With a population approaching 2 million, the borough of Manhattan is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. That makes getting around difficult. The expense of cabs and parking make getting around by car a luxury, yet some buses average slower than walking speeds. Most locals head underground to take advantage of the largest subway system on the planet, but others have turned to two-wheeled transportation for everything from daily commutes to shopping.
The city is taking steps to make it easier. Bike lanes are becoming more common, and ride sharing has made the transition to two wheels with the Citi Bike program.
A bike can ease your daily commuting woes, but what if you need to carry stuff? Sure, you can add some cargo accessories to haul a few groceries and knick knacks, but there’s a limit. That’s where the Yuba Spicy Curry comes in. It has both a large cargo capacity, and an electric motor to help carry whatever you load it down with. Pedal assist means you still have to move yourself, but the motor makes it easier.
The Spicy Curry gets its name from Currie Technologies, which produces a propulsion system used on bikes from Diamondback, IZIP, and Raleigh, as well as Yuba. In this iteration, the 350W motor is paired with a 48-volt lithium-ion battery. Full charge time from depletion takes about 5 hours.
You should expect 25 to 45 miles of range, depending on the level of assist and how you ride. Standard features include an 8-speed rear derailleur, large hydraulic disc brakes, fenders, and integrated front and rear LED lights.
The Spicy Curry is no lightweight at 55 lbs., but getting it moving on a flat surface without electrical assistance was easy enough, and it provided a stable and smooth ride. The bike feels as substantial as it looks, and I did not detect any squeaks or rattles. I spent some time getting used to its dynamics under my own power and was pleased with its handling and comfort level.
Pedal assist means you still have to move yourself, but the motor makes it easier.
On hills, the bike’s bulk makes itself apparent. Without proper momentum, steep slopes were difficult to conquer. But once I started down the other side, those brakes proved their worth, with excellent stopping power and feel.
It was time for some electricity. To activate the motor, you press a button on the battery, then switch on the LCD display, which shows speed, mileage, current distance travelled, range, and level of assist from one to four.
With the assist on max, getting the bike rolling from a stop produces a small jolt, which takes some getting used to. One of this bike’s strong points is its hill climbing ability, which I can attest to. I won’t say that it takes no effort, but it’s certainly easier.
I took the bike for a spin through Central Park, where I shared the paths with other riders, joggers, inline skaters, and sometimes cars. State laws limit the bike’s motor to 20 mph, but beyond that, you’re on your own. By dialing up the assist to level 4 and pedaling hard, I was able to break 30 mph, passing cyclists on rigs that weighed less than a third of mine. When I had to stop or slow down, it took just a slight squeeze on the brake levers.
That said, this is a cargo bike, and given its bulk, it should be used as one. Throughout my time with the Spicy Curry, I loaded it with groceries, small furniture, full boxes … and people. The bike’s max payload is 300 lbs. including the rider, and I was able to approach this weight with the addition of a passenger, who sat on the accessory seat behind me and held onto the optional handlebars (this tandem configuration did not entail full tandem functionality — passengers cannot pedal or steer). I kept the pedal assist on level four and was able to move along at a good pace, though I avoided all but the gentlest slopes.
I don’t think too many Spicy Curry owners are going to be ferrying around an adult on a regular basis. When I added a more manageable and realistic 50 to 75 lbs. of cargo, the bike’s practicality shone through. Large flat boxes were easily transportable, and bulky furniture was manageable when properly secured.
I was able to break 30 mph, passing cyclists on rigs that weighed less than a third of mine.
The bike makes an excellent grocery getter. A few of my favorite markets are some distance from my apartment, and carrying a bunch of bags is inconvenient enough without having to lug everything onto a crowded train. With the Spicy Curry, I was able to pack enough food to provide weeks of meals. My average range during these runs was 35 miles.
My bike came with an optional center stand, which adds confidence whether you need to adjust a gear, remove a wheel, or simply park. The “Deflopilator” does exactly what the name implies, keeping the front wheel steady and straight when the bike is up on the stand. The rear handlebars, side boards, and padded seat made it easy to ride two-up. On longer rides, I kept my phone, wallet and keys safely stowed in the weatherproof cargo bags.
The DT Accessory Pack
The Spicy Curry’s size is a consequence of its usefulness as a hauler. No matter how I rolled it in, it didn’t fit in my building’s elevator. I had to brace the rear wheel and stand it up on its haunches to get it up to my apartment. On the street, I had to be constantly aware of how much bike there was behind the rear seat to avoid clipping pedestrians when taking a sharp turn.
The Spicy Curry is useful if you don’t have a car, yet it can be difficult to live with if you don’t have a garage. Getting it up the stairs is difficult; you would need access to a large elevator. Of course, you can lock it up on the sidewalk and take the removable battery inside, but would you feel comfortable leaving a bright green $4,200 electric bicycle outside overnight?
The Spicy Curry frame comes with a lifetime warranty, and the electric system has a two-year warranty.
For anyone who hauls stuff around on a regular basis, this bike is like having a small pickup truck. If you have the room, funds, and need, the Spicy Curry is the way to go. Just don’t be surprised when friends ask you to help them move.