Cycling in Melbourne Australia
This is a review for the Zietbikes Lugger. I've had it for a few months now so I thought that since there is still one left for sale at cargocycles.com.au I'd write about it to give any potential buyers some points to ponder.
- It is a ready to roll, working, cargo bike for only $699. This includes a stand, a deck on the back, bags that can carry a weeks worth of shopping and mud guards.
- I've been carrying shopping, friends and anything else I can think of and neither the bike nor my knees has lodged a complaint. I'm not sure what it's load limit is but I know that I've not been near it.
- Haven ridden racers for the past 10 years I am really enjoying the upright riding position. I now pay more attention to the scenery instead of the act of riding.
- A good gear range that has never left me unable to tackle a hill with a load. I don't tackle many hills but when I do I'm able to drop down to the granny gears and just spin my way up.
- It is extremely well balanced when loaded and rolling. Once you get going you really don't notice what is back there. Of course you are aware of it and when you hit a hill you'll need to put in a bit more effort, but there is no flex, twist or sway like when I rode with loaded panniers on my old bike.
- Nice strong 48 spoke wheels.
- The bell has the loudest and clearest ring that I've ever heard.
- It is a $699 bike. Gary at cargocycles was completely honest about this and if you are going to buy it then you have to be honest with yourself as well. There will always be little faults and it will require more of your attention to keep in good adjustment.
- The chain knocks against the frame from above and the kick stand from underneath. It is a long chain and so there is a bit of movement in it.
- Rear gears are hard to tune. The gears are shimano but far from the best. I frequently adjust them but they have never been free of skipping. To counter this when riding I tend to just move through the three gears of the front derailer and change the back when I need to.
- This bike is heavy. Especially with the wings on the back. I've taken them off and have found that this has made a huge difference. I also didn't like commuting with them on as I was afraid of accidently scratching a car. The bags that come with the bike require the wings to support them. Without the wings these bags will not work properly as the load will just hang low and flap about. I've got two Yuba Mundo go-getter bags that I use and I would recommend getting some if you don't want to come up with your own solution for carrying things without the wings.
- The mudguards are not long enough so water sprays up and soaks your feet as you pedal.
- I've found the seat to be very uncomfortable.
This bike has completely replaced my racer with panniers and trailer hitch. I have made the compromise of leaving a little bit earlier in order to easily carry whatever I need in a comfortable way. However I don't feel like I'm losing a lot of time on my commute from Coburg to the city. I can't tell you the difference but it feels to be about 5-7 minutes. Of the above cons that I've listed most of them can be overcome with a little bit of work. It isn't going to be hard for me to extend the mudguards using a bit of rubber and I intend to update the drive train in the future so the issues with the gears and chain-line won't exist forever. I've always intended to spend more time working with and learning about bicycles and this bike has forced me to pull out the spanners and see how it all works so for me the enforced fiddling is actually a bonus.
In summary I think that for the price the Lugger is a fantastic buy for $699. The pros of owning a utility bike outweigh the cons of the basic components. I would be very surprised if I don't get at least 10 years out of this frame and that is where the value is in this bike. I'm 30 and I've never needed to own a car. This bike has made it even easier to live without one.
I'd also very happily get another bike from Gary at cargocycles.com.au. His honesty about his product and his enthusiasm for practical and affordable cargo cycling are traits that I think can only be good for cycling.
Thanks Jack, I was just about to add the link myself.
That's a monster ;-) You could mount a sidecar on that and have no pedal interference ;-)
Regarding the chain problems, a specialty bike for that price, with lower-end Shimano, will also have a lower end chain. Fitting a better quality chain (and new cluster if you've done significant miles) will likely be all you need to do.
One day, when Lovely Linda and I have a bigger house, with double garage for the music studio and giant backyard shed for the bike collection, I'll have to add one of these to my fleet ;-)
Hi Bill, Thanks for the review. I'm still putting the Yuba together, I could have it going straight away but I'm building seats for my kids before moving some bits off the existing long bike onto the Mundo; looking forward to riding it! I've put mostly Deore and LX stuff on it, & I've got some discs for it but can't be bothered extending the hydro cables at the moment so have LX V-brakes temporarily. It's been on the backburner for a couple of weeks, & before that easter got in the way....I've got to get on with it!
