So last weekend I grabbed my electric bike with the XtraCycle attachment, and biked over to a friend, who has a Surly Big Dummy. He agreed to swap the two bikes for a short time to allow me to compare my other long-tail, the Yuba Mundo, with his.
The following is my comparison, which is based on the setup I had for each bike, and that may not be optimal, as the Mundo was set up for my body size and preferences, while the Big Dummy wasn’t.
Overall I found them both be very similar in how they felt: normal to ride, easy to maneuver and not swaying under loads unlike the Xtracycle attachment that tends to. The Big Dummy seemed to have built with flexibility in mind, that’s why most of the loading area’s hardware can be removed, while the Yuba Mundo has been built for strength, thus the framework on the back is integrated to the bike, making the frame stronger, but non-removable, thus unchangeable.
The differences I found:
- The biggest difference is in the panniers. The Mundo’s Go-getter bag is well-built, fully covered and keeps the water out. Not so with the general XtraCycle bags, that the Big Dummy uses.
- The gearing is wider for the Big Dummy, and that means I don’t run out of gears going on flat roads or downhill. I suspect the gearing components are lower quality on the Mundo, however for me shifting works well.
- Both have a very stable kickstand, but the Big Dummy’s kickstand is mounted under the frame for the loading area, thus it is harder to use.
- The bottom of the loading area is wider on the Big Dummy, which I like. However the front of it tends to bump into my ankle as I take off. The Mundo’s bottom area is a bit narrower, and also comes out in a 45 degree angle, not a 90 degree one, so instead of hitting my ankle, it pushes it out of the way at worst.
- The Mundo is heavier, but it is stronger as well as cheaper. The Big Dummy is more flexible, as the whole loading area is removable so it doesn’t add strength to the construction. The Mundo’s frame is made more torque and bend-resistant because the rear load-holding frame is part of the bike frame (not to mention the super strong 48 spoked and extra wide axle’d rear wheel)
- Interestingly enough, after all this flexibility talk, the Mundo comes with an easily adjustable seatpost, but the Big Dummy needed an allen wrench for changing the height.
- The Mundo comes with fenders, more ready for rain.
- This may be selectable before shipping, but the Big Dummy’s handle bar in my case is a mountain bike-style straight bar, while the Mundo’s is an ergonomically more correct comfort bike-style bar. Both need quite a bit of lifting to be comfortable for me.
- The Big Dummy I am borrowing is black while the Mundo is light blue. There are other colors available of course, but in general the Mundo is more visible in traffic.
There are some smaller differences between the two as well, that I didn’t assign too much importance to, maybe others would. One of them is that the Big Dummy is a few inches longer, and another one is that it is fully compatible with the various XtraCycle attachments. I believe the newer version is also compatible with Yuba’s Go-Getter bags, which is a good thing as those bags are truly marvelous!
I even tested the two bikes on a neighbor of mine, who was walking by. He was willing and afterwards I got a few words from him as well about his preferences. He did like the rear handle bars (with a bell!) on the Big Dummy. I don’t have that on the Yuba, but Marianne, who also tested traveling on the two bikes said, that she likes the ‘adult treatment’ of the handlebar-less setup – it provides more freedom.