Price listed is for bike with open loader and baseboard; Bamboo box seat kit ($150) and cargo canopy ($250) are sold separately; available in white or aqua; Bosch Performance Line CX motor; Magura hydraulic disc brakes
Super fun to ride; replaces the car for most in-town trips; kid loves it; easy to pedal
Very expensive; the cargo cover tends to slip and move, leaving gaps into cargo space; massive and heavy
The Electric Supermarché is a blast to ride, and it’s exceptionally functional as a car replacement if your city is set up in such a way that you can actually utilize it. The integrated lights are a nice touch, and the cargo bay is plenty big for a substantial shopping trip at the grocery store. Most importantly, my kid loves it and that was enough encouragement for me to replace a car ride with a Supermarché ride. Unfortunately, the bike is also very expensive and could use a few refinements to justify that price.
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Suburbia has a habit of squelching my rides before they start. It’s a long way from my house to the mountains, so it’s sometimes deflating to think about kitting up and spinning those junk miles (or worse, driving to a trailhead for a ride on dirt). I know, I’m weak-willed. But an opportunity to actually enjoy my community by bike presented itself in the Yuba Electric Supermarché, and I’m glad I took it.
What my kid says
That is, after all, what matters the most, isn’t it? My five-year-old daughter absolutely loves the Supermarché. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given how much of a novelty this bike is to a kid, but it serves an important purpose beyond making her happy: It encouraged both of us to make more trips by bike, rather than in the car. When the kiddo is excited to hop in the cargo bike, it’s a lot harder to make excuses to get in the car for that half-mile trip to the store.
That’s largely a function of the cargo bike category, rather than any factor specific to the Supermarché, but it’s a good launching point for discussing the real and specific benefits of the Supermarché itself. For starters, the cargo space is generous, enough to put my kid in there along with bags of groceries. The front bay can hold up to 220 pounds. There are pockets lining the sides so you can stow important things like a small lock or even your house keys.
If you really want to load up the Supermarché, the rear rack offers another 80 pounds of hauling capacity. I didn’t end up using it, since the front bay is so generously sized.
And people in the neighborhood sure do love to ask about it. Most folks I encountered were intrigued by it and wanted to know if two kids could fit in it (yes, depending on the size of said kid), if it was hard to steer (not at all), if I felt safe riding it on the roads (as safe as I ever feel riding on the roads), and if I could get a full load of groceries in it (definitely). I’ve never had to stop so much for conversations before. That speaks to the desire for automobile alternatives; a lot of the people I spoke with were not cyclists, but they were very encouraged by the electric-assist motor and integrated lights.
All of them, however, were turned off by the price. It turns out, nobody wants to finance a bicycle.
Piloting the Supermarché
Hopping in the driver’s seat of the Supermarché can be a bit intimidating, largely due to the extremely long wheelbase. This cargo bike looks big, feels big, and weighs a lot. So the first time I threw a leg over it, I was expecting to fight with this unwieldy beast until I got the hang of it.
The thing is, there wasn’t much fight. The Supermarché feels remarkably stable for how long and heavy it is. The two-prong kickstand keeps the bike stable even when you’re loading and unloading it with groceries/children/firewood/whatever. And it’s easy to get the kickstand up when you’re ready to ride — just push the bike forward.
The front wheel is connected to the cockpit via a system of steering cables. This system seems to work quite well, though I didn’t ride the Supermarché long enough to see what the steering feels like after a full season of use and abuse. I wonder if the cables will stretch enough to make the steering feel looser.
“We haven’t had one cable replacement due to stretching since introducing this model 3 years ago,” says Justin Gottlieb, Yuba’s director of sales and marketing. “The amount of stretch on the cables is minimal, compared to a brake cable — but as with any cable, there will be some stretch. That stretch is easily tightened by using the barrel adjusters.”
That said, steering feels pretty intuitive. I was able to navigate tight turns and long, sweeping turns with the same amount of ease and confidence. I never felt on the verge of losing control, nor did I feel like I ever had to muscle or fight the bike to stay on my line. That’s remarkable given how long and heavy the bike is.
The handlebars are mounted atop a mountain of spacers. The adjustable stem allows you to tailor your fit even further, but the drawback is that it also allows a lot of movement. The handlebar tends to sway slightly, which wasn’t problematic when it came to steering, but it certainly was annoying, and it made the cockpit feel cheap.
The Magura disc brakes offer plenty of stopping power, even for a bike this large and heavy. Modulation feels spot-on and the brakes never felt underpowered or overwhelmed.
The ride quality isn’t exactly a dream ride. The rear end feels bouncy when you hit larger bumps, and the bike itself doesn’t feature much in the way of compliance, so you’ll feel a few jostles and impacts. On the comfort spectrum, the Supermarché is just okay. But this is a utilitarian rig, and it felt comfortable enough to get my errands done no problem.
The Supermarché features a Bosch Performance Line CX 250-watt motor. It held up well to the rolling terrain near my house, even with the bike loaded down with kiddo and groceries. it offers pedal-assist up to 20mph, at which point it cuts off and you’re on your own.
The battery life seemed on par with other e-bikes I’ve ridden; I got almost 40 miles out of the first charge, using the turbo mode almost all the time (because I’m a child when it comes to motors, apparently). I’m fairly certain you can get more miles out of a single charge if you’re more nuanced with your use of the different modes, and it’s easy enough to switch between them using the handlebar-mounted controls.
The Enviolo shifter is a bit strange. It’s a Gripshift style shifter, but it seems backward. Pulling it toward you brings you to a harder gear, while pushing it forward gives you an easier gear. That’s essentially the opposite of true Gripshift shifters, so if you’ve used those before, this might take you by surprise. That said, it works just fine and it’s easy enough to get used to quickly.
Supermarché Drawbacks and limitations
There’s a lot to love about the Supermarché, more to love than to get worked up about on the cons side. But there are some notable drawbacks worth mentioning.
For starters, the Supermarché can use some build refinements given how expensive it is. The rubber caps kept falling off the kickstand, for example, and as I mentioned before, the handlebars have enough play in them to make the bike feel low-end. And there has to be a better solution for the steerer than a massive stack of spacers.
Perhaps most annoyingly, the cargo cover doesn’t fit very well over the cargo bay. My daughter loved being enclosed inside the weather cover, but the cover itself didn’t stay put at the front corners, leaving gaps big enough for rain and snow to sneak in. And the process of putting the cover on and pulling it off is a bit of a struggle. There’s room for improvement here.
And obviously, this massive bike takes up a ton of space in the garage. If you’re buying this to replace your car, this won’t be an issue. But if the Supermarché is a complement to your car, as it will be for most buyers, you’ll need to consider where you’ll store the Supermarché, especially if your garage is a multi-purpose space like mine is.
Despite its shortcomings and high price, I really loved riding the Supermarché and considered buying it. This is more of a lifestyle changer than a bicycle; if you’re considering making that lifestyle choice and ditching the car, the Supermarché is a solid investment in an enjoyable and functional ride.