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02 January 2020

YUBA Welcomes Justin Gottlieb as New Director of Sales & Marketing

Shimano's Megan Duehring sat down with Yuba Bike's new Director of Sales & Marketing, Justin Gottlieb, to catch up and chat about what Yuba has in store for 2020.

Yuba Cycles welcomed Justin Gottlieb, new Director of Sales & Marketing, to their team roughly two months ago. Based right down the street from Shimano in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, we met up to chat bikes and catch up with what Yuba has in store for 2020.

Justin Gottlieb YUBA Bikes


1) MD: Justin, you came from an event background. What drew you into the e-bike world?

JG: I’ve actually been in the cycling industry for 15+ years, on the retail, racing, manufacturing and event sides of the business. But it was during my time at Interbike that peaked my interest in the e-bike category. We held an e-bike event in the LA area for non-endemic media outlets in 2012 that was quite successful. I tried an e-bike for the first time at that event and have been an advocate ever since.


2) MD: There are obviously a lot of e-bikes brand out now. What was it about YUBA that made you decide to go here? 

JG: I wanted to be part of a company that was doing something different, and YUBA absolutely does that. The only thing they do is focus on this cargo segment. You’re beginning to see more and more people use bikes for transportation and I really loved that these cargo bikes allow you to use them as a vehicle to replace a car.


YUBA Bikes


3) MD: Is that Yuba’s goal? To get rid of that second family car and show the world that an e-cargo bike can be used as a serious mode of transportation?

JG: Our goal is to limit environmental degradation by making clean, active, boundary-pushing mobility solutions. We strive to create a cleaner, more equitable and inspiring new world. Whether it be dropping your kids off at school, running to the grocery store, picking up dinner, going to the gym, you can do it all via e-bike and it’s such an easy and environmentally friendly way to get around.


4) MD: So you kind of just answered my next question, Why does Yuba only make cargo bikes. Why did the company decide to go this route? Was this always the founder's vision?

JG: Back in the early 2000’s the concept of a bike for carrying things made the most sense for replacing a car. This was, in the owner’s opinion, the way to reduce car dependency and car trips. He is originally from France, so being from Europe he saw how beneficial this can be and he saw a need for it in the United States.    


5) MD: I come from a background of working with a small brand and I enjoyed my time with that company because you learn so many things and wear so many hats. Yuba seems to have a very similar family oriented vibe. What's it like to go from a larger company to one like Yuba?

JG: It's been great. When I worked for Interbike we had a very large staff and lots of resources and when you go to a smaller crew with not as many resources, you wear a lot of hats. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, you get to make a lot of decisions on point without a whole lot of red tape. Having direct access to work with the CEO and finance team, everything happens very quickly in relation to a larger company. It’s nice to be able to do that.


YUBA Bikes


6) MD: Yuba makes the electric Boda Boda equipped with Shimano STEPS E6100. We actually carry these on our demo trucks and consumers love them! Are there plans to add any additional STEPS bikes in the future?

JG: That’s a great question and I have a great answer. The answer is YES! In 2020, we’re going to have a few new models that are going to feature the entire Shimano line. We’ll have a brand new electric Mundo with the e8000, and we have two brand new models featuring the e7000 and e5000. I can’t go into too much detail but you’ll be seeing news from Yuba out there soon.


7) MD: Can you tell us the idea behind the Boda Boda? Why did Yuba feel the need to make a smaller length cargo bike (Boda Boda versus the Spicy Curry)? What’s the difference? 

JG: The Boda Boda actually came first after our iconic Mundo bike which was first launched in 2007. At the time, in 2012, we wanted to design a lighter, more compact bike with attractive lines. The Boda Boda is a bike for people who want more than a regular city electric bike, but don’t want the volume of a larger compact/utility bike. For example, the Boda has the same wheel base as a typical cruiser and will fit on most car racks and bus racks. It also weighs under 50 lbs and the rear deck allows for a wide range of pannier racks. With regard to the Boda Boda, the higher deck increases capacity so you can fit two large pannier bags on there; it also allows for larger passengers to ride on the bike versus the Spicy Curry with a lower deck which gives you less room for the bags and is more cramped for a larger passenger.


8) MD: So maybe then because the Boda Boda is taller and has 26” wheels it’s a more comfortable and a better option for a rider looking to carry more cargo, or maybe two kids, versus the Spicy Curry which is closer to a traditional bike with a smaller amount of room for cargo in the back. 

JG: The Boda Boda is able to handle a larger payload on the rear rack, and is better suited for larger passengers. The Boda Boda can handle roughly 244 lbs, the Spicy Curry can handle 300. So, the Boda is a better option for someone who may not be as skilled of a bike handler and who just wants an easier pedal with the larger wheels.

If you want to try a YUBA Electric Boda Boda for yourself, check out our demo event list here. If you’re interested in purchasing a YUBA, please visit the YUBA dealer locator here