Our long-time readers might remember our Kickstarter project from 3 years ago focused around the Wandertec TUBA. The project didn’t fund which meant that rather than quickly launching this new product to fill the pre-orders, it became a backburner project, worked on at a gradual and organic pace.
The TUBA Has Finally Arrived
Well after all of this time, I am proud to say that we’ve finally brought this thing to market. The Wandertec TUBA is a bike cargo trailer designed for everday local use. It is a product designed to fit a gap in the market. At BikeTrailerShop.com we’re very familiar with smaller bike trailers like the Burley Nomad and BOB Trailers. These are great for small jobs and bike touring. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of very larger bike trailer options, such as the Surly Bill and Bikes-At-Work trailers, designed with big hauling jobs in mind.
But what I was looking for was something big but not too big. I wanted something that I could use for my everyday tasks. Those huge bike trailers are great for big jobs, but for most of what I was looking for they’re too big, heavy and awkward for easy use. And not only that these large trailers are pricey.
The TUBA is sized to be just right for everyday use around town. Before I began using the TUBA, I have to admit there were plenty of days that I drove my pickup because I had some awkward load to carry. With the TUBA around, my pickup sits dormant and I end up using it only for very large loads 2 or 3 times a year.
I use the TUBA for hauling all sorts of supplies back and fourth between the bikeshophub.staging.wpengine.com headquarters and my house. I also use it for picking up groceries and other shopping needs. I imagine the TUBA being great for someone running a home repair or painting business by bike. It also should be excellent for many forms of bicycle delivery.
A Long Development Cycle
The development of the TUBA began after we had been selling the Wandertec BONGO for several years. The BONGO was a great solid and simple design, but it really served the same need as the other small bike cargo trailers on the market.
Not only did I want something bigger, I was looking for a better balanced load and a platform for easy attachment of a variety of cargo carrying systems. Our then employee, metal artisan, Stuart Henderson and I got to work on brainstorming and prototyping a variety of trailer configurations.
The basic layout emerged fairly quickly, focused around the rectangular layout with the wheel towers for dropping the platform of the trailer by 3″. Refining the details on the other hand was a very different experience. Deciding on the ideal width and length profile wasn’t so bad only taking several iterations. What really slowed things down was the development of the adjustable hitch arm/handle.
The Wandertec BONGO had enjoyed a similar feature. However the BONGO’s angle of attachment coupled with its lower weight carrying requirements meant that standard quick releases worked very nicely as clamps to hold it in place.
Considering the typical urban use of the TUBA, the rapid hitch armadjustment was much more critical than it was for the BONGO. But unfortunately, it was also much more difficult to pull off.
We went through over 20 iterations over 2 years before arriving at the final version. The solution that finally worked involved utilizing massive quick release skewers. Finer details with such as maximizing the clamping surface proved to be quite challenging.
Had we been rushed by a successfully funded Kickstarter project, I am not sure we would have shipped out as well worked out of a solution as we have today.
Making the Most of the TUBA
While perfecting the profile and the hitch arm clamping mechanism for the TUBA, we also had been working on figuring out cargo configurations for it.
In thinking through how cargo would be carried on the TUBA, we realized that there was great variation in how it could be configured.
5 Typical Types of Tuba Setups
- Wandertec Loadbed or Home Made Loadbed Only
- Loadbed + Cargo Box
- Cargo Box Bolted to Frame
- Home Made Box
- Tuba Cargo System
The most cost effective solution for many TUBA users could be to build their own loadbed or cargo box or use a Rubbermaid bin with it. In fact the TUBA was really designed to be a cost effective base setup for someone to build their own cargo system around. We really expect this to be the predominant use.
We also wanted to offer our own version of an ideal system for it. The TUBA Cargo System was built to be both light and highly functional for transporting large loads. The system consists of a rail system, a liner and a waterproof cover and relies on the loadbed which can be purchased individually.
Now admittedly the price of admission for the complete Wandertec TUBA with Cargo System is a bit pricey for many at $1200. But don’t despair. The open, platform ready layout of the trailer make it work perfectly with a 48 Gallon Rubbermaid.
We were extremely fortunate to discover that this low-priced, easy-to-find box fit so nicely. Not only is this box incredibly roomy and rugged, it is also lockable. Bolt this box to the loadbed and you’ll have an industrial-strength bike cargo trailer ready to haul anything you can throw at it. And the price for this entire setup with trailer, loadbed and box comes in at a cool $580.
So the TUBA is finally here. We are very excited to be getting them out there in the world and getting some feedback.
Is the Wandertec TUBA something that you could make use of?
How would you use it?