I have never regretted a bike purchase and my recent acquisition of a Yuba Supermarché is no exception to the rule. I have thoroughly enjoyed the front-loader (non-electric) cargo bike and have already ridden over 25 miles in the past two weeks. The bike has a couple minor annoyances, but one which I had to quickly address has been the tendency for the steering to loosen up, especially over bouncier terrain. In this short post, I would like to document how to tighten the steering up on this cargo bike.
You may need to tighten the steering if there is significant movement of the handlebars before the front wheel actually turns. Basically you should not be able to make more than absolutely minor movements of the handlebars without the front wheel turning in some form or fashion.
So much fun!
As you may surmise looking at the photo above, the steering on the bike is driven by a linkage from the steering column to the front wheel. This is in contrast to a traditional bike where the handlebars are sitting directly atop the front fork, and therefore are directly connected to the front wheel. There are four total steering cables, two per side, which extend down the steering column and run fore under the cargo bucket before ascending to the front wheel hub at the top of the fork.
Fortunately the designers of the bike made it very easy to adjust the steering tightness by inserting four adjustable bolt-housings on each cable just underneath the fork/hub of the front wheel. See the image below.
The best way to tighten up the steering is as follows:
- Position the bike such that you can extend the kickstand and have the bike sit on its rear wheel, allowing the front wheel to move freely.
- Square up the handlebars: ensure that they are perpendicular to the fore/aft line of the bike.
- The bolt-housing has an “adjust” bolt and the “lock” bolt which will keep things in place. Twist the “adjust” bolt left to extend it from the housing. This is basically adding more length to the housing of the cable and therefore tightens the link from the column to the hub.
- It shouldn’t matter too much what order you twist the adjust bolts, but I think it’s a good idea not to over do it, finger tight should be sufficient. Additionally, making the adjustments somewhat split between the upper and lower “adjust” bolt on the housing is probably a good idea.
- Once the tightness on the steering feels right, you will want to twist the “lock” bolts right until it meets the black housing in the photo. This will “lock” your cable adjustments into place.
I have found a tendency for these lock bolts to get jostled loose after sustained cycling on gravel or otherwise bumpy paths. Once you get the hang of tweaking the tightness on the steering cables, this is something that can easily be done at a long stop light.
If you’re in the market for a fun cargo bike, I watched this review before I purchased and it highlighted some of the pros and cons of the bike and is worth your time:
Despite some of the minor quirks of the bike, I have been having a blast with it, and cannot believe how long I was riding around with a backpack full of stuff!