One of the key questions to ask yourself about purchasing a long-wheelbase bike is whether you need a true cargo bike, or whether you’re in need of a solution for bike commuting, or something in between. You probably have certain images in mind of what you’re going to do with your long-wheelbase bike. If your image is of you carrying a laptop and lunch to work, then a cargo bike is overkill for your needs. You probably need a regular city bike with a rack and panniers.
If you imagine yourself dropping off two kids at school, then a long-wheelbase bicycle is a must. Both the Xtracycle and Mundo are good options at this point. Cost may be the deciding factor. The Mundo is a cheaper solution if you are starting from scratch. The Xtracycle FreeRadical is less expensive if you already have a mountain bike or city bike you are willing to convert.
If you picture yourself regularly carrying 50-150+ pound dead loads like lumber, canned food, water, bricks, and heavy tools, you’ll benefit from the Mundo’s stiff cargo racks. Carrying heavy loads is more predictable causes less frame flex with the Mundo. Its rear wheel is incredibly strong, which also contributes to a predictable, safe ride when carrying heavy loads.
Carrying Audio Gear on a Mundo
If you’re the type of person who enjoys developing your own system for carrying things, you’ll like the bare-bones load platform of the Mundo. It’s easy to customize to your unique needs. If on the other hand you’re the type of person who is easily frustrated by having to tie loads down with straps or bungees, you’ll probably prefer the Xtracycle carrying system — it comes ready to use with sling-like bags and integrated tension straps. The Xtracycle FreeRadical can’t carry as much dead weight as the Mundo, but if you are unlikely to carry 100 pound loads, you may never need the extra load-capacity of the Mundo.
Note that carrying people is always easier than carrying dead weight loads like water jugs. This is because people respond to the turns and road conditions. They can ‘post’, standing up a bit on bumpy terrain. Carrying a 150 pound person on an Xtracycle is a lot easier than 150 pounds of dead load. Frame flex is less of an issue when carrying people also. Carrying people who weigh closer to 200 pounds does begin to get sloppy on an Xtracycle. However, it should be noted that only the strongest riders can carry 200 pounds on a bicycle on anything but flat terrain.
Speaking of pedaling difficulty, if you live in a hilly area, the weight of your bike will be more of a factor than in flat terrain. An Xtracycle FreeRadical installed on an aluminum or lightweight steel mountain bike will be noticeably lighter than a Mundo Utility Bike. You’ll notice this weight savings when accelerating from a red light and climbing hills. The extra weight of the Mundo helps make it stiffer when carrying the heaviest loads, but if you’re only going to carry 30-75 pound loads, and the occasional passenger, you might be happier with a lighter long-wheelbase bike.
Watch this space as we continue to help customers understand which utility bike is best for them. It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.
Here are some of the many considerations:
- The loads you’ll be carrying
- What type of use? Daily commuting? Distance touring? Deliveries? Family and friend transport?
- Issues of city use: theft, leaving the bike outside
- Parts quality
- Bicycle fit
Light v. Stiff
The Mundo is stiffer for two reasons:
1. It’s got a straight-gauge, seriously trussed out steel frame front to back. Look how the massive top tube leads straight into the beefy seat stays, which then go all the way to the rear of the Side Loaders.
2. The load-carrying system is a simple steel chassis.
The Xtracycle is lighter for two reasons:
1. The FreeRadical frame is thin-wall cromoly, and you’re likely to be putting it on a thin-wall cromoly or aluminum mountain bike.
2. The Xtracycle load-carrying system is composed of a variety of lightweight materials: Nylon fabric panels, Aluminum tubing, plastic buckles.
Do I need legendary stiffness?
Do I need speed?