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1793RE: [rootsradicals] Re: Two questions...

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  • Tone
    Oct 5, 2007


                  I ride an Xtracycle on an aluminum bike. I have had the frame itself since 1999. It is my only bike and I have put tends of thousands of miles on it because I worked as a messenger in NYC for several of those years. I have had the Xtracycle extension attached to it for something like four or five years, and the whole time I worked as a messenger with the Xtracycle installed up until last December. Since then I have not ridden much because my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania, but I just started a new job this past Monday and I have been biking everyday for a total of 11 miles a day.

                  In all the years I have ridden my Xtracycle rig I suppose I would have to say it feels quite rigid. The only time I feel anything like “flex” would be if my tire is under inflated and I am doing crazy zigzag maneuvering through traffic or if I did not properly secure a big load when tying it down. Apart from that I can not say I have experienced “flex.”

                  My previous bicycle was a steel mountain bike (Mongoose Rockadile SX), which cracked right through near one of the rear drop outs. I am pretty sure it happened during what I would consider a very minor crash where I slid the bike around in front of me and jumped back off the bike in order to stop real fast because of a crossing car ahead of me. Either way I only had that steel bike for two years or less. All the bike shop mechanics I know well and the long-term cycle couriers, who know me, seem to make comments about how amazing it is my aluminum bike has lasted… especially after attaching an Xtracycle on it and working full time as a courier.

                  While my bike frame has never cracked I unfortunately can not say the same for the Xtracycles I have had. Since I first got an Xtracycle years ago I have gone through two of them! The first one apparently cracked on both the left and right sides of the FreeRadical frame just behind the dropouts. If you are worried about “flex”, think about how THAT must have felt. J When I realized what was wrong with the FreeRadical, Xtracycle was super kind about replacing the FreeRadical frame for free! I thought that was great. They even were kind enough to mail me the replacement first, so there would be less waste over all and I would not have to locate an appropriate box.

                  After that I was aware of the structural vulnerability just behind the drop outs of the FreeRadical, so I kept my eyes on it and tried my best not to overload cargo toward the rear of the bike. Unfortunately, after so many years of messengering with the replacement Xtracycle it too broke, but I managed to catch it while it was just a crack on one side. When I contacted Xtracycle about the new fracture they once again rose to the occasion by replacing it another time. However, they definitely gave me a hassle about it, but all in good humor. It was pretty funny. I did not really expect them to replace the FreeRadical, but they did. I mainly told them about the second breakage because I wanted to make sure they could improve on their designs since it is a totally terrific concept.

                  So now I am on my third FreeRadical frame. Unfortunately, once again I must report it has developed a crack behind the drop outs on one side. When I noticed it I was fully aware about the supposed release of the Big Dummy, so I decided not to bother Xtracycle again. I mean… come on… how nice could they be. I know I definitely push my bike too. Then again my aluminum bike, which is supposedly made of a metal that will break before a steel frame would, has lasted for several years through all the torture I have put it through.

                  In any case I decided to fix up a patch job over the crack rather than trying to get an interim replacement FreeRadical since I would be getting a Big Dummy in the near future… or so I thought! Well, since this past spring the plumbing pipe I split lengthwise and sandwiched around the break with hose clamps seems to have held up. I just hope it hold up into early next year when the Big Dummy is once again SUPPOSED to be released. Of course then it will be winter and there will be snowy conditions on the road, so my bike will have to work extra hard in order to make it to work.


                  By the way, if you are curious about my current aluminum bike frame, which has held up with the Xtracycle so well, it is a Univega FS I bought when it was new in 1999 or so. What may definitely contribute the frame’s durability is its “phat” top and down tubes. There are definitely photos in the Real-Loads gallery on the Xtracycle site in case anyone is wondering what I mean by that. Just look for the only Xtracycle rig with Aerospoke 5-spoke carbon-fiber wheels. J If that does not make it clear enough, most of my photos also have a red-brick wall as a background.


                  Anyway, I have written enough. Have a good weekend everyone… I just finished a great first week at my new job! Woohoo!

      Ride safe,



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