The FastRack is the newest electric from cargo bicycle maker Yuba Bikes. It’s a compact cargo e-bike with a mid-tail rear end and a patent-pending convertible rack system that truly sets it apart from the competition.
Rather than requiring a host of bolt-on aftermarket accessories like passenger running boards and a rear cargo platform, Yuba’s Dual-Rack System (DRS) makes the rear of the bike instantly convertible to a handful of different functions via a quick-release lever and a handful of T-bar levers – absolutely no tools or additional hardware required. Choose from four different DRS modes:
- Flatbed Mode: A flat platform across the rear rack for hauling the biggest cargo.
- Cargo Mode: A moderately narrower platform with walls flipped up on the right and left sides of the bike for stabilizing loads.
- Side-Loader Mode: The platform folds down around the rear wheel and a pair of footboards flip down and lock into place to carry a passenger.
- Compact Mode: Side-loader mode but with the footboards folded up to narrow the bike’s profile for easier storage or navigating through tight spaces.
The FastRack gets its Class 1 pedal assist up to 20 mph from a 250-watt Shimano STEPS E7000 mid-drive motor juiced by an externally mounted 500-watt-hour battery. The E7000 mid-motor has three assist modes (Eco, Trail, and Boost), along with a Walk mode, and dishes out 60 Newton meters of maximum torque.
In addition to the DRS out back, the FastRack comes equipped with a front tray rack mounted to the beefy alloy frame’s headtube so that front loads are decoupled from the bike’s steering and won’t cause the front wheel to flop. Speaking of wheels, the bike rolls on 20-inch hoops shod with 2.4”-wide Schwalbe Super Moto tires. To cushion bumps in the road, Yuba specs a short-travel SR Suntour Mobie suspension fork.
Shifting duty is handled by a Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain, while a set of Magura MT32 hydraulic disc mountain bike brakes with 180-millimeter rotors are in charge of moderating the 76-pound bike’s speed. The FastRack’s cockpit includes ergonomic grips on a set of low-rise handlebars clamped in a stem that can be rotated 90 degrees for compact storage, a Yuba-branded comfort saddle, and a telescoping seatpost with a set of rear-facing narrow handlebars for passengers on the back rack to grab.
Axa front and rear lights provide visibility to motorists and other road users, and riders can also ring the bike’s handlebar bell to make their presence known to pedestrians and fellow cyclists. A dual-leg kickstand provides a stable parking perch for the FastRack, and for indoor storage, the bike can rest vertically on the back of the rear rack and be wheeled into place by tilting it back on a set of soft urethane wheels that won’t damage floors.
Yuba sells the FastRack consumer direct at yubabikes.com and through a select network of independent bicycle dealers. MSRP: $3,999.
Reasons to Buy
The Dual Rack System is the most obvious selling point of the FastRack, and it delivers its promised versatility and convenience in spades. The DRS couldn’t be easier to switch among its various functions, and it eliminates the need to mount, remove and store key cargo bike accessories.
But the FastRack is also an extremely well-equipped and smartly designed e-bike beyond that novel tech. The Shimano mid-motor puts out buttery-smooth pedal assist, with plenty of power no matter the load carried (440 lbs max gross vehicle weight recommended) or steepness of grade encountered (more on that below).
Yuba cut no corners on component spec, especially with the Shimano Deore drivetrain and muscular Magura disc brakes. There’s also no need to add lights, fenders, and passenger-protecting rear-wheel covers, as all of those already come stock. Still, the FastRack is highly customizable with a wide range of add-on accessories including padded passenger seats, child seats, and handles, a pop-top enclosure to protect kid passengers from rain, a front basket, and front and rear bags.
The FastRack gets all the range you’re likely to need for day-to-day errands and kid drop-off and pickup, and it’s a fantastic-looking package, to boot. (More on both of those points below.)
Things to Consider about the FastRack
The buy-in is not cheap here, at just under 4 grand. But we feel that the investment is worth it. Sure, you can find a cargo e-bike for about half the price, but you’ll get a less sophisticated hub motor, most likely without smoother-feeling torque sensing, and the componentry won’t compare to the FastRack’s.
How the Yuba FastRack Performed
We performed the Circuit Test on a 0.75-mile loop with 65 feet of total elevation gain and loss. The rider weighed 175 pounds, and the Yuba FastRack was loaded with 20 pounds of cargo on the front rack and 40 pounds on the rear rack.
Here’s how the FastRack performed:
|Lap #||PA Level||Avg. Speed|
|# 1||Eco||15.3 mph|
|# 2||Trail||16.7 mph|
|# 3||Boost||18.4 mph|
We performed our Hill Climb assessment on a 0.55-mile route with 106 feet of elevation gain, a 3.6 percent average grade. The rider weighed 175 pounds, and the Yuba FastRack was loaded with 20 pounds of cargo on the front rack and 40 pounds on the rear rack.
|Attempt #||Time||Avg. Speed|
|# 1 (PA level: Eco, lowest)||1:03||10.5 mph|
|# 2 (PA level: Boost, highest)||0:40||15.2 mph|
We performed the Braking Test from a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph on a flat paved surface. The rider weighed 175 pounds, and the Yuba FastRack was loaded with 20 pounds of cargo on the front rack and 40 pounds on the rear rack.
|Attempt #||Stopping Distance (ft)|