Your rear derailluer problems are probably a result of cable stretch as the cable is a lot longer than on a conventional frame so is more susceptible to stretch; put it on the top sprocket (lowest gear) and pull the cable (very)hard out sideways from the top tube, this will remove any stretch waiting to happen from what is a still near new cable. Now put the chain on the smallest sprocket, wind your barrel adjuster almost all the way in (leave a couple of turns out in case you wind up pulling the whole thing too tight) and feel the cable - too loose, right? Undo the lockscrew and pull the cable tight, do up the lockscrew again and run it through the gears; if it doesn't want to climb up onto the next highest sprocket, wind the barrel adjuster out to tighten the cable a little more; if it is reluctant to drop down onto the next lowest sprocket wind the barrel adjuster in a bit(this is where the couple of turns mentioned earlier comes in handy). Problem should be solved!
Good luck with it, I'll send you a pic of the Mundo when I get it on the road. Where did you get your bags for your new cargo bike?
I got the bags from the person I got the Mundo frame from. She threw them in for me because they didn't sell as a separate listing on ebay. I'm very impressed with them. They don't hold as much as the set that came with the Lugger but they are sturdier and waterproof.
And thanks for the advice on skipping gears. I'll give it a go. I've followed a few guides from books and online and none have resolved the issue. Hopefully this does.
No worries Bill, if you want to get rid of your surplus bags let me know. If the chain is actually skipping (skating over the teeth) rather than just jumping out of gear then the above solution won't do the job. Possibly the chain is too long,(check out method of checking online) worn (unlikely as the bike is near new), or the cassette is worn. If the chain is stretched follow the online measuring techniques to tell (try sheldon brown), and replace if necessary with a better quality one - if you are hauling big loads then the chain will wear faster than normal.
If it is just the tuning problem then the previously described solution should do the job.
Also as you are winding the chain watch for sticking links. Even slight ones, they could be your problem especially when you are applying a lot of pressure to the pedals. I had a chain like that on my road bike and was shown how to use 2 pairs of pliers to fix it.
Seems like the bike is suiting you well though.
Good point, as this chain will be two conventional chains joined together so 2 joins instead of just one; make a Z with the stiff links and bend sideways in both directions a couple of times either with strong fingers or 2 sets of pliers (ie perpendicular to the way the chain is supposed to flex), you are just opening up the side plates a fraction & allowing the link to flex.
Is the problem the chain actually jumping over the sprockets? or is it changing gear when you don't want it to & won't stay in gear?
Thank you all. You've given me a lot to work with when I next get in there. I'll let you know how I go. Gary from cargocycles.com.au has told me that his wife hasn't had any of these problems and she is riding the same model with the same set up. So if I can't sort it out myself I'll drop by there.
I also should have included in the review that I had read about similar problems in other cargo bikes with long chain lines (eg. Mundos, Hammer Trucks and xtra-cycles) and so I just accepted that without idlers this problem could pop up. It was my first attempt at reviewing so I was bound to leave out a few bits.
Mate your shifting problems could be due to a bent derailer hanger.
Your jockey wheels should be parrallel with your rear sprockets. You can usually see any problems looking from the back and from underneath (turn the bike upside down).
When looking from the back, the upper jockey wheel should be in line with one of the sprockets.
Adjustment can be very fiddly with 9 and 10 speed clusters. Don't turn that little barrel thingy much each time. Shimano have a 2:1 system, so a small adjustment does twice the damage at the other end... (Sram is 1:1)
These two are usually the cause of my shifting problems - aside from crap in the cable that is.
I assume your bike would not have that problem given it's newness..
When you shift up (to a smaller sprocket), the derailer should move in a very definate "snap" type movement.. if it's sluggish, suspect crap in the cabe or a kinked outer, or freyed inner...
Let us know how you go.