xtracycle

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Bikelove2010
Participant
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Does anyone have an xtracycle, or know someone that does? I would REALLY like to get one but I want to get some first hand reviews about it first. Thanks!


Bikelove2010
Participant
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here’s the link I forgot:

http://www.xtracycle.com/welcome/


erok
Keymaster
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i don’t have an xtracycle, but have the kona ute. it’s a production model.

here it is with a bale of hay that i carried:

i love cargo bikes. i used to be a big fan of trailers, but i’ve been converted to be a big fan of cargo bikes. they are so much more practical for everyday hauling. don’t get me wrong, trailers are great and all, and serve their purpose way better than cargo bikes at times.

i’ve been seeing a bunch more long bikes in town recently too


Bikelove2010
Participant
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so I guess the more appropriate question is..

Does anyone have a long bike or a cargo bike?

thanks for the pic, that’s really neat.


xjahx
Participant
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I have both a Kona Ute and a Big Dummy. The Ute is not xtracycle compatible, but I am able to use 4 full size panniers (Axiom Typhoons) and bungee/strap plenty on the top rack.

The Big Dummy has a center stand which aids in loading and wideloaders, so you can position more of the load lower to the ground lowering your center of gravity.

The Ute is 700c wheels; the dummy 26″ mountain wheels. Let me know if you would like to take a look at either…


xjahx
Participant
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Erok, if you wanted to fit non-kona panniers to your Ute, I have been able to replace the standard J-hooks on the panniers (too narrow) with larger J-hooks that fit right on the Ute. The aluminum stock is about $4.00 / 6 J-hooks, and then I rubber coat the tips to not harm the frame.


eMcK
Participant
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I’ve had one for at least 4 years. Really, really good product. I talked quite a bit with a bunch of folks from the company this week. Good people all around.

Here’s a blog post from last month:

http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/content/kids-and-cargo

What do you plan to do with your Xtracycle?


salty
Participant
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Any opinions on the Yuba Mundo? I seem to be seeing that a lot searching for cargo bikes.

The Big Dummy does seem great but no one seems to like to mention it is expensive! 2-3x the price of the Kona or Yuba…

I’d love to have a cargo bike but I’m not sure I’d be able to get it into my basement.


erok
Keymaster
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xjahx, i was going to ask how you did that.

I attached pieces of a front rack to the ute so that i can use my axiom typhoon panniers.

did you get the j hooks from home depot or something?

the panniers are still my “regular” bike panniers, so they still need to fit on the rack on my touring bike as well. it is an axiom rack, which has thicker than normal tubing, so it may work.

that seems like a much more elegant mod than the attatched rack that i made


xjahx
Participant
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You can buy straight gauge aluminum stock (about 4 feet long) at the Home Depot for $4. It is identical to what Axiom uses for their stock J-hooks. Then, I constructed a mandrel on the old lathe that was the right circumference for the ute. Then, using the mandrel and a pseudo pipe bender, I constructed the bend at the end of the stock aluminum. Band saw to cut to length. Drill press to match the holes on the Axiom panniers. Rubber tips available at Home Depot – about $1.50 per J-hook. Let me know if you would like a few, and I can make some in an evening or two.


Bikelove2010
Participant
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@eric

I really want to go car free. Right now, I can’t because I teach a band far away blah blah blah, but I need a mode of transportation that I can A) take atleast one person with me (mainly my sister), and B) put cargo on it, including my 6ft flag poles.


erok
Keymaster
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i’ve been car-free for almost 10 years now, and i have to say, having a cargo bike has made my life a ton easier.


Willie
Participant
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I have been car free now for a little over a year and the more I see and hear about cargo bikes the more I would love to get myself one.


Bikelove2010
Participant
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do you car-free guys use alot of public transportation, or mainly your bikes?


Willie
Participant
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I did at first because I lived in mt lebanon. I would take the T into the city on a daily basis then ride to the strip. Now im in mt washington and only really use the incline. Once in a while I might put my bike on a bus if it is raining when I come home from work. Or one of the buses that run out to mckessport if I am going on a camping trip and dont feel like taking the roads out there. As it stands now it has been about 2 months since ive been on the T and at least a month since Ive rode a bus :)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m not entirely car-free, as it just doesn’t work to be 12 miles into the suburbs, and a wife and two teen-and-beyond kids, and not have one car. However, nearly all personal trips in every direction are now being made by bike and/or bus, and I emphasize the combination. If I need to get out to Monroeville, 25 miles away, I’ll use the bus to get me the major distance, and bike from some point to the destination. The bus is also handy on those days when the weather is great for one half, horrid the other. I have a couple each of Zone 1 and Zone 2 tickets in my wallet, with some quarters for transfers. Saves me a pile on gasoline, but w/o the ongoing cost of a weekly or monthly pass. Or the cost of a second car.

