14278RE: [rootsradicals] Re: Base bike differences
- Jun 22, 2012Troy,
Regarding donor bicycles for Xtracycle attachment, I think I can confirm
your suspicion about a large oversized aluminum tube being a bit more
rigid than a bike with steel in the classic dimensions. I currently have
a steel Big Dummy (single-framed long tail, I think the first or second
year the Big Dummy was on the market), but before that I had an Xtracycle
mated to a phatt tubed aluminum Univega FS750. Heres a photo link to my
old set up, but I recommend no on attempt hauling this load anywhere:
Some people on this list might remember me because I use to post quite a
bit when I still worked as a cargo-bike messenger in NYC before 2007.
Anyway, after getting the Big Dummy I actually felt a slightly
disappointed by the flex I was experiencing. I had the impression my
Univega felt a lot more rigid. Of course as someone pointed out, securing
the load in the right way makes a huge difference. The more your cargo is
able to shift position, even in the slightest, the more sway or flex you
will feel. It can get really bad at faster speeds or during abrupt
I will admit that when I got my Big Dummy I had moved out of New York and
stopped working as a messenger for about a year, so my leg strength
probably was not what it used to be. I still commuted by bike 10 miles to
work every day though and used my bike the rest of the time as my primary
mode of transportation for errands, etc. Still I did get the sense the
Big Dummy had more flex. As I said that was a let down to me because I
thought I was upgrading. It especially bummed me out because my
Univega-Xtracycle combo was noticeably lighter in weight and I only
worried about rust infiltrating the relatively inexpensive frame of the
Xtracycle. With the Big Dummy now it is both heavier and I am paranoid
about rust condemning the entire pricey frame.
Something else of note is my choice of wheels. As you can see in the
linked photo, I ride with Aerospoke 5-spoke carbon fiber wheels. I have
had these babies for over ten years, on my old Xtracycles and my Big
Dummy. They have been in several crashes too. I imagine not having any of
the give or eventual tension strain/stretch of metal spokes might also
lend itself to a more rigid feel. I can tell you it is way less stressful
not having to worry about spokes getting out of true or even losing them.
Also, it is a heck of a lot easier to run a chain/lock through. They
might be the slightest bit heavier and more expensive than a decent
wheel, but I think it is worth it in the long run.
I just wanted to add my $0.02 to the discussion about frame rigidity. I
hope it can help someone.
Oh yeah, if someone chooses to mate an Xtracycle to an aluminum bike
frame, keep watch on the kickstand mount where the FAP connects to. On my
Univega after a few years I discovered the steel FAP actually grinded
down into the aluminum tubing. Of course that meant the FAP bolt had to
be repeatedly tightened, but I completely and cheaply resolved the issue.
I fabricated a little trapezoid piece of metal from a short plumbing pipe
cut to shape using a Dremel cutting disc and a metal drill bit for the
FAP bolt to run through.
Take care and ride safe,
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