming, but Yepp seats pop right into the deck with zero fuss. The assist, while potent, is less refined in feel than that of the EdgeRunner, tending to be balky at low speeds and exhibiting a comparatively on-off quality at higher. Still, it's super fun, with almost universal rave reviews from early test riders.

    Xtracycle EdgeRunner 9E, 10E

    Sophistication. Xtracycle's products have long shown greater attention to detail, and a certain aesthetic cohesion lacking in Yuba's. This is no different. Everything about Spicy Curry is new to Yuba, while this is Xtracycle's third generation of EdgeRunner, and it shows. Are these differences -- each small but adding up -- worth $1500 or more? Depends on what's important to the rider. If you've been ambivalent about electric assist because you take pleasure and pride in your skill and strength on a bike, fearing that a motor would diminish this experience, then the Bosch assist on these EdgeRunners may win you over. It is by far the most refined electric assist we've yet experienced, nearly transparent, never making your skill and strength feel redundant, nor training you insidiously to pedal or shift differently just to coax more or less help out of the motor. Where the Spicy Curry's assist seems to come on full tilt whenever you're moving the pedals, simply sensing cadence, EdgeRunner's clearly is doing something more nuanced, apparently reckoning power from torque and cadence together, and complementing your moves like a good dance partner. It feels great.

  • Hot enough? Cool July deals

    Normally we offer interest-free financing for 6 months on any purchase over $1500, and for 12 on $3000. But this month only, we're bringing the threshold down: a full year of no interest for any purchase over $1500. Spread your payments out over a year and get the bike you want now! If you do not pay it down to zero, interest will be assessed from the purchase date at 29.99% APR; frankly, that's pretty steep, so we encourage you to apply for financing only if you are confident you can pay it off in within the promotional period. Learn more or apply online.

    Is that not cool enough? How about, instead, we give you a free $75 or $150 Clever Cycles Gift Card with any purchase over $1500 or $3000, respectively? Redeem on accessories for you or a friend. You must mention this offer at time of purchase, not afterward!

    11143727_10153314275574826_4952932542365466769_n Offers expire July 31st, 2015, valid for in-stock items only, not to be combined with any other discount. Gift cards will be sent by regular mail to the address on record thirty days from the original date of sale. Gift cards can not be redeemed for cash.

  • Very Clever, Douze!

    This week we received 4 new specimens of what we see as a landmark product: Douze cargo bikes. They're from France (say DOOZE!). Dean's been riding our first Douze as his own near daily since Winter. He's in love.

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    Ever since we brought the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike to Portland in 2007, our best and biggest car-replacement family bike offerings have fallen in the category one reviewer called "land yachts." Upright. Plush. Plain-clothes friendly. Overbuilt, like rolling playground structures, often heavy. We still love these kinds of bikes, in part for how they challenge local sensibilities of what makes a bike good. It's not always about low weight and zip and sporty handling, especially when your family is aboard.

    But sometimes those things are important. Say you live in a hilly area, or are accustomed already to top-end sport bikes. Douze cargo bikes look, feel, and ride like modern high-performance recreational bikes, not Dutch utility bikes. Their novel quad-cable steering mechanism DOUZE_Cycles-CABLE_STEERING provides remarkably stable, consistent, precise handling at both low and high speeds: long an elusive goal for designers of bikes in this format. The cable steering also provides a much tighter turning radius than any other bike in its class, exceptionally easy to manage even walking alongside in tight spaces.

    Douze bikes split into 2 parts, front and rear, very easily in under 5 minutes. DOUZE_Cycles_MESSENGER-STANDARD-SPLIT This makes transporting them in other vehicles not so challenging. It also means they ship more economically. But most of all, it means that we can mix and match front and rear ends freely to assemble just the bike you want. Prefer a step-through to a step-over frame? Both are available. There are long, standard, and short front ends, with a growing assortment of child seating and cargo carriage options for all.

    Electric assist? As you wish. Chain or belt drive? Either. Derailleur or internal hub gearing: uh-huh. Hydraulic disk brakes. Dynamo lighting. All these things are standard options available at modest prices, not special projects to be worked out over months in a flurry of quotations for custom work, or orphaning original parts.

    Test rides are convincing, more than thousands of words. Ride on over with the kids or your sweetie or your dog or all three. Prices for fully-equipped Douzes start around $4,000, with premium electric assist models starting around $6,000.

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  • Ride with Ross (Founder & CEO of Xtracycle)

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    Help Ross haul party accoutrements from New Seasons back to Clever Cycles and then celebrate the release of the new Electric Edgerunner.

    Watch Ross shop, ask Ross questions, help Ross pick out beer, wine, food and other refreshments and then load-up the bikes and haul everything back to Clever Cycles on a fleet of demo Electric Edgerunners. We'll be celebrating the release of Xtracycles's latest offering and our partnership over the years that has helped get so many cargo bikes rolling around Portland, Oregon and beyond.

    When: Sunday June 28th 2015 12-5pm

    Where: Clever Cycles SE 9th & Hawthorne

    We'll have a fleet of the new Bosch Edgerunners to test ride

    Free swag from Clever Cycles & Xtracycle

    Bring the kids and decorate your bike with goodies from the Xtracycle Sprinter van

    Snacks & refreshments between 4-5

    Let us know you're coming on the Facebook Event page

  • New Brompton Bicycle configuration tool

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    Your feedback could land you a $500 gift card!

    Our new configuration tool lets you customize a Brompton more powerfully than ever before: electric assist, Rohloff gearing, disc brakes, upgraded lighting, bags, grips and saddles. We need people to test the tool, and make comments on how we can improve it. Submit your configuration along with a helpful comment/feedback and you could win a $500 Clever Cycles gift card! (You don’t have to use it to buy a Brompton). We’ll notify you by email if you are selected as the winner. Click here to check it out!

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