I doubt you would be able to mount the xtracycle or cargo bike on a bus, though.


erok
Keymaster
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i live in uptown, and use public transit only on the worst of days, usually when it’s icy. also, if i get a flat and don’t have my patch kit


Bikelove2010
Participant
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I’m probably going to end up with a “car-lite” diet. My fiancée has a car and will definitely continue to have his car, even though he does ride his bike to school and near-by places. I just don’t need mine as much and I’m not nearly as busy as he is, so I have a little more time to ride/walk places. The biggest thing that attracts me to the xtracycle is you can have a passenger. I couldn’t imagine being some where and not having room for a passenger. Especially since my sister can’t drive yet. I looked a ton of places on the internet and I can’t find any other bikes that have that option.


Mick
Participant
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I’m pretty much car free. I have been alomost all my adult life.

I used to ride the buses and walk a lot. When I did I carried a harmonica and got very, very good at blues harmonica. I lived right on a major bus route for more than a decade.

Now, I mostly bike. I live in Oakland, but I’m 3/4 mile from the Forbes/Fifth bike routes, so that is a barrier to entry for buses right there.

It’s a hassle messing with schedules, so I just bike.

BUT – friend who visited me from out of town for a week+ said “Mick, you don’t live IN PITTSURGH.” “WTF?” “You live on the EAST END of Pittsburgh.” And she was right.

Live, work, play music, dance, shop, all in Oakland, SQ Hill, Shadyside, Bloomfield, Highland Park, and Regent Square, with only occasional forays to exotic places like Downtown and the Southside.

They say the largest flat area in Western PA is the Shadyside, Oakland, Wilkinsburg, plane that used to be a river bed (and 5th Ave had it’s valleys filled in with slag from the mills).

I’ve imagined a tandem bike with the extra seat space easily converted back and forth to cargo space, but I haven’t seen it.

I’d love to offer someone a ride (for some reasonable distance, like under 5 miles) and show up at their place with a tandem.

I will rent a car occasionally for tirps or for a lot of errands.

Um…I guess that doesn’t help much with the Xtracycle.

Mick


Bikelove2010
Participant
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That’s what i’m saying! People see me walking and riding my bike and they ask if I want/need a ride. I wanna ask THEM if THEY wanna ride… on my bike.

I also saw motors for xtracycles (only, no other models) that make you still pedal but give you a helping hand with cargo/fat passengers (i can say that, since i’m fat). good idea, seems a bit like cheating though…


erok
Keymaster
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cheating’s ok. don’t worry


dwillen
Participant
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There are plenty of nights coming home from work when I’m on the last (admitted very dang steep) hill, tired, wishing I had some super duper turbo button on my handlebars that would activate a marvelous motor to power me home. I’m not sure cheating with bother me much at that point.


eMcK
Participant
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Don’t worry about the motor, at least from a cheating standpoint. You might worry when you see the prices.

Carrying another full sized adult on an Xtracycle is not for the faint of heart, particularly in Pittsburgh. I’d consider myself in shape and a pretty experienced cargo biker, and with my two kids and some groceries I’ve gotta pay close attention to turns and hills.

Kona will have an elec. Assist Ute for 2010, could be a very nice option.

My take on the long tail market:

Xtracycle Freeradical-versatile, can be the cheapest option if you already have a good base bike to start with. Tons of accesories to carry just about anything-ladders, other bikes, kids, adults, etc.

Xtracycle Radish-Complete bike from Xtracycle. Lower top tube for getting on and off. Only an 8 speed.

Big Dummy-Very stiff, great geometry. Able to use all Xtracycle add-ons. $$$

Kona Ute-Nice price point. Big bag, but only one. No easy way to strap stuff on the sides. Not Xtracycle compatible.

Yuba Mundo-HEAVY DUTY. HEAVY weight. 7 speed only. can carry lots with the rack system.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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When the gearing on these gets to where I can lug a 150-pound load (beyond bike and self) up a 10% grade for 200 meters without straining, then I might consider it. The hill in question is Churchill St in McKees Rocks.


eMcK
Participant
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Getting 300+ pounds up a hill will require some straining, gears or not.

