Yuba Bicycles specializes in cargo-hauling two-wheelers of just about any variety and size you can think of. It offers loooong Dutch-style front loaders with spacious cargo bays. And compact “mid-tail” rear-rack models that can more deftly slip through busy urban landscapes.
The Southern California brand has been electrifying many bikes with high-end mid-drive motors. However, the new FastRack mid-tail cargo e-bike brings something entirely new: Yuba’s proprietary, tools-free Dual Rack System.
In short: The Yuba FastRack ($3,999) offers quick and easy versatility for carrying all manners of cargo, a kid or two included, in a thoughtful package with all the electric oomph any rider might need.
Yuba FastRack Cargo E-Bike
- Motor Mid-drive Shimano STEPS E7000
- Battery capacity 500 Wh
- Peak torque 60 Nm
- Weight 76 lbs. (claimed)
- GVWR 440 lbs.
- The tool-free convertible rack system is super usable and convenient
- Stands up on end for storage
- Good power for intended use
- Front rack in stock form could be inadequate for larger or heavier loads
Yuba FastRack Cargo E-Bike Review
A Tools-Free Convertible Rear Rack
The Dual Rack System (DRS) eliminated the need to attach or remove accessories like passenger footboards or a rear cargo tray. By flipping a quick-release lever at the bike’s rear and adjusting a few T-bar levers — no Allens key or any other tools required — the DRS quickly converted to four different modes.
The flatbed mode is for loading up and strapping down the largest cargo sizes. The cargo mode has walls flipped up on the right and left sides of the rack. A side-loader mode has the rack folded down and footboards deployed for carrying passengers. Finally, the compact mode has the footboards folded up for easier storage.
It was a pretty darn ingenious system! It removed the need to store, install, or reinstall these essential cargo accessories. And no bolts or screws to lose! I just flipped among the system’s quartet of modes in a matter of seconds. Winner.
Yuba FastRack Motor and Battery
The Yuba FastRack is a Class 1 e-bike, with pedal assist only (no throttle) topping out at 20 mph. It uses a torque-sensing 250W Shimano STEPS E7000 mid-drive motor powered by a 500Wh external battery. The bike turns on via a button on top of the frame-mounted battery.
The E7000 produces 60 Nm of peak torque and has three pedal-assist modes (Eco, Trail, and Boost). Plus, there is a Walk mode the rider can activate by holding the down button on the handlebar-mounted controller. That last mode could be handy if you must wheel the fully loaded e-bike through a pedestrian zone or up an awkward slope.
Frame and Component Specifications
The 20-inch-wheeled Yuba FastRack is built on a low-slung aluminum frame (23-inch step-over height). It has a stout mid-tail rear platform where the DRS is attached. Webbed plastic covers over the rear wheel protect passengers’ legs from spinning spokes when they straddle the back. For the youngest co-pilots, a set of narrow handlebars with grips extend from the bike’s telescoping seat post.
A front tray rack comes standard to accept bags and baskets. It can also be removed by two quick-release levers attaching it to the frame’s top tube and down tube. Yuba has tucked away the external battery between those frame tubes. A keyed lock guards the battery but provides easy removal when the bike is parked or for off-bike battery charging and storage.
There was plenty of gear range to pedal at max electric-assisted speed and conquer otherwise challenging grades. A Shimano Deore 10-speed shifter and derailleur kept the chain moving over an 11-36T cassette.
With the bare-bones FastRack already tipping the scales at 76 pounds, you’ll need some muscular stoppers to slow down all that mass. Especially when it’s loaded with cargo. Yuba smartly specs a set of Magura MT23 mountain bike hydraulic disc brakes, with a four-piston caliper up front — where it really counts — and 180mm rotors fore and aft.
