About eighteen months ago, I realized that there was no way I could reasonably justify the costs of owning my much-loved Tesla Model S. Despite the freedom owning a car provided us, the truth was that I drove less than eight thousand kilometers per year, had annual costs for insurance, road tax, and maintenance to the tune of NOK 40’000, and that I defaulted to going by bike or public transport for the vast majority of my travels.
In short, it was time to sell the Tesla. I knew that I wanted to add something else to replace parts of it, and soon landed on an e-assist transport bike. I test drove most of the offerings, and eventually landed on the Yuba Supermarché. Adding a box with seats in front, I felt I had something that would deal with most of my transport needs for the majority of the year.
I bought it almost a year ago, and it has since gone just north of 1’000 kilometers. While that might not sound all that impressive, remember that CoViD-19 hit in March, drastically reducing my transportation needs. In addition, the longest I generally need to go away from home is around ten kilometers one way. Even as a semi-daily driver, putting 1’000 kilometers on it took some doing.
The Supermarché comes with a Bosch drive train, which helps. It can help a little, or it can help a lot – that’s all up to the driver. With a length of 2.6 meters, it’s a long beast, and nowhere near as nippy as a regular bike might be. In return, I have gotten the ability to bring both my kids just about anywhere in town, and have even filled the box with stuff to take to the recycling center.
From the factory, it ships with a removable display which provides a lot of control – but no options for satellite navigation, phone integration or other things that might make it an even more capable travel companion. I did, at one point, add a towed trailer to it, in order to bring both my kids and the luggage we needed for a week to my parents’ place. That presented exactly no issues for this bike – though I did get a few bemused looks.
Pre-CoViD, we were planning on taking a trip to Denmark, to tour the northern tip of Jutland. That, alas, was not to be – though I am holding out hope for next year. The simple fact is that, since adding it to our rotation, selling the car became an even easier choice. While we have had need for a car since, we have simply rented one as we needed it – a solution that has meant a drastic reduction in household costs.
The Enviolo NuVinci gear system is excellent, and means that planning as you come to a halt is less of a consideration than in a traditionally geared bike. The brakes are beefy 180 mm Tektro hydraulic brakes, which stops the bike quickly – even when loaded with me, two kids, and luggage. The low box means that you have a very low center of gravity, which helps immensely with balance at low speeds.
The Supermarché is not, however, perfect. The lack of suspension makes for a relatively bumpy ride. While this may be fun for the kids, it can be trying for the rider. I have replace the original saddle and seat post for a Selle Royal Lookin 3D Moderate saddle and a SR Suntour SP12 NCX, which helps immensely with this. Another challenge is the fact that the steer-by-wire system does get slack with time, and needs to be tightened – I’ve needed to do so six times over the last twelve months.
I would also have liked to have had better grips on the bike. The grips offer nothing in the way of barends, and I’m planning on replacing the OEM offering with a set of Ergon grips offering just this feature.
These, however, are minor things. The lack of a suspension does mean that the bike costs a lot less – I paid about half for mine what I would have paid for a comparable offering from Riese & Müller – which arguably offers the bare minimum when it comes to gears, brakes, and pedals. All in all, I am very happy that I went for the Supermarché. As a friend commented the other day, I have made bikes my primary mode of transportation.