What kinda of gearing do you use now? A typical Mtn triple set up (22-34) gets you close to 16 gear inches on 26″ wheels. A typical road bikes low is around 38″.


erok
Keymaster
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i had handlebars attached to the seatpost of my ute for awhile. i took them off though because i share the bike with my roommate, and she’s short and needs to put the seat way down on it


jkoutrouba
Participant
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I’ve got a Ute, and my observation about passengers is that the lack of foot pegs is a big problem. You can get footsies for the xtracycle, but I’m struggling to come up with a solution for the Ute (I need some flexibility to adjust the height of the foot pegs for my 6-year old, which means something like BMX foot pegs and solid axles won’t work).


xjahx
Participant
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Of note, the footsies do not allow for height adjustment. I have seen people use passenger pegs from motorcycles on their Utes; I cannot find the direct link though.


Bikelove2010
Participant
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my internet has been out for a while, it’s nice to be connected again. Right now, I have a really cheap DS bike I’ve had since I was about 14, but didn’t start riding until a few months ago, so I’m looking for a new bike. The I was looking at before I found the xtracycle was a Torker t-300, which is only 3 speed and has rear foot brakes and front hand brakes. I really like the foot brakes for all these stop signs, but I’m not sure if it’s compatible with the extension thingy. Also, I’m really short, so buying the radish scares me a little because I have such a hard time finding bikes that I can actually get on.

AND, what if you have cargo on the back, how can you swing your leg over the cargo? How do you guys that carry lots of cargo on your bikes (any bike) get on it?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Yeah, that’s difficult sometimes. I usually start off with left foot on left pedal, skateboard along with right foot to get some momentum, then swing my right leg over the bundle on the rear rack. Getting off is harder, especially during an unscheduled stop.


erok
Keymaster
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some cargo bikes have step thru frames. the ute has a sloping top tube (i wouldn’t call it step-thru) that isn’t too hard to get your leg over.

i usually just straddle the bike, and take off like any other bike, only making sure that i keep the bike perpendicular to the ground. you don’t have to put your leg over the back.

we have a ute at the bikepgh office that you could swing by and take for a test ride if you’d like sometime


eMcK
Participant
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Foot over the cross bar for me. Not really ideal, can be hard to keep the load balanced. Beter than kicking my kids i the head though.

The Radish has been redesigned for 2010 with a lower top tube, I saw a few new ones last week. Not sure when they will be in stock.

The Torker is a great bike, I have one too. By far my wife’s first choice for riding in the city, mine too for rides under 3 or 4 miles. I’ve been really tempted to put an Xtracycle attachment on the back, but 3 speeds and brakes that make suggestions rather than orders keep me looking for another step-thru frame to use.


erok
Keymaster
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i really wish the ute had a locking headset


Lyle
Participant
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I mount the tandem over the front bars to avoid catching my foot on the rear handlebars. I suspect that would be more difficult if you have to balance a heavy load with a high center of gravity.

By “rear foot brakes” do you mean coaster brake? I discourage coaster brakes because they make it impossible to put the pedals in the “power position” for starting from a stop (which is what you really need when hauling a load). Being unable to start properly makes people hate stopping, which leads to them not stopping.

The “cowboy start” technique of standing on the left pedal and scooting along, and then flinging your leg over the seat and pedalling away, is unstable. While you’re starting, you’re not really in control of your bike. If you have to do that, that’s not a well-designed bike. I’m not sure if that’s what Stu is describing but it sounds like it.


erok
Keymaster
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i’ve never mastered the cowboy start


eMcK
Participant
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You sure are one for the hyperbole Lyle.

Millions of riders the world over choose coaster brakes. Not an issue.

It takes some practice, but starting out on a cargo bike isn’t a huge deal. Pedal, push off with your feet, take a running leap at it, what ever works for you. Sure it takes more skill than a standard bike, but nothing an average rider can’t master in a half dozen rides or so.


Bikelove2010
Participant
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the 3 speeds is what worries me more than anything with the Torker bike.


erok
Keymaster
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i always thought the specs on the amount of weight that torker advertises was really low. it seems like it could hold a lot more, but in their ads they say something like 25 lbs on the front or something, which isn’t very much and isn’t anything my touring bike couldn’t handle


Bikelove2010
Participant
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has anyone ever heard of these

(and yes, I know I’m a pain with 1,000,000 questions)


erok
Keymaster
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didnt work…

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