Cushioning the ride is a short-travel SR Suntour MOBIE suspension fork, 20 x 2.4-inch Schwalbe Super Moto tires, and a wide Yuba-branded comfort saddle. This saddle has an underside handle for lifting the FastRack when necessary. The FastRack comes ready with urban riding essentials like front and rear lights and a quality set of metal fenders.
When it came time for the FastRack to rest, I toed down the double-leg stand and wheelied the bike into its vertical storage position. Urethane wheels and rubber padding on the back made it easy and protected floors. The bike’s adjustable stem also allowed the handlebars to be turned 90 degrees for even more compact storage.
While the Dual Rack System already lent the FastRack great versatility, Yuba also offers a selection of accessories to build on it further. The brand sells panniers and other bags, padded passenger bench seats, child grab bars, Thule child seats, and more.
I used the FastRack exclusively for grocery runs and other errands, sans passenger. I added Yuba’s Grab & Go front rack bag and cargo straps for lashing down rear loads.
The Yuba FastRack Ride
This is one smooth machine. Yuba uses premium Shimano and Bosch mid-drive motors across its electric line, and the former’s STEPS E71000 unit suited the FastRack to a T. It had a refined pedaling feel and immediate engagement without feeling “jerky” like less-sophisticated cadence-sensing hub motor systems found on lower-end e-bikes.
With the bike unloaded, I first took the FastRack out for a shake-down ride on flattish roads. I never had to toggle up to the highest pedal-assist mode, Boost, to keep it cruising at or near the 20 mph pedal-assist limit with little labor. The same for shopping runs with moderate to heavy loads (up to 60 pounds plus my 175 pounds) over rolling terrain. I only occasionally wanted Boost to assist in keeping things speeding uphill. Plenty of motor muscle here, including quick acceleration from a dead stop in either Trail or Boost mode.
I rode the FastRack mostly in Eco and Boost with varying payloads — including nothing but myself. And the 500Wh battery gave me 45 miles of range over 1,400 feet of total elevation gain. Riders on flatter terrain can expect to go farther.
Cargo Carrying Capacity
I used the Dual Rack System almost entirely in the carry-on mode, with the side walls on the rack laterally stabilizing rear loads. This still delivered more than 18 inches of cargo width. This allowed me to haul cases of water, charcoal and dog-food bags, and other large items in concert with the tie-down straps.
True to its name, the Grab & Go Bag was convenient for quickly pulling off the front tray rack for popping in and out of the market. But when heavier loads were returned to the rack, the bag didn’t remain in place as securely as I’d liked. Contents pitched forward to hang off the front of the tray. Adding Yuba’s Bread Basket accessory would surely solve this.
The Suntour suspension fork muted the bumps and ruts capably. So did the Schwalbe tires, with their 2.4-inch width and high volume aiding stability. And the low-profile, water-shedding tread pattern balanced traction and fast, vibration-free rolling.
Deore is Shimano’s workhorse performance mountain bike drivetrain. It was more than up to the task. The Deore components delivered crisp shifts and kept the chain firmly in gear regardless of terrain. And I really appreciated the Magura mountain bike brakes with oversize rotors. This was especially true when speeding downhill with a heavy load. They never felt overmatched. And their finely modulated lever feel — as opposed to sudden and grabby — should prove approachable to novices who have only experienced less powerful rim brakes.
Final Thoughts on the Yuba FastRack
The patent-pending convertible rack system is the bike’s most significant selling point. Especially for riders who want to alternate between carrying stuff, passengers — even both — on the fly. Swapping modes took only seconds, with nothing to set aside for reinstalling later. The ease and convenience were undeniable
At a MSRP of $3,999, the price of entry for the FastRack isn’t low. Still, it’s perfectly reasonable given the terrific performance of the Shimano motor, respectable battery range, smart component selection, and the frame’s absolutely bombproof build quality.
Lastly, the FastRack was a flat-out looker, especially in the green color we tested (gray and a muted blue are also offered). If this compact cargo e-bike is spending any time standing on end inside your home or workspace, you want it to look good, right?