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14278RE: [rootsradicals] Re: Base bike differences

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  • Tone
    Jun 22, 2012
      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. Here’